Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Shaler Quarterback Knows the Ropes

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Shaler Quarterback Knows the Ropes

Article excerpt

Sure, there are three-year starters on several teams in high school football. There's probably dozens of third-year players who have started in the WPIAL alone.

But how many are playing the most high-profile position on the team at the highest level of play? Senior Lou Massimiani has done just that, starting at quarterback for Shaler since he was a sophomore.

"You've got to be pretty special if you are playing in [Class AAAA], let alone in the Quad North, at any position, let alone QB as a tenth grader," Shaler Coach Jacque DeMatteo said. "You could just see he was special right off the bat."

Massimiani was 84 for 167 for 962 yards with five touchdowns passing last year for the Titans, and he added 225 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. With so many games under his belt and being such an integral part of the Shaler team, Massimiani said he does what he can to assume a leadership role.

"I take it seriously. I try to just keep everybody on their feet, keep everybody up during practice and everything. Our work ethic's been great. We've been working since a month after the season ended and everyone's getting stronger and bigger."

While Massimiani, one of the team's captains, takes a vocal leadership role, perhaps the most striking example of his dedication to the team came last year after he dislocated his shoulder in the first scrimmage of the summer. He played the entire season with his shoulder in a brace, delaying surgery until after the season.

While Massimiani insists the shoulder did not hinder his performance during the season, DeMatteo said that the indirect result of him sitting out the preseason scrimmages -- and the reps and game-speed experience missed -- was a factor, something that will not occur this year.

"Now he is getting comfortable and getting a feel for the game," DeMAtteo said. "I think this year he's a lot stronger with another year under his belt. We are hoping for some positive things for him this year."

Those positives can come in the form of both the passing and running games from Massimiani for Shaler in 2003. While he has good speed and elusiveness when holding the ball, opposing coaches at the recent Penn State football camp made a point to remark to Massimiani and DeMatteo how good a ball Massimiani threw. …

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