Key injury to pivotal starter forces Serra Catholic to regroup
From the outside, the outlook grew dim at Serra Catholic with the loss of senior quarterback Zac Quattrone, who underwent successful surgery Tuesday to repair a broken right clavicle that will keep him out of the lineup indefinitely.
On the inside, there was an air of unity as the Eagles' second week of preseason camp was in full swing.
“We practiced good,” coach Tony St. Angelo said. “I talked to the guys, and they know they've got to step it up.”
The multi-talented Quattrone, who topped 1,000 yards each in rushing and passing last season, was injured during a home scrimmage Saturday against Sto-Rox and Northgate after being tackled while playing wide receiver and landing awkwardly on his shoulder.
He underwent tests Sunday and Monday and had surgery Tuesday at UPMC Montifiore to attach a plate with two screws to his clavicle bone for support.
Beau Quattrone, the player's father, said his son came through the surgery “very well” and that doctors predicted that Zac Quattrone's right shoulder would be mobile in two weeks.
Aside from receiving a forfeit victory over Imani Christian last season, Serra Catholic has lost 20 consecutive games dating to a 12-0 victory at Avella on Oct. 14, 2011. Counting the forfeit, the Eagles were 1-9 a year ago.
But Quattrone was productive, and as the summer unfolded, his return offered hope for improvement and perhaps even a spot in the WPIAL Class A playoffs.
“Zac texted me Monday night after I sent him a text, encouraging him and telling him he's a tough guy and he'll get through this,” St. Angelo said. “He texted back that he was ready to get the operation behind him and start rehabbing. He said he hoped he could get back in time for the playoffs.
“That's the kind of kids we have here. They want to win, and they expect to after the season they experienced last year.”
But the loss of Quattrone stings.
“We all understand what has happened, but we are still a team and wear the same jersey,” St. Angelo said. “Guys have been saying they'll play this season for Zac and show him our support.”
St. Angelo wasn't sure who would be getting most of the snaps at quarterback in Quattrone's absence. Serra Catholic, which moves to the Eastern Conference from the Black Hills, opens Aug. 29 at home against Springdale.
Junior Jason Cerniglia stepped in at quarterback Saturday after Quattrone was hurt in the scrimmage, and senior Joe Satira, the team's leading receiver last year with 47 receptions and seven touchdowns, ran the offense for a time during Tuesday's workouts.
“Joe Satira stepped it up to another level,” St. Angelo said. “When he and Zac are in there together, they take some pressure off each other. I believe Joe is really playing with a sense of urgency now that Zac's not here.”
That's good news for St. Angelo's leadership department. With just 24 players on his roster, he can't afford to lose anyone, let alone the 6-foot-1, 175-pound Quattrone.
“If you asked everyone on the staff, ‘Who on this team cannot get hurt?' everyone would write down Zac's name,” St. Angelo said. “He's our kick returner, receiver, quarterback and defensive back. He has 4.7 speed (in the 40), he's tall, he's strong, he can hit, he can tackle, and he can run a guy over.
“This is one nightmare that is going to hurt a little bit, but it's not going to cancel our season. We're going to have to grind it out.”
Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com.