Highlands linebacker Mazur hopes to duplicate strong 2011 season
TribLIVE Sports Videos
On a team loaded with question marks, few are asking about the strength of Highlands' linebackers.
With Valley News Dispatch Defensive Player of the Year Allan Cratsenberg, junior Zach Mazur and sophomore Weston Bernath returning, Highlands looks set to repeat last year's solid defensive performance.
The Golden Rams gave up just 91 points in six Greater Allegheny Conference games. Even in their opening-round WPIAL playoff loss, they held a Ringgold team that was averaging 32 points to two touchdowns in a 14-10 setback.
Mazur, who was selected to the conference's first team, blossomed into a top-notch defender last year.
He grabbed attention as a 13-year-old eighth-grader with a five-touchdown showing Oct. 24, 2009, in a youth league football championship game. The Highland Hornets defeated Kiski Valley, 39-14, at Deer Lakes.
He earned a high school varsity spot as a freshman before last year's breakout season.
“The team helped me come along last year,” Mazur said. “It makes it easier on you when everybody helps out.”
Even before last season, Golden Rams coach Sam Albert had a high opinion of Mazur.
“He reminds me of Billy Devlin,” Albert said, referring to a key member of the 2008 Highlands team that earned a spot in the WPIAL semifinals. “He's a little bit bigger than Billy, but he's the same kind of player.”
Highlands, with just three seniors, will look for juniors like Mazur to be leaders.
“We're so young, and in a conference that's so loaded, we have to have people like Zach guide us,” Albert said. “He's in the National Honor Society, a straight-A student and a leader.”
Said Mazur of his fellow classmates: “We expect to have to step it up. Most teams around here have about 20 seniors; we've got three. But we'll be all right.”
Most Highlands players will play both ways, but Albert will use Mazur on offense sparingly.
“We told him there would be a little offense, but he's so important on defense, we need him to be healthy, ” Albert said.
George Guido is a freelance writer.
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.
- Rossi: Rutherford falling apart, too
- Steelers open daunting season at Patriots, play 5 prime-time games
- Rangers enjoy benefits of strong start
- NFL notebook: Ravens reach agreement on extension with CB Jimmy Smith
- Penguins notebook: Malkin says he’s fine, but scoring touch isn’t
- Visual artists want to scan you at Carnegie Museum of Art event
- Mother, son accused of robbing woman in Greensburg
- Police intercept drug courier returning to Western Pennsylvania with 316 bricks of heroin
- Steelers bring in 2 more cornerbacks for visits
- The Wine Cellar: Return of al fresco dining means it’s time for rosés
- Shooting reported at Webster Avenue bar in Hill District