Baldwin QB Altavilla finishes with nearly 5,000 career passing yards
Senior quarterback Doug Altavilla accounted for 2,285 yards in total offensive for the Baldwin football team this season.
Altavilla, a four-year varsity starter for the Fighting Highlanders, hit on 148 of 258 passes for 1,919 yards, and rushed for a team-leading 366 yards on 156 carries.
He threw 14 touchdown passes and scored six times on the ground.
For his career, Altavilla, who also manned a linebacker position this season, passed for 4,946 yards and 52 touchdowns.
His best statistical performance in 2014 was in Week 5 against Penn Hills when he connected on 24 of 40 passes for 378 yards and four touchdowns.
“Doug will be a difficult one to replace,” Pete Wagner, Baldwin’s head coach, said. “From a statistical standpoint, Doug is one of the most accomplished quarterbacks in school history. But there are also many intangibles that we will miss from a two-year captain.
“His first two years, he was more of a game manager, but he’s a very cerebral kid who brings confidence to the huddle.”
Altavilla finished as the fourth-leading passer in the WPIAL in the regular season.
Nine players caught passes for the Fighting Highlanders this year, led by junior wide receiver Nick Altavilla’s 45 receptions for 726 yards and seven scores.
Altavilla had at least two receptions in every game, with a season-best effort against Butler in Week 2, and ranked among the WPIAL’s leading receivers.
Altavilla had eight receptions for 125 yards and three scores against the Golden Tornado. He also had two games with seven receptions.
“(Nick’s) just relentless. He puts a lot of pressure on himself to perform well,” Wagner said. “He ended up transitioning into more of a go-to guy for Doug.”
Brandon Schleicher, a junior wideout, also nabbed 30 receptions for 388 yards and two touchdowns. He ended the year with eight receptions for 153 yards against Bethel Park.
Altavilla and Schleicher were complemented in the receiving department by senior Josh Zinsmeister (17-256), senior Rocco Ruscitto (17-189), junior Chris Eisel (14-161), freshman Nick Lachut (11-89), junior Vince Persichetti (10-94), senior Donnie West (4-16) and senior Cameron Zandier (1-12).
Seven members of the Baldwin football team earned all-conference laurels.
Doug Altavilla (QB), Nick Altavilla (WR) and Zinsmeister (TE) were first-team selections on offense. Brenden Badstibner (OG), a junior, and Sterling Jenkins (OT), a senior, received honorable mention status.
Junior Zach Brown (DL) was a second-team selection on defense. Eisel (DB) landed honorable mention status.
Baldwin finished with 2,773 total offensive yards, with 1,931 yards passing and 842 yards rushing, compared to opponents’ 3,294 total offensive yards (2,320 rushing; 974 passing).
The Fighting Highlanders ended up 2-5 in the Quad Central Conference and 3-6 overall. The team averaged 17.9 ppg offensively and 32 ppg defensively.
“As always, it will be tough to watch the senior class go, and our staff appreciates all the sacrifices they made,” Wagner said. “We have a lot of work to do in order to become a more consistent team, and that starts with me, and ends with our overall execution on Friday nights.
“We have made many strides throughout this program, but at the end of the day there are no moral victories when it comes to our record. The expectations within our program will remain consistent, and it is a matter of finding ways to rise to the challenges, not settling for anything less than success. Winning is not something that just happens, you need to expect it though your preparation and practice.”
Nick Altavilla was the team’s leading scorer with 42 points (7 touchdowns), followed by Doug Altavilla with 36 points (6 touchdowns).
Sophomore Anoj Sharma connected on 19 of 19 extra points and 4 of 7 field goals for 31 points. He was followed in the scoring column by Zinsmeister with 24 points (4 touchdowns).
Schleicher (two TDs), Eisel (one TD), Ruscitto (one TD) and junior Peter Wright (one FG, one PAT) rounded out the Baldwin scoring.
Along with Doug Altavilla, other integral players in the offensive backfield included Ruscitto, Eisel, Lachut, senior Brandon Wyse and West.
Nick Altavilla led the team in all-purpose yardage with 854 yards, an average of 94.9 per game, followed by Eisel (458 yards), Schleicher (403), Doug Altavilla (366) and Ruscitto (365).
Defensively, Baldwin was led this year by Persichetti (43 tackles), Sealey (40 tackles) and Zinsmeister (38 tackles), who combined for 121 total tackles.
Next in line in total tackles were junior C.J. Huber, Wyse, Zandier, Nick Altavilla, senior Matt Dunn and West.
Other contributors on defense included Eisel, Schleicher, sophomore David Johnston, senior Dalton Dubrosky, junior Matt George, sophomore Zach Dunn, sophomore Josh DeNardo, Badstibner, sophomore Josh Kuhn, Ruscitto and Lachut.
Nick Altavilla recorded two interceptions; Wyse, Zandier and junior Mike Sealey had one apiece.
Doug Altavilla punted 30 times, averaging 33.6 yards per attempt. Sharma punted once for 50 yards.
Trib Total Media contributed to this story. Ray Fisher is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5820 or firstname.lastname@example.org.