Gators' numbers, hopes on the rise
If numbers are any indication, then the Geibel football program appears to be on the rise.
Over the past several seasons, Geibel and head coach Angelo Dippolito have fielded teams that number approximately 20 to 25 players.
But this year, Geibel has 32 players on the roster and Dippolito is optimistic that the future, beginning with this season, looks bright.
"We're really excited," Dippolito said. "These players have a lot of heart and determination."
There is also plenty of competitiveness on this year's team.
"We had them on an obstacle course at St. Joe's and everybody completed it," Dippolito said with pride. "And everybody was trying to out-do the other guy."
That competitiveness starts with the 10 seniors.
"We lost some key people from last year, but we're built around our seniors and they'll provide the leadership," Dippolito said.
Many of the seniors will hold down key positions on the 2005 squad.
The offense will be run by senior quarterback Mitch Erdely with seniors Mario Fragello and Sam Manna getting the bulk of the carries out of the backfield. Also, senior Mike Vomish will add to the running game by leading the way from his fullback position.
"Vomish is a tough kid and you don't want to fall asleep playing against him," Dippolito said.
There are a number of candidates at wide receiver, with senior John Maczko joining sophomores Andrew Jackson, Mark Gira and Tyler Erdely as well as freshmen Mick Betler as the top pass-catching threats.
Also assisting in both the running and passing game will be tight end Durrell West-Scott.
"Durrell has done a tremendous job for us and we're anxious to see what he can do," Dippolito said.
West-Scott is a senior, and he is hoping to end his Geibel career with a bang.
"There's no reason for us not to win," West-Scott said. "We have a good team and we just have to stay focused. "We'll just take it one game a time and I want to end my last season on a positive note."
Of course, much of Geibel's success will be determined by the play of the offensive line. Expect Matt Collins, Charles Stirling, Charles Coleman, Chris Fiano and Chris Blackstone to hold down the offensive front.
"The game is won and lost up front," Dippolito said.
On the defensive line, there are some question marks, but Dippolito and his staff are piecing together the best available unit.
"We're trying everything to strengthen it," Dippolito said.
Chris Blackstone and Eric Baluch will join Collins, Coleman and Maczko up front. Meanwhile, linebackers Vomish, Stirling and West-Scott should cause some problems for opposing offenses.
Mitch Erdely is the strong safety while Manna plays free safety. Fragello and Tyler Erdely will each hold down a cornerback position.
The kicking duties will fall to Fragello.
Like most teams, the Gators are optimistic headed into the season. Geibel is pointing to an early-season scrimmage against Clairton as a positive sign.
"We went head-to-head with Clairton and I think we held our own," Dippolito said. "Our goal is to win and we'd like to believe that we can make the playoffs and we want to improve on our record."
The Gators compete in the Tri-County South and finished 2004 with a 1-8 record. But with a jump in the amount of players plus a hard-working group of coaches, Geibel could be ready to open a few eyes.
"You never know what is going to happen until the season starts, but I think we'll surprise some teams," Manna said. "I think we should definitely win five or six games. I'm real excited about the season."
"We're proud of the kids that play here," Dippolito said.
Geibel will open the season tonight at Serra Catholic.