With experienced roster returning, Mars’ jump is ‘mind blowing’


Saturday, August 12, 2023 | 11:12 PM

Mars coach Eric Kasperowicz doesn’t exit of his strategy to evaluate his present group together with his earlier one, however he does see some promising similarities.

For instance, in his first yr at Pine-Richland, the Rams went 5-5 and certified for the playoffs. In yr one at Mars, the Planets completed final fall 6-5 and likewise made the playoffs. Past the same information, he says his debut seasons at each locations have been profitable in laying a basis and boosting confidence.

He hopes the similarities proceed.

In that case, Mars can have a enjoyable season forward, as a result of Pine-Richland went 15-1 in Kasperowicz’s second yr there, gained a WPIAL title and reached the state finals. He stated Mars might make a equally dramatic leap from yr one to yr two.

“You see these sorts of sparks,” he stated. “From the place we have been final yr to this yr, it’s large. It’s thoughts blowing. The blokes are strolling round with confidence. It’s nonetheless received to translate to the sector. They’ve nonetheless received to exit and make performs and make tackles, however they appear good. They’re wanting like a unit that’s able to go.”

Mars returns 9 starters on offense and 7 on protection from a group that went 3-3 within the convention and completed fourth within the Class 4A Better Allegheny. Wanting on the convention now, there are arguably no clear favorites this season after commencement hit many rosters, so the Planets are hoping to climb the ranks.

Kasperowicz relied closely on underclassmen a yr in the past, so that they’re returning this season with expertise.

“Lots of groups have just a few key gamers again however misplaced so much,” Kasperowicz stated. “We’ve received an excellent nucleus again of men who performed a variety of soccer. We’re excited.”

Defensively, Mars returns its high three tacklers in senior linebacker Jacob Maple (106 tackles), junior security Mason Childress (92) and senior defensive finish Connor Hartle (73). Hartle had a team-high eight sacks, and Maple added six.

They bolstered a protection a yr in the past that held three early season opponents to a landing or much less. That power helped the Planets begin 4-1, however the group in the end misplaced 4 of its ultimate six video games. These late-season opponents averaged 40 factors per sport, because the schedule toughened.

“We performed some good protection early on, however we let up too many huge performs and missed too many tackles,” Kasperowicz stated. “That’s form of been our emphasis (this season). Whenever you look again at Pine, we have been actually good on protection after we by no means gave up the large play.”

Mars’ offense is bolstered by the return of senior working again Evan Wright, who averaged 121 yards per sport and scored 18 touchdowns. He twice rushed for greater than 200 yards in a sport final fall, together with a season-high 253 in opposition to Armstrong on 19 carries.

Wright completed the yr with 1,333 yards.

“I don’t know if he will get the eye that he deserves,” Kasperowicz stated. “He’s large and we love him.”

Main receiver Gabe Hein, who had 36 catches as a freshman final fall, can also be again. Three of the 5 beginning offensive linemen additionally return from final season.

However the group has some uncertainty at quarterback as would-be starter Eric Kasperowicz Jr. recovers from surgical procedure on his throwing shoulder. Kasperowicz Jr. handed for 1,353 yards and 13 touchdowns a yr in the past as a sophomore and likewise was the group’s second-leading rusher with 401 yards.

“As of now, it seems like he’s not going to start out (the season) enjoying quarterback as a result of his shoulder will not be prepared,” stated Kasperowicz, his father and coach. “That shall be a week-to-week factor, sadly.”

If Kasperowicz Jr. can’t play quarterback, he’ll be used elsewhere, perhaps as a working again or extensive receiver, and likewise on protection. Junior Luke Goodworth, who made one begin final season when Kasperowicz Jr. was injured, would begin there this yr in his place.

“He’ll have to chop his tooth on the run as a result of we’re rolling,” Kasperowicz stated. “He can move the soccer. If he’s the man for an prolonged time period, then we’ll go along with what we’ve received.”

One immeasurable profit for the group and training employees was having a full offseason collectively. That wasn’t the case a yr in the past, when Kasperowicz was employed 4 months earlier than the season opener.

As they enter yr two, there’s a newfound consolation.

“I gained’t say it’s simpler, however you’re virtually comfortable slightly bit,” Kasperowicz stated. “As a result of every little thing you’re doing, the way you follow, the expectations, the scheme, they’ve been by way of it earlier than. They perceive how we follow, our tempo, all the little issues it takes to construct tradition and construct a program.”


Coach: Eric Kasperowicz

2022 file: 6-5, 3-3 in Class 4A Better Allegheny Convention

All-time file: 434-530-32


Date, Opponent, Time

8.25 Montour, 7

9.1 at New Fort, 7

9.8 Blackhawk, 7

9.15 at Indiana*, 7

9.22 at Moon, 7

9.29 Highlands*, 7

10.6 at Kiski Space*, 7

10.13 Armstrong*, 7

10.20 at Hampton*, 7

10.27 North Catholic*, 7

*Convention sport


Passing: Eric Kasperowicz Jr.

106-191, 1,353 yards, 13 TDs

Speeding: Evan Wright

157-1,333 yards, 18 TDs

Receiving: Gabe Hein

36-551 yards, 7 TDs


• Three Mars gamers scored touchdowns longer than 70 yards a season in the past. Evan Wright scored on a 94-yard run, Adam Rohrbaugh had a 72-yard landing catch and Gabe Hein had TD receptions of 73 and 79 yards.

• Junior security Mason Childress had a team-best three interceptions and returned one for a landing.

• Returning gamers Wright (working again), Childress (defensive again) and Cole Yoshioka (linebacker) earned first-team all-conference honors.

• Eric Kasperowicz went 85-18 in eight seasons as coach at Pine-Richland with 4 WPIAL titles and two state championships.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Assessment Workers Author. You’ll be able to contact Chris by e mail at charlan@triblive.com or through Twitter .



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