ShareThis Page

Three new backs charged with fueling Ford City's wing-T offense

| Sunday, Aug. 18, 2013, 10:36 p.m.
Ford City's August Mantini (n0.1) intercepts a pass intended for Freeport's Jesse Hubert (no.20) during the first half at Ford City Field.
Friday September 7, 2012
Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times
Louis B. Ruediger
Ford City's August Mantini (n0.1) intercepts a pass intended for Freeport's Jesse Hubert (no.20) during the first half at Ford City Field. Friday September 7, 2012 Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times

The running game long has been the backbone of Ford City's wing-T offense, and a new trio of backs is ready for their turn to carry that tradition.

The Sabers have a new set of backfield starters this year, with senior running backs August Mantini and Chantz Schrecengost and junior fullback Garrett Virostek in line to handle the bulk of the work toting the football.

Though they don't have a wealth of varsity carries to their credit — Schrecengost is the team's top returning rusher with 69 yards on 18 carries — all three played a large part last year on defense and special teams and should be ready to add a heavier offensive workload.

“We really don't have anything we lack,” Virostek said. “We have a power running back (himself), a speed running back (Schrecengost) and just an all-around athlete running back (Mantini). I think it will be a good year for us, and I think our line will be able to hold it down.”

This year's backs will try to replace running back Devan Willyard and fullback Ben Young, a pair of seniors who combined for more than 1,100 yards and 16 touchdowns rushing last year.

With each of this year's backs having unique skills, the Sabers have a diverse playbook to use the strengths of each. While Virostek and Mantini will be featured on runs between the tackles and off-tackle, Schrecengost's speed will make him the go-to guy for outside runs.

“We're a smart group. We've got probably double the plays in than we had last year,” Mantini said. “We've got a small line, but we're fast off the ball and looking good.”

“I'd say belly or jet (motion) sweep are our best plays,” Virostek said. “We've got one of the fastest backs in the conference with Chantz, and we're going to hold down our part inside.”

Though the backs have their preferred plays in camp, it remains to be seen what the Sabers' top plays will be in game action. That, according to coach John Bartolovic, is sometimes hard to measure before the first game.

“Some years, just by personnel, some plays are better than others,” Bartolovic said. “But sometimes, for whatever reason, one play works better with a particular group of kids. Then you have plays that you think should work but don't. You really don't know until you get a chance to see it against another defense.”

Regardless of which plays work and who gets the bulk of the carries for Ford City, the backs realize that their combined productivity will be critical to the team's success. All three backs agreed that it doesn't matter to them who ends up with the most carries or yardage as long as the rushing attack is giving them a chance to win games.

“Every team needs a good running game, and we're going to run whatever play it takes to get that win,” Schrecengost said. “When it comes down to the last minute, and you're trying to run out the clock, you have to be efficient running the ball.”

“Because we run the wing-T, and we're the only team in the conference that does, we do rely on the run game, and we have to keep improving it every day,” Mantini said.

Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @Grubba_Trib.

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.