Pieszak plans to lead Mt. Pleasant back to WPIAL playoffs
On the heels of its first WPIAL playoffs miss in nine years, the Mt. Pleasant football team got to work on the business of getting back as quickly as possible.
As in this season.
“It’s motivated a lot of guys,” coach Jason Fazekas said.
Perhaps none more than senior quarterback Lucas Pieszak, who’s entering his second year under center for the Vikings.
“We’ve circled that as a big goal,” Pieszak said. “We weren’t happy with the way things turned out last year. We’re all friends on this team, even when we step outside of football. Everyone is on the same page. We’re determined and confident we can get it done.”
A new season, a new conference for the Class 3A Vikings, who move to the Big East, previously a 5A league, from the Interstate Conference, which drops to the 2A level.
No matter where they fit in, the goal is the same, and Mt. Pleasant will count on Pieszak to lead the way.
“We’re putting a lot in his hands,” Fazekas said. “We counted on him a lot last year, and he’s going to have a chance to throw it more this year. He wants to do it. He wants to lead this offense, and he wants to win. It means something to him.”
Mt. Pleasant failed to reach the postseason a year ago for the first time since 2008.
The Vikings, who finished with a 4-6 record (3-4 Interstate Conference), open their 2018 schedule Friday night with a game at Class 2A Southmoreland. The Scotties dropped from 3A, where last season they competed with Mt. Pleasant in the Interstate.
The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Pieszak has bulked up since last season after taking part in a rigorous offseason workout plan. He’s hoping to improve on a monumental passing effort that produced 1,011 yards, believed to be just the sixth time a Mt. Pleasant player has hit the 1,000-yard mark.
“He was brand-new at quarterback last year,” Fazekas said. “That was his first varsity time ever, and from where he started the year to where he ended the year was like night and day.”
It is hope for a sign of better results for the team.
“Lucas committed to the weight room, and he lifted and gained 25 pounds on his frame,” Fazekas said. “As with any kid, if they get stronger and bigger, the confidence starts. We got through our 7-on-7 summer stuff, and he’s in a really good spot.”
Mt. Pleasant must replace 1,000-yard rusher Mike Govern and wide receiver Ryan Quin, who led the team with 25 receptions for 489 yards, but Pieszak is entering the season presumably with little worries.
“I’m confident in our offensive line. We’ve got a lot of experience up front,” he said. “That will help a lot with our ability to move the ball efficiently.”
Senior guard Ethan Donitzen, at 6-0, 235 pounds, is the leader of that front wall.
Meanwhile, junior wide receiver Jacob Johnson could become a leading target of Pieszak’s and running back Alex Kadylak, a 6-1, 195-pound senior, has gotten most of the backfield reps in practice.
“He’s a very capable back and he’ll be able to take other backs under his wing. He’ll be fine,” Pieszak said.