Goin' Campin' is Varsity Blog's series that hits the road to give you notes, quotes, anecdotes and everything else from district football preseason camps.
TODAY'S STOP: SETON-LaSALLE
Before we get to football talk on Goin' Campin's tour, first we bring you a wonderful practical joke at Seton-LaSalle today.
Players park their cars down the hill near the practice field. The photo on the left shows how senior receiver-defensive back Ryan Sago truly got "post"-erized while he was at practice. Or at least his truck did. There were post-it notes all over it.
After practice, first-year Seton-LaSalle coach Damon Rosol was talking with quarterback Tyler Perone and receiver Danzel McKinley-Lewis while they all looked at the car.
"One of the girls soccer players did it," Perone said with a laugh.
Rosol said, "So does that mean she likes him?"
"No," Perone said. "He parked too close to her yesterday and she couldn't get out so she did this."
Tremendous, I say. So football players, watch where you park. And watch those girls soccer players.
Rosol isn't shy about what he wants his team to do this season. He's not afraid to bring up lofty goals, even though this is his first season since taking for Greg Perry, who went across McNeilly Rd. to become Keystone Oaks' coach. The players also don't try to hide such great expectations.
When the entire team huddles together and then "breaks down" they say together "state champs!"
Rosol, 39, displays his goals on ... his hat. He wears a green hat with "GET 16" on it. Translation: Go 16-0 and win a state championship. Even the players wear T-shirts with "GET 16" on them.
Confident group, wouldn't you say?
"The state championship is our goal," said Rosol, a former Seton-LaSalle player and assistant coach who spent the past nine seasons as Montour's offensive coordinator under Lou Cerro. "What are we supposed to do, say 'lose in the semifinals?'
"We respect everyone. But like I said to these kids from day one. Embrace the expectations. Don't run away from them. This is Seton-LaSalle. If I would've went to another school, we'd probably break and say 'conference champs.' But the last time I was here, we were 33-5 in the last three years. Why shouldn't we think big here?"
But Seton-LaSalle is in the same conference as South Fayette, who went 16-0 last season.
There is reason to be optimistic, though. Perry left Rosol a top team. The Rebels have seven starters returning on both offense and defense. Among the returning starters is quarterback Tyler Perone, who completed 169 of 184 for 2,326 yards and 24 touchdowns last year. (Perone is pictured sporting one of those "Get 16" shirts).
"I think he's a Division I quarterback," said Rosol. "Old Dominion and schools like that are looking at him. I think he's come to the realization that Pitt and Penn State are out. But there are a lot of [Division I-AA) schools out there for him. He's going to make some school happy."
Danzel McKinley-Lewis is a Divison I recruit who returns at receiver. McKinley-Lewis, a 6-foot, 180-pound senior, has already verbally committed to Toledo. McKinley-Lewis is a speedy receiver who caught 40 passes a year ago.
One of the other top returnees is tight end-linebacker Adam Ottaviano, a 6-0, 220-pound senior who is called by Rosol "the heart and soul of the team."
Ricky Mellick was the team's leading rusher last year with close to 400 yards.
A promising newcomer is Paris Ford, who transferred from Central Catholic. He is a 6-2, 170-pound sophomore who started on Central Catholic's basketball team as a freshman. Ford has a good chance to start at defensive back.
"He looks as promising as you can look for a sophomore," said Rosol.
Ford should also have a big impact on Seton-LaSalle's basketball team.
More on Seton-LaSalle
**** Liam Sweeney is a returning starter at fullback and linebacker. He is a 6-1, 210-pound junior and the son of former Seton-LaSalle (South Hills Catholic) star lineman Jim Sweeney. The elder Sweeney had an excellent career at Pitt and played in the NFL for a long time.
**** Rosol has five assistant coaches who are graduates of Seton-LaSalle (or the old South Hills Catholic). One of them is Bill Gallagher. It seems strange to see Gallagher (pictured) not wearing a blue Perry shirt or coat. He was Perry's coach in the City League for a number of years before resigning after last season.
"The kids love him," Rosol said.
Gallagher coaches the lines.
**** Former Seton-LaSalle quarterback Shawn Lamonde is another assistant coach as well as Perone's father, Mike.
**** One guy's top five teams in WPIAL Class AA:
1. South Fayette
5. Beaver Falls
**** And we end with Seton-LaSalle "breaking down." Did they say "State Champs?"