Sunday, August 10, 2008

The preseason Fab Five


Practice for fall sports begins Monday. Athletes from cross country to girls volleyball begin official preparation for the 2008 season. Around these parts, despite the success of boys and girls golf, the sport dominating our thoughts is football.

With football in mind, here are five local teams the Varsity Letters expects strong, or at least interesting, seasons from in 2008:

Canon-McMillan
The Big Macs always have speed at the skill positions. That hasn't exactly added up to a lot of wins in recent years. Last year, with a strong senior class and excellent skill players, C-M only won four games. Expect the win total to climb to the six or seven range this year as juniors Mike Hull and Chad Hagan take over. Hull may be the better football player but don't be surprised if Hagan, who did not play his sophomore season, ends up the better college prospect.

Fort Cherry

The Rangers started 1-3 a year ago but won their final five to finish second in the Class A Black Hills Conference. Clairton was added to the conference during realignment and, coupled with state runner-up Serra, gives the Black Hills two powerhouse. Don't be surprised if Fort Cherry, behind seniors David Phillips, Nate Crossey (pictured) and Josh Snatchko, duplicate its finish. The Rangers open with three road games. If they win all three, it could be another fine season.

Monessen
The Greyhounds were 11-0 before running into Serra in the WPIAL Class A semis. This year figured to be a big year with juniors Sheldon Miller, possibly the best player in Class A, and David Jeffries along with sophomore Terrance Stepoli back and better. Word is a few defections could hurt Monessen's chances to challenge for a WPIAL title, but the Greyhounds are still the team to beat in the Tri-County South.

Trinity

Hillers coach Ed Dalton said defending state champs Thomas Jefferson may be better this year. If so, that's bad news for the Hillers and Chartiers Valley, which are TJ's top contenders in the Class AAA Big Seven. Trinity must revamp its offense but seven starters, including Jack Jamerson, are back on defense. Add junior Ken Wilkens to the mix and Trinity's defense should improve.

Wash High

The Prexies can lay claim to a dubious distinction the past two years – best Class AA team not to make the WPIAL playoffs. This year, Class AA pared down to four conferences from five, which means the top four teams make the playoffs. That's significant. In previous years, only three teams from the five Class AA conferences qualified along with one wild card. With defending state champ Jeannette, Greensburg Central Catholic and Mt. Pleasant, the Interstate Conference will be rugged but Wash High should be quipped for a postseason berth.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jon Pozonsky from Canon-Mac is definately the one to watch this year as well. He was injured most of the year last season but expect great results from him this season as running back and linebacker. Jon comes back as a senior refreshed and ready. He is being looked at by several major colleges but his main interest lies in playing at Westpoint.

57 said...

Anonymous (Jon Pozonsky) I'm not sure that he is going to be 100% this season. So far our practices have featured him on the sidelines more than on the field. It was a difficult injury for him to have and deal with.

Also, I have a question... I thought any major surgery eliminated candidates for West Point from contention... is that not true?

merril said...

"He is being looked at by several major colleges"


how? i thought he was hurt most of last season. i highly doubt that he is high on ohio states board of players. most high school coaches havent heard of him, so i doubt many D1 college coaches are really battling for him. However, i do think he is a very athletic kid and is a very hard worker. He has the talent and the wil to play in college, but i don't think the exposure has really been there yet.

merril the darryl said...

I saw Pozonsky play several times last year and I have to say this was my observation: of the C-M linebackers, Brad Strimel and Mike Hull were always around the football and making tackles. I cannot honestly recall a single incident where Pozonsky made a tackle last season (and he was the 3rd starting linebacker). Perhaps my ears failed me but as I said this kid just does not have a nose for the football--- not a trait you want for a linebacker or any defensive football player for that matter.

Anonymous said...

darryl, is there a need to include merril? please be sure that you are steril. or else you may be placed in a barrel while we all sing a christmas carol.

Anonymous said...

Okay CM fans let see how much faith you have in your Big Macs.

With all the hoopla surrounding Hull and the gang, how many wins do you think CM will walk away with during the football season year. Lets take a page out of the infamous ESPN’s PTI , over under. I have the CM Big Mac winning 7 games this season. OVER or UNDER 5 wins?
And shall we even utter the possibility of WPIAL Champion @ 30% chance of walking away with it all. One thing is for certain, with the abundance of talent that surrounds Hull this year, it shall be an exciting season for the BIG MACS!!!

j matthews will be missed said...

