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Southmoreland hoping off-season preparation pays off on the field

Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review - Southmoreland quarterback Dakota Datz passes at practice.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review</em></div>Southmoreland quarterback Dakota Datz passes at practice.
Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier - Southmoreland's Tyler Ramsey photographed during practice at Russ Grimm Field in Alverton on Wednesday, August 15, 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier</em></div>Southmoreland's Tyler Ramsey photographed during practice at Russ Grimm Field in Alverton on Wednesday, August 15, 2012.

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Schedule

Coach: Dominic Pecora

2011 record: 4-6, 3-5

Date Opponent Time

8.31 at Jeannette * 7

9.7 Washington* 7

9.14 at Mt. Pleasant* 7

9.21 Ford City  7

9.28 Waynesburg* 7

10.5 at Greensburg C.C.* 7

10.12 at Brownsville* 7

10.19 Charleroi* 7

10.26 Yough* 7

*conference game

Statistical leaders

Passing Dakota Datz

102-191, 1,730 yards, 16 TDs

Rushing Datz

130-676 yards, 11 TDs

Receiving Asa Costelnock*

50-860 yards, 11 TDs

*Graduated

Top high school sports

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, 8:16 p.m.
 

Southmoreland second-year coach Dominic Pecora is hoping that a full offseason will fine-tune his team's offense and improve the defense as the Scotties prepare for the 2012 campaign.

“Unlike what many people think, the offseason starts in November,” Pecora said. “This is my first full offseason with them, and it's like night and day compared to last year. These kids know no other way than to show up every day and work.”

Offensively, the Scotties lost top receivers Asa Costelnock and Conner McKlveen to graduation.

“We don't have replacements for Asa and Conner,” Pecora said.

Fortunately for the Scotties, they have the luxury of having returning quarterback Dakota “Bo” Datz, who led the team in rushing and passing in 2011.

“He broke the school record in passing in Week 6 last year,” Pecora said. “That's my horse. That's my man on the field.”

For Datz, putting up great numbers isn't his primary objective.

“I'd rather have no stats, as long as we win,” Datz said. “It's my senior year and I'd like to make the playoffs. We're stronger now and everything is fitting together.”

Everything will have to fit together perfectly for the Scotties to be a top competitor in what promises to be a tough Class AA Interstate Conference that includes traditional frontrunners Jeannette, Greensburg Central Catholic and Mt. Pleasant, as well as newcomer Washington.

“Last year, our conference was good,” Pecora said. “But this year, it's the best in Class AA, and I don't think anybody would debate that.”

After scoring 275 points last year, the Scotties likely will rely on their offense. In addition to Datz, Pecora expects Tyler Ramsey, Jake Pisula and Kyle Cohen to share time at running back. Kevin Bundridge should be a top receiver. Josh Thomas and Jake McNeice stabilize the offensive line.

Defensively, the Scotties gave up an average of 36 points per game last season.

“We were a playoff-caliber team on offense,” Pecora said. “But defensively, there were times it was embarrassing. I hope this year, we have kids that want to tackle.”

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