Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Class 3a: Elizabeth Forward Big East Conference

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Class 3a: Elizabeth Forward Big East Conference

Article excerpt

Mike Collodi can guess what popular opinion will be of his 2019 Elizabeth Forward program, despite its 8-2 record last season. The Warriors lost 32 seniors during the past two seasons.

"People will say it's a rebuilding year for us," Collodi said. "I look at it as more of an opportunity for the young guys to keep the tradition going."

The most prominent of the young guys who will try to return the Warriors to the playoffs is quarterback Nico Mrvos. Young might be a misnomer - he's a junior - but he sat behind Zachary Benedek for his first two years.

"Any time you lose a three-year starter at quarterback [in Benedek], it's really difficult," Collodi said.

Mrvos is a dual-threat quarterback, Collodi said, and he should have a talented target back in 6-foot-4, 212-pound junior Chase Whatton. Whatton missed part of last season because of injuries he suffered in a car accident.

"We're looking for him to have a breakout year this year," Collodi said. ". By the time he got things rolling, the season came to an end."

Add running back Evan Lewis, whom Collodi will also split out wide, and the offense should present some different dimensions.

"We're going to spread you out and we're going to distribute the ball to different people," Collodi said. "That makes it difficult. We have some different guys that can run, can catch, are athletic with speed."

Mrvos and Lewis will have to adjust to playing without A.J. Ackerman and Nathan Homa, 554 pounds of top-tier offensive linemen who moved on.

"We've got to adapt [with] what we have," Collodi said. "We'll be not as big up front."

A trio of blowout victories near the end of the season - 55-13 against Mount Pleasant, 56-0 against Uniontown and 44-0 against Yough - allowed some of the younger players who now must replace Ackerman, Homa and others to gain experience. …

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