At West Mifflin, a Titanic challenge
TribLIVE Sports Videos
West Mifflin got its first litmus test for the season Saturday when it hosted Steel Valley in the first of its two scrimmages.
Like most teams after the first week of camp, the Titans' results were more of a mixed bag of parts than a finely tuned machine.
“It was a pretty even scrimmage, and I thought we played pretty well, but we have to really look at the film and use it just like we would any scrimmage,” West Mifflin coach Ray Braszo said. “The team overall played well, but they need a lot more experience.”
West Mifflin already knows it will likely have to rely on senior quarterback Derrick Fulmore to carry the offense, at least early on. Fulmore, who also plays defensive back, is the lone starter returning in the offensive backfield and one of the few skill-position players who saw significant playing time for the Titans when they won their last four regular-season games and tied Thomas Jefferson for the Big Eight championship.
So far, Fulmore has grabbed the reins and asserted himself. He's been a camp standout on both sides of the ball and performed well in the scrimmage against the Ironmen.
“He's doing real well, and he's improving on what he did last year,” Braszo said. “He really works hard, he played well, and he's a real leader.”
Fulmore was a dual threat last season, rushing for twice as many touchdowns (12) as he threw. But the problem he could have is finding a big-play receiver on the outside. West Mifflin has tried a host of players at receiver but has struggled identifying who will be the most effective.
The team is working juniors A.J. Olasz, Davon Dutrieville and Colton Weber along with senior Marcus Martin among others to see who can fit into the two starting slots.
“We need to settle on who we want to play out there to give us that threat ... and there's so many guys I can't think of them all right now,” Braszo said. “That's something we need, or teams are just going to gang up on us at the line.”
The line, despite being anchored by senior center Jim Keys, is a relatively young group and has to come together quickly. It will be charged with opening holes for speedy running back Jimmy Wheeler, one of the best sprinters in the state who is entering his first season as a starter.
Entering Friday's scrimmage against Jeannette, West Mifflin will be trying to figure out how durable Wheeler is.
For a team that likes to run the ball as much as the Titans and had a running back gain more than 1,400 yards last season, Wheeler's development could be the linchpin for a West Mifflin conference title repeat.
“We're hoping that, even though he's not a big kid, he's coming into his own, and he's playing pretty well,” Braszo said. “He could be the key to our season.”
Keith Barnes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-664-9161 Ext. 1977.
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.
- Butler 911 activates stand-by plan after problems develop with radio transmission system
- Moore hopes to see red (zone) in Steelers debut
- Martin’s homer rescues Pirates in 4-2 victory over Brewers
- Armed officers comb woods for state trooper ambush suspect
- City’s plan for Strip flummoxes vendors
- Steelers notebook: Ravens DL fined for hit on Roethlisberger
- Harhai campaign emails from 2007 under review, Westmoreland County DA says
- Inside the glass: Johnston’s opening practice grueling
- Family becomes ‘forever’
- Beaver footprints found along Allegheny River bank, not gator
- Sears to close store at Century III Mall in West Mifflin