WESTMINSTER Seven returning lettermen among 25 from area
New coach Jeff Hand will attempt to improve on last year's 5-5 record.
NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. -- The Youngstown area has 25 players on the Westminster College football roster this year, including seven returning lettermen, and several assistant coaches, as the Titans launch a new era under first-year coach Jeff Hand.
The returning lettermen are punters Dusty Rhodes (Niles) and Kyle Trimble (Western Reserve), defensive linemen Matt Hanhold (Cardinal Mooney) and Chris Dulovich (Poland), tight end Josh Bero (Poland), wide receiver Jake Buzard (West Middlesex) and defensive back Jerad Smith (Neshannock).
Hand, a native of Ellwood City, succeeded Jerry Schmitt at the Westminster helm after last season. Schmitt left after five years and a 28-21 record to become coach at Duquesne.
Hand will attempt to improve Westminster's 5-5 record of last year, including 2-3 in the President's Athletic Conference, while also trying to continue the success he enjoyed at Waynesburg College and Benedictine (Ill.) University the past six years.
Hand compiled a 24-18 record in four seasons at Waynesburg, including 9-1 in 2003 as the Yellow Jackets won their first PAC title and qualified for the NCAA Division III national tournament for the first time.
Several area coaches
Almost all of Hand's assistant coaches also will be new to Westminster, the only holdover being Don Augustine, a former Westminster player from Boardman who will coach the running backs and special teams.
Dwayne Pavkovich, former quarterback for Poland and Hiram, is the Titans' new offensive coordinator, while Paul Hulea, the former Poland High coach, has been added as a defensive line coach.
In addition, Gary Schooley, former Mohawk and New Castle coach, has become secondary coach, while John Latouf, also an ex-New Castle coach, has joined the Titans' staff.
Rhodes good punter
Rhodes, a sophomore, averaged 32.8 yards in 60 punts last year as a freshman with a long punt of 56 yards, and made the All-PAC second team. He had 10 punts inside the 20.
Trimble, a junior, was a backup punter and punted nine times for a 28.2-yard average.
Hanhold, a senior, was part of the defensive line rotation and had 45 tackles, including 24 solo stops.
Bero, a senior, was a starter at tight end and caught six passes for 106 yards for a team-best 17.7-yard average, and made All-PAC honorable mention.
Smith, another senior, was a reserve defensive back and had 15 tackles, including eight solo stops.
Dulovich, a junior, was a reserve defensive end and had three tackles and a blocked kick.
Buzard, a junior, started last season as the team's third receiver before working his way into the starting lineup. He finished second on the team in receptions with 20 for 192 yards.
Westminster will open the season Sept. 3 at home to Ohio Northern at 1 p.m. at Harold Burry Stadium.