TribLIVE

| Sports


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Ambridge ready to start fresh after forgettable 2011 season

TribLIVE Sports Videos

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Ambridge's Stefan McGinnis catches a pass.

Schedule

Coach: Neil Tkatch

2011 record: 1-8, 0-7

Date Opponent Time

9.1 Aliquippa 8

9.7 at West Allegheny* 7

9.14 at New Castle* 7:30

9.22 Moon* 12:30

9.28 at Montour* 7:10

10.5 at Hopewell* 7

10.12 Chartiers Valley* 7:30

10.19 at Central Valley* 7

10.26 Blackhawk* 7:30

*conference game

Statistical leaders

Passing Nick Santiago

48-111, 592 yards, 5 TDs

Rushing Kody Nichi

93-349 yards, 2 TDs

Receiving Nichi

10-106 yards, 2 TDs

Top high school sports
Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, 7:56 p.m.
 

Ambridge coach Neil Tkatch has just one question for his Bridgers about last year's one-win season: “Can they put it behind them?”

He believes so.

“They got their nose beat in a little bit,” Tkatch said of an injury-filled season that included lopsided losses of 41-0, 42-0 and 49-0.

“That's why our motto is: ‘This year is our turn.' We're going to punch some people in the nose.”

The key will be staying healthy. The Bridgers began last season with 21 starters but lost almost a dozen by midseason, Tkatch said. Among those injured were lineman Brett Balkovec (6-foot-4, 295 pounds) and linebacker Dan Zajac (6-0, 185), two standouts who return healthy this year.

“When you go down the line, we lost a lot of players,” Tkatch said. “It was unbelievable. It was freakish.”

Bennie Thompkins was the starting quarterback when he fractured his collarbone in an August scrimmage and missed the entire season. His injury-shortened junior season might best epitomize what the Bridgers endured.

Optimism dashed before the season had barely begun.

“It broke my heart, for real,” he said. “Watching from the sidelines was bad when you're getting beat by 40 points every week.”

Yet Thompkins and the Bridgers have rebounded. Either he or senior Nick Santiago will start at quarterback. Santiago started last season, and Tkatch said he'd consider using both.

Junior running backs Kody Nichi, Khalil Harvey and Tim Estep will see carries, but standout sophomore Stephon McGinnis also should play a key role. McGinnis was a star for Ambridge's freshman team that finished 7-1, Tkatch said.

“We're going to try to get him in space,” he said.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. State-owned universities spend millions in race to snare students
  2. McCutchen, Pirates hitters increasingly in crosshairs
  3. Starting 9: Pirates missing out on young bat
  4. Pirates minor league report: Ramirez more mindful while at plate
  5. Woman shot outside Kennywood Park in West Mifflin
  6. Innovation enhances Philadelphia’s history as Democrats convene, Pope Francis visits
  7. Locke pitches 8 scoreless innings as Pirates edge Indians
  8. Keystone Markers give insights about towns but have fallen victim to time, theft or traffic accidents
  9. Pakistani military says it achieved major victory over Islamist terrorists
  10. Pirates trust eye test when voting for all-stars
  11. Biertempfel: Loss of All-Star paper ballots a blow to nostalgia