Westmoreland County football Q&A with Latrobe’s Reese Mueseler
Reese Mueseler wears his shiny new WWE-style belt with pride and confidence.
It looks good on him, especially in the mirror -- just like his fluffy, neatly cropped haircut, which he claims is a close second to lineman Trent Holler’s “man bun” for team best.
He runs his fingers through his shock of hair, which drapes his forehead.
“I wish I’d have known you were taking my picture, I could have done it up nice,” he said with a grin.
Mueseler also wears a bright smile these days, as do his teammates, who are enjoying an almost palpable vibe of confidence around the football program.
This team suddenly looks the part: Latrobe is headed to the WPIAL playoffs for the first time since 2009, and the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Mueseler has played a key two-way role in getting it there. The senior tight end and outside linebacker, who claimed the Wildcats’ player of the week honors -- hence championship belt -- has helped Latrobe (3-6) vary up its offense here and there, with a more compact run package that uses a down tight end out of its one-back set, and an aggressive, blitzing defense.
Mueseler has been like a comb through opposing defenders at times, as a blocker, pass-catcher and run-stopper.
“Our personnel allow us to do some of those things,” Latrobe coach Jason Marucco said. “We wanted to create that extra gap (on offense). Reese has played an important role in our wins the last two weeks. He does his job.”
Mueseler has 12 receptions for 283 yards and two touchdowns, and on defense, he has 33 tackles, a sack, an interception and four forced fumbles. He also is the long snapper for the punt team.
Latrobe beat Plum, 28-6, and Albert Gallatin, 48-0, and closes the regular season Friday night at Highlands.
Mueseler is the subject of this week’s Westmoreland football Q&A:
How surprised are you to see Latrobe make it back to the playoffs?
Our senior class knew we had the talent to get there. We had four wins last year, so we knew we were getting better. Making playoffs means so much to us. It shows how far we’ve come.
How have you seniors led a group that has quite a few younger players?
This is the first time the ninth-graders moved up; it was just (10, 11, 12th grade) before. We tried to bring everyone together. We all showed up every day in the summer to put in the work.
Latrobe honored its 1968 WPIAL championship team at the beginning of the season. What did those returning players say to you?
It was really cool to hear from them. They talked to us about working together and playing for each other, and not to let outsiders pick where you finish. You do that yourself.
Mueseler is popular name in Latrobe sports. What have some of your relatives meant to Wildcats sports?
My pap (Don) has been a basketball coach for a long time. He got me into sports, and he is my mentor. I love him. My sister (Madison) runs track at Robert Morris. My cousin, Eric, played football here.
Can you describe your role as a more traditional tight end?
We’re using a hand-in-the-dirt tight end so we changed it up. It helps our running back with that extra blocker. We worked on it all summer.
How much time do you spend on that hair?
I’m up at 5:30, I put a hat on it to shape it; I do it right. It’s not as nice as Trent’s man bun, though. He pulls it off. He and I are going to grow playoff beards.
Did you watch Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood growing up?
Yes, my pap showed me that too. He has done so much for me.
What is the best place to eat in Latrobe?
We all like to go pig out at New City Buffet (in Greensburg). You have to see the white of the plate before you finish. But I’d have to say Dino’s. It’s fun to go there and watch all the games.