| Sports

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

If healthy, Derry expects to become more consistent

TribLIVE Sports Videos


Coach: Al Gaiardo

2011 record: 2-7, 2-5

Date Opponent Time

8.31 Albert Gallatin 7

9.7 at Mars* 7

9.14 Knoch* 7

9.21 Indiana* 7

9.28 at Hollidaysburg* 7

10.5 at Highlands* 7:30

10.12 Hampton* 7

10.19 at Green. Salem* 7

10.26 at Franklin Regional* 7

*conference game

Statistical leaders

Passing Kyle Holmes*

17-58, 167 yards, 1 TD

Rushing Josh Wannamaker

110-484 yards, 4 TDs

Receiving Collin Greene*

11-102 yards, 1 TD


Top high school sports
Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, 8:00 p.m.

Oh, that injury bug. It certainly bit the Derry football team last year.

Trying to reverse a losing trend, Derry needs some stability in its lineup. Avoiding injuries should help.

“We think we can make some progress, but we've got to stay off the injuries,” Derry coach Al Gaiardo said.

The Trojans' 2011 record was respectable before leading rusher Josh Wannamaker tore his ACL and quarterback Robbie Hebenthal broke his collarbone in a victory over Albert Gallatin that evened their mark at 2-2.

The two were lost for the season and Derry went winless the rest of the way, finishing at 2-7 with a five-game losing streak.

Gaiardo, a former St. Vincent College assistant, is trying to convince his teams that they can win consistently. He uses his experience at upstart St. Vincent as motivation. The NCAA Division III Bearcats revived their football program in 2007 and didn't post a winning record until going 6-5 last season.

“The big hurdle in taking over a program is convincing the kids that they can win,” he said. “You tell the stories, like we barely competed with any team when we first got it going at St. Vincent, but here they were four years later winning.”

It isn't just injuries that compounded matters at Class AAA Derry, which moves to the Greater Allegheny Conference from the Keystone Conference. Depth on the roster also has been an issue.

“Once those two (Wannamaker and Hebenthal) went down, that was a big blow to our team,” Gaiardo said. “The dropoff from first team to second team was pretty noticeable.”

Senior kicker Tyler Matusak, who is attracting interest from Division I FCS schools, such as Bucknell, Lafayette and Villanova, also plays wide receiver and cornerback.

“But where he excels is in field-goal kicking,” Gaiardo said. “Having Tyler on the team is another weapon for us. If the game is close, it's nice to have a guy like him around.”



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Foreign influx in Allegheny County at ‘tipping point’
  2. Confident rookie quarterback Manziel erratic early with Browns
  3. Steelers hope group of low-budget cornerbacks can deliver
  4. Steelers WR Wheaton wants to produce after injury-plagued rookie year
  5. Steelers notebook: Ben believes rookie WR Bryant can contribute
  6. Inside the ropes: Roethlisberger may have his big receiver
  7. Business Gallery: July 27, 2014
  8. Construction of $500M power plant in South Huntingdon stalled
  9. Pirates notebook: Hurdle, Huntington on same page
  10. Local golf notebook: Fox Chapel graduate to play in Junior PGA event
  11. Observers mixed on grid backup amid carbon rules, natural gas uncertainty
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.