Juniors tackle key positions


Natalie Zgurich

Friday night lights: Junior Jarren Kelly receives a pass during practice. The Highlanders made improvements this season.

Nick Pouch and Nathan Breisinger

The Highlander football team has made great strides this year, due in large part to the contributions of a key group of juniors.
Quarterback Mason Stahl, running back Angelo Priore, wide receiver and defensive back Naseer Penn, and wide receiver and defensive back Jarren Kelly each have played a significant role in the Highlanders’ success.
“Mason has become a great quarterback for us and does an incredible job in leading the team,” Kelly said.
Running back Angelo Priore returned as a star on offense, as he has added a strong running game to a versatile offense.

“We have a lot of playmakers, including Angelo, so it is hard for other teams to stop all of us because someone will make a play,” Penn said.
Both Penn and Kelly have strengthened the offense and defense at both defensive back and wide receiver.
“They both do a good job in fulfilling their roles on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball,” Priore said.
Not only have the juniors been impressive and huge contributors to the team, but the players specifically on the offensive and defensive lines have been critical to the Highlanders’ success as well.
“Our offensive line has stood out tremendously this year,” Stahl said. “They give us the ability to run the ball and give me the time I need to throw the ball. They have stepped up big time and really have started to emerge as one of the best offensive lines in the WPIAL.”
Priore agreed.
“We can’t do anything without them and they have given me the holes I need,” he said.
Along with Stahl and Priore, senior linemen Lucas Perfetti and Jaqwon Parker are the other Highlander captains.
“Each captain is a vocal leader, but they also show their hard work,” Kelly said.
The players recognize how important it was to transition from last year, when the Highlanders struggled, to this season.
“We didn’t let last year faze us,” Kelly said. “We had some growing pains, but we came out this year and did what we knew we could.”
“This year we had a complete off-season and were able to work from November on. Last season Coach (Loran) Cooley came on so late that we only had a couple months to prepare,” Stahl said.
The Highlanders in Cooley’s second season have been able to grow under his system.
“Not only does his system allow us to play strong football and fight through adversity, but also it helps us grow as players and learn how to become adults,” Penn said.


Football made major improvements this year. Read more at https://purbalite.net/13238/sports/football-teams-strong-start-put-to-test-against-usc/ and https://purbalite.net/13438/sports/football-team-gets-key-victory-against-chartiers-valley/