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Mustangs look to experienced players

| Thursday, Aug. 28, 2003

PLUM: The Mustangs juggled 31 players on defense and 24 on offense on the way to a 2-8 record last season, 1-5 in the Quad South.

With an extremely tough schedule, limited size and question marks just about everywhere, things may get worse before they get better for the Mustangs.

“We had a difficult year last year,” Plum coach Bill Rometo said. “We played a lot of kids. The big thing right now is we've got to get some cohesiveness, get some consistency. We did not have a set unit last year, and that hurt.”

Plum returns only four starters — wide receiver Kelly Fisher, defensive end Matt Kachurik, offensive tackle Mark Bentz and linebacker John Simmons.

The Mustangs will spend their two weeks of preseason and nonconference games against Fox Chapel and Penn Hills fillling out the rest of the starting spots.

“We have to use a ton of people in our two scrimmages and use the exhibition games to get ready for that first section game (against Franklin Regional),” Rometo said. “We have a good shot at one of the four playoff berths, but everything has to fall into place.

“This kind of year is kind of exciting. You don't know what is going to happen with so many question marks. Everybody on the team should think they have a chance of playing. They should see that things are open.”

Fox Chapel was a playoff team a year ago. Penn Hills and Upper St. Clair, another nonconference opponent, are Class AAAA powers.

Quad South rivals Gateway and Kiski Area also are among the top teams.

“It's a brutal schedule,” Rometo said. “Every week will be a challenge.”

Rometo favors a pro-style offense with a strong passing game. One of the two players battling for the quaterback job should know that well.

The coach's son, sophomore Gino Rometo, will compete with senior Matt Pellis to start there. Pellis also could end up at wide receiver.

“Gino is more of a quarterback,” Rometo said. “Matt is just a great all-around athlete. We might develop a package with Matt as a slash-type player. We like to be wide open, to keep the other guy guessing.”

Simmons and junior Phil Mains are the options at running back, with Kachurik moving to fullback. Fisher should catch a lot of passes as the Mustangs' primary receiver.

Bentz provides Plum's only real experience and size up front at 6-foot-2, 265 pounds, although the Mustangs finished last season starting younger players on the line, including junior guard Chris Anastasio and junior tackle Joe Hadley.

Simmons, Hadley and Anastasio should also be keys on defense, competing with Zach Erdeljac for the three linebacker positions.

Kucharik was an all-conference pick at defensive end as a junior. Bentz could also play defensive tackle.

Mains and Chris Glarner will play the corners with LaMark Ingram at safety. Additional Information:

Plum roster

Seniors

(Name Pos. Ht. Wt.)

Steve Bechtold FB/DE 6-0 200

Mark Bentz OT 6-2 265

Zach Blume LB/RB 6-0 200

James Capezzi OL/DL 5-10 185

Brandon Cupps OL/DL 6-0 220

David D'Andrea OL/DL 6-1 230

Steve DiTommaso OL/LB 5-11 210

Zachary Erdeljar FB/LB 5-10 215

Bryan Ferrante OL/DL 6-1 215

Kelly Fisher WR/DB 5-10 180

Mike Garrilos OL/DL 5-5 200

Chris Glarner WR/LB 5-7 175

Keith Horner TE/DE 6-1 200

LaMark Ingram FB/SS 6-0 200

Jeremy Mazzotta WR/DB 5-6 150

Robbie McGrath WR/DB 5-10 170

Dan Nesbit WR/DB 5-10 170

Matt Pellis QB/SS 6-0 185

Brandon Panaro WR/DB 5-10 165

John Simmons RB/LB 5-7 130

Brian Trathowen OL/DL 6-0 220

Tracy Wilburn RB/DB 5-10 175

Shawn Jefferson FB/LB 5-10 190

Juniors

Name Pos. Ht. Wt.

Chris Anastasio OL/LB 5-10 210

Josh Boyd WR/DB 6-2 170

Joe Butela OL/DL 6-2 270

Joe Hadley OL/LB 5-11 245

Matt Harmuth OL/DL 5-10 265

Andy Harris WR/DB 5-11 170

Victor Hill WR/DB 5-11 175

Matt Kachurik FB/DE 5-4 295

Andy Leindecker TE/DE 5-11 180

Phil Mains RB/DB 5-10 170

Zach Persichetti FB/LB 5-6 250

Mario Robinson TE/DE 5-9 165

Sean Russell TE/DE 6-0 165

Arpan Shah OL/DL 5-10 220

Jacob Yuhasz RB/DB 5-9 160

Kurt Zaspel WR/LB 6-1 170

Matt Polons WR/DB 6-3 165

Sophomores

Name Pos. Ht. Wt.

Anthony Asti LB/DB 5-10 155

Brian Cain WR/DB 5-8 155

Nathan Caldwell QB/LB 6-4 170

Mike DeLuca FB/LB 5-8 170

Anthony DiGuilio QB/DB 5-11 170

Joe Garbark WR/DB 5-10 165

Donte Jay OL/DL 5-10 185

Steve Jeannette RB/DB 5-9 165

T.J. Michels FB/LB 5-10 170

Nick Milisits TE/DE 6-5 260

Gino Rometo QB 6-1 175

Michael Scott TE/LB 6-2 170

Justin Valimont FB/DE 5-9 170

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