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Southmoreland ready to open season against explosive Charleroi squad |

Southmoreland ready to open season against explosive Charleroi squad

| Wednesday, August 27, 2014 9:00 p.m
Jake Pisula (far right) carries the ball during a recent practice at Russ Grimm Stadium. Pisula and his teammates open the season at 7 p.m. Friday against Charleroi at Russ Grimm Field.

Fans attending Friday’s Class AA Interstate Conference match up between the Southmoreland Scotties and Charleroi Cougars may want to arrive early if they do not want to miss the fireworks display.

Both teams come into the 7 p.m. kickoff of the 2014 high school football season ready to light up the scoreboard.

When the two teams met in 2013, the Scotties escaped with a thrilling 30-27 win over the Cougars, but the game was not decided until the final seconds when Charleroi wide receiver Dakota Moore failed to maintain control of a sure touchdown throw that would have given the Cougars a 33-30 lead with less than 30 seconds to play.

Each team is viewing tomorrow’s tilt at Russ Grimm Field as an important stepping stone in their teams development.

Charleroi enters the contest as a darkhorse candidate to win the Interstate Conference title. The Cougars are coming off back to back 2-7 seasons, but new head coach Donnie Militzer is excited about the number of kids that have come out for the program and the hard work they have put in since his arrival in early May.

Militzer takes over for former Southmoreland assistant coach Ed Jenkins, who resigned for health reasons during the spring.

In 2013, Militzer was at the helm at Quad A Gateway, and led the Gators to an 8-3 record and an appearance in the WPIAL quarterfinals.

Gateway administration rewarded Militzer for his efforts by opening the head coaching position for anyone to apply at the conclusion of last season. Militzer declined to apply, instead opting to take his talents elsewhere.

The Cougars march into “Scottieland” ready to put their wide-open offensive system on display. Returning quarterback Matt Carr leads an explosive offense that features wideouts Blake Carmello and 6 feet, 9 inch John Arnold.

Carr missed all but two games during the 2013 campaign due to an injury. But he did play against the Scotties last season. The senior signal caller was 24 of 38 pass attempts for 339 yards and four touchdowns and torched the Southmoreland defense with his scrambling ability when he was forced out of the pocket.

“We are taking things one game at a time,” said Mark Adams, Southmoreland head coach. “We want the kids to focus one play at a time and the rest will take care of itself.”

Southmoreland is coming off of a 4-6 season in 2013, 3-5 in the Interstate Conference, but Adams and his staff are confident that 2014 will be a breakout season for the Scotties.

Senior tailback Jake Pisula returns to the Scottie backfield after rushing for more than 1,600 yards as a junior.

“Jake is something special to watch,” Adams said. “His first step is so quick and he is getting to the line faster than he did last season.”

Quarterback Brennan Bunner will line up under center as the starter this season after taking over the controls midway through the season in 2013. Bunner has some big targets of his own to throw to this season as the Scotties look to balance their attack with a 50/50 mix.

This spring, the turf at Russ Grimm Field was replaced after being damaged by flood waters last summer. It will surely get a good workout from all of the offensive talent that the Scotties and Cougars will put on display tomorrow night.

Scottie note — Black T-shirts will be passed out to fans for tomorrow night’s game as a “blackout” will be in effect.

Mark King is a contributing writer.

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