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Skill players shift positions for Bishop Canevin

| Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, 8:38 p.m.
Bishop Canevin QB Nico DiPaolo passes during practice on Monday August 13, 2012. Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Bishop Canevin focuses on a tackling drill during practice on Monday August 13, 2012. Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review

The 2011 Bishop Canevin football team was able to rebound from early injuries without missing a beat.

The team lost four starters early and still went on to record an 11-1 mark, win an Eastern Conference title and reach the semifinals.

If the 2012 Crusaders want to find similar success, coach Bob Jacoby said the team will need to avoid the injuries as it returns to the Black Hills Conference.

“We can't have what happened last year happen again,” Jacoby said. “We have to stay healthy. The new conference is definitely going to be tougher. There are a lot of quality teams.”

Senior Nico DiPaolo will step into the quarterback role for Bishop Canevin after playing wide receiver last season. The coaching staff made a similar move with Kevin Mechas last season, and the graduate passed for more than 1,500 yards.

“We like to do that with our backup quarterbacks as it gives them a chance to learn the routes,” Jacoby said.

The likely targets for DiPaolo are seniors Mike Tambellini and Matt DeCello. Both receivers tore their ACLs last year and missed the season.

The Crusaders also will break in two new running backs in senior Jim Tersak and sophomore Giovanni DeMarzo. The duo will be used as a “thunder and lighting” combination as Tersak, a lineman last season, will be at fullback while DeMarzo will use his speed at tailback.

“(DeMarzo) is the fastest kid on the team,” Jacoby said. “He has developed physically from last year to this year. Is he ready for a lot of carries? We will see.”

In addition to Tersak's move to fullback, the line lost senior Alex Alke to a torn ACL, leaving seniors Mike Dunn and Jim Dlugos, junior Matt Mox and sophomore Aaron Alke up front.

Their experience in the past two playoff runs should pay dividends.

“The challenge is there, but the players have been through a lot,” Jacoby said. “The seniors have been through the playoffs as sophomore and juniors. They will provide the leadership we need.”

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