Dawson anchors strong GCC line
Despite returning 16 junior and senior lettermen, Greensburg Central Catholic coach Muzzy Colosimo is still concerned about the "overall depth and experience" of his Centurions.
Among the seniors are four three-year lettermen, including 6-foot-4, 305-pound tackle Pat Dawson, who has already committed to Division I Toledo.
Colosimo said his line is "very strong. Everybody on our line played last year. Our line is physical and has a good understanding of what we are trying to do here. Pat is physical and comes off the ball low. He is a great player with good foot speed, and he is quick for his size." Joining Dawson on the line will be another 300-pounder, junior tackle Alex Karabin, and a pair of 260-pound juniors in tackle Colin Trenk and center Matt Antram.
Under center and behind Antram at quarterback will be another three-year letterman, 6-3 senior Greg Mroz who, in an offense dominated by Jordan Hohn's 1,350 yards rushing, threw for slightly more than 400 yards last year despite missing half the season with injuries.
The strong-armed Mroz -- as a pitcher, he has an 87 mph fastball -- has been offered football scholarships by no fewer than three Division I schools, with Indiana seriously interested after Mroz attended a camp at the school.
"Our quarterback is very strong," Colosimo said.
When an observer commented about Mroz "having a gun for an arm," Colosimo simply smiled and responded, "Yeah."
Behind a defensive line consisting of Dawson, Julian Vallozzi, Cory Walker, Karabin, Trenk, and Antram, is a group of linebackers including Jon Stem, Tom Lazar, and Matt Smodic. D-backs will include Mroz and junior Andrew Blythe.
In spite of the apparent strengths of his squad, Colosimo ranked Jeannette, Washington, and Waynesburg as the Class AA Interstate Conference's top three teams, but said, "We could finish in the top three."
GCC finished 4-2 in the conference last year (4-5 overall) but failed to make the playoffs. Colosimo plans to mix up his offense, with essentially an equal number of running and passing lays.
When he does run, his options include tailbacks Smodic and Mike Venditti, and Walker at fullback, with the latter, according to Colosmio, playing "the old-fashioned way. He is physical, blocks wll, and he loves to hit."
While the 220-pound Walker may be an up-the-middle type runner, both Smodic and Venditti have speed and are capable of going outside and turning the corner.
If there is a dark cloud hanging over GCC's Carbon field, it is at the receiver position. But Colosimo has at least five candidates vying for playing time.
"We have the receivers," Colosimo said, citing Mike Baker, three-year letterman Jon Stem, John Garner, Chris Stem, and Chris Uhrenik, "but we are looking for someone to be consistent and someone with breakaway speed, someone who will not just catch the ball, but take it downfield."
That someone could turn out to be 6-foot freshman Nick Sukay, "who is pushing everybody." Sukay and Baker possess the ability and natural speed to snare Mroz' bullet passes.
In his "multiple" offense, Colosimo plans on showing a "little bit of everything. We'll go from the shotgun, use one back, no backs, and even thrown in a no-huddle offense," he said.
Plus, Colosimo is planning to take advantage of the skills of yet another three-year letterman in Vallozzi at tight end.
"We attended several 7-on-7 camps," Colosimo said, and "Vallozzi really came on as a tight end. He was catching everything. He not only catches the ball, but he can go across the middle as well.
"Most high school tight ends are there to block, but Julian showed us he not only can catch the ball, but he knows what to do once he has it."
GCC also will rely on the consistent leg of junior placekicker Adam Waller, who earned his stripes kicking for the Centurions as a freshman two years ago.
"We have quite a few players back with considerable experience, and these players know what we expect," Colosimo said. "Once we figure out where everybody will line up, we'll naturally have a better idea of what to expect.
"We are in a tough conference. There are no easy games with Jeannette, Washington, Waynesburg, Brownsville, and Charleroi all hainge strong football traditions. Some good teams won't make the playoffs."