Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Class 3a: Yough Big East Conference

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Class 3a: Yough Big East Conference

Article excerpt

When Scott Wood took over as Yough coach in 2016, some familiar with the program were quick to tell him that the team's sophomore class had the makings of a special group.

It didn't take long for Wood to find out that was correct, as several of those sophomores found their way into the starting lineup that season.

A group that now includes 15 seniors is hoping to help Yough reach the postseason for the first time in five years.

"This is definitely the best group that we've had since I've been here," Wood said. "This senior group has played together since they were 5 years old. They believe in each other. They support each other. They were successful in middle school. The past two years were the only two years they have struggled. They're excited about season, and as coaches we are, too."

After going 4-5 in 2016 and 2-8 last season, Yough could make a strong push toward a playoff berth. The Cougars bring back nine starters on offense and nine on defense. A few of those players are seniors who have started since their sophomore season: running back/safety Dustin Shoaf and two-way linemen Nate McGill, Bill Devirgilio, Drake Croushore and George Tusing.

Shoaf is the top returning rusher in the WPIAL. He ran for 1,808 yards in 2017, which led WPIAL during the regular season and ranked fifth at season's end. He also scored 16 touchdowns.

"He has it all. Very good vision. Great feet. He's not afraid to put his shoulder down and run over you," Wood said.

He hopes Shoaf finds the end zone more often this season, something Yough needs to do a lot more of in general. When the Cougars scored last season, it was nearly always Shoaf who did it. He accounted for all but four of the team's 20 touchdowns. The Cougars were shut out twice and limited to single digits on four other occasions.

More will be expected from senior quarterback Jake Sever, who struggled with his accuracy last season, but looked much improved in 7-on-7 scrimmages this summer, according to Wood. …

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