New Castle News

Sports

August 13, 2013

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

(Continued)

NEW CASTLE — NESHANNOCK

The Lancers have an eager bunch of 41 out to improve on last season’s 10-2 mark, which included a share of the Big Seven Conference crown and a berth in the WPIAL Class A semifinals.

“We’re happy with the number. The kids that we have here, they’ve been here all summer,” Mozzocio said. “They’ve worked their tails off and they know what to expect out of us coaches.

“This year’s team, we want to go a little further now. Their battle cry is they want to make history this year. We’ll take a day by day approach and go from there.”

Neshannock worked three separate times yesterday.

“We worked on the basic fundamentals, all of our base stuff, both offensively and defensively,” Mozzocio said. “When you get into full pads again, it’s a whole different speed.

“I’d say the effort was good. Were we happy overall with our execution and performance? Probably not where we thought we should be. But that’s OK, we’ll get there.”

SHENANGO

Commesso, a 1991 Mohawk graduate, is in his first season as a varsity football coach. His first practice attracted 44 Wildcats players to the practice field.

“Obviously we’d like it to be higher,” Commesso said. “As we continue to build the program up we’d like to get those numbers up into the 50s for sure.

“I’m happy with them, but the goal is to build that number up. I think there is quality in that number. I think we have a strong senior class.”

Though Commesso is in his first head varsity coaching job, he can turn to reliable sources for guidance if needed. His dad Lew, a former Mohawk head coach, and Don Costa, a former Ellwood High and Geneva College coach, are on Mike’s staff.

“There’s a lot of good football coaches and a lot of good advice I can tap into,” Mike said. “We have a new staff and a new system. Nobody is penciled in as starters right now. We’re letting everyone compete.”

The first practice was highly anticipated for Mike. The Wildcats worked on base stuff like fundamental tackling, base offense and base defense as well as getting lined up properly.

“I was very excited,” he said. “I didn’t get much sleep (Sunday) night. I was just excited to get a chance to build a program and get with the kids.

“We’ve been lifting and all the other stuff. It was nice to put on pads today and get a chance to see what they could do with pads on.”

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