Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

There Will Be No Shortage of Skill Players

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

There Will Be No Shortage of Skill Players

Article excerpt

Jordan Whitehead, Austin Kemp, Josh Schultheis, Andrew Koester, Chayse Dillon, Nico Law, DiAngelo Mitchell, John George, Ori Rinaman, Riley Stapleton and quite a few others have graduated, which might lead one to think that Class AAA will lack quality skill-position players in the upcoming 2015 season.

That is not the case, however, as Chacar Berry, Jacob Zilinskas, Dylan Stapleton, David Haseleu, Terence Stephens, Chris Callaghan, Austin French and Santino Birty are among the many skill players featured in Class AAA this year.

"Looking back over my 19 years of coaching, Class AAA always has a group of top-notch skill players," Thomas Jefferson coach Bill Cherpak said. "This year's group doesn't have as many big names, but there are quite a few quality skill players returning. And there's always a few unknowns who become stars."

Ten running backs reached the 1,000-yard rushing mark in Class AAA last year, and four are back, plus another who competed in Class AA.

The top returning rusher in Class AAA is Ringgold's Berry (5-7, 185, Sr., RB), who rushed for 1,392 yards on 168 carries. Berry has a two-year total of 1,955 yards on 255 carries. The Rams also have slotback Brenden Small (5-8, 175, So.), who rushed for 722 yards on 89 carries.

"Chacar has been in the shadow of [graduated quarterback] Nico Law the last two years," Ringgold coach Nick Milchovich said. "We're expecting big things from him this year."

Zane Dudek (5-11, 180, Jr.) rushed for 1,143 yards and 18 touchdowns for Kittanning last year. Kittanning and Ford City, former Class AA schools, merged to form Armstrong, a Class AAA school.

Montour's Haseleu, Hampton's Matt Rech and Uniontown's Ariene Washington are the other three returning rushers who eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark.

Haseleu (5-9, 180, Sr., RB-FS) rushed for 1,198 yards on 179 carries. Rech (5-11, 175, Sr., RB) accumulated 1,039 yards and 11 touchdowns on 182 carries. Washington (6-2, 210, Sr.) had 1,003 yards on 206 carries.

"There are a lot of talented skill players back in Class AAA, but no superstars," Montour coach Lou Cerro said. "These kids have not been getting as many press clippings but are still very talented. Our running back David Haseleu quietly rushed for 1,198 yards."

WPIAL runner-up West Allegheny lost its quarterback Koester and tailback Dillon to graduation, but tailbacks Stephens (6-0, 195, Sr.) and Whitney White (5-9, 175, Sr.) are back. Stephens has rushed for 1,332 on 191 carries over the past two seasons, while White has accumulated 873 yards on 109 carries.

"Class AAA always has a few skill players who are [Football Bowl Championship] recruits," West Allegheny coach Bob Palko said. "This year will be no different."

Other running backs to watch are Gateway's Adam White and Belle Vernon's Luke Durigon. …

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