Chartiers-Houston hopes moving down in class moves them up in the standings
After three straight years of making the WPIAL football playoffs, the bottom fell out for Chartiers-Houston in 2017. The Bucs not only failed to make the postseason for the first time since 2013, they also came away without a victory, finishing 0-7 in the Class 2A Century Conference and 0-10 overall.
The struggles came quick after finishing 7-4 overall in 2016. Terry Fetsko hopes the improvements can come just as quick.
The key for the Buccaneers might be a move back to Class A after spending the last two seasons in 2A.
“It helps our program because we will be playing teams that have the same enrollment as us,” said Fetsko, now in his 14th year as coach of the Bucs. “The last two seasons we were the second smallest team in Double A, missing the cut off by only three students.”
Chartiers-Houston returns five starters on offense and four on defense. Fetsko said despite the lack of experience and the struggles from a year ago, the goals remain the same.
“We are still a very young team,” Fetsko said. “We have 36 players on the roster but only seven seniors. The attitude has been great.”
The team’s second-leading passer, rusher and top two receivers are back to lead the skill positions.
The four juniors include Rob Ward and Sam DeWalt, with Anthony Lento and Tyler Blumen at wide receiver.
Another junior, Seth Dunn will also see time at quarterback. He connected with Jimmy Sadler on a 79-yard scoring pass for the first score of the season in a Week Zero loss to Fort Cherry, 20-13.
Senior guard and defensive tackle Brandon Stopperich and sophomore Austin Kuslock bring experience to the lines on both sides of the ball.
Juniors Shawn Wheeler at linebacker and Lento at safety will also carry the burden on defense for Chartiers-Houston.
The Bucs defense accounted for the other score against Fort Cherry when James Dillie, whose surname has been used as an audible, returned an interception 78 yards for a score.
Chartiers-Houston will now compete in the Tri-County South where only the top two teams are guaranteed a playoff spot, although two of the three third-place finishers in Class A will also qualify for the postseason with a wild card spot.
Playing the likes of Avella, Bentworth, California, Jefferson-Morgan, Mapletown, Monessen and West Greene, the Buccaneers are hoping to reverse fortunes and be playing meaningful football again in November.
Coach: Terry Fetsko
2017 record: 0-10, 0-7
All-time record: 360-350-18
Date, Opponent, Time
8.24, Fort Cherry, 7 p.m.
8.31, at Jefferson-Morgan*, 7 p.m.
9.7, West Greene*, 7 p.m.
9.14, at Bentworth*, 7 p.m.
9.21, Sto-Rox, 7 p.m.
9.28, at Mapletown*, 7 p.m.
10.5, at Monessen*, 7 p.m.
10.12, Avella*, 7 p.m.
10.19, California*, 7 p.m.
10.27, at Imani Christian, 1:30 p.m.
*Class A Tri-County South Conference game
Passing: Matt Whitfield*
12-104, 359 yards, 2 TDs
147-378 yards, 3 TDs
Receiving: Anthony Lento