Elkers open their season tonight in St. Marys

Photo by Bob Parana - Elkers head coach Anthony Allegretto (left) and St. Marys coach Bill Shuey prior to an Elkers-Rams game last season.
Staff Writer

The Ridgway Elkers were to open their season last night in Johnsonburg, but due to the Paper City high school’s COVID-19 shutdown, the season opens tonight in St. Marys. The JV and varsity games against the Dutch were added Friday morning. The Rams return to action today at Cameron County.

Head coach Anthony Allegretto is pleased his team will see action tonight.

“We had a couple good practices this week, but we lost our edge a bit when we found out about Johnsonburg. We expect to have a good practice [Friday] in anticipation of playing St. Marys. We’re glad to have the opportunity to play,” he said.

The Elkers are coming off two-straight District 9 Class AA championships. The team this season will be playing in the IU9 Bubble which includes schools in Elk, McKean, Cameron, and Potter Counties.

The match-up will pit Allegretto against long-time Rams head coach Bill Shuey whose contract wasn’t renewed following the 2019-2020 season. He decided to take the job in St. Marys when it was offered.

The two teams have not played since the 2013 Elk County Holiday Tournament when Ridgway won the title with a 64-42 win.

“I told the kids there’s not a whole lot we can do scouting wise. They have a new coach so we expect them to maybe look a little more like the Burg team last year. We haven’t played them in a while. We know how St. Marys plays. I’ve seen them and I’ve scouted them in the past for the Christmas tournament, but coach Shuey is going to bring his brand with him. I’m sure he’s doing a great job,” said Allegretto.

The two coaches are very familiar with each other. The Elkers mentor laughed when asked about the rivalry.

“Not much of a rivalry. It’s one of those games where he’s a good friend. You want to win every game, but if you lose like we lost to Johnsonburg twice last year you think, OK, it’s Bill. If I’m going to lose it’s not so bad losing to him.”

The Elkers returned to practice Monday after being off since Dec. 13. Allegretto said it will take a bit to shake the rust off.

“We told the kids we’ll have to go in and adjust. It should be a tough one. I was looking back and were already 21 practices behind where we were on Jan. 22 last season. They’re very talented. We’re a little short with depth. If we shoot the ball well I think we’ll be OK but again, they’re very talented and tall.”

No matter the outcome the Ridgway coach is thankful the season will get underway.

“We’re glad we’re getting this game, I'm especially happy for the seniors. We're at a point where you don’t know what can happen [day to day]. Anything we get is a bonus.”

The game is being broadcast on WDDH - 97.5 FM - the Hound and will be live streamed by St. Marys - https://www.facebook.com/StMarysAreaSchoolDistrict/live_videos/

The JV contest is set to begin at 6 p.m.

Elkers Varsity roster: Seniors – Alex Bon #20, Dominic Gaudino #11, RJ Miller #2. Juniors – Domenic Allegretto #1, Dylan Goetz #33, Will Howard #(not listed), Dan Park #23. Sophomores - Jack Benninger #32, Alec Devallance #21, Eric Gustafson #3, Erik Panebianco #14, Aaron Sorg #4.

Elkers JV roster: Dylan Goetz #33, Will Howard #(not listed), Alec Devallance #21, Eric Gustafson #3, Erik Panebianco #14, Aiden Babb #22, Hunter Beeler #24, Evan Gustafson #15, Joseph Kearney #12, Jackson Kilpeck #10, Alex Merritt #35, Ethan Streich #00.