Easing into the 2018 football season won’t be an option for East Allegheny.
In what promises to be a schedule with plenty of obstacles, the Wildcats may face their two toughest tests before Labor Day.
East Allegheny opens the season at 7 p.m. Friday by taking on defending Class 1A PIAA champion Jeannette. The following week the Wildcats will go on the road to Steel Valley -- which is ranked in the top five in the PIAA in Class 2A -- for their Allegheny Conference opener.
“You’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone in the state that has a tougher first two games of the season than us,” East Allegheny coach Dom Pecora said. “But we’ll show up every Friday ready to play.”
Living up to the standard set by last year’s outgoing class will be a tough task. The Wildcats lost their leading passer, rusher and receiver from a team that finished 7-4 and advanced to the WPIAL quarterfinals.
“We aren’t in a rebuild mode or anything, but we lost some kids,” Pecora said. “We’re going to be okay. We’re a young team and we’ll probably have four starters back on offense and five on defense. We’re definitely younger and have a ton of talent.”
One multi-talented player will be making a key switch. Dan Kasmier, a 6-foot-3, 240-pound senior, will move from tight end to starting quarterback.
Kasmier was second on the team with 641 receiving yards last season. Khyree Marshall and Dante Gant will see action in the backfield.
Tyler Padezon and Ronnie McGill will see action at receiver and give Kasmier options down the field.
The Wildcats are hoping everything will add up to a third straight trip to the postseason. East Allegheny will have earned the trip.
The Wildcats will only play one conference game at home and have to weather five of those contests on the road.
“Our schedule is worse,” Pecora said. “Our conference is worse. That alone is going to make this year a challenge. We are in the best conference in AA. I don’t think the conferences are broken up equally in AA. Our schedule is unforgiving. We have six conference games and only one is home.”
East Allegheny High School
Varsity Football Schedule
|Aug. 24||at Jeannette||7 p.m.|
|Aug. 31||at Steel Valley (C)||7 p.m.|
|Sept. 7||South Allegheny||7 p.m.|
|Sept. 14||at Apollo-Ridge (C)||7 p.m.|
|Sept. 22||at Summit Academy (C)||7 p.m.|
|Sept. 28||Carmichaels||7 p.m.|
|Oct. 5||Beth-Center||7 p.m.|
|Oct. 12||at Avonworth (C)||7 p.m.|
|Oct. 19||at Shady Side Academy (C)||7 p.m.|
|Oct. 26||Valley (C)||7 p.m.|
(C) - Conference Game
Josh Rizzo is a freelance writer who covers local sports for Tube City Almanac and other publications. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published August 22, 2018.