Football Wildcats look for push as AA-2 contender

Nine starters, including Naton, back on offense

— Sure, it didn’t seem like much to brag out – a 3-4 regular season, a fourth-place league finish, a one-sided ouster by Christian Brothers Academy in the Section III Class AA playoffs.

Yet West Genesee football head coach Joe Corley took plenty of positives from his team’s 2010 campaign. Young in many parts of the lineup, the Wildcats still worked their way to a post-season berth and gave fans reason to think that 2011 could be even better.

“We overachieved (in 2010)” said Corley. “The players had ups and downs, but we learned a lot. They got a taste of success, and want more.”

To get more, WG will have to count on an offense that returns nine starters, though one of the departed seniors was Pat Brown, one of Section III’s top receivers a year ago.

Matt Naton is back, though. The 6-3, 190-pound senior quarterback, who threw for more than 1,100 yards as a junior, is, in Corley’s words, a “superior athlete” and only needs to work on his timing with the receivers to put up better numbers.

Though Brown (49 catches for 782 yards) is gone as a primary target, Naton will not suffer any drop-off with a strong trio of receivers in Nate Flask, Ted Glesener and Sean Howard, plus tight end Brett Bolden. And Howard has the increased benefit of a full year at receiver, having converted from running back late in the 2010 season after missing four games due to injury.

WG also has a pair of proven running backs. Nasean Howard started as a freshman and should show vast improvement as a sophomore, but he can’t slip any bit, or senior Kesean Sparks could take charge.

Every starter is back on a loaded offensive line. Adam Wierbinski, good enough to be named captain as a junior, has the same honor now as the 275-pound senior anchors at tackle, with Matt Nichols the other tackle. Joe Pedrotti, injured for half of 2010, is 100 percent now and starts at guard with 275-pound Seamus Shanley, while Dave Martin is the incumbent at center.

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