ShareThis Page

Young, yet experienced Fort Cherry flying under the radar

| Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Fort Cherry quarterback Matt Heslin works out during practice Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, at the Rangers' camp.

Fort Cherry coach Jim Shiel admits his team is young, but what might surprise people is how much experience is returning for the Rangers.

“I like flying under the radar,” Shiel said. “We were young last year, and we're coming back strong. Some of those other teams (in the conference) have to rebuild.”

The Rangers only lost two starters to graduation from last year's 3-6 squad and return last year's leading passer, rusher and receiver in Matt Heslin, Koltan Kobrys and Zach Dysert, respectively. But the true strength is in the trenches.

“We hit the weights pretty hard this year and feel up front we're going to be pretty strong,” Shiel said.

Sophomores Trevor McIntyre, Brian Carnegie and Jake Shulz and senior Brandon McGurk are returning starters.

At fullback, John Findling (5-foot-10, 242 pounds) is described as a “guard in the backfield.”

“They're all good-sized kids, strong, putting up a lot of weight in the weight room, and they move pretty well, too,” Shiel said.

Catching Heslin's passes will be Dysert, Alex Babirad and freshman Scott Miller. Garret Whalen returns at running back after filling in last season when Kobrys was injured.

Defensively, Christian Schaub (6-2, 270) will anchor the front four, and Carnegie, Shulz and McGurk rotate in. Junior Radan Orenbaun (6-3, 343) has been a goal-line/short-yardage specialist, giving the Rangers even more size on the line.

“We hope to have a revolving door on the D-line,” Shiel said. “We have some big boys.”

Whalen and Findling will clog the middle while Dysert and Jesse Cook cover the edge. Providing pass coverage and extra run support will be Miller, Babirad, Dan Barley and Logan Ellek.

Shiel said having experienced youth will help Fort Cherry's chances of competing with the formidable Clairton, Monessen and Bishop Canevin, among others.

“A lot of the powerhouse teams were senior-heavy last year,” Shiel said.

Embracing the underdog role, Shiel added: “I expect to make the playoffs this year. I expect to surprise some people.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.