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Mustangs look to experienced players

Tribune-Review
| Thursday, August 28, 2003 12:00 a.m

PLUM: The Mustangs juggled 31 players on defense and 24 on offense on the way to a 2-8 record last season, 1-5 in the Quad South.

With an extremely tough schedule, limited size and question marks just about everywhere, things may get worse before they get better for the Mustangs.

“We had a difficult year last year,” Plum coach Bill Rometo said. “We played a lot of kids. The big thing right now is we’ve got to get some cohesiveness, get some consistency. We did not have a set unit last year, and that hurt.”

Plum returns only four starters — wide receiver Kelly Fisher, defensive end Matt Kachurik, offensive tackle Mark Bentz and linebacker John Simmons.

The Mustangs will spend their two weeks of preseason and nonconference games against Fox Chapel and Penn Hills fillling out the rest of the starting spots.

“We have to use a ton of people in our two scrimmages and use the exhibition games to get ready for that first section game (against Franklin Regional),” Rometo said. “We have a good shot at one of the four playoff berths, but everything has to fall into place.

“This kind of year is kind of exciting. You don’t know what is going to happen with so many question marks. Everybody on the team should think they have a chance of playing. They should see that things are open.”

Fox Chapel was a playoff team a year ago. Penn Hills and Upper St. Clair, another nonconference opponent, are Class AAAA powers.

Quad South rivals Gateway and Kiski Area also are among the top teams.

“It’s a brutal schedule,” Rometo said. “Every week will be a challenge.”

Rometo favors a pro-style offense with a strong passing game. One of the two players battling for the quaterback job should know that well.

The coach’s son, sophomore Gino Rometo, will compete with senior Matt Pellis to start there. Pellis also could end up at wide receiver.

“Gino is more of a quarterback,” Rometo said. “Matt is just a great all-around athlete. We might develop a package with Matt as a slash-type player. We like to be wide open, to keep the other guy guessing.”

Simmons and junior Phil Mains are the options at running back, with Kachurik moving to fullback. Fisher should catch a lot of passes as the Mustangs’ primary receiver.

Bentz provides Plum’s only real experience and size up front at 6-foot-2, 265 pounds, although the Mustangs finished last season starting younger players on the line, including junior guard Chris Anastasio and junior tackle Joe Hadley.

Simmons, Hadley and Anastasio should also be keys on defense, competing with Zach Erdeljac for the three linebacker positions.

Kucharik was an all-conference pick at defensive end as a junior. Bentz could also play defensive tackle.

Mains and Chris Glarner will play the corners with LaMark Ingram at safety. Additional Information:

Plum roster

Seniors

(NamePos.Ht.Wt.)

Steve BechtoldFB/DE6-0200

Mark BentzOT6-2265

Zach BlumeLB/RB6-0200

James CapezziOL/DL5-10185

Brandon CuppsOL/DL6-0220

David D’AndreaOL/DL6-1230

Steve DiTommasoOL/LB5-11210

Zachary ErdeljarFB/LB5-10215

Bryan FerranteOL/DL6-1215

Kelly FisherWR/DB5-10180

Mike GarrilosOL/DL5-5200

Chris GlarnerWR/LB5-7175

Keith HornerTE/DE6-1200

LaMark IngramFB/SS6-0200

Jeremy MazzottaWR/DB5-6150

Robbie McGrathWR/DB5-10170

Dan NesbitWR/DB5-10170

Matt PellisQB/SS6-0185

Brandon PanaroWR/DB5-10165

John SimmonsRB/LB5-7130

Brian TrathowenOL/DL6-0220

Tracy WilburnRB/DB5-10175

Shawn JeffersonFB/LB5-10190

Juniors

NamePos.Ht.Wt.

Chris AnastasioOL/LB5-10210

Josh BoydWR/DB6-2170

Joe ButelaOL/DL6-2270

Joe HadleyOL/LB5-11245

Matt HarmuthOL/DL5-10265

Andy HarrisWR/DB5-11170

Victor HillWR/DB5-11175

Matt KachurikFB/DE5-4295

Andy LeindeckerTE/DE5-11180

Phil MainsRB/DB5-10170

Zach PersichettiFB/LB5-6250

Mario RobinsonTE/DE5-9165

Sean RussellTE/DE6-0165

Arpan ShahOL/DL5-10220

Jacob YuhaszRB/DB5-9160

Kurt ZaspelWR/LB6-1170

Matt PolonsWR/DB6-3165

Sophomores

NamePos.Ht.Wt.

Anthony AstiLB/DB5-10155

Brian CainWR/DB5-8155

Nathan CaldwellQB/LB6-4170

Mike DeLucaFB/LB5-8170

Anthony DiGuilioQB/DB5-11170

Joe GarbarkWR/DB5-10165

Donte JayOL/DL5-10185

Steve JeannetteRB/DB5-9165

T.J. MichelsFB/LB5-10170

Nick MilisitsTE/DE6-5260

Gino RometoQB6-1175

Michael ScottTE/LB6-2170

Justin ValimontFB/DE5-9170

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