YOUNGSTOWN STATE FOOTBALL Five veterans selected as field generals
The Penguins will practice at 10 p.m. Friday at Stambaugh Stadium following the Ursuline-Rayen game.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- Five seniors have been named captains for the 2001 Youngstown State University football season.
The five combined have earned 14 varsity letters at YSU. All five have been starters for at least two of their three seasons with the Penguins.
This year's group is led by quarterback Jeff Ryan, a three-year letterman who has started 31 of the 38 games the Penguins have played the last three seasons.
The 6-1, 185 pounder from Boardman is the school's leader in touchdown passes with 42 and is closing in on most of the school's passing records.
Ryan was a second-team All-Gateway Conference selection and an honorable-mention All-American last season. This year, he was named the quarterback to the Preseason All-Gateway team.
Others: He's joined on the offense by center Dave Tesniarz of Uniontown, who is also a three-year letterwinner and a two-year starter in the middle of the veteran offensive line.
The 6-2, 266 pounder has been the starting center for 24 games in three seasons, including all 12 last season and 11 of 12 in 1999.
The defensive captains are led by three-year starter Bruce Hightower, a 5-11, 202 pound strong safety from Belle Glade, Fla.
Hightower was a second-team All-Gateway pick a year ago and was named to the league's All-Preseason team this year.
He's joined by another three-year letterwinner and two-year starter in LeVar Green from Miami.
The 5-9, 166-pound cornerback has played in 34 of the 38 games YSU has played in his three years and has seven career interceptions and 120 total tackles.
The final captain for 2001 is linebacker Bob Sivik from Mentor who is a two-year letterwinner.
The 6-3, 243 pounder had his career best game last season in the playoffs against Richmond when he made seven tackles.
Team vote: The five captains were chosen by a vote of the entire football team and first-year head coach Jon Heacock couldn't be more pleased with the selections.
"All five of these young men are fine leaders both off and on the football field, they will be capable leaders for this football team this season," Heacock said.
The Penguins practiced Tuesday morning. The coaching staff and seniors then went to Berea for the calling hours for Eloise Tressel.
Mrs. Tressel, the mother of former YSU head coach and athletic director Jim Tressel, died Saturday.
The Penguins held a light one-hour special teams scrimmage in the afternoon at Stambaugh Stadium.
"I thought that the kids handled the day pretty well," Heacock said. "We didn't get back from Berea until 3:30 and we were on the field by 4 p.m."
"We kept things simple and light this afternoon, getting a good look at all aspects of our special teams," he said.
Kickers: Sophomore placekicker Jake Stewart of Austintown had an up and down afternoon in the field-goal department, but the day ended on the upside.
His last field goal covered 52 yards and he also booted a 42-yarder and had several more from over 35 yards. He finished the scrimmage 7-of-12.
The other kicker Tony Bartholomew, also a sophomore, from Massillon, was 3-for-5 on the afternoon, with his best coming from 37 yards out.
Punting: Junior punter Kosta Karapetsas of Warren, led the trio of punters for the Penguins.
Most of the punting was done from the Penguins own end zone and Karapetsas boomed one punt 55 out of the end zone.
"That's the toughest place to kick from and we wanted to get a lot of work there," Heacock said. "I thought the kids kicked very well and Stewart really nailed that last kick."
Freshman redshirt Ryan Martino of Cardinal Mooney performed well under the pressure of the end zone. He had several kicks right around the 40 yard mark.
Freshman red-shirt Craig Cicero of Newton Falls, who returned to the Penguins this year after quitting the team a year ago, also kicked well, but not as good as the other two.
His best punt was 37 yards from mid-field, but he had one punt blocked by Hightower and Chris DiMauro.
Rehearsal: The Penguins will hold their rehearsal scrimmage today at 3 p.m. at Stambaugh Stadium.
They will take Thursday off and then begin game preparations for the season opener with a 10 p.m. Friday practice following the Ursuline-Rayen high school football game at Stambaugh Stadium.
The Penguins open the season with a home game at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 30 against Lock Haven University.