STEUBENVILLE - Steve Daley, entering his third season at the Steubenville Catholic helm, has a roster featuring 21 lettermen, 15 seniors and 12 returning starters.
"We've outgrown the young part," Daley said. "We're at the point now where we have a four-year starter, some three-year starters and even some of our juniors are two-year starters.
"We're definitely not young anymore. The mistakes we talked about in Year 1 and slightly in Year 2 related to our being young and maturing - we're way past that. We don't expect to see those mental mistakes we've made the last two years. We are a veteran team."
Daley's spread offense again will be directed by Brenton Colabella, who is about to become the school's first four-year starter. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound quarterback already owns five school passing records.
Colabella passed for 1,081 yards as a freshman, 1,986 as a sophomore and 2,484 last season when the Crusaders went 6-5 and reached the Division VI playoffs.
"Brenton's worked really hard in the offseason on his speed and he's gotten faster," Daley said. "Can we count on him to run the ball a little more this year? Probably. That will take some pressure off him.
"He has attended some camps and continued to improve when it comes to reading defenses. He's now at the point where he is able to see things just as quick as I am and he knows where to go with his checks. There's always room for improvement and he has worked to make those improvements."
Sophomore Tony Barber will serve as Colabella's primary backup with junior Chris Murphy also available when needed.
Three of Colabella's top targets (Zack Herrington, 52 catches; Kyle Laukert, 39 grabs; and Michael Carapellotti, 23 receptions) have graduated. But the Crusaders receiving cupboard is far from bare.
Seniors Ryan Fletcher (31 catches for 437 yards and four touchdowns) and speedy Khalil Jones are the top candidates for the slot positions. Jones averaged 23 yards a grab in 2012. Murphy and Barber will serve as the backups.
Aleks Porreca and Johnny DiCarlantonio, both seniors, will see plenty of time at split end. Also in the mix are sophomore James Howard, Barber and sophomore Seth Potenzini.
Steubenville Catholic's running game will be "more by committee.'' A season ago, Doug Maslowski burst upon the scene, gaining 884 yards and scoring 15 times.
Daley indicated junior Stone Romano, who had 32 carries as a sophomore, Murphy, Fletcher and Jones all will "get touches." Sophomore Cedro Parise also is in the hunt.
"We don't have that explosive, get-to-the-edge-and-outrun-people type guy like we did with Doug," Daley said. ''However, we should be better when it comes to running the ball between the tackles."
When Steubenville Catholic goes to a two-back set, Daley noted he'll be able to add senior Luke Potenzini "to the mix." Potenzini, 6-4, 220, also will see time at tight end.
Three starters return to the offensive line. Seniors Jake McCann and Marty Engle are back at tackle while junior Jonathan Shrieve will again man the center spot.
Seniors Jimmy Joe Mort, M.J. Marchetta and Mark Dettorre, along with junior Jake Karovic are battling for time at the guard spots. Dettorre, 6-1, 255, is a transfer from Carrollton. Senior Tony Godich and junior Cam Lupinetti will provide support at tackle. Junior Nate Neely will backup Shrieve.
Daley added that overall, the Crusaders will have "better speed" than they had last season.
Defensively, Daley has seven starters back. Steubenville Catholic again will use the 4-3 as its base but also can employ multiple looks.
McCann will again man a defensive end spot. Luke Potenzini, Howard, Engle and senior Gabe Erickson are fighting for time opposite McCann. Engle, who started on the line in 2012, will bounce between end and tackle.
Marchetta and Mort, both part-time starters last season, top the list of candidates at tackle. Dettorre and Karovic also are candidates.
Romano and Murphy return to their linebacking spots. Senior Louis Fallon is looking to nail down the third position while Godich and Parise are fighting for time also.
Fletcher and Porreca, both starters in 2012, man the safety positions. Jones returns to his cornerback post. Barber, DiCarlantonio and sophomore Robbie LeFever will see time at the other corner. Daley pointed out Colabella may also appear in the defensive backfield in some "situational" moments.
"We don't go real deep at the defensive skilled positions," Daley said. "We like our offensive depth but we can't rest our defensive guys. These are our guys. We might have a backup here or there, but our defensive starters won't be resting much.
"We have a veteran and good group returning but they can't come off the field defensively. We'll work to get them some rest on offense. It bodes well if we stay healing on the defensive side."
Colabella will handle the punting chores. Senior John Paul McNamara, who also is a member of the soccer team, has joined the football squad as a kicking specialist.
Johnny DiCarlantonio, Mark Dettorre, Brenton Colabella, Marty Engle, Gabe Erickson, Louis Fallon, Ryan Fletcher, Tony Godich, Khalil Jones, M.J. Marchetta, Jake McCann, John Paul McNamara, Jimmy Joe Mort, Aleks Porreca, Luke Potenzini.
Jacob Borden, Jake Karovic, Cam Lupinetti, Chris Murphy, Nate Neely, Stone Romano, Jonathan Shrieve.
Tony Barber, Brad Berkey, John Fallon, James Howard, Robbie LeFever, Daniel Frankhauser, Cedro Parise, Seth Potenzini, Cody Raymond, Jesse Zamberlan.