Cella becomes Nanticoke’s coach
By drosengrant@timesleader.com
Sports Reporter

Lou Cella is getting another shot at coaching a high school football team.
Cella, who spent two seasons at the helm of a struggling Bishop O’Reilly program before resigning in 2005, was appointed head coach of Nanticoke on Thursday at the school board meeting.
“Cella seems to be an outstanding gentleman and coach,” said Bob Raineri, who is a board member and on the football coach committee. “It was a very difficult decision to make because all 13 candidates were very good. We wish we could have hired them all. It was a tough decision.”
Cella, 30, was an assistant coach at Lackawanna College the last three years, including a 10-0 campaign in 2006. He also is a former player at Wyoming Area and Old Forge and an assistant coach at Old Forge.
“I want to work with high school kids and it means so much to me,” Cella said. “I felt it was my calling to be a high school football coach. I feel blessed that Nanticoke gave me that job.”
Cella, who was a finalist for the Nanticoke job in 2005 before Bob Colatosti was appointed coach, added that the struggling Nanticoke program needs to be cleaned up and he plans on starting from scratch.
“I’m thrilled,” Cella said. “It’s very difficult to get a high school football job in the area, but I am thrilled and there is a lot of work to do and a lot of cleansing to do.”
Cella, who had a 2-18 mark at the helm of the Queensmen program, was appointed by a 6-3 vote. Only five votes are needed for a hire.
Board members who voted in favor of Cella were Jeff Kozlofski, Kenny James, Patricia Bieski, Gary Smith, Cindy Donlin and Raineri. School board members that voted against the hiring of Cella were Tony Prushinski, Frank Vandermark and Sylvia Mizdail.
The school board opened the position held by Colatosti the past three years shortly after the Trojans finished 0-10 this past season.
Colatosti was 5-25 in those three years and didn’t reapply. He said after his position was open that he felt the program was making progress, citing the increase in participation from the junior high to the varsity level.
Still, Nanticoke was outscored 412-44 this past season. Its 11-game losing streak is the second longest in District 2 to Western Wayne’s 40-game losing streak.
Nanticoke is 7-43 over the past five years, with five of those victories against Class A teams that were disbanded by the merger of four Catholic high schools prior to the 2007-08 school year.
Cella might have a better opportunity to build the program than Colatosti. Nanticoke dropped perennial power Dallas and resurgent Coughlin from its schedule for the next two years. Those teams were replaced by Columbia-Montour Vo-Tech out of the All-American Conference and Mid Valley, another rebuilding program from the Lackawanna Conference.
Nanticoke kicks off its season on Friday, Aug. 29, with a game at Wyoming Area. Cella is a faculty member at Wyoming Area.
Sports writer John Erzar contributed to this story.

Depth, experience have Trojans optimistic
By ktomlinson@timesleader.com

Two years ago, Bob Colatosti was forced to find a way to make do with just 20 players on his roster.
While that group will always hold a special place in the third-year Nanticoke Area coach’s heart – at a recent practice Colatosti talked about how that team, just 2-8 and outscored 355-66, had the “heart of a lion” – it’s easy to understand why Colatosti is looking forward to this season like he has no other since taking over as the Trojans head coach in 2005.
Indeed, 42 players on the roster would seem reason enough for Colatosti to be excited about the 2007 season.
But it’s more than depth that has the coach so upbeat about Nanticoke’s chances.
It’s experience.
A senior quarterback, an experienced backfield and some size – by Nanticoke standards – on the line is reason to be optimistic.
“Everything looks up, but of course when you’re at the bottom everything’s going to look up,” Colatosti said.

Nanticoke should have an easier time moving the ball this year, although it’s hard to imagine the Trojans taking as big a step forward offensively as they did a year ago when they more than doubled their output from 2005 (from 66 points to 152).
“We have all our receivers back,” Colatosti said. “Very good hands and they’re very quick. We also picked up a senior tailback (Ryan Berndt) who seems to run the ball very well. And, the two backs who’ve been with me through the program for the last two years are with us also.
“So we have a tandem of backs that I’m very, very happy with. The backfield is strong, the receiving corps is strong and we have a senior quarterback for the first time.”
Nanticoke allowed 68 fewer points last season than it did two years ago.
And with added depth, the Trojans hope to improve on that number.
Colatosti said he’s given lots of players a look at linebacker.
“We’re trying out some young men in their positions,” he said. “Our linebacking crew will be pretty quick and pretty physical. We don’t have large linemen. We’re not blessed with that. But we use technique and speed and I think we’ll be just fine.”
The Trojans may not be able to boast the kind of size that a team like Wyoming Valley West or Hazleton Area or Dallas usually does, but they have gotten a bit bigger.
“We’ve been in the weight room for two years now,” Colatosti said. “We’re stronger than we were last year. We’re a little bit bigger line-wise.”

So maybe the Trojans aren’t on the cusp of a 2A championship, but they’re much improved the past two seasons and could win a few more games.
That fact, as much as anything, has led to the increase in player numbers.
“I guess kids saw some games last year and realized we were doing better than the year before,” said quarterback Tim Bevan. “There’s (optimism.)”
“Everything looks up, but of course when you’re at the bottom everything’s going to look up.”
Bob Colatosti
Nanticoke Area Head Coach