By Gary Housteau
There is a lot to be excited about in Struthers this year.
“We’re excited for our 100th year anniversary of Struthers football,” head coach Curt Kuntz said. “We think we’re going to have a team that represents a lot of the history of what the town still is and I think our team is going to reflect that as a physical team that cares about each other and likes to play the game.”
Kuntz, who has led the Wildcats to one playoff appearance in his previous four years, thinks experience and size on the 46-man roster makes him a better coach in a hurry.
“We’ve got eight starters back on both sides of the ball and some other kids that have played a lot of meaningful reps, so that’s going to help a lot,” Kuntz said. “Especially when we have four guys up front on both sides of the ball that’s played a lot of plays, a three-year starter at quarterback and returners at tailback at fullback.
“So we don’t have to start at square one again. We can build off of what we did last year and kind of go from there.”
“I like our offensive line number one and then obviously our quarterback speaks for himself,” Kuntz said.
Senior A.J. Musolino, a Kent State commit on defense, will operate under center for the third straight season. Musolino is their leading rusher and passer returning from last season.
“We had to rely on him too much to run the ball,” Kuntz said. “This year, his runs are going to be a little less predictable so hopefully he’ll have less carries that are more meaningful that will keep him fresh through the season because he’s a difference maker on the back end of the defense.
Up front senior Adam Sedzmak leads the way at tackle while juniors Jimmy Stefanski, A.J. Iarussi and senior Tim McIntee is a three-year starter.
Senior Christian Carson adds even more size to that group.
At tight end Isaiah Reyes is a three-year starter and senior Sam Coppola is a first-year player from the hardwood.
At running back is senior Regal Reese and sophomore Willie Mitchell, a transfer from Canton McKinley. And at fullback is junior Nate Richards and senior Robbie Best. Junior Nick Adams and senior Tekale Rushton are wideouts.
“We have a lot of guys that can play D-Line so our offensive linemen aren’t going to have to play every snap on defense,” Kuntz said. “We’ll be able to have a nice defensive line really for the first time in five years. We’ll have a rotation of guys to keep them fresh to get us through a long season.”
“We like having ‘Mus’ in the secondary, Robbie Best a three-year starter, Trent Stocker was an all-league kid at corner, just a tough kid,” Kuntz said. “I think Nick Adams cost us a couple games last year because he missed the season. He broke his collarbone in a passing scrimmage. He’s got size and he can run extremely well.”
Adams will team with Musolino at safety. At linebacker will be Nate Richards, senior Jake Fricker and Willie Mitchell. Best, a two-year starter at safety, will move down to outside linebacker. Junior Connor Calabrette is returning on the defensive line.
“We’ve got three options at kicker but we’re not where we need to be yet,” Kuntz said.
Sophomore Hunter Stellato, junior Diego Mendel and senior Derek Guzzo are the candidates for the kicker position while Musolino is the returning punter.
“This is my 20th season coaching and I haven’t had a line even close to this, one through five,” Kuntz said. “We got five guys we feel really good about but we have to develop depth in a hurry.”
So Kuntz is very optimistic, overall, about his team.
“But it comes down to staying healthy,” he said. “If we stay healthy I think we’re as good as we need to be to have a chance. All you can ask for is to have a chance in a game and I think we have a chance in every game. We just have to get out of the gate strong and go from there.”