Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Q&A: Central Catholic's Luigi Lista-Brinza
Luigi Lista-Brinza is short in stature and long on syllables, but the 5-foot-9, 185-pound tailback has been a perfect fit for top-ranked Central Catholic's offense. He is the No. 3 rusher in the WPIAL and tops in Quad A, with 920 yards and 10 touchdowns on 98 carries. A McKees Rocks resident, Lista-Brinza has 3,022 career yards and is receiving interest from Akron, Toledo, Delaware, Duquesne and Massachusetts.
Q: What has it been like to play at Highmark Stadium?
A: It's actually been a great experience, to be the first team to play there and being able to look at Heinz Field. Hopefully, that's where we will be playing (in the WPIAL Class AAAA final). I come home that way from school, straight down Carson Street, so I see it every day. It's real good motivation, seeing that every day.
Q: What is your secret to putting up such big numbers this season?
A: All the hard work I did this off-season. And I'm healthy this year, too, so that helps. I did a lot of speed training and lifting every day with the team, and extra on the side. I would run the hills in McKees Rocks, the cemetery hill behind the high school, and the bleachers at the stadium with Anthony DiMichele and Lenny Williams.
Q: What is it like to see that Lenny is about to break the WPIAL passing record?
A: I'm not really surprised. I knew he was a great athlete since we were young. He's probably the hardest worker I've ever seen. We talk about how great the backfield would have been if I had gone to Sto-Rox.
Q: How hard was it to pass up playing with your friends at Sto-Rox?
A: It was a really tough decision, but it was one me and my parents made. We all grew up playing midget league together. They mess with me all the time about it, especially since they've been to Heinz Field the last couple of years.
Q: How hard is it to follow Eugene Jarvis, Lamont Smith and Damion Jones-Moore as Central tailback?
A: It's pretty big shoes to fill, watching those guys growing up playing and always wanting to be like them. It feels great to be a Central running back.
Q: What's your favorite tradition at Central?
A: Everyone that graduated is always coming back and helping you out and being supportive, especially with the football players coming back and giving speeches. Eugene talks to us all the time. He just tells me I have to be a leader on the team and work my hardest to improve every week.