Canon-Mac will underachieve and win 4 games this season. They are talented, but lack depth and injuries will undoubtedly take their toll on the squad. This unit as a whole lacks "elite" athletes (other than Hull and maybe a couple others) and will be exposed by teams like Central Catholic, Woodland Hills, Upper St. Clair, and Bethel Park.

Chances of winning a Wpial title = 0% (if I could, i would put a negative number here)

Anonymous said...

This group is very team oriented. Most have been close friends for many years. I think their mindset will be to take one game at a time. They are very excited to play Central and Woodland Hills. It is very hard to make predictions given C.M.'s record the last couple years. They won't be looking past their next game. As a fan.... It should be a fun year!

Jack Be Quick said...

I'm going to take the over. The Big Macs are a very talented team that has a very good chance of winning 8 games this year. The only team in the section that could hurt them is USC and that game is at home so I'm going to give them a better than average shot to when that game. I do b
elive the Big Macs will win their section and contend for a WPIAL title.

GO BIG MACS!!!!!

linebacker said...

I was running Saturday and the Macs were scrimmaging. There were a couple of big lads on the team - does anybody know who they are - played both ways on the line. Thank you

Anonymous said...

Linebacker,
Alex Pihikis (6'1 340lbs) is one of the lineman you were watching. He is a division 1 prospect. Also a terrific baseball player.

Anonymous said...

Look for northgate to be a sleeper team with plenty of experience only losing 3 seniors from a year ago.

Hoge said...

Does anyone have an idea of what we are looking at as far as a canon-mac starting offense and starting defense? Obviously there are several returning starters from last year but I was wondering if someone could give insight as to the first 11 on offense and the first 11 on defense.

Anonymous said...

Pihakis is at the most 5'11" and weighs about 240. The other big one is Broglia who is 6'2" and weighs about 260. Another big one is Corey who is 6'4" with a weight of about 300

Anonymous said...

hoge is Terry Totten! No one respond!!!!!

Anonymous said...

My information says that pihakis is 6'1 340lbs. I got that at the Nike camp over the summer.

Anonymous said...

Canon-Mac's season will likely hinge on their ability to throw the football to keep teams honest. They lose their fastest player in Matthews, so it'll be interesting to see who steps up as the homerun threat for this offense. I would love to see Hull get some reps as a TE... there is no way that a linebacker or safety could stay with him and a CB would be physically outmatched. I guess we'll see what the CM coaching staff does in terms of creativity. I am looking for 6 wins and a quarterfinal playoff exit. I think that would be a successful season.

Anonymous said...

Nike Camp had incorrect information. Pihakis is 5'11" at the most and weighs about 240. I heard Broglia, the other big boy at 6'2", 260# is doing very well. The other big one, Corey is the center

Anonymous said...

Any thoughts on a breakout player for each of the local teams? Mike, maybe you will be doing an article on such a topic. As for a true "breakout player" it should be someone that really doesn't get a lot of publicity and as a result is not widely known. Mike Hull would not be a candidate for such an article, but someone like Mike Nackoul would be. I would say that the breakout player for Canon-Mac this season will be Justin Baker. He is an undersized linebacker but he has had four years to learn the defensive schemes used by the team. Plus, I'm not sold on Pozonsky as a LB and think he might be better served in the secondary or the bench.

Anonymous said...

break out player.... grant strimel! look for him to give his brother much needed massages on thursday nights before the big games!

Anonymous said...

ATTENTION, ATTENTION, MAY I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE.

Justin Baker will be the breakout player this year.

that is all, thankyou.

sarah p said...

Justin Baker is my hero! He is soooo cute!

Anonymous said...

Regarding the remark 57 said about Pozonsky having major sugery, Pozonsky never had surgery. He tore a tendon in his elbow and had a minor fracture. If he would have had surgery it would have been Tommy-John Surgery. Please, get your facts straight. Anyways, I read in the paper the other day that Pozonsky had been offered by West Point. I'm not sure if he committed or not but I'm sure he will considering that's the school he wants to go to more than anything.