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Faith and Fortitude: A Look Into The New Football Coach and Team

By: Luke Mich

Saint Vincent Football Team 2019-2020

Last December, Aaron Smetanka was hired as the new head coach for the football team. He is remembered by Saint Vincent alumni as having the most passing yards, completions and touchdown passes for the school during his career here as a quarterback from 2010-2011.

Additionally, Smetanka had previous coaching experience with the team. In 2013, Smetanka was hired to be a part of the coaching staff as the team’s quarterback coach, where he worked for three years.

Concerning his coaching style, Smetanka stated that he “implemented a new offensive system [which is] definitely better [and already] has been fully implemented.”

Smetanka also added that a new special teams coach, as well as a new offensive coordinator from Clarion University, was hired during the off-season.

Smetanka stated that the players work three to four hours a day, Monday through Friday, which consists of “team meetings, watching film, and practicing outside.”

The team also weight lifts three times a week.

But for Smetanka himself, his work is even more tiring.

“I start at 6 a.m., 7 a.m., watching film, and end at 8 p.m.,” he said, giving his Monday through Friday schedule.

On game days, the team starts the day with morning Mass, followed by pre-game, the game itself, and lastly, ends the day with showering and icing up.

Smetanka stated that faith is an important aspect of the team.

“We pray as a team, we have Mass every Saturday morning, and our motto ‘rise together’ is based off our faith,” he said.

Smetanka explained that the team rises together in five aspects: academically, socially, athletically, spiritually, and in a community.

“I want each of my players to learn how to be a better man,” he said.

Smetanka stated that he sees a good team environment.

“Players are bonding together, and there is a better camaraderie,” he said.

Mike Stasko, junior running back, agreed.

“Our morale and chemistry is higher than it’s ever been before. We have more of a family atmosphere, and it really makes the experience more memorable,” Stasko explained.

Smetanka stated that when it comes to short-term and long-term goals, short-term goals are intended for improvement “day in, day out, at practices and games.” Additionally, for short-term, he wants to help grow the players, both physically and mentally.

“I tell these guys that it all starts with your legacy here at Saint Vincent,” he said.

As for long-term goals, Smetanka’s goals are to “go for it.”

“In the future, I want to see this team winning the conference, make playoffs, and win it all,” he said.

Smetanka believes both these short-term and long-term goals are realistic.

“I can see the guys have developed, and they are moving forward,” he said.

The team players all had favorable to opinions of Smetanka.

“He is way more involved with the school and with all the players than [we’re used to from] past years,” said junior quarterback Lorenzo Cota.

Jeremy “Woody” Wodarek, junior safety, stated that Smetanka is a great leader for the team and will do anything for the program and his players.

“He wants to see all of us succeed in life and on the football field,” Wodarek stated.

Even with a rough 0-2 start to the season, the outlook for Head Coach Smetanka is all positive.

The Bearcats’ next game will be the annual Homecoming game this Saturday, Oct. 5, at 1 p.m.


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