Sunday, August 31, 2008

West Shamokin looks to turn things around

By Gavin Jenkins
Friday, August 29, 2008

West Shamokin opens the season tonight when it plays host to Allegheny Conference rival Burrell. Whether or not the Wolves improve upon their 2-8 record from a year ago will depend heavily on the effectiveness of their offense.

West Shamokin used four quarterbacks last season, and at times, the Wolves didn't use any, instead opting for the single-wing formation.

The single wing may return this season, according to West Shamokin coach Shawn Liotta, who also said he may rotate between two quarterbacks.

Juniors Brad Lutz (5--foot-10, 150) and Corey Brice (6-3, 210) might take turns under center for the Wolves, and each one brings something different to the table.

"Lutz has a nice arm, and he can run the ball," senior lineman Mike Priestas said. "Brice can certainly throw the ball down field. He's our home run threat."

During camp, Liotta said that Lutz had the upper-hand between the two quarterbacks. Lutz completed 15-of-29 passes last season for 119 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions.

"Lutz started three games last year and has the experience," Liotta said. "They both can run and throw, and they're both hard-nosed football players."

The two-quarterback system is a direct result of the numerous injuries West Shamokin had last season, especially at the quarterback position with Dylan Henderson.

"I always like to have a back-up who gets a lot of reps, especially with our style of spreading people out," Liotta said. "Our kids are unselfish. With Lutz and Brice, if one is playing quarterback, the other will play receiver. They might have to play multiple positions."

West Shamokin's go-to running back this year will be senior Dave Ferringer (5-9, 165), who was the team's second leading rusher last season with 406 yards on 118 carries and two touchdowns.

"We have four seniors and a junior on the offensive line this year," Ferringer said. "They're a great group of guys, and I think they're going to get it done this year."

Priestas (6-0, 235) will start at center, Tyler Hunter (6-0, 225) and Cameron Cogley (5-10, 210) are the guards and Cody Weiland (6-4, 285) and Justin Cook (5-9, 195) line up at the tackles.

Ryan Lasher, who led the team in tackles last season with 75, will be the tight end.

"We need to push people off the football," Liotta said. "We need to be able to run the ball, control the clock. And, we need to stay healthy. We only had 18 healthy kids by the end of last season."

The Wolves have eight returning starters on offense and defense.

"I think if we come out and work hard, there's no reason why we shouldn't be in the playoffs," Liotta said.

11931 State Route 85, Suite E
P.O. Box 978
Kittanning, PA 16201

West Shamokin High School - 178 Wolf Drive - Rural Valley, PA 16249

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