Chartiers-Houston motivated after missing postseason

| Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

The Chartiers-Houston Bucs almost changed the course of history on the opening night of the 2012 season.

They had Clairton on the ropes before a late score lifted the four-time defending PIAA champion Bears to a 22-20 victory.

Had Chartiers-Houston sprung an upset, Clairton would not have broken the WPIAL and Pennsylvania all-time winning streaks, which now stand at 63.

But the Bucs weren't able to parlay that fine opening-night performance into a WPIAL playoff spot, finishing 4-5 overall and in Black Hills Conference play.

“We missed the playoffs by one game,” ninth-year coach Terry Fetsko said. “That left a sour taste with us. We had become accustomed to making the playoffs.”

Chartiers-Houston had qualified for the WPIAL postseason 13 of the previous 15 years.

But to get back to the playoffs, the Bucs have to navigate through arguably the toughest Class A conference.

The Black Hills includes five-time defending WPIAL Class A champion Clairton, Monessen and Brentwood, among other Class A contenders.

Fetsko has to replace 14 graduates, including five offensive and seven defensive starters and junior Grant Foster, who transferred to Central Catholic.

One returning player to build around is quarterback Kaleb Susko, who passed for 966 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior.

“We're looking for Kaleb to take on a leadership role with our spread offense,” Fetsko said.

“But we'll run a lot and use our slot backs and wide receivers.”

Offensive sets will try to get the ball into the hands of Miles Williamson (6-foot-4, 195 pounds), a four-year starter who is a two-time all-conference selection.

“We're counting on Miles to provide a lot of leadership at receiver and as a kick returner,” Fetsko said.

Senior fullback Derek Hull is expected to carry much of the load in the Bucs backfield, along with junior Dylan Briggs. Fetsko also will count on contributions from freshmen Spencer Terling and Jacob Cavallo.

Junior Alec Ferrari is ready for a major role at receiver and in some quarterback sets. Three returning linemen are junior center Noah Deep and guards Walter Lober, a senior, and Tyler Stegenda, a junior.

On defense, Hull can play nose guard/linebacker, and Williamson and Ferrari are stalwarts in the defensive backfield.

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