Small group, big goals at Ligonier Valley
TribLIVE Sports Videos
In 10 seasons as coach at Ligonier Valley, Roger Beitel said he can't recall a smaller group of returning lettermen than with his current club. That doesn't mean 2013 will be a bust, he said.
“The good news is the guys we have coming back are going to be very important to us,” Beitel said of a team with 10 seniors and nine returning lettermen. “For our small numbers, we do have some size and experience.”
Quarterback Scott Fennell is fresh from a July trip to the Manning Quarterback Academy, where his coach was Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.
Fennell will team with massive tight end Alec Bloom (6-7, 242) to form a unique passing attack that could cause matchup nightmares for opponents. Bloom recently gave a verbal commitment to Connecticut.
“Alec and Scott will be a big part of what we're doing,” Beitel said. “The guys we lost from last year were all major contributors to our football team, so we're going to need to rely on what's left.”
Part of what the Rams hope to achieve is continued success on offense, where they've been ranked either No. 1 or 2 in the Heritage Conference in seven of Beitel's nine seasons as coach.
But Beitel, who led Ligonier Valley to a 10-2 record and the second round of the District 6-AA playoffs last season, is ready to give up play-calling, hiring former Laurel Valley and Indiana defensive coordinator Scott Lewandowski as offensive coordinator.
The offensive line will be led by center Nick Boring, an “outstanding lineman last year,” Beitel said. Fennell, behind center, will attempt to better the near 1,000-yard season he had in 2012, when Ligonier Valley shared the Heritage Conference regular-season title with Penns Manor.
On defense, Ligonier Valley returns both inside linebackers — Boring and leading tackler Dereck Croyle, who set a school record last season with 130. The secondary returns two veterans in Fennell and Croyle's twin brother, Dan.
“We're going to continue to challenge our kids the same way,” Beitel said. “We have some outstanding leaders, and we need to develop some younger kids to be starters for the next couple years.”
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.
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 players named to Class AAA, A all-state teams
- South Fayette football team distributes Steelers tickets to Carlynton, Wilkinsburg
- 2014 Valley News Dispatch football all-stars
- Through the years: Bell-Avon rings out in program’s finale
- High school notebook: WPIAL adjusts to accommodate Armstrong merger
- South Fayette aims to become 1st AA team to win consecutive PIAAs
- Clairton falls short vs. Bishop Guilfoyle in PIAA Class A title game
- Gorman: Central Valley’s life after death
- High school notebook: Records tumble during PIAA football title games