Brentwood ready to play first home game on turf field
The Brentwood Spartans are anxious to get started.
After decades of playing football on a grass field at Brentwood Stadium, the Spartans will kick off their 2013 season on a newly installed artificial-turf field Friday at 7:30 p.m. against Black Hills Conference opponent Serra Catholic.
“It's been great. We were able to practice on (the turf) the whole second week of the preseason,” Kevin Kissel, Brentwood's head coach, said. “It's so nice to go down there and not have to deal with the dust and dirt. It's nice and soft.
“The kids are excited about it. It's been nothing but a pleasure.”
Brentwood was 7-4 overall and a playoff team in 2012. The Spartans have defeated Serra Catholic by 48-0, 50-7 and 40-20 margins the past three seasons.
The local squad has a large group of returning lettermen on this year's team They include seniors Ryan Vickless (RB/DB), Jeremy Cenci (OL/LB), Josh Gallagher (OL/DL), Jack Murano (WR/DB), Ryan Shortley (RB/LB), David Bushmen (TE/LB), Tyler Stadelman (OL/DL), Jeremy Redlinger (OL/LB); juniors Connor McWilliams (QB/LB), Bill Madeja (RB/DB), Tyler Paranzino (QB/LB), Brendan Mulholland (OL/DL), Cody Conroy (OL/DL); and sophomore Pat Carr (RB/DB).
Vickless, a fourth-year varsity starter, needs only 67 yards to reach the 3,000-yard mark for his career.
Vickless, Cenci and Gallagher are returning all-conference players. Cenci is a third-year starter at center; Gallagher is a third-year starter at right tackle.
Also, McWilliams is making his varsity starting debut at quarterback for the Spartans.
Serra Catholic was one of seven winless teams in the WPIAL last year. The Eagles allowed the most points (436), and surrendered at least 41 points in all nine losses.
Tony St. Angelo has taken over as the Eagles' head coach. He previously was an assistant at Elizabeth Forward.
“I'm taking over something that I think I can win at,” St. Angelo said, “and if you do things properly, you're going to be on the winning end of it.
“I looked at the history of the program. They win at every other sport that they're in, so there's no reason they can't win at football.”
Serra Catholic formerly was coached by Jamie Eckels, who used a flexbone attack.
Under St. Angelo, the Eagles are utilizing a spread offense behind junior quarterback Zac Quattrone.
“They are a much-improved team,” Kissel said. “They have a nice quarterback; they spread you out and move you around.
“They're not that big and not that physical; they're very aggressive. They can hurt you if you don't play assignment defense.”
Brentwood has qualified for the WPIAL playoffs five consecutive years, and in six of the past seven seasons.
Ray Fisher is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5820 or firstname.lastname@example.org.