Senior stars set for BeeGraphix clash
A local contingent of senior high school football players will get something they craved in late November and December.
Just one more game.
Fifteen local players from six schools will take part in the 18th annual BeeGraphix Football Classic 7 p.m. Saturday at McGuffey High School.
Monessen's Andy Pacak is the head coach of the South team. Chartiers-Houston's Terry Fetsko was selected as the North's head coach. He and Pacak are no strangers to one another as his Buccaneers are a Black Hills conference opponent of Pacak's Greyhounds.
“There is some familiarity there,” Pacak said Wednesday. “Terry knows what kind of system I run; I am familiar with the stuff he ran. It's just a matter of getting players acclimated to those systems.”
Pacak's South team will feature 11 of the 15 local players.
The Greyhounds mentor brought along Clintell Gillaspie (RB), Javon Brown (RB), Deshawn Holmes (RB) and Kayne Jackson (DE). Ringgold's Alan Pritchett (WR) and Belle Vernon Area's Jake Sweitzer (TE) and Austin Fields (OL/DL) may have been bitter rivals in the fall, but they're teammates now.
“It's kind of fun,” Sweitzer, a future Georgetown Hoya, said. “You know who people are, but now they're your teammates. It's cool how quickly you become closer and teammates.”
The 6-4 Sweitzer and 6-2 Trinity tight end Anthony Sivie have stood out to Pacak.
“That's a luxury I usually don't have ... an actual tight end,” Pacak said with a laugh. “Guys that big on my team, they're usually linemen. It's nice to have that here.”
Charleroi Area is represented on the team by Brandon Bowman (LB/FB) and wide receiver Dakota Moorer (WR) and California Area teammates Austin Hunter (QB/K) and Cory Adams (RB/LB) were also selected by Pacak.
“The most important thing I think we have is a great group of kids,” Pacak said. “We have a lot of speed, too. When I was looking at the boundaries for the North and South, I wondered what it would be like if we had a team like Woodland Hills ... a team where all the best kids from the Mon Valley could be on one team. You got the Ringgold, BVA, Monessen, California and Charleroi kids all on one team.
“I'll tell you one thing, there's a lot of speed out on the field. You get Alan (Pritchett) and Dakota (Moorer) and mix in Javon (Brown) all at the same time, you have a headache to deal with.”
Uniontown quarterback Xavier Ellis is expected to start under center for the South. Carmichaels' Brandon Lawless and Hunter will also see snaps at the position.
Other schools represented by the South are Mapletown, Beth-Center, Albert Gallatin, Waynesburg, Jefferson-Morgan and Laurel Highlands.
A familiar face will line up at quarterback for the North.
Frazier's Charlie Manack will line up under center as the starter for the North. He's joined on the roster by Commodore teammates Zack Mastowski (LB), Daniel Leonard (DT) and Joe Hela (OL).
“(Charlie) is definitely going to be the starter for us,” Fetsko said. “He's done a nice job at practice and throws it really well.”
Geibel Catholic's Brandon Kushnar and West Greene's Dalton Wildman will also take snaps.
“I think it's going to be a good football game,” Fetsko added. “With the school districts they choose from, I see (the South) having a lot of speed. ... I can see this being a speed versus strength kind of game. I know our line up front is going to be pretty sound.”
Schools represented by the North include McGuffey, Bethel Park, Washington, Avella, Chartiers-Houston, Burgettstown, Peters Township, South Park, Canon Mac and Fort Cherry.
Even with the speed on the team, Gillaspie and Bowman are ready to get the pads popping.
“At linebacker, we have some heavy hitters. I can't wait,” Bowman said.
Gillaspie added a forecast for Saturday night.
“Straight punishment,” he said. “I'm ready.”
Game director Cody Haiden said he sees two good football teams on paper.
“It's going to be a damn good football game,” Haiden said while taking in South practice at California Area High School. “Both coaches have been successful and have put together two good teams.”
Gates open at McGuffey at 5:30 p.m. Tickets for the game are $5 for adults and $3 for children.
Jeremy Sellew is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-684-2667.