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High School Sports

Tigers have holes to fill on line

| Sunday, Aug. 22, 2004

Last year, the Moon Tigers had probably the best pair of offensive tackles in the Parkway Conference. They only have one coming back.

After the graduation of fellow tackle A. Q. Shipley and the rest of his line mates, 6-foot-4, 260-pound senior John Bachman is being looked to by head coach Mark Capuano to hold things together up front.

"He is kind of the cornerstone of the line," Capuano said. "He should anchor the line."

To support Bachman, who has received some Division I offers, Capuano plans to rely on players, mostly underclassmen, who have not seen much playing time in the past.

Still, Capuano is not worried.

"We just have to fill in, but we do have some depth," he said. "Maybe we don't have the most experience, but we are pretty deep."

Senior Nicky Peterson will likely start at tailback, but Capuano said he would not be afraid to mix it up a bit.

"Last year, we used a tailback by committee, so we may have to do that again this year," he said.

Receiver is another area where Moon's depth will be on display, with seniors Bobbie Francis, Jonathan Oberdick, Mark Jeffries and Zack Engel all expected to contribute. Only Jeffries is taller than 6-foot, though.

"They're not that big in stature, but they can all catch the ball," Capuano said.

One position on offense not in question is quarterback, where senior Matt Dowdell is expected to have a strong year after leading the Tigers to the WPIAL Class AAA semifinals last season.

On defense, the team's biggest strength will most likely be its linebackers -- Mitch Morsillo, Mark Hartz and Chad Trenney.

"We've got three good-sized linebackers that can play and all have experience," Capuano said. "That's going to be the meat of our defense."

The defensive line should also do their fair share with Bachman and seniors Brian Viti and Brian Schmidt all returning.

After such a successful season, expectations are high for Moon, but Capuano is guardedly optimistic.

"I think we can be right up there," he said. "I think we play in a very difficult conference ... Any week, if you aren't ready to play, you can get knocked off."

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