ADAMS TWP — Never one to seek attention for himself, Mars High football coach Scott Heinauer believes the honor he recently received was a reward for the entire team.
Following a 9-2 season which saw the Planets claim their second Greater Allegheny Conference title outright in three years, Heinauer was named the conference’s Coach of the Year.
“It’s something earned by our entire coaching staff,” he said. “It’s a great honor.”
Entering the 2012 season, Mars was looking to improve on a 2011 campaign that saw the squad make the WPIAL playoffs, but fail to get to the district quarterfinals for the first time in six years.
The Planets won a first-round playoff game in November, a 45-21 decision over Blackhawk, but saw their season come to an end in the quarterfinals. For the second straight year, West Mifflin ended Mars’ title hopes, this time by a score of 28-13.
“As a staff, we felt this year’s team could at least get to the semifinals,” said Heinauer. “We didn’t do that and no coach would be happy with it, but I’m proud of our kids. We had a great group of seniors.”
Heinauer will take away good memories from this past season.
He watched his team open the campaign with an impressive 21-17 road win over Franklin Regional. Lopsided triumphs over Derry, Indiana, Highlands, Greensburg Salem and Uniontown followed. After six games, the Planets were undefeated while outscoring their opponents 265-36.
Then came an Oct. 12 home game against rival Knoch. The Knights shut down Mars’ potent offensive attack in a 21-0 loss for the Planets.
“We learned a lesson against Knoch,” Heinauer said. “That loss helped to refocus us.”
Mars proved it by capping the regular season in style, with wins over Hollidaysburg and Hampton to enter the playoffs as one of the top four seeds in Class AAA.
“It was great to win a conference title,” Heinauer said. “I care about our kids. Fortunately, we were able to stay away from the injury bug for the most part.”
Note: Heinauer’s assistant coaches include Dave Goodworth, Terry Dillner, Scott Pfeiffer, Brian Hobaugh, Andy Bednar, Dave Mayer, Jeff Kline, Dave Kuremsky, Jeff Rossi, Michael Baumgartel, Adam Fichter, Kent Bloom, Greg Engel and Josh Keil.