United working to recapture winning feeling
ARMAGH–After a winless season last year, United Coach Chris Matava is looking for the experience from 17 returning starters and seven seniors to pull the team together.
“We were young last year,” said Matava, in his sixth year at United.
“Now, they have a year under their belts and have some more confidence.”
A major problem for the Lions last season was on offense. United failed to top the 50-point plateau for the season.
“Hopefully, we will be better up front,” Matava said. “It will help us offensively.”
To that end, Matava will look to center Bill Cassatt for leadership.
“He’s a good worker and very strong,” Matava said of Cassatt, who is also a defensive lineman. “He is the most important block on the offense.”
At quarterback, sophomore Sean Domer and junior Chuck Boring have been battling through camp for the starting spot.
“They both lead by example,” Matava said. “It’s close right now.”
In the backfield, junior fullback Adam Capitosti will lead the way with tailback Steve Oleksa.
Oleksa, 5-4, 145, led the team in rushing last year with 400 yards.
“He’s low and quick,” Matava said.
“He just scoots through the holes.”
In terms of leadership and seniority on the field, Matava has two-years starters Zach Buzzinotti and Adam Jones back.
“They are going to help pull (the newcomers) through,” Matava said. “They are good kids.”
Buzzinotti will play guard and defensive tackle, while Jones will be a running back and defensive end.
“Adam is a quiet leader,” Matava said. “Zach is the more, vocal, enthusiastic type.”
With 18 returning lettermen and a bad taste in their mouths from last year, Matava is looking for the Lions to make their presence known in the Heritage Conference.
“District 6 is always very tough,” Matava said.
“There is some very tough competition to get through if you make it to the playoffs.”
The Lions open up the season at home Saturday afternoon against Saltsburg, which beat them in Saltsburg last August, 21-0.
“They’re anxious to get started,” Matava said. “They want to show people they are capable of playing and being successful again. They are working hard to redeem the United tradition.”