Skill players return as South Side Beaver moves into new conference
With nine starters returning on both sides of the ball, expectations are high for the South Side Beaver football team this fall.
The Rams took their lumps in the Midwestern Conference a year ago, finishing 3-7 overall and 1-6 in MAC play, but a move to the Class 2A Three Rivers Conference could yield different results.
Helping to guide that transition will be a trio of senior running backs — Jake Botkin, Derek Franchek and Jordan Bruce.
They combined for nearly 2,500 yards last season, with Botkin tallying 1,301 yards and six scores on 207 carries.
Also back is junior quarterback Trenton Seik and senior wide receiver Jacob McDougal, who connected for six touchdowns in 2017.
“We averaged 22 points per game last season,” coach Luke Travelpiece said. “With most of those players returning with a year of experience under their belt, we want to build upon that number.”
The South Side defense will be led by senior defensive back Nate Roy, who will be joined in the secondary by Bruce and junior Anthony Navarra.
Senior Nick Myak averaged 5.6 tackles per game last season and joins seniors Nick Weaver and Franchek in the linebacking corps.
Seniors Josh Hillard and John Olszewski return as two-way linemen.
“The key to success this season will be cutting down on our turnovers and controlling the football,” said Travelpiece, who enters his third season. “We also need to finish drives. We had too many drives where we bogged down inside the opponent’s 40.
“If we can improve in those two areas from last season, we should have a successful offensive season.”
After a pair of nonconference games to start the season, South Side will get a taste of the Three Rivers Conference with road games at Serra Catholic and Carlynton.
They also will travel to Brentwood and Fort Cherry and host Burgettstown, South Allegheny and Seton LaSalle.
The Rams will wrap up the season with a nonconference test at Steel Valley.
Coach: Luke Travelpiece
2017 record: 3-7, 1-6
All-time record: 253-308-19
Date, Opponent, Time
8.25, Sto-Rox, noon
8.31, Western Beaver, 7 p.m.
9.7, at Serra Catholic*, 7 p.m.
9.14, at Carlynton*, 7 p.m.
9.21, Burgettstown*, 7 p.m.
9.28, at Brentwood*, 7 p.m.
10.5, South Allegheny*, 7 p.m.
10.12, Seton LaSalle*, 7 p.m.
10.19, at Fort Cherry*, 7 p.m.
10.26, at Steel Valley, 7 p.m.
*Class 2A Three Rivers Conference game
Passing: Trenton Seik
22-57, 344 yards, 6 TDs
Rushing: Jake Botkin
207-1,301 yards, 6 TDs
Receiving: Jake McDougal
14-328 yards, 6 TDs
Bill Hartlep is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bill at email@example.com or via Twitter @TribHSInsider.