Chartiers Valley coach Loebig's football coaching debut ruined
The Niel Loebig era of Chartiers Valley football got off to a rough start last week.
The Colts opened their season with a 56-23 loss to Moon at Chartiers Valley Stadium. The first-year coach had one way to describe the game – disappointment.
“We had a couple guys who made plays and didn't give up,” Loebig said. “I saw it in their eyes that they thought we still had a chance to win and wanted to win. But as a whole, I am disappointed. It has to get better. I don't want to sugarcoat anything.
“We need to get better as a team and as a staff.”
Moon opened the game with a seven-play, 70-yard drive that was capped off by a 2-yard run from V.J. Dean as the Tigers took an early 7-0 lead. The drive was highlighted by a 47-yard run by Cole Blake. The Colts had no answer on how to stop the senior as he finished the game with 165 rushing yards.
The Colts responded on their first possession as junior Tanner Garris returned the kickoff to the Moon 28-yard line. Chartiers Valley moved the ball well but on a first-and-goal on the 2-yard line, the Colts ran an option that went awry and the Tigers recovered the fumble.
Touchdown runs from Dean and quarterback Aleksei Yaramus gave Moon a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter. Chartiers Valley cut into the lead on a 13-play, 70-yard drive on a fumble into the endzone that was scooped up by senior lineman Ryan Bush. The ensuing two-point conversion failed.
Another Chartiers Valley fumble – this one on a punt snap – again gave Moon good field position as Yaramus ran it in for his second score. The Colts added points before the half as Thomas Kovach connected on a 21-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 28-9.
Any hope of a Colts rally was lost in the first 23 seconds of the second half. The Tigers forced a fumble on the opening kickoff of the half and Kyle Bondi ran it in from 29 yards out. On the first play of the next Colts series, there was a miscue on a handoff and Moon collected the loose ball.
Three plays later, Yaramus connected with Emmanuel Torres to put Moon up 42-9.
The Colts' final two scores came on a Josh Lapian 21-yard pass to Anthony Voss and Garris on a 90-yard kickoff return.
Lapiana completed 11 of 30 passes for 163 yards.
While the game was a disappointing setback, the Colts did show promise in a lot of areas. Garris showed potential as a dangerous return man and senior running back Andreo Coury ran for 99 yards.
Most impressive was Voss. The senior recorded seven catches for 133 yards.
“He was a guy coming in that we knew would be a playmaker,” Loebig said. “But it just can't be him. We saw (against Moon) if we depend on one guy, we will get it handed to us. We need other guys to step up and make plays.”
Much of Loebig's criticism for the lackluster performance was on the staff. He said the coaches will need to improve moving forward, including the head coach.
“It starts with the coaching staff,” Loebig said. “I don't think my staff, including myself, did a good job tonight on the field and that is where it starts. If the kids see us doing well, then it is going to trickle down to them.”
It was the fourth straight season-opening loss for Chartiers Valley.
The Colts have no time to look back on the loss as they travel to Hopewell on Friday. The Vikings are coming off a lost of their own as they fell to co-defending Parkway Conference champion Montour, 20-14.
The Vikings held a 14-0 lead over the Spartans at halftime thanks to touchdown runs of 59 and 15 yards from Tyler Ishman. Montour was able to rally in the second half for the win.
Chartiers Valley defeated Hopewell, 34-33, in 2012.
There is hope that the letdown in Week One will provide the team the ability to improve moving forward.
“We are going to evaluate the film (Saturday morning) and then rematch it with the kids,” Loebig said. “It will show what we did positive and negative. We will leaner from it and move on.”
Kickoff for Friday's game is set for 7 p.m. at Tony Dorsett Stadium.
Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-388-5813.