Dennis Buchman Nikos Rapach Christian Price

TEAM: Hazleton Area Cougars

COLORS: Scarlet, Silver & White

COACH: Dennis Buchman, 2nd Season (4-3)

PIAA: Class 6A

2021 CONFERENCE: WVC Division 6A/5A

2020 RECORD: 4-3 (3-1 in conference)

RECORD LAST FIVE SEASONS: 22-30

STADIUM: Harman-Geist Memorial Field

OFFENSIVE STARTERS RETURNING: 4

DEFENSIVE STARTERS RETURNING: 5

OFFENSIVE SCHEME: Multiple

DEFENSIVE SCHEME: 4-2-5

2021 PREVIEW

The Cougars are coming off a very successful season in coach Dennis Buchman’s first year at the helm of Hazleton Area football. Hazleton will return some of the best skill players in the WVC, but it will be linemen that will decide their fate in the division and in Class 6A. It’s hard to call in a rebuilding year because of the talent level so instead we will refer it as a building year.

Junior running back Matthew Buchman is back after piling up 566 yards his first year as a starter and 257 yards as a freshman. Matthew Cusatis and Connor Shamany combined for 70 receptions for 926 yards and 9 touchdowns in 2020. A new quarterback will be behind center and the favorite is Tyler Wolfe to win the job. Luke Gennaro is slated to be the backup. Connor Kundrat and Kevin Guzman will provide depth at running back.  A new player will start a fullback. Ryan Matyas will be backed up by Sam LaPoint and Jayden Johnson at fullback. Christian Price is got experience last season and will line up at tight end, but also will flex out as a receiver. Mitchell Masten, Jose Rodriguez, Ulises Ortiz, Jim Beltre and Alex Pongrazzi will all be lined up on the depth chart at the receiver positions.

The Cougars will start five new offensive linemen for 2021. How quickly the unit develops will be key to the team’s success. Competition at each position will be important to see who is the best fit. At left tackle, we could see Jean Valdez and Dylan Solomon, left guard Raimon Abreu, and Max Ticona, center Leo Kelly, Chris Sachs and Michael Ward, right guard Juan Fabian and Sam Porro, right tackle Nikos Rapach and Logan Aikens.

Same story on the defensive side of the ball. How fast the players up front progress will determine Hazleton’s fate. Abreu, Valdez,  Aikens, Kelly and Porro will be looked at for the ends while Sachs, Fabian, Ticona, Rapach, and Solomon fight it out for the defensive tackle spots. Outside linebacker Kundrat and inside linebacker Matyas return. Masten, Price, Melvin Kernis and Patrick Petrosky will vie for the other spot outside while Beltre, Johnson, and LaPoint will provide depth at inside linebacker. Cusatis and Shamany are returning starters at cornerback with depth being provided by Ortiz, Guzman and Rodriguez. Buchman is the lone returning starter at safety with Pongrazzi and Gennaro getting playing time at the other spot.

Luke Russo is one of the best returning placekickers and punters in the WVC.

QUOTE FROM COACH BUCHMAN: We have an incredibly selfless TEAM that has worked tremendously hard this off-season. Trust, Love, Commit. Go Cougars!

RETURNING ALL-STARS – WVC DIVISION 1
First Team Running Back – Matthew Buchman
First Team Wide Receiver & Second Team Defensive Back – Matthew Cusatis
First Team Punter & Second Team Kicker – Luke Russo

2021 Hazleton Area Roster

#PlayerPositionWeightHeight2021 Grade
1Matthew BuchmanDB, RB2056'1"11
2Mitchell MastenLB, WR1855'1112
3Luke GennaroDB, QB1555'910
4Matthew CusatisDB, WR1656'0"11
5Jose RodriguezDB, WR1555'712
6Connor ShamanyDB, WR1956'4"11
8Sam GuzmanLB, QB1705'1010
9Jim BeltreLB, WR1956'011
10Ryan MatyasLB, RB2055'10"11
11Christian PriceDB, WR1906'112
12Ulises OrtizDB, WR1705'811
12Jacob AgramonteLB, WR1755'10"10
13Treyvon CorchadoDB, WR1806'212
14Tyler WolfeDB, QB1805'11"11
15Luke RussoK, P1605'1012
17Alex PongrazziLB, WR1805'9"11
18Devin YoungcourtLB, WR1705'912
20Kevin GuzmanDB, RB1855'9"11
25Qay’von MinorLB, RB2006'0"11
27Stanley JimsonLB, RB1605'912
27Miguel RamirezLB, WR1705'9"11
28Connor KundratLB, RB1905'11"11
29Caden SopkoDB, WR1505'711
31Melvin KernisLB, WR-511
36Jayden JohnsonLB, RB1905'1012
40Sam LaPointLB, RB1855'1011
41Kenny Tejada-TaverasDB, RB1455'710
42Brady MizenkoLB, RB2156'0"10
46Isaac PetersLB, WR1555'810
47Patrick PetroskyLB, RB1605'812
50Maximo TiconaDL, OL2505'9"11
51Jhoan CarbonellDL, OL1905'811
53John DaughertyDL, OL1905'1010
54Raimon AbreuLB, OL2205'1112
54Peter YoungcourtDL, OL2255'11"10
56Chris SachsDL, OL2105'712
57Blaze YatesDL, OL2205'911
58Brayan CalcanoDL, OL2455'10"10
59Robert AndersonDL, OL2155'10"10
60Michael WardDL, OL2455'11"11
61Rafael RoqueDL, OL2105'911
62Leo KellyDL, OL2455'1112
63Logan AikensDL, OL2256'311
66Cam’ron MaldonadoDL, OL1905'6"10
67Kenny LucasDL, OL2206'0"11
68Jacob CastilloDL, OL2456'411
70Sam PorroDL, OL2806'0"11
71Jean ValdezDL, OL2256'4"11
73Tommy KingDL, OL2605'10"9
75Nikos RapachDL, OL2806'512
76Dylan SolomonDL, OL2706'511
78Juan FabianDL, OL2856'0"11