Frazier players adapting to new positions
As a sophomore tight end last season, Charlie Manack was on the receiving end of seven touchdown passes from quarterback Rock Vargo.
Vargo — and his 1,765 passing yards and 22 TD passes — are gone to graduation, and Manack will be switching positions. He now step in under center for Frazier.
“Charles has great leadership abilities,” Commodores coach Mike Steeber said. “He has played some quarterback in the past, but it will be tough to move him because he was our best tight end. Hopefully, what we lose at tight end we will gain at quarterback.”
Manack is one of several Frazier players who either started or saw significant playing time last season. That group also includes wide receiver/defensive back Jaime Fell; linemen Justin Kulwicki, Steven Prescott and Joe Hela; running back/linebacker Chase Bartocci; and fullback/linebacker Zachary Mastowski.
Fell will be counted on to pick up where he left off last season. He was second on the team in both receptions and receiving yardage (32 catches, 589 yards) behind the departed Kyle Rodriguez, and he hauled in a team-best 10 scoring passes.
“Rock and Kyle were two significant losses,” Steeber said. “Rock was a leader and will be tough to replace, and Rodriguez not only was a wide receiver, but he handled all of our kicking and punting duties. We'll definitely be turning to Jaime for some leadership.”
Last season, the passing game was Frazier's most effective weapon. Steeber isn't sure what this season will bring, especially with all the new faces in new positions.
“We'll see how it plays out,” he said.
Bartocci and Mastowski both had their share of carries last season, as Frazier employed a running back-by-committee approach.
“They're both downhill guys and good-sized kids,” Steeber said. “They give everything they have on every snap.”
Blake Herron will help the receiving corps
Defensively, Frazier has experience at linebacker and up front.
“The guys are familiar with what we're doing defensively, and they're definitely growing in their positions,” Steeber said.
Frazier were 6-4 overall and 6-2 in the Tri-County South last season. The Commodores finished in a three-way tie for second place to grab a spot in the WPIAL playoffs for the first time since 2002.
“We have an opportunity to go back and build on what we did last year,” Steeber said. “It's a good motivational tool.”
Joining Frazier in the Tri-County South are Avella, Bentworth, Beth-Center, Carmichaels, Geibel, Jefferson-Morgan, Mapletown and West Greene.
After realignment, Monessen and California were moved out of the Tri-County South and Avella and Bentworth were brought in.
“It's tough to tell who will be good in the conference,” Steeber said. “Every year, kids change. Teams lose some good players, but they gain some also. I think Carmichaels and Jefferson-Morgan will be teams to contend with. They have some good things to build off from last year. And Beth-Center will be up there again. They're in the playoffs every year.”