New Castle News

Sports

August 13, 2013

Photos, Story: Football practice begins at high schools throughout the county

(Continued)

NEW CASTLE — LAUREL

Cuba, who coached at Neshannock for five years from 2007 to 2011, was pleased at the Spartans’ numbers.

“The work ethic is excellent and I’m happy with the amount we have out,” Cuba said. “It’s just a matter of getting them up to game speed. They’re doing a nice job and they’ve done a nice job all summer.

“We’re in pretty good shape physically, as far as the conditioning part of it. I’m very happy with that part of it.”

Cuba expects things to pick up the rest of the week on the Laurel practice field.

“The hitting wasn’t physical enough,” he said. “The possibility is there. We have good speed and we’re physically strong, but we don’t know how to apply that to game speed right now.”

Laurel’s Spencer Jones, just a sophomore, made an impression on the coaching staff on the first day.

“Jones hustles all the time,” Cuba said. “He plays tailback on the scout team. He gets hit, he gets right back up and is ready to go again.”

Wide open battles will highlight the Spartans’ camp agenda.

“I would say the solid position is Josh Dando at quarterback,” Cuba said. “But everything else is wide open.

“(Juniors) Matty Conway hustles and Clayton Sharek hustles. Right now, everything is wide open, though. That’s what we’re trying to tell them, you have to compete.”

Despite having a long tenure in the coaching ranks, Cuba said he was still anxious for the start of camp.

“I guess I was a little bit nervous,” Cuba said. “I’ve been doing this about 32 years now. But the butterflies will be gone (today).”

MOHAWK

Third-year Warriors coach Joe Lamenza is pleased at the interest his program is generating after snapping a 14-game losing streak in the season opener last year and finishing with a 2-7 mark.

“The numbers are steadily going up here at Mohawk,” Lamenza said. “I’m happy with the progress. You always like the progress.

“I like to think what we’re doing is catching on. We’ve implemented a lot of things in our program and I like to think that things are catching on.”

Lamenza started with fundamentals on the opening day.

“We worked on our base offense and base defense,” Lamenza said. “I’m pretty pleased with what I saw.

“There were a lot of mistakes that we need to correct. You can tell that we have a lot of guys back from years past and that’s why practice ran so smooth. The schedule was familiar to many guys.”

Lamenza noted one luxury that he hasn’t had through his brief stint at Mohawk.

“We have some depth that we haven’t had in years past,” Lamenza said. “We do have some positions that we haven’t solidified and that’s what makes these two scrimmages so important.”

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