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Senior LB Liprando is linchpin for Mt. Pleasant defense

| Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013, 1:26 a.m.
Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier
Linebacker Luke Liprando is a captain for the Mt. Pleasant defense.

Mt. Pleasant is expecting a big season, which means in order to meet those expectations, everything has to click on both sides of the ball.

Senior Luke Liprando figures to play a major role.

“Luke is a high-energy guy,” coach Bo Ruffner said. “He gives great effort on every play whether it is in practice or in a game. He's also the kind of player that brings other people up to his level.”

Liprando's job description includes wide receiver and linebacker. His biggest impact figures to be on defense.

“He is the captain of our defense and we're a no-huddle defense,” said Ruffner, explaining that the Vikings often make their defensive calls quickly.

Liprando's responsibility is to relay those calls to the rest of the defense quickly.

In order to captain the Vikings' defense, intelligence and game awareness are critical.

Ruffner said Liprando has shown those traits for several seasons.

“You could see it happening when he was a sophomore,” Ruffner said. “He was a bigger part of it last year, and he's taken over his senior year.”

Liprando is embracing the leadership responsibility.

“I've been a part of the defense for three years now,” he said. “We lost three starting linebackers, so my job is to be a leader and make some plays.”

Liprando believes Mt. Pleasant's offense will be productive, which means big things could be in store if the defense comes close to being as effective as the offense.

“Our team can go as far as our defense takes us,” Liprando said.

Liprando also expects to make an impact on offense — whenever he can.

“This year they want me to play wide receiver, and my goal will be to make the blocks and make the 5- and 6-yard catches,” he said.

It's obvious Liprando understands playing wide receiver doesn't always mean making flashy plays.

“As a wide receiver, he gives us a big body,” Ruffner said. “He knows his role. He's not an every-down wide receiver, but he knows his role.”

Liprando hopes to play football at the collegiate level and has garnered interest from several Ivy League and Patriot League schools.

But for now, he will be focused on helping the Vikings achieve their goals.

“Heinz Field (site of the WPIAL championship games) is always the goal,” he said. “It starts with trying to win the conference and then grinding out some playoff wins.”

Jason Black is the local sports editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at jblack@tribweb.com.

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