ShareThis Page
Latrobe to use offseason conditioning program to improve on 1-8 campaign |

Latrobe to use offseason conditioning program to improve on 1-8 campaign

Eric Schmadel | For Trib Total Media
Hempfield linebacker Logan Swan wraps up Latrobe quarterback Craig Stevens during their October 10, 2014 contest at Memorial Stadium in Latrobe.
Eric Schmadel | For Trib Total Media
Hempfield linebacker Logan Swan rides down Latrobe running back Keith Findle during their October 10, 2014 contest at Memorial Stadium in Latrobe.

Looking strictly at wins and losses won’t tell the whole story of Jason Marucco’s first season at the helm of the Latrobe football program.

The Wildcats finished the 2014 campaign with a 1-8 overall record and a 1-7 mark in Quad East play, which was good for an eighth-place finish in the nine-team conference. But one needs to look no further than the four teams that still remain in the WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs to see the strength of the schedule Latrobe played this season.

Four of the eight teams still alive in the Quad-A draw heading into this weekend’s quarterfinal action — Penn-Trafford, McKeesport, Altoona and Plum — hail from the Quad East. Only Norwin — the fifth-place team from the conference — was eliminated from the postseason in last week’s opening round.

“When you’re going through it, you think these teams are pretty good,” Marucco said of the rest of the Quad East. “It’s no doubt that the conference was a tremendous challenge for us, but you have to win games to get respect.”

Latrobe’s lone victory of the season came at home against Kiski Area on Sept. 5. The Wildcats posted a 50-27 win on senior night.

“We had a great senior class,” Marucco said. “It was important for that group to get a win that night.”

While Latrobe’s 17 seniors handled the coaching transition well, injuries to key players — and losses — began to mount as the weeks wore on.

“We had some kids get injured early who were playmakers for us,” Marucco said. “They were the kinds of kids who could take it to the end zone on any given play.

“But I was proud of the kids who stepped in.”

Junior quarterback Craig Stevens and sophomores Austin Butler and Michael Mucci will be among the players who will form the core of the Latrobe squad in 2015.

Stevens accounted for a team-high seven touchdowns — five on the ground and two through the air.

Marucco also is encouraged by the amount of football being played by the eighth-grade, freshman and junior varsity teams, all of which will benefit the varsity program in the years to come.

“Our eighth-grade and freshman teams played a full schedule,” Marucco said. “The JV team played all but the last two games.

“We have our whole program playing a lot of football.”

And with Marucco and his coaching staff entering their second year, the Wildcats can begin to turn the page with the start of offseason conditioning.

“It’s exciting that we’ll have the whole offseason to implement our program from Day 1,” Marucco said. “We need to get in the weight room and increase our strength and speed so we can continue to get better.

“Every day we’re in the weight room or on the field, we have to get better at something.”

Kevin Ritchart is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.