West Mifflin keys in on neutralizing Belle Vernon's Johnson
TribLIVE Sports Videos
When West Mifflin coach Ray Braszo looked at the schedule for this week and saw his team was playing at Belle Vernon, he gave his players some advice.
“I told our kids not to say anything to get them mad,” Braszo said. “Especially the big guy.”
That would be 6-foot-6, 290-pound senior two-way lineman Dorian Johnson. The Titans would like nothing better than to have Johnson in a mellow mood when the teams meet at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Jim Weir Stadium.
Johnson had verballed to Penn State but since has opted out of his commitment because of NCAA sanctions handed down after the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Johnson is one of the most highly prized FBS line prospects in the WPIAL and will play in the annual Under Armour All-America Game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Jan. 4.
“Guys like Dorian don't come around that often, and he's really elevated his game this year,” Belle Vernon coach Aaron Krepps said. “He's playing much more physical and consistent, and it's very noticeable because he's jumping off film at you, and that's what we need out of him. We need him to be that type of player.”
It isn't like this is the first time West Mifflin has seen Johnson. The Titans have had to deal with him throughout his developmental phase and into last season, when he came into his own. But the Leopards haven't had the kind of success they would have liked with such an imposing force up front: They are 1-2 in the past three years against West Mifflin, including a 27-0 loss in 2011.
West Mifflin has a plan to neutralize Johnson, as 6-foot-1, 175-pound senior linebacker Marcus Martin and 6-foot-1 260-pound senior lineman Jimmy Popa will double-team him in an effort to open gaps for linebackers to attack Belle Vernon running back Cory Urlacher.
“Our kids have a lot of pride, and they are starters and they know it's going to be a tough task,” Braszo said. “We played them last year, and they know what to expect from him, and obviously he's a little bigger and stronger, but they know what to expect, and we'll do the best we can with him.”
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.
- Pirates inquire about Red Sox LHP Lester
- Starkey: Would one big move kill Pirates’ future?
- Steelers offensive linemen looking to build on strong 2013 finish
- 3 injured in crash near zoo entrance in Highland Park
- YouTube campaign by Latrobe 4-year-old aids Alzheimer’s Association
- GNC revenue, sales drop, but vitamin retailer says plan in place
- Penn Township man seeking gun permit accused of bringing heroin to courthouse
- 3 men to stand trial over runaway Latrobe foster children
- Giant Eagle provides assistance to fight proposed Wal-Mart in McCandless
- Heyl: This dress is a steal
- Most back Holy Family’s plan to house children who crossed border