Former New Castle title-winning QB now leading charge on sidelines
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Joe Cowart already has one WPIAL title, from when he quarterbacked New Castle to victory at Three Rivers Stadium in 1998.
Fourteen years later, the Red Hurricanes have asked Cowart to make them winners again. The first-year coach was hired in April to oversee the WPIAL program with the most all-time victories.
His long-term goals as coach mirror those as a player.
“We want to win the league, win the district and go to the state championship like everybody else,” said Cowart, a math teacher who spent the past four seasons as an assistant coach. “This year, I expect us to compete for a playoff spot.”
The Red Hurricanes are just two victories shy of 700, a mark no WPIAL team has achieved. Cowart's great uncle, longtime coach Lindy Lauro, won 220 of them.
But in the past 10 seasons, New Castle has reached the playoffs just three times. A year ago, under coach Frank Bongivengo Jr., a tie-breaker kept the Red Hurricanes out.
“We could win them all or go 0-8 this year,” Cowart said of New Castle's Parkway Conference schedule. “That's how good I think our team could be, and that's how good this league is.”
Their most-recent playoff game was 2009. New Castle reached the WPIAL Class AAA semifinals in 2008 but hasn't made the title game since Cowart was a senior in 1998. That year, the 1,100-yard passer helped New Castle beat North Allegheny in the Class AAAA title game.
Julian Cox, a junior, entered camp as the front runner to replace John Matarazzo at quarterback. Cox, a New Castle native, moved temporarily to Ellwood City and was the Wolverines' quarterback last season. He passed for 540 yards, ran for 272.
The Red Hurricanes won't keep the spread offense they had under Bongivengo. The quarterback will be under center more often, with a renewed focus on running back Jalen Holmes, who rushed for nearly 1,000 yards in 2011. Senior receiver Paul Jones and junior tight end Stew Allen also will be featured.
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.
- Jerome Bettis to be enshrined in hall of fame
- Rossi: History beckons for Seattle’s Seahawks
- Suggestions are aplenty on what Penguins need to break through
- Springdale trestle bridge deemed structurally sound
- January temperatures, snowfall unremarkable in Western Pennsylvania
- CMU software eases task of mining prostitution ads
- Westmoreland museum spotlights artist John Kane’s late-in-life fame
- Alle-Kiski Valley deemed medically underserved
- Tennessee quarterback Peterman considers transfer to Pitt
- Gulls fleeing frozen Great Lakes fill skies over Pittsburgh’s Point
- New Kensington woman struck by vehicle, injured