Defending conference champion Penn-Trafford to rely on just 4 returning starters
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Penn-Trafford ended a decade-long conference title drought last season. The goal now is to make the wait for the next one much shorter.
This year's Warriors are a largely inexperienced group compared to last year's club, but with the bar set high last season, third-year head coach John Ruane's first priority is to avoid a step backward.
“I think after last season, the goal now is to play at a high level at all times, regardless of who is here or who graduated,” Ruane said. “We have the players here to do it.”
Ruane's group has plenty of talent, he said, but many will be showing that talent off Friday nights for the first time this season. The team has just four starters, all seniors, returning this season.
Tight end/linebacker Brian McDonough, lineman Eric Swope and defensive backs Dom Cima and Dorian Stevens return from last year's WPIAL quarterfinalist, and a fifth senior, linebacker Zach Diable, returns after missing the second half of last season with an injury.
While those players will provide leadership for a team trying to replace its quarterback, top two running backs and top two receivers from last season, the Warriors likely will have some other standouts among the first-time starters.
Senior Matt Arzenti will be in the mix to replace graduated All-Conference quarterback Zach Emerick.
“Our attendance in the offseason (workouts) has been outstanding, and these guys want to carry us forward,” Ruane said. “I think we still have a lot of leaders in this group, but they don't have the on-field experience that last year's team did. In high school, experience is as important as anything, and they're going to have to get theirs quickly.”
Depth is an area Ruane said his team needs to improve to approach last year's success.
Last year's Warriors had the luxury of a second starting-quality running back, Joe Fiasco, to spell all-conference selection Manny Simpson.
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.
- Pirates notebook: Infield prospect Hanson used to playing elders
- RMU men win, clinch 2nd seed in NEC Tournament
- Penguins notebook: Shootouts becoming a concern
- Baylor downs West Virginia, sweeps season series
- Finding perfect pairing for Ehrhoff key for Penguins
- Western Pa. nonprofits roll dice on casino company grants
- Greensburg pair jailed in convenience store robbery
- Protesters demonstrate against Mt. Lebanon deer culling program
- ‘Phantom’ breezes into Laurel Highlands High School
- Undefeated Aliquippa downs Seton-La Salle for WPIAL Class AA title
- St. Bonaventure cruises past Duquesne