Seneca Valley QB one of several stepping in for injured stars in Week 2
TribLIVE Sports Videos
When the Seneca Valley coaching staff told him to get ready to go in at quarterback late in the season opener, junior Corbin Kessler still had receiver gloves on his hands and tape wrapped around his wrists.
Kessler hardly looked like a quarterback at that moment, and mentally, he didn't feel like one, either.
Consider Kessler transformed.
Kessler and several other players around the WPIAL are prepared to step up in Week 2 and replace one of their respective teams' injured skill-position standouts. A sprained knee ligament caused senior T.J. Holl to exit with a couple minutes left in the fourth quarter of Seneca Valley's 14-0 loss to North Allegheny and created the need for Kessler, who last served as a starting QB in eighth grade, to take snaps.
“I was in receiver and safety mode, and I had to get out of it and into QB mode,” said Kessler, who completed 2 of 8 passes for 24 yards. “That was the hard thing: Being a receiver and safety, I didn't really have the QB mentality. But this week, I do have that quarterback mentality. ... I just have to show people that just because one person goes down doesn't mean that a team can't win.”
Aside from Seneca Valley, which believes Holl can return near the end of this month, a few other teams hope one week of practices will allow them to thrive with one of their go-to ball carriers on the sideline.
Last Friday, Mars RB/LB Josh Schultheis, who rushed for 1,645 yards and 24 touchdowns as a junior, broke a leg bone, an injury that led senior Ori Rinaman to take over Schultheis' spot and rush 18 times for 94 yards and two touchdowns in a 29-26 loss to Indiana. Schultheis possibly will miss the rest of the year.
“Josh was a huge part of our offense, but we're probably going to keep doing the same thing,” said Rinaman, who moved to fullback from the left wingback spot in Mars' offense. “Josh has about 50 pounds on me, so I'm not going to be plowing kids over, but I'm going to try my best. I probably have to get to the outside, and that's where I'm at my best.”
Franklin Regional senior RB/LB Brett Zanotto, a Maryland recruit, suffered a shoulder injury in the third quarter of the Panthers' 22-7 loss to Knoch. His status for Week 2 is questionable, so rushing duties might fall on juniors Santino Birty and Jacob Ross, who combined for 19 carries for 60 yards, as well as senior Dom Giannangeli, who is recovering from an injury.
And Mt. Pleasant junior fullback Jake Adamrovich, the Vikings' top returning rusher, left just after halftime of the Vikings' 45-39 win over McGuffey, so sophomore Chris Wagner shouldered much of the offensive weight in the second half and finished with 11 carries for 83 yards and one touchdown. Adamrovich might return to practice next week, so Wagner gets at least Week 2 to fulfill the battering-ram role in the Vikings' wing-T system.
“I gained some confidence after the first couple of plays,” Wagner said. “I think the coaches will try to find another spot for me when Jake comes back. I'm trying to prove something.”
Teams replace running backs by using a committee approach or asking more of the second-string option. When a quarterback goes down, the temptation to overhaul entire offensive systems exists, but Seneca Valley will not stray from its spread attack.
“I know every single play, so it's just putting everything together,” Kessler said. “I just have to step in and be the man.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Field conditions could play factor for Clairton in PIAA quarterfinals
- High school notebook: Thomas Jefferson, Clairton head into enemy territory
- Gorman: Payo makes Clairton go
- Aliquippa wins 16th WPIAL title, ends South Fayette’s 44-game winning streak
- WPIAL Class AAAA notes: P-T unable to snap playoff skid vs. Central Catholic
- Thomas Jefferson boys basketball looks to contend in section race
- WPIAL history full of football dynasties
- WPIAL Class AAAA final preview: Penn-Trafford looking to reverse trend of playoff losses to Central Catholic
- WPIAL Class AA final preview: Rivals South Fayette, Aliquippa to play for title for record 3rd straight season
- Gorman: Thomas Jefferson quarterback Kelley savors run after injuries, illness
- South Fayette, Aliquippa form unique traditions for Thanksgiving Day