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Knoch's Tackett needs to play big this season

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Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Knoch running back Ben Tackett takes a pitchout during practice at Knoch High School in Jefferson Township on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012.

Knoch roster

Name Pos. Ht. Weight Class

Blaine Abriatis T/DT 6-1 180 So.

Asa Adams WR/CB 5-10 145 So.

Adam Albert RB/CB 5-9 155 Jr.

Patrick Albert T/DT 5-10 175 So.

Gabe Allison T/MLB 5-8 180 Jr.

Nathan Anuskiewicz T/DE 6-1 215 So.

Mitchell Bachman G/DT 5-10 185 So.

Elijah Bamrick WR/FS 6-0 150 So.

Mark Beacom T/NG 5-10 165 So.

Cody Bracken T/DE 6-1 195 Jr.

Luke Brewer WR/CB 5-8 165 Jr.

Dakota Bruggerman QB/CB 6-4 205 Sr.

Craig Cirrincione WR/CB 5-10 145 So.

Joe Colonello G/MLB 6-1 200 Sr.

Charlie Cook TE/MLB 5-10 165 So.

Mike Cunningham RB/OLB 5-10 186 Sr.

Nick Cunningham G/MLB 5-10 215 Jr.

JJ Curry QB/OLB 6-1 180 So.

Sean Daugherty TE/OLB 5-10 185 Jr.

Kaleb Dietz WR/OLB 5-10 165 Jr.

Tyler Ellenberger T/DT 6-1 230 So.

Brian Fennell G/MLB 5-10 185 Jr.

Travis Fogel C/NG 5-10 215 Sr.

Bryson Fox WR/CB 5-10 160 Jr.

Josh Gizienski K 5-8 145 So.

Cory Godlewski RB/OLB 5-10 160 So.

Tyler Gomick TE/MLB 6-0 195 So.

Ryan Grossman RB/WR/FS 5-10 150 So.

Dale Hartzell WR/CB 5-11 185 Sr.

Troy Hixson QB/OLB 6-1 185 So.

Nate Hoffman RB/OLB 5-10 165 So.

Josh Hood FB/MLB 5-10 165 So.

Henry Ibinson T/DE 6-0 205 Sr.

Tom Ibinson WR/OLB 6-2 185 So.

Matthew Jaworski C/MLB 5-10 160 So.

Spencer Kale C/DT 5-10 215 Jr.

Kraig King G/DT 5-10 215 Jr.

Eric Klein T/DT 6-5 275 Sr.

Jordan Kowalski WR/FS 5-10 150 So.

Luke Kroneberg TE/DE 6-1 210 Sr.

Jake Lamon OLB/RB 5-10 178 Sr.

Jim Larrimer WR/CB 6-4 190 Jr.

Aidan Luffy G/OLB 5-8 150 So.

Peyton Maziarz FB/OLB 5-8 160 Jr.

Colin McTighe FB/OLB 5-10 185 Jr.

Matt Miller G/MLB 5-11 205 Sr.

Cody Milsom RB/MLB 5-10 165 So.

Connor Shinsky T/DT 6-6 245 Jr.

Alex Stone T/MLB 5-8 145 So.

Sage Strezeski WR/SS 5-8 135 So.

Ben Tackett RB/FS 5-10 175 Sr.

Randy Testa C/NG 5-10 215 Jr.

Austen Thomas RB/CB 5-10 155 Jr.

Dakota Thomas TE/MLB 5-11 195 Jr.

Nick Truckley T/DT 5-8 175 So.

Logan Tupper WR/CB 5-8 150 So.

Sam Whalen T/NG 5-8 155 So.

Jonathan Whalen G/NG 5-11 205 Sr.

Joel Zacherl WR/CB 5-10 150 So.

Top high school sports
Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Last football season, Ben Tackett often looked like he was walking a tight rope when he hauled in passes for Knoch, making even the most troublesome catches look easy.

This year, he's answering questions on his tip-toes.

What's your height and weight, Ben?

“Well, in spikes, I'm 5-foot-10 and I'd like to think I weigh about 175,” said Tackett, a senior. “I need platform shoes.”

He's actually about 5-9, 165.

“I was a quarterback when I was little, but I had to move because I couldn't see over the line,” he said. “Fingers crossed, I'm not done growing.”

Forget what the roster says: Tackett plays big.

“When you have a football player like him, you have to get him the ball,” Knoch coach Mike King said. “You have to be dynamic in the way you use him.”

That said, Tackett could see less time at wideout and more in the Knights' backfield this season as the team encores a memorable 12-1, WPIAL runner-up campaign.

Despite a team-leading 25 receptions for 410 yards and five touchdowns last season, Tackett likely will see more time at running back.

End-arounds and pitchouts probably won't be foreign to him, either, in Knoch's modified spread offense.

“Maybe tailback, maybe wildcat QB, maybe wide receiver,” King said. “The kid is such a competitor. He wants to do it all. He's the kind of kid in the huddle who just says, ‘I got this one.' I tell him, look, I have been coaching longer than you've been playing. That's a good problem to have, though. He loves to play the game.”

Tackett wasn't ready to share his exact role, or reveal details from the Knights' playbook, this early in the season.

“It's week-to-week and depends on who we play and certain formations,” Tackett said. “Coach King is a clever man. We trust him in whatever he wants to do.”

Tackett said the team bonded during last year's run to the Class AAA title game, which Knoch lost, 42-14, to Montour.

“We became extremely close; it's going to hurt not being able to play with some of the same guys,” he said.

“The biggest thing we gained is experience. We know what it takes. There's a price you have to pay to get there.”

Tackett has good reflexes on both sides of the ball, perhaps due to his lacrosse skills. He is a standout midfielder and 50-plus goal-scorer for Knoch's club team.

“We have a nice mix on the team,” he said. “We have football players, soccer players, band members and cross country kids.”

Tackett said he may try to play lacrosse in college.

“I am keeping my options open,” he said. “Not closing any doors.”

Tackett also will see a change on defense as he moves from cornerback to free safety.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-224-2696 or

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