Monessen puts focus on running game
TribLIVE Sports Videos
A year ago when Monessen joined the rugged Black Hills Conference, coach Andy Pacak told anyone and everyone he thought his team was good enough to win the conference that included perennial powerhouse Clairton.
“I think people in the conference took us seriously, but I'm not too sure how many people locally did,” Pacak said.
The Greyhounds proved their mettle in the Black Hills, going 8-1 — with their only blemish coming against the Bears.
Monessen ended the season 9-2 after a heartbreaking, last-second 24-21 loss to Neshannock in the WPIAL quarterfinals.
The good news for Monessen is a talented group returns, including four all-conference selections.
The bad news is multitalented quarterback Chavas Rawlins, who threw for more than 1,000 yards and received scholarship offers from 20-plus Division I schools, graduated.
“I learned a long time ago from talented coaches that you coach with what you have,” Pacak said. “Without Chavas, we will be a different team. But we are still a talented team, and we will take advantage of what that talent is.”
Monessen returns seven players on offense and 10 on defense who either were full-time or part-time starters a year ago.
Among them are wide receiver/linebacker Justice Rawlins, running back-defensive back Javon Brown, running back-linebacker Clintell Gillaspie and lineman Jonathan Kravets, all seniors who made the all-conference team.
Other returning starters on offense include linemen Justice Tartt and Raelo Davis and receiver Irvin Green. End Kayne Jackson and defensive backs Lavelle Rush and Jevaughn Carlock return on defense.
“The cupboard is definitely not bare,” Pacak said. “Without Chavas, we will probably be more of a running team, but we certainly have the experience not only up front but in the backfield, to be successful.”
Defensively, Pacak expects the Greyhounds to be aggressive.
“We preach being aggressive and everybody flying to the ball,” he said. “With the group we have, the leadership we have, we expect to stand up and be counted.”
Of course, playing in the Black Hills with the likes of Clairton, Brentwood, Bishop Canevin and Chartiers-Houston, Pacak knows nothing will come easy.
“We know that nobody will roll over for us,” he said. “I think we like the fact that we have to earn our respect. A year ago, we did that. This is a new year, but the expectations never change. We will be as good as we want to be.”
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.
- WPIAL Class AAAA notebook: Pine-Richland has titles in 3 classifications
- WPIAL’s Top 10 football champions of all time
- WPIAL Class AAA notebook: Central Valley to face another merger in PIAA playoffs
- WPIAL Class A notebook: Clairton climbs all-time title list
- High school football notebook: Official’s decision impacts WPIAL Class AAAA title game
- HS highlight reel: Southmoreland wrestler ineligible
- From venues to playoff format, much has changed in 100 years of WPIAL championships
- Clairton wins 11th WPIAL football championship
- WPIAL Class AA notebook: South Fayette’s Brumbaugh closes in on state passing record
- Monessen places four on Eastern’s Second Team
- Unbeaten Clairton not taking Avonworth lightly