Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Class 2a: Southmoreland Interstate Conference

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Class 2a: Southmoreland Interstate Conference

Article excerpt

Former marine Dave Keefer took over as Southmoreland's head coach prior to the 2018 season with the goal of instilling a culture of teamwork, camaraderie and discipline. He didn't have any head coaching experience, but he is a longtime assistant who felt a strong desire to steer his alma mater back in the right direction after the Scotties went winless in 2017.

After one year on the job and four more wins than the team had the previous year, it's looking like Keefer may have been cut out for this head coaching business after all.

"It was exciting," Keefer said about his first year at the helm. "I really give a lot of credit to my assistants also. They did a heck of a job, and we work well together. The kids played hard. The kids went out and left it on the field every game. It was exciting. It makes you feel good.

"You put a lot of time and effort into it, and then you get some reward from it."

Southmoreland finished 4-6 and just barely missed out on a postseason berth, nearly marking one of the WPIAL's most improbable turnarounds in recent memory. A lot of that had to do with the play of junior quarterback Zach Cernuto, who threw for 1,909 yards and 19 touchdowns as a sophomore.

But the real star of the offense may have been Cernuto's backfield mate, running back Ronnie Robinson, who graduated after a stellar season with 1,202 rushing yards, 266 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns. Keefer said the Scotties will likely turn to a few players to make up for Robinson's absence in the backfield and go with a running back-by-committee approach.

Leading the way for that committee will likely be senior fullback Colt Harper, who rushed for 300 yards on only 47 carries last season while scoring eight touchdowns. Anthony Stewart and Anthony Govern both figure to split carries with Harper as well.

While Southmoreland will have to find a way to make up for Robinson's production on the ground, Cernuto should have no trouble finding his go-to target through the air. …

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