Fundamentals the cornerstone for Mt. Pleasant football program
TribLIVE Sports Videos
When the Mt. Pleasant football team takes the field this fall, don't expect to see one player be the dominant force on a consistent basis. No star figures to shine brightly all the time, and that's just fine with fifth-year coach Bo Ruffner.
“Our system is set up for lots of kids to play important roles,” Ruffner said. “Sure, you like to have balance, but some years, certain guys carry most of the load.”
This year, the Vikings expect a number of players to carry that load, especially on offense.
“Our philosophy offensively is to take what the defense gives us,” Ruffner said.
Mt. Pleasant certainly appears to have a number of offensive weapons.
Leading the way is junior quarterback Ryan Gumbita, who started as a sophomore and helped the Vikings post a 6-4 overall record, a third-place finish in the Class AA Interstate Conference and a trip to the WPIAL playoffs.
“He started a full season for us, and you can't simulate Friday nights in practices,” Ruffner said. “He'll be a big part of what we do.”
For Gumbita, having a stronger season in 2012 is something he is anticipating.
“(Last season) really helped me,” Gumbita said. “I feel more confident and more experienced. We have high expectations. We want to win the conference championship, and I think we have a shot to go a long way.”
Gumbita will be joined by a stable of running backs, including senior Taylor Allison and junior Tyler Mellors. Both rushed for nearly 500 yards last season, and Mellors missed a significant portion of the season due to injury.
Seniors Joey Paul and Tim Hostettler return as top receiving threats.
“We have a good group of running backs and a good group of receivers,” Ruffner said. “We have the ability not only to run the ball but to throw it, and that should be a key to our success.”
Clearing the way for the skill players will be a talented offensive line.
“Our goal is to blow the defense up,” said Ricky Crowley, a senior left guard and three-year letterman.
Defensively, Ruffner likes the way things are shaping up.“Right now, we have a good front eight,” Ruffner said. “Our linebackers could be our best group since I've been here, and it's the same thing with our down linemen.”
Seniors Eli Holt, Dalton Bull and Allison, along with juniors Eric Klejka and Luke Liprando, lead a strong and experienced defensive front.
The Vikings will be battling for a playoff spot in the Interstate Conference along with the usual top competitors such as Jeannette and Greensburg Central Catholic. Plus, Washington has been added to the conference, the same team that beat Mt. Pleasant in the first round of the playoffs last season.
“The Interstate Conference will probably be the toughest conference in Class AA this year,” Ruffner said.
Still, Ruffner and his players are confident, especially with 21 lettermen and 19 seniors dotting the preseason roster.
“This group of kids has high expectations, and we'll go as far as our senior leadership carries us,” Ruffner said. “We need to find a way to finish the season the right way. Just doing well and making the playoffs isn't good enough. We want to keep getting better.”
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.
- Reagan shooter Hinckley closer to permanent freedom
- Steelers won’t be backed into a corner at NFL Draft
- Crosby’s 2 goals lift Penguins past Rangers, even series
- Fights reported, shots fired outside Monroeville Mall restaurant
- Starkey: Taylor’s type fading away
- Marte jump-starts Pirates in win over Brewers
- Sutter steps up for Penguins in series-tying victory
- Coming off hill revives Seton Hill University, downtown Greensburg
- Defense shines in Pitt football spring game
- Penguins notebook: Johnston says Perron needs to shoot
- Boscov’s could help sustain decade-old Pittsburgh Mills