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3 candidates vie to be Connellsville's quarterback

Jason Black | Daily Courier
Connellsville quarterbacks (from left) Dylan Harshman, Jimmy Cellurale and Derek Brubacher share a laugh prior to an afternoon practice session on Monday, Aug. 11, 2014 at Connellsville Stadium.

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Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, 10:45 p.m.

For the past four high school football seasons, there hasn't been any question as to who would be Connellsville's quarterback on Friday nights.

Jade Maher picked up coach Dave McDonald's Wing-T offense and was the signal-caller since his freshman year. But Maher has graduated and will play football at Virginia Military Institute.

Maher's departure has left the door open for three candidates who are vying to take over the starting position as camp began Monday.

Senior Derek Brubacher, junior Jimmy Cellurale and sophomore Dylan Harshman are hoping they can convince the Falcons' coaching staff that they should be the one leading the team in the offensive huddle.

“It's fun to coach these three guys because they all have strengths and weaknesses,” McDonald said. “But they are unique. Somebody's strength is someone else's weakness. It would be nice if we could combine all of their strengths into one player.”

Brubacher watched Maher and noted his leadership qualities. Now with a chance to start, Brubacher believes he can also step up and be a go-to guy for the Falcons.

“I just have to work hard and lead by example,” Brubacher said.

Cellurale also understands that it will take a big-time effort to win the starting position. He's prepared for that challenge, or whatever role he will play on this year's team.

“I think I'm a hard worker, and I want to win,” Cellurale said. “I'll do whatever I can to help this team win. I want to put Connellsville on the map.”

As a sophomore, Harshman is trying to absorb as much information as possible in preparation for the season. That includes getting advice from his two older quarterback teammates.

“Derek and Jimmy are both there to help me and show me what I need to do,” Harshman said. “I'm just looking forward to the competition.”

While there is competition among the three, all seem to understand that the team comes first.

“All three are confident, and they all want to help the other guy,” McDonald said. “It isn't a cutthroat competition.”

McDonald is willing to give it some time and let the process play out before naming this year's starter.

“We'll go through the week and evaluate the scrimmage, and then start paring it down,” McDonald said. “We want to see somebody separate himself.”

Connellsville will visit Fox Chapel for a scrimmage Saturday before hosting Laurel Highlands in a scrimmage Aug. 22. The regular-season opener is Aug. 29 at McKeesport.

Jason Black is the local sports editor of the Daily Courier. Reach him at

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