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Plenty of hurdles for Vincentian's first-year program

| Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, 7:04 p.m.
Vincentian’s Danny Kushner (left) listens to head coach Tim Storino for directions at camp. S.C.Spangler | For The Tribune-Review
Vincentian’s players and quarterback Tom Werner take to the field for the first time at Cal U’s football stadium on Monday morning Aug. 13, 2012. PTR-HSFB- Vincentian -02-082412
Vincentian’s Anthony Della Valle (running with ball) at camp. S.C.Spangler | For The Tribune-Review
Vincentian’s Danny Kushner (left) listens to head coach Tim Storino for directions at camp. S.C.Spangler | For The Tribune-Review
Vincentian’s Danny Kushner (left) at camp. S.C.Spangler | For The Tribune-Review
Vincentian’s players and head coach Tim Storino take to the field for the first time at Cal U’s football stadium on Monday morning Aug. 13, 2012. PTR-HSFB- Vincentian -03-082412

Starting a football program from scratch didn't exactly strike Tim Storino as easy, but Vincentian's coach can only shake his head at some of the things that have happened since Dec. 17, 2011, the day school president John Fedko announced the Royals would field a team for the first time.

Fluctuating participation, a cooperative agreement with Eden Christian and Aquinas academies and a foreign exchange student program with China have ensured that the first few months of the program's existence have been anything but routine.

“We've had some crazy stuff going on,” said Storino, who has spent the past two years as Central Catholic's junior varsity coach and an assistant with the varsity squad.

Vincentian will play an exhibition schedule this season within the Tri-County South. The Royals won't be eligible for the postseason until 2014.

Initial interest was gauged at around 35 kids, said Storino, who played quarterback at Bethel Park and Lock Haven University.

That number has dwindled to the low 20s — for myriad reasons.

One player, lineman Daniel Xu, returned to China for the summer, though Storino expects him back before the season. Patrick Chen figured to be a valuable piece of Vincentian's receiving corps, but his Chinese parents “wanted a different American experience.” And the squad's biggest player, lineman Jeremy Campbell (6-foot-2, 220 pounds), missed four weeks while working at a Christian camp.

“I have kids going on mission trips. I have kids going away for four weeks to work Christian camps,” Storino said. “You're dealing with kids who are pro-active in the summer — which is not a bad thing, because they're doing good things — but it's tough to get them there for workouts.”

Sophomore Tom Werner, who played freshman football at Seneca Valley last fall, will be the team's starting quarterback. After not playing football for the past two years, senior Danny Kushner, a Central Catholic transfer, will start in the backfield.

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