Seniors wrap up successful career

LANCASTER – One of the most successful senior classes in Catholic Central’s storied athletic history saw its time wearing blue and gold come to an end Friday at Beavers Field.

Newark Catholic, the defending state champions, pinned a 6-2 defeat on the Crusader baseball team in the Division IV regional championship game.

Don Young’s club finished its year at 22-6. That showing combined with 9-3 and 18-8 marks in football and basketball respectively gave Central a 2013-2014 school year record of 49-17.

The year began with Central’s senior-dominated football team advancing to the semifinals of the Division VII Region 25 playoffs, falling to Glouster Trimble.

Steve Daley’s gridders reeled off eight straight victories to start the season, the first time since 1971 that a Crusader squad began 8-0. The seniors helped Central earn back-to-back trips to the playoffs, compiling a 15-8 record.

“They’re a special a group,” Daley said of the senior class. “Their goal was to get to the state championship game and they gave that kind of effort.

“They pushed each other to make each other better. They wanted to go out as winners. There is no doubt they contributed to getting us back on the map.”

Daley pointed out the senior class did “a tremendous job of getting us back to what people are used to. When you look at last year and this year, they have been able to put us back on the map. All the credit for that goes to them. They are a great class. They worked hard and are talented.”

The senior-dominated Central basketball team rolled to the school’s best record since 1993. The Crusaders reached the OVAC Class 3A title game and won a sectional championship. Central had not earned a sectional crown since 1993.

In two seasons, Sean Tucker’s cagers compiled a 35-15 season, a school record.

“We will go as far as our seniors want us to go and allow us to go,” Tucker said prior to the start of campaign. “They’ve been playing together for a long time, they stuck it and they are fighters.”

After Friday’s defeat at Lancaster’s Beavers Field, Young showered his seniors with praise.

“I’ve been here three years and these seniors have been part of 62 wins,” Young noted. “A number of them have been on the varsity for at least three yes and have played a lot. That’s quite an accomplishment to average more than 20 wins per season.

“They kept taking us farther and farther. I hated to see it end for them today.”

Brenton Colabella, the only 12th grader to have played on all three years, pointed out “it was a great senior year.”

“We are a tight group and we’re all close friends,” the three-sport standout stated. “We’re a bunch of battlers and fighters. We never go down without a fight.

“The effort my senior class gave in all three sports, especially baseball, this year was just tremendous.”

Colabella, who established numerous school records as Central’s first-ever four-year starting quarterback, did admit he and his fellow seniors “wanted more.”

“Central athletic teams haven’t been this successful in a while,” said Colabella, who will continue his football career at West Liberty University. “To say our senior class and the underclassmen that helped us get back to this was quite an accomplishment.

“I’m not real happy now but I’m sure when I look back at our accomplishments, I will be happy.”

In two regional games, Colabella was a perfect seven for seven at the plate. The Crusader shortstop had a triple, double and five singles while knocking in four runs.

“I was just doing whatever I could to help the team,” he said. “Everyone battled, everyone hit the ball. It was just a total team effort.”