Young Burgettstown group aims to compete

| Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

Burgettstown will be looking to put its 2012 campaign behind it in coach Terry Havelka's second year at the helm.

After going 0-9 last season, the Blue Devils are hoping bounce back this year after a full offseason under Havelka's tutelage.

“Everything has gone much more smoothly up to this point,” Havelka said. “We're miles ahead of where we were last year at this point.”

With just three seniors on the team, the coaching staff will look to make steady progress with the young squad.

“We try to take things one day at a time,” Havelka said. “With our youth, we don't want to hurry young kids and lose patience with them. We want them to build some confidence, and confidence comes through repetitions in a positive environment.

“(Our goals are) just to work hard, to improve and put ourselves in a position in the fourth quarter to win football games. We're taking some baby steps. You have to crawl before you walk.”

Leading the offense at quarterback will be sophomore Robert Dupain, who gained valuable experience last season, throwing for 214 yards and one touchdown and rushing for 65 yards and a score.

The defense will be led by linebackers Jake McKee and Shane Stover, who accounted for 25 and 22 tackles, respectively, last season.

McKee also will assume the primary tailback duties this season after running for 36 yards on a limited amount of carries last year.

Despite last year's winless season, Stover is optimistic about the upcoming season after the team's strong offseason participation.

“Making the playoffs would be a good thing for us,” he said. “We have the team to do it this year. We have a lot of commitment.”

In order to do reach the postseason, Havelka and his coaching staff are attempting to change the culture surrounding the program, and he thinks they can.

“Mainly we're just trying to change that attitude, to get kids to believe that they can be football players in Burgettstown,” Havelka said.

“We have golfers here that win WPIAL titles, we have wrestlers here that do great things and our kids just don't believe in themselves because of a lack of success in the football team, and we're going to get that changed around at some point.”

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