Coach (season): Nathan Liberty (1st season)
2011 overall record: 3-6
2011 region record (place): 2-6 (tied for sixth)
2011 playoff results: Did not qualify for the District 10 Class A playoffs.
Top players lost: Alex Spahn, Erik Eisenhooth, Clayton Beatty, Cole Graham, Casey Adams
Top returning players: Chad Eisenhooth, Austin Andrews, A.J. Nageotte, Jesse Staudt, Alex Custead, Cameron Cyphert, Josh Dennis
Assistant coaches: Mike Goss, Joe Hruska, Bill Hoy, John Michalak, Bob Pearson, Kreig Spahn
Outlook: Cochranton struggled in a down region last fall and will change directions this fall. Tom Haynes retired leaving an opportunity for Nathan Liberty to take the program over. Liberty hasn’t been a head coach before but has the pedigree as his dad is a successful coach in the WPIAL. The Cardinals will look for several underclassmen to step up this year after losing Alex Spahn, Erik Eisenhooth, Clayton Beatty, Cole Graham and Casey Adams to graduation. Eisenhooth was voted to the all-region first team as a defensive lineman and the second team as an offensive lineman, while Spahn was a first-team linebacker. Adams threw for 416 yards and three touchdowns while rushing 57 times for 217 yards and two TDs. Beatty was second on the Cardinals with 316 yards on 75 carries and six touchdowns, and he had eight catches for 99 yards. Spahn had 52 carries for 193 yards and four touchdowns and he recorded 122 tackles, including seven sacks. Eisenhooth had 61 tackles.
With a multitude of production lost on both sides of the ball, Cochranton will look to its experienced players to lead the way. Chad Eisenhooth, Austin Andrews, A.J. Nageotte, Jesse Staudt, Alex Custead, Cameron Cyphert and Josh Dennis are back this fall. Nageotte was a second-team wide receiver last fall, while Andrews was a second-team running back and Dennis was a second-team linebacker. Chad Eisenhooth filled in at quarterback last fall and completed 26-of-55 passes for 343 yards and one touchdown. He could get the nod at quarterback again this fall, while Shawn Woolstrum saw a few snaps under center as well. Andrews led the Cardinals last year with 804 yards and eight touchdowns on 100 carries and caught 14 passes for 123 yards and one touchdown. Cochranton lost most of its backfield to graduation but Dennis could step up to support Andrews. Dennis saw 33 carries last year for 147 yards. Nageotte could help as well after leading the Cardinals with 293 yards and one touchdown on 24 carries at wide receiver. Cyphert could lead the defense after recording 101 tackles last year, while Dennis had 50. Bradleigh Carlini had 55 tackles as a sophomore and could be an impact player as well.
Cochranton is almost starting over with a new coach and a new system. The Cardinals lost plenty of talented players to graduation but have a few coming back to lead a young team this fall. Cochranton will open the season at home but will face a big test in Class AA Seneca. The Cardinals then hit the road to take on Cambridge Springs and Mercyhurst Prep. The most important stretch could come at the end of September when Cochranton takes on Union City, Eisenhower and Iroquois. Three wins or losses during those three weeks could decide if the Cardinals have a chance at the playoffs or not.
31 Seneca 7
7 at Cambridge Springs* 7
14 at Mercyhurst Prep* 7
21 Union City* 7
28 at Eisenhower* 7
5 Iroquois* 7
12 Lakeview 7
19 at Youngsville* 7
26 Maplewood* 7
– Tom Reisenweber