Cathell has EF on upswing
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By Mike Kovak, Staff writer
Former Peters Township High School head football coach Garry Cathell has seen his share of hard times in recent years.
He left the Indians to coach at Butler, the school with the largest enrollment in the WPIAL. Numbers do not guarantee success and Cathell was unable to resurrect Butler's struggling program.
Cathell returned to the area after landing the head coaching job last year at Elizabeth Forward, where he had his first coaching job as an assistant. The Warriors failed to win a game in Cathell's first season.
"We inherited a program that hadn't won the year before and there were only nine seniors on the team," Cathell said. "There were a lot of other things too, but we had a good group of sophomores."
That group, along with the rest of the Warriors are the surprise of the Class AAA Big Seven Conference.
A year after going 0-10, Elizabeth Forward (1-0, 3-0) is undefeated as it prepares to host Trinity (0-1, 1-2) in a key conference game Friday night.
"The first thing was teaching the kids how to win. After going 0-10, no game is a gimme," said Cathell, whose career record is 101-122-4. "The game we played last week (West Mifflin), the kids got so excited about winning; that just hasn't happened around here in a while."
Led by all-conference fullback-linebacker Greg Sotereanos, running back Cameron Dixon and quarterback Corey Sevcik, Elizabeth Forward drove 82 yards and beat West Mifflin on a field goal by Jeff Hoak with 11 seconds remaining.
Elizabeth Forward is one of two unbeaten teams in the Big Seven. Ringgold is the other. In the coaches preseason poll, the Rams were picked fifth and the Warriors seventh.
Trinity was selected second and the Hillers beat Elizabeth Forward, 47-6, last year.
"Every game is a big game when you're in conference. You only have six games to prove what you can do," Cathell said. "Trinity can't afford to lose and we can't afford to lose. I'm just glad were playing at home."