Serra football tackles challenging offseason
It was an unforgettable season for Tony St. Angelo in his first year as football coach at Serra Catholic, though his Eagles probably would rather forget it.
Serra Catholic failed to win a game on the field in 2013, losing decisively in all nine outings and claiming only a token victory against Imani Christian, which wound up forfeiting its entire schedule.
“It was a tough year, for sure,” St. Angelo said. “But we're looking ahead to better days.”
The Class A Eagles will return at least two key skill-position players who accounted for much of their offense. Quarterback Zac Quatrone rushed and passed for more than 1,000 yards and wide receiver Joe Satira had 47 receptions to lead Serra Catholic, which had less trouble scoring points than yielding them.
An inexperienced defense simply couldn't contain opponents, and Serra Catholic lost by an average of 37 points per game, finishing the year at 1-9 overall and 1-8 in the Black Hills Conference.
“We showed we could make tackles,” said St. Angelo, a former longtime assistant with stops at Clairton, Duquesne, Elizabeth Forward, McKeesport and South Allegheny. “We were just slow getting to the ball.”
Serra Catholic loses eight seniors along with running back Hamdan Wyatt, who has transferred to Class AAAA Penn Hills for his senior year. But the entire front line, minus two-way starter Anthony Bernick, will return, as will Quatrone, who rushed for 1,047 yards and passed for 1,011 yards, and Satira, who averaged 14.8 yards per catch.
The secondary loses just one starter, senior safety Steve Derewicz.
Meanwhile, Quatrone and Satira currently are playing basketball for Serra Catholic. With St. Angelo's blessing, they've been courting several teammates to join the football team next season.
“I've been talking to some of the guys,” Satira said. “It would be great if they would come out and give us some more help to get better. It would give us more depth.”
It is a different time for Serra Catholic than in 2007, when the Eagles won a WPIAL Class A championship and eventually reached the PIAA title game. St. Angelo has visions of success sooner than later, and he's trying to establish a coaching style similar to that championship team, led by current Hempfield coach Rich Bowen.
“Rich ran the spread offense, and that's what we're doing,” St. Angelo said. “We scored a lot more points this season (156) than last year's team (60). We've started our weight room program already, and I told the guys that if they can come, we'll keep the doors open. Come Jan. 6, that's when we want to really be in full swing. Every single one of them said they're committed.
“We'll find out.”