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High School Sports

United brings back experienced squad

| Sunday, Aug. 26, 2007

A season ago, United coach Chris Matava entered training camp with only four returning starters and finished with a 3-6 record.

This season, 14 starters return, along with a newly installed offense, giving Matava and his teams reason for hope.

"The experience we return should go a long way in helping our chances this season," Matava said.

Helping the Lions convert to a new spread offense will be five returning starters, including four skill players. Senior running back Eric Skedel returns, along with junior quarterback Ernie Vogel, and junior wide receivers Justin Ruffner and Aaron Knapic.

"We feel the spread offense gives us the best chance to utilize our athletes' strengths," Matava said.

Defensively, United returns nine starters, including five linebackers, led by senior inside linebacker Kevin Cassatt. Junior Tim Rash returns at outside linebacker, along with two-way starters Vogel and Skedel. Ruffner and Knapic anchor the secondary.

Despite struggling in 2006, United is only two seasons removed from a 7-3 finish and a berth in PIAA District 6 playoffs. In his 10th season at United, Matava understands the balance and parity that exists in the Heritage Conference.

"I feel as though the conference will have more equal teams than ever before," said Matava, a former United quarterback. "We must prepare the same and be ready to play every game."

Additional Information:

United Lions

Conference: Heritage Conference, District 6

Coach: Chris Matava

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