NEW CASTLE —
Laurel, under first-year coach Pat Cuba, who was a longtime teacher in the school district, got back into the postseason after a three-year absence. The Spartans finished third in the Big Seven with a 6-2 record. They wrapped up the season with a 7-3 mark.
“I enjoyed it. These are kids I have basically grown up with. I know how important football is at Laurel. They made my season enjoyable,” he said. “They came to practice every day ready to work. I was very proud of them. They set the tone for the coming years. We have some really good, young guys coming up. This group set a good work ethic for these youngsters to follow. We have a good group of juniors and sophomores coming back, too.”
Vanasco, a senior, was named a first-team offensive lineman.
“He is basically the leading guy up front. He is a very versatile guy,” Cuba said. “He’d make the calls up front and on the blocking schemes. He was excellent. He is a good kid, student and a good player.”
Wertz, a junior, was selected as a first-team kicker. He had three field goals and 24 PAT kicks.
“Noah is a great weapon. Just have him put ball in the end zone on kickoffs almost every time and to have teams start at the 20 and have to drive the field is really big. As far as kicking field goals, he is excellent,” Cuba said. “We’ll get him some work in the offseason and he could be even better next year. He is an excellent kicking prospect. Once he refines his technique, he is a guy a lot of people would be interested in. He can drive it. He can kick it high and deep.”
Nail, a junior, was named to the first team at defensive line.
“He did a great job for us. He is one of those guys who has a good work ethic. He played through a lot of injuries,” Cuba said. “I think he has the possibility to play at the next level if he wants to. He has natural ability and natural strength. He did a great job for us up front. He is a good foundation to build on.”
Rosta, a senior, was selected as a first-team linebacker.
“He is a really good player. We put him in different spots on defense. He is a beast to try to block,” Cuba said. “We could put him all over. He has the speed to run with backs and the physical strength to handle linemen. He would be an excellent recruit for someone. He is a wrestler, so he understands balance and that helps him on the football field, too. He’ll hit you. He is a good player all around. He can carry the football, too. He has very deceiving speed. He can run.”
Dando, a senior, was named a first-team defensive back.
“I can’t say enough good things about him. He is a coach on the field. He understood what we’re trying to do. He has outstanding mental ability on top of physical ability,” Cuba said. “He could definitely play at the next level. He is a student of the game. As far as adjustments or motions, he understood the adjustments needed to be made in the secondary as well as up front. He was good at that.”
Pullium, a senior, was named a first-team punter.
“He is an unselfish guy. He should have been first team on offense as a tight end. He could catch and block,” Cuba said. “We threw him in at punter when Noah got hurt. He became an excellent punter. He can boom it. He is a natural athlete. Whatever we ask him to do, he could probably do. He is really good on both sides of the ball.”