Rockets retain talent, seek more depth for 2022 | End zone
Unparalleled talent and depth carried Slippery Rock through an obstacle-filled field to an appearance in a District 10 Championship game a year ago.
Seventh-year head coach Larry Wendereusz, Jr., and his Rockets know if a return trip to the D10 Finals is in the cards for them, having capable depth will be paramount in 2022.
“I think you always come into an upbeat season,” said Wendereusz, who went 28-32 in seven seasons at Slippery Rock. “At the beginning of last year we had a lot of guys who were ready to be ‘the guy’ or be the best substitute, so when someone went down they were ready to take over.
“Last year we had that depth, but this year we’re not there yet. We have kids working to fill those deep holes, so hopefully over time we’ll be able to fill those deep holes like we did last year.
Despite games being postponed at the last minute due to COVID-19 issues, several starters losing time due to injury and Wendereusz missing games due to illness, Slippery Rock still had averaging nearly 35 points per game en route to a 7-2 record in 2021, averaging 303 total offensive yards (146.7 rushing, 157.3 passing).
“To be honest, I know it sounds crazy, but I think we can be better,” Wendereusz said. “We’re trying to do something different up front to make it easier for some of our guys. We don’t have Shane Thompson, Brendan Earl or Colton Glass, but we think we have guys who can do the job. We are happy to let them go get it. Then you add another year of quarterback experience which will only add to the list of things we think we can do.
In his second year in charge of Slippery Rock’s offense, Mokel generated a 5-1 (15-3) touchdown to interception ratio while throwing for 1,157 yards on 79 completions.
“When you look at what Zip can do, the most important thing for us is to keep the mental part where Zip is comfortable, not what we know,” Wendereusz said. “Sometimes as coaches we get too excited about his abilities and we overdo it. We need to do a better job of sitting back and letting Zip do what Zip does best.
The Rockets welcome back John Sabo, Mokel’s top target, who is attracting collegiate interest in the FBS, FCS and Division II programs. As a junior, Sabo had 35 receptions for 597 yards and nine touchdowns.
Joining Sabo in the Rockets reception hall will be senior Lucas Allison, junior Sam Schwartz and Anderson.
“John’s offseason has been just great,” Wendereusz said. “He left looking to improve, which means we have a lot of guys who are good to be here and do what we ask them to do. It will make you better. Not only did he do that – and he was here every day – but he made time to go to Youngstown State, go to Akron, go to different camps to get coached by somebody. another. You take the knowledge he has acquired along with the skills he already has and you get a special talent.
The Rockets will use a three running back system again in Allen, Galcik and Mineo after four backs topped 258 rushing yards in 2021. Allen is the leading running back with 277 yards and three touchdowns, while Galcik has loaned 258 and two scores.
“We’re thrilled with these three guys and all the mixing and matching we can do with them,” Wendereusz said. “It could be a good match”
Seniors Isaac Bell (right guard) Braiden Reich (center) and Brody Galcik (left tackle) return to the offensive line. Juniors Matt Cratty, Austin McFarland and Blaise Mullen are prime candidates to fill the two vacancies.
“Having those three is a nice piece to have,” Wendereusz said. “The size is excellent, but while having the size, it’s impressive if your technique