Graduation losses don't faze Beaver Bobcats
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Beaver has made the WPIAL playoffs nine of the past 11 years, including the past six in a row. A seventh straight playoff berth might look like a bit of a stretch, because coach Jeff Beltz will be replacing more than 1,400 yards and 33 touchdowns in the backfield after the graduation of Darian Bradley, Anthony Fidurski and Anthony Keriots.
But Beltz has seen this before. Panic? Throw out that “R” word. Rebuild? Not Beltz.
“I think we kind of get to this same point most years,” Beltz said. “Athletes have to mature through the system. We have some confidence with our next generation.”
Fortunately for Beltz, he has an experienced quarterback. Alex Rowse was under center a year ago until Austin Ross returned. All Rowse did was keep the Bobcats undefeated. Beaver remained spotless, in fact, until the regular-season finale against eventual WPIAL champion Aliquippa.
Certainly Beltz expects Rowse to be more poised and mechanically sound with a half-season of experience under his belt. But Rowse's biggest contributions may not show up in the stat sheet.
“We've got a quarterback who was undefeated, so that's not a bad starting point,” Beltz said. “It's rare these days, but everything with Alex starts with leadership. He has unique leadership qualities that you don't find in people anymore.
“But that's not to downplay his athletic ability. He was a starter on the basketball team that went to the WPIAL semifinals. He played second base on a baseball team that played for the state championship, so those experiences in big games in other sports can only help him in football.”
Julian Vandusen and Jordan Yates return in the backfield, but the X-factor could be freshman Darius Wise. Wise has plenty of natural ability, but Beltz hesitates to put too much pressure on him.
Though Beltz will have a variety of players carrying heavier loads, he's not conceding the Bobcats are going to struggle early. He prefers to focus on what he can control, namely Beaver's conditioning and attitude.
“Is there a work in progress? Sure,” he said. “It's OK to be uncomfortable at the beginning. But if we have the right attitude and the right conditioning, we'll combat all that.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- High school notebook: New classes put football finalists on the move next season
- Gorman: Class A final opens doors
- Jeannette two-way star Sanders has Jayhawks back at Heinz Field
- Jeannette football prepare for Class A championship game
- Frazier football well represented in all-conference honors
- HS highlight reel: WPIAL runners named to all-state teams
- Ligonier Valley bows out of football playoffs
- Franklin Regional football team ends its season one win short of Heinz Field
- Jeannette’s Sanders leads comeback over Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic
- Breaking down the 2015 WPIAL football playoffs
- Special teams scores lead Clairton in rout of Frazier