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Travel schedule a challenge for Plum this season

| Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, 8:28 p.m.
VALLEY NEWS DISPATCH
Plum lineman Matt Dombroski blocks during practice at Mustang Stadium in Plum on August 15, 2012. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
VALLEY NEWS DISPATCH
Plum quarterback Corey DeLoach rolls out for a pass during practice at Mustang Stadium in Plum on August 15, 2012. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
VALLEY NEWS DISPATCH
Plum running back Jake DiGuilio carries the ball during practice at Mustang Stadium in Plum on August 15, 2012. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
VALLEY NEWS DISPATCH
Plum head football coach Frank Sacco encourages his team during practice at Mustang Stadium in Plum on August 15, 2012. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch

The Plum varsity football team will take the roads less traveled this season, as conference realignment introduces the Mustangs to some unfamiliar conference faces.

Woodland Hills and Penn Hills remain on the conference schedule, but Plum also will face new league foes Baldwin, Bethel Park, Mt. Lebanon, Peters Township, Canon-McMillan and Upper St. Clair.

The Mustangs will make trips through potentially heavy Friday afternoon and evening traffic and construction areas on Route 376 to Baldwin, Mt. Lebanon, Canon-McMillan and Upper St. Clair.

“There's not a lot we can do about it,” Plum coach Frank Sacco said. “Traveling will be difficult, not only for us, but for the band, the cheerleaders and the fans. But all the teams in the conference are in the same situation, so we have to make the best of it.”

Sacco knows what his team is up against this season.

“There are no slouches in this conference,” Sacco said. “It's going to be a grinder.”

Plum struggled to a 1-8 overall record in 2011 and was 0-6 in Quad East play.

But Sacco said this year's team, which features 25 returning letterwinners, has the right attitude to start turning things around.

Sacco said while there is experience on both sides of the ball, both units still will be young. Injuries to key players and the inexperience of younger replacements, Sacco said, contributed to the inability to win on Friday nights.

“The key for us again this year is staying healthy,” Sacco said.

Senior Jake DiGuilio is Plum's lone returning all-conference player from a year ago. He earned a second-team nod at linebacker.

DiGuilio, who enters his third year as a two-way starter and has gained interest from Division III schools, led the Mustangs in tackles last year with 53.

On offense, he scored four of Plum's five rushing touchdowns in 2011.

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