Share This Page

Northgate hoping to avoid transition letdown

| Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Northgate's Romello Snyder works out Monday, Aug. 12, 2013, in Bellevue.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Northgate quarterback Johnny Camello works out Monday, Aug. 12, 2013, in Bellevue.

New Northgate coach Brandon LeDonne has not been around the program long, but he already likes what he sees.

“I'm very impressed by the caliber of kids,” he said. “I can't say enough good things about the kids.”

LeDonne, a former assistant at Aliquippa and Moon, is getting his first crack at running his own team. He took over a Northgate squad that went through a resurgence the past two seasons under former coach T.J. Wiley, including the Flames' first trip to the playoffs since 2003.

However, the Flames missed the playoffs last season after losing four games down the stretch. They also lost their coach, who now is coaching at Deer Lakes.

In stepped LeDonne, who wants to avoid the dreaded transition year.

“We had a nice spring where we got the kids out and running around a little bit and seeing what positions they can play,” he said. “We're very optimistic about the season.”

Perhaps the biggest issue for LeDonne is who won't be running around for the Flames this season. Replacements will be needed for do-everything quarterback Cody Walter and tackling machine Mack Quinn. The graduates were two of the best players in the conference last year.

Returning is leading receiver Mark Lodge. Opposite him will be up-and-comer Romello Snyder. The battle to replace Walter at quarterback will be between Alex Marusic and Johnny Camello. Clearing a path will be sophomore lineman John Lenowski (6-foot-2, 220 pounds).

LeDonne said there is not a star player on either side of the ball like the Flames had last year, but that doesn't bother him.

“I'm a big advocate of playing a lot of guys,” he said. “It keeps people fresh, keeps the kids competitive, keeps people motivated.”

There won't be much time to get acquainted in the competitive Eastern Conference. Last season, the Flames lost by four points or fewer in three of their defeats.

“I keep telling the kids every game's going to be meaningful,” LeDonne said. “Whether it's the first game or the ninth game, a win could be the one that puts us in the playoffs.”

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.