Kasperowicz has Pine-Richland football pointed in right direction
By Jerry Clark
Published: Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Every season brings change and a renewed sense of excitement. For Pine-Richland, the torch has been passed from a championship-caliber coach in Clair Altemus to perhaps the hottest assistant coach in the WPIAL: Eric Kasperowicz.
Kasperowicz's football resume is impressive. As a player, he led North Hills to the WPIAL and PIAA championships in 1993, then as an offensive coordinator for the Indians years later, he devised different offenses to fit different talents.
Kasperowicz moved to Pine-Richland in 2011 and installed an offense that has produced big numbers. Those numbers could continue to rise with an array of talent back at key positions.
It all begins with second-year starting quarterback Ben DiNucci. DiNucci led the WPIAL in completions last season.
“There is still work to do, but Ben makes it easy,” Kasperowicz said. “He is smart, a good decision-maker and he gets rid of the ball.”
DiNucci is one of six returning starters on offense. Another is running back Connor Slomka, who surpassed 1,000 yards last season and will open as the starter.
“I was just in the right place at the right time last year,” Slomka said.
Last year's starter, Brock Baranowski, suffered an injury, and Slomka stepped in to help replace that lost offense.
“Brock helped me a lot last year,” Slomka said. “This year I am stronger, and faster and our line looks good. I have a better understanding of the offense, and this year we will get more players involved.”
Players like Mike Merhut, D'ondre Gatison, Chris Szelong, Mike Everett and (Anthony Bennett) will be the cast of players DiNucci will be cycling the ball to.
“They are all players with good hands, and they can all block, too, which is important to our running game,” DiNucci said. “My timing and footwork is better … my three- and five-step drops and my timing, too.”
Kasperowicz said he expects big things from Merhut and a good line with three returning starters will help.
With the offense looking potent, the defense will be in good hands, too, led by junior Joe Liberman and Brendan Burnham.
Two-way lineman Jake Leone is a senior and team captain and will be a factor on both sides of the ball once again.
Kasperowicz vows the special teams will be great, and some of that hinges on kicker/punter Ben Engle.
“Special teams is one-third of the game, and we are definitely going to coach them up,” Kasperowicz said. “We will be prepared to battle every game. The kids have bought into what I am selling and working really hard.”
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.