Experience, depth could lead to success for Mars
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Last year at this time, there was considerable concern about the inexperienced offensive backfield at Mars High School.
But players such as quarterback Owen Nearhoof and running back Jason Lozzi blossomed, and Mars made the WPIAL playoffs for the seventh consecutive season.
This year, with 18 starters returning, coach Scott Heinauer is faced with the task of finding playing time for the 68 players on the roster — the largest turnout of Heinauer's 20-year tenure.
“We have a lot of depth; that's the strong point of our football team,” Heinauer said.
Competition for playing time will be the biggest factor for the Planets early on.
“I spoke to the kids at the start of camp and said if you're a starter, there's not a large gap between the guys who play and the guys who will back up,” Heinauer said. “Competition will make a better football team and you can't rest on your laurels.”
One key person Heinauer does have to replace is kicker Ryan Gralish, one of the top players at his position in the WPIAL. Gralish, now at Lafayette College, was an effective weapon on placements, kickoffs and punts.
“Matt White will take Ryan's place,” Heinauer said. “We put him in some game situations last year. He's gotten stronger and will be a good addition for us.”
Sophomore Jake Rosswog will back up Nearhoof, and sophomore Josh Schultheis will see action at tailback behind Lozzi.
On defense, twin brothers Alex and Chris Smith will lead the secondary at safety. On the line, all-conference selection Jack Mettus is back, along with nose guard Chris Panza.
Jacob Wright and Garrett Ashbaugh will be at cornerback while Connor Biggs and Billy Schrock are set at linebacker.
Mars will get a severe test opening night against Franklin Regional, returning to the Greater Allegheny Conference after a two-year absence.
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.
- Fire victim’s ex-boyfriend jumps from Tarentum Bridge
- Steelers rookie says Sam, his former roommate, has changed
- Locke gets rocked as Pirates are knocked off by Diamondbacks
- Steelers aim to create more turnovers this year with speedier defense
- Fraud case reopens old wound
- Rossi: Buying trust is a must for Pirates
- Food a big draw for Festa Italiana lovers in New Kensington
- Trib 30 index drops nearly 5%
- McKeesport convenience store sells winning ticket
- LaBar: Big week for future of WWE & TNA
- Pirates’ attempts to bolster roster at deadline a fruitless endeavor