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Yough, QB Donahue brace for unforgiving schedule

| Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, 1:36 a.m.
Barry Reeger/Trib Total Media
Yough quarterback Tyler Donahue is back for another year behind center for the Cougars.

Yough coach Mark Crovak loves his team. He isn't so wild about the Cougars' schedule.

Of course, this coach has proven he enjoys a challenge.

Led by one of Class AA's most promising quarterbacks, Yough will do battle with the big boys in 2013.

“We know we've got a really good quarterback in Tyler (Donahue),” Crovak said. “He keeps getting better and better. And he'll need to be good.”

About that schedule …

Crovak knows how difficult the Interstate Conference is. When asked to name the favorite and playoff contenders, he admits the names are daunting.

“Well, it starts with Washington,” he said. “I think that team is the favorite without question. They have a great running back (Shai McKenzie), but they have a lot more than him.”

The Little Prexies aren't the only team in Yough's way as the Cougars are surrounded by perennial powers.

“I can tell you that Mt. Pleasant is going to be really, really good this year,” Crovak said. “And then there is Jeannette. You know, Jeannette is Jeannette. And Greensburg Central Catholic is Greensburg Central Catholic.”

Still, Crovak has a confidence about him entering this season. Three items seem to have him particularly enthused about this team.

Crovak loves his quarterback. He believes Donahue could be on the verge of a terrific season.

“This kid is a great, great athlete,” Crovak said. “The last couple of years, his physical play was way ahead of his mental play. But that has changed. He's really come around. The mental side of things for him at the quarterback position has really caught up.”

Donahue threw for 1,254 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior. Those numbers could take a jump this season because of another reason Crovak likes this team.

“I'm not going to lie,” he said. “There is talent here.”

Senior Clay Waldron can do a little bit of everything, rushing for 342 yards and hauling in 398 receiving yards last season.

Yough also returns four starters to an already good offensive line. All of those starters are seniors, which brings Crovak to the third variable that he believes will benefit his team.

“There is something special about this senior class,” he said.

Crovak realized last season the Class of 2014 was the one that could turn around the Yough program. In Crovak's first season, his team didn't win a game. In 2011, it went 2-7.

Last season, Yough went 4-5 and won two of its last three games. A late, heartbreaking loss to Greensburg Central Catholic kept the Cougars from a playoff spot.

Now, the group that has been with Crovak since its freshman year will attempt to carry his team to the postseason.

“We are getting a lot better around here,” he said. “The potential is there. The work ethic is there. Last year, by the end of the season, you could really sense that we had come together as a team. We couldn't put a finger on why it happened when it did. But this senior class just really came through, and by the end of the season, you could feel it.”

Crovak hopes Cougar Mountain feels the rush of a playoff berth this season.

“We have some holes still,” he said. “But I really think we have a chance to be very good.”

Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.

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