"Our mindset when we start every year is, 'we're going to make the playoffs, we're going to win the conference,'" said coach Andy Pacak, who helped the Monessen Greyhounds do just that, shocking Clairton in the process of a 9-1 season atop the Black Hills Conference.
Halting the Bears' streak with a 42-24 win on Sep. 20, the Greyhounds technically finished in a three-way tie with Clairton
and Fort Cherry, but because of the WPIAL tie-breaking rules, came out in first place.
After losing just one game this season, a defeat that came at the hands of Fort Cherry, Monessen heads into the postseason seeded third, behind only Sto-Rox and Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic, both of whom went undefeated.
As much as Pacak
and company seem prepared to take each game as it comes, something that helped them go 8-1 in the conference this year, the presence of a recent powerhouse like Clairton serves as an added piece of motivation - as well as an obvious obstacle.
"First and foremost, you always have to start the conversation with Clairton
acknowledged the Greyhounds' high ranking could be beneficial in the postseason but told the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, "in the playoffs, everybody is 0-0 and anything goes."
In addition to stressing the importance of continued dedication, Pacak
addressed the team's health, pointing out that several players are back for the playoffs and simply add depth to a physically prepared unit.
That being said, Monessen is doing its best to steer clear from complacency as the playoffs near.
"We want to be a little more consistent in execution on the offensive line, and defensively, we'd like for our linebackers to get to the ball a little better," Pacak