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High school notebook: Riverview football has female tandem

| Monday, Aug. 13, 2012,
Valley News Dispatch
Riverview football players Lauren Wilson (left), a freshman, and Roya Fashandi, a senior, pose in front of the scoreboard at Riverside Park in Oakmont on Friday, Aug. 10, 2012. Tye Cypher | For the Valley News Dispatch

At 5-foot-6 and 145 pounds, Lauren Wilson is about as unassuming as the least-vocal cheerleader or the clarinet player hidden in the back row of the band.

But looks can be deceiving. Wilson's role at Riverview will surprise you.

Not only is the quiet freshman a member of the varsity football team but guess what positions she plays.

Try offensive and defensive line. Seriously.

“We discussed where she might fit in when she came out for the team,” coach Todd Massack said. “She seems to like the line best.”

Wilson isn't new to this. Although she wasn't a starter, she saw playing time on the line last year in junior high football.

Wilson's chances of seeing playing time this season are slim, but that hasn't stopped her from fitting in. She has worked her way through the program just like the boys.

“Lauren took part in our weight and speed programs, and she hangs in there,” Massack said. “We have a lot of respect for the fact she's out there. There are a lot of guys not willing to put in the time she does. We've treated her like any other player. The biggest compliment we can pay to her is that we consider her a Raider football player.”

Riverview's preseason roster has just 29 players, but two of them are girls. The other is senior kicker Roya Fashandi, who played on the varsity team last season. A star soccer player, she started out as a stat keeper for the football team until a for-fun kicking session caught the eye of coaches. Now, she's a part-time player who kicks extra points and field goals.

Cosentino eligible

One player who will experience a change of scenery on the first day of camp is former Kiski Area quarterback J.J. Cosentino, whose transfer was cleared by the PIAA.

Consentino had been denied eligibility by the WPIAL in May. He was Kiski Area's starting quarterback as a sophomore before suffering a knee injury. He is considered a Division I prospect because of his size (6-4, 215 pounds) and arm strength.

Fall practice

Football camps opened Monday morning around the WPIAL, but that wasn't the only sport that began practice. Teams in soccer, golf, tennis, cross country, girls volleyball and field hockey also started tryouts and workouts.

The golf regular season opens Thursday, and tennis starts Aug. 20. The other sports begin Aug. 31.

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

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