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On The Move - Bosnic's Prexies Look to Continue Improvement Friday Against Clairton

The Washington Prexies moved from the Interstate Conference to the Century Conference this season. Second-year head coach Mike Bosnic described the move as motivating to his team.

"Our kids are excited about moving to a new conference and competing against some different teams," Bosnic said. "However, all double-A football is strong and competitive, so we really just moved from one tough conference to another."

Washington will join South Fayette, Keystone Oaks, Seton-LaSalle, Steel Valley, Quaker Valley, South Allegheny and Burgettstown in the class-AA, Section 1, Century Conference.

"South Fayette is picked to finish near the top but when you look from top to bottom, the whole section is tough," Bosnic said. "You have teams like Keystone Oaks, Seton LaSalle, Steel Valley… it's going to be a challenge week in and week out."

Washington opens the season with a home game against Clairton and a road trip to Apollo-Ridge, another tough task according to Bosnic.

The Clairton Bears lost their first game last year then ran the table on their way to WPIAL Class A and PIAA state championships. They feature many talented players including Desimon Green, a Pitt defensive end recruit that is athletic enough at 6-5, 230 lbs. to also play quarterback.

"Facing Clairton in our opening game is a real tough task. We know that we're going to find out right away where we stand," Bosnic said. "They're defending [class-A] state champs and could be just as good this year, so with as young of a team that we have, we're sure glad our first game is at home."

Bosnic described the hometown experience at Washington as something special.

"Wash High football is a great tradition and we have a great venue which includes fans from our whole area," Bosnic said. "We get a lot of support from members in our community and it's a good feeling. It makes me want to work even harder to give our fans the team they deserve."

To tackle the tough schedule, Washington will field what Bosnic considers a young team with some experienced players in key roles.

"I think if we perform to the best of our abilities we have a good chance of being successful and hopefully have something special here this year," Bosnic said. "We have a young team but have a lot of good young talented kids with some veterans at key positions and we're further along this year with our system than we were last year."

Senior fullback Zach Barnes returns as does sophomore Daron Whitaker. Barnes ran for 718 yards and scored five touchdowns last year and Whitaker gained 371 yards and scored three touchdowns.

Also returning is senior quarterback Marquis Brown, who passed for 682 yards and nine touchdowns last season, adding 279 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground. Receiver/cornerback Julien Anderson, who caught 16 passes for 232 yards last year, also returns.

"Zach has the ability to help carry us and Julien is a really good athlete that can make big plays for us," Bosnic said. "It only helps having experience at positions like quarterback and running back."

Prior to arriving at Washington, Bosnic was head coach at Carmichaels for six years. His system is aggressive and attacking on both sides of the ball, using a pro-style offense and a college 4-3 defense.

His teams have made the WPIAL playoffs each year including 2009, when the Prexies went from a 1-8 season in ‘08 to a 6-4 season and a playoff spot a year ago. He is still looking for his first playoff win, however.

"Making the playoffs last year was a great experience for the kids, although we lost in the first round [to Center]," Bosnic said. "We'd like to now take that next step and advance in the playoffs. That would be an even better experience."

Bosnic played tight end and offensive line at Pitt from 1998 to 2001. He won the Ed Conway Award in 2000 as one of the most-improved players during spring camp. He emphasizes the same work ethic with his players.

"I learned so much at Pitt and I try to share that experience with our kids," Bosnic said. "We try to maximize the potential in talent, strength and speed and get the best out of everybody."

Bosnic describes his coaching philosophy as a work-in-progress formed on a foundation of fundamentals.

"I learn more and more every year on how to become a better coach, but high school football should be all about the kids, so we still have to do what's in their best interest," Bosnic said. "I consider myself a players' coach but at the same time, I instill the importance of discipline in my team."

Since most high school football players never have a chance to play organized football again, Bosnic stresses the importance of making the most out of the opportunity.

"High school football is really a special opportunity and a great experience for the kids," Bosnic said. "We talk about that all the time that if you blink your eyes, the season is over."

He also feels the experience on the field can help the players excel off the field.

"With football, the experience can correlate to some things with life too," Bosnic said. "Football is a tough game and you have to do things that are really hard, and that's a lot like life. If you want to be successful in football or in life, you can't take the easy way out."

Washington Prexies 2010 Schedule

9/3 Clairton

9/11 at Apollo Ridge

9/17 Seton LaSalle*

9/24 at South Fayette*

10/1 Keystone Oaks*

10/8 at Steel Valley*

10/15 Quaker Valley*

10/22 at South Allegheny*

10/29 Burgettstown*

*Century Conference Game

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