Elizabeth Forward hoping to continue building process
By Mark Kaboly
Published: Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, 5:48 p.m.
Sure, Mike LeDonne wants to win.
The Elizabeth Forward coach was the defensive coordinator of Clairton's 15-1 state championship team in 2009 and was part of winning programs at EF as an assistant and head coach and helped turn around a downtrodden Serra program, so winning is very high on his list of wants … that is if it doesn't get in the way of the greater good.
On the surface, it appeared that Elizabeth Forward went through another undistinguished year in which it won a couple games against bad teams and got beaten convincingly by the upper echelon teams.
But LeDonne sees it differently.
“I am not basing things on wins and losses,” LeDonne said. “The wins will take care of themselves. It is about making Elizabeth Forward a program again. We have to flush out some of the old mindset and instill some of the new.”
That started with snapping a 14-game losing streak with a Week 4 win over Ambridge, but the Warriors still haven't won more than five games since 2000, haven't had a winning season in a decade and haven't won a playoff game since Nov. 3, 2000.
“You don't like losing,” LeDonne said. “We always look to win, but you have to look at the picture of what Elizabeth Forward was and what we want it to become. Wins will take care of themselves. What I look at was that the team got better over the course of the season.”
The Warriors did just that last season.
They won two of their final eight games, but also had heartbreaking losses to South Park (14-6) and Southmoreland (45-44) while playing rival Belle Vernon tight.
Gone is a significant chunk of that team, but LeDonne was able to play a lot of underclassmen last year, and he hopes that will pay off now.
“Anytime you can get younger kids game experience, it is going to bode well for you in the future,” said LeDonne, who noted nine underclassmen saw time on both sides of the ball. “It is not like they started all the time, but they got ample playing time. We are hoping to bare the fruits this year of that.”
LeDonne refused to single out many players, citing that he doesn't care if someone is a returning starter or not, and that they have to earn their job this year. However, he didn't mind bringing up 6-foot-2, 218-pound senior Rex Pearce — a three-year starter and all-conference linebacker who is getting interest from Lafayette, Bucknell and some other Ivy League schools.
“Rex Pearce is the leader of our defense,” LeDonne said. “He is a strong young man, and we plan on using him a little more on offense this year.”
An ankle injury kept LeDonne from using Pearce on offense much last year.
Offensively, LeDonne points to all-conference linemen Adam Oatman (6-1, 240) and Ben Guenther (6-3, 270) as keys.
“I look at them as leaders, and they are going to have to create and mold that unit together,” LeDonne said. “We did get pushed around a little bit last year.”
Ryan Wardropper and Matt Diehl will battle for the quarterback spot with the top receiving threat coming from junior Matt Bernadowski, who caught 17 passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns.
LeDonne believes he has the right kids in place — and the right coaches, including assistant John DiMarco — to start turning Elizabeth Forward into a program.
“I want them to have success and the only way I know how to do it is to invest in the program,” LeDonne said.
“To get back anything out of anything, you have to invest. When I was at Clairton, those kids dreamed. We should have the same dreams over here.”
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.
- 4 dead in ‘horrific’ Armstrong County crash
- Kovacevic: Bylsma’s moves — yes, moves — pay off
- Group wants Consol to adhere to terms of Greene County mining permit
- Penn State researchers help identify planet similar to Earth
- U.S. attorney seeks plan for reducing heroin overdoses
- Police see no sign Franklin Regional stabbing suspect was bullied
- 9 state universities challenged over athletic opportunities for women
- Authorities investigating skeletal remains found in Ohio River in Avalon
- Bishop Zubik urges Catholics to evangelize
- Penguins rally to escape with a victory in Game 1 against Columbus
- Falcon band performs at Disney World