Trojans have new coach, numbers
By jpetrucci@leader.net

“I’m trying to get them out and keep them interested.
I’m trying to make a team out of them.”

Bob Colatosti Nanticoke coach

A few balls were dropped or fumbled and at least one player kicked up some dust as he tripped and fell on the dry grass.

But at the end of another hot summer practice session, the Nanticoke Area football team gathered excitedly, clapped hands in unison and yelled for more: “Get it up!”

Under new coach Bob Colatosti this summer, at least one thing – roster size – is up at Nanticoke. The Trojans have 31 players after hovering in the low 20s the past two seasons.

For a program desperately trying to restore old glory, that’s half the battle.

“I’m trying to get them out and keep them interested,” said Colatosti, a 1972 Nanticoke alum and former football player.

“I’m trying to make a team out of them.”

The road will be long, as the Trojans went just 9-31 in the past four years under Len Butczynski. But the goals are simple for now.

“I’d like to see us not be as easy to beat as in the past, and became a unit that’s tough to beat,” said Colatosti.

QUARTERBACKS: Juniors Kevin Schinski and Paul Yanus are battling for the starting job that will lead Colatosti’s Wing-T offense, which is only different in terminology from what the Trojans have run in the past. Schinski has a strong arm and good leadership qualities, while Yanus is a left-hander with good athletic ability.

RUNNING BACKS: Expect the Trojans to employ a tailback by committee, with District 2 100-meter-dash runner-up Tom McGrady, Chris Klessmer and Brian Najaka providing speed and Josh Mitkowski and Jordan Lynch, who is coming off knee surgery, offering power.

Colatosti said he will rotate his backs as different situations arise and spread the carries around.

OFFENSIVE LINE: With new blocking techniques to master, this unit has improved every day, said Colatosti. John Parsons, Eric Alber (center) and Brad Sugalski (tackle) are returning starters, while Dan Paveletz and Craig Miller will be the guards. Justin Kreitzer will be at a tackle and New Jersey transfer Chris Hartles should also figure into the mix. There is some size here, with six linemen between 230-275 pounds.

RECEIVERS: Bronx, N.Y., transfer Pete Bracero, Philadelphia transfer Kevin Corley and first-time player Joel Fetterman will be the wideouts. Jonathan Hicks returns to start at tight end, while Wes Shultz and Matt O’Donohoe will also see time there.

DEFENSIVE LINE: Miller will be at nose guard, with Kreitzer and Sugalski at the tackles. Hartles will be at one end and Josh Johnson will be at the rover spot on the other side in this base 5-3 set. Colatosti will also mix in a 4-4 set against more pass-oriented offenses.

LINEBACKERS: Lynch (middle) and Mitkowski (strong side) return to the starting lineup and Klessmer will start on the weak side for a group that is battle-tested.

SECONDARY: This unit is inexperienced, but Bracero has covered ground well and should start at safety, while Fetterman and Najaka will be the cornerbacks.

OUTLOOK: With numbers up a little, Colatosti is hoping he can have fewer players going both ways on a full-time basis and give them more rest during games.

More than anything, Colatosti is making his players earn their playing time.

“We have 11 returning starters, but that’s not to say they’re starters this year,” he said.

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