November 25, 2007

Sunseri wins championship, plans visit

It's exactly the situation you want to be in as a quarterback. Fourth down, one yard to go for the tie in the WPIAL Championship Game and an extra point from the title. That's where Tino Sunseri stood this weekend.

"We've said since the beginning of the saeason we're going to go as far as the offensive line will take us," said the 6-foot-2, 200-pound signal caller from Central Catholic H.S. in Pittsburgh. "The guys in the huddle said run behind us and we'll take care of it. Our offensive coordinator said if this is what you guys want to do, you do it. One of the things he has tried to do this season is that if we want something, let the players go for it."

So with just a couple of feet to go, a WPIAL championship, and a berth in the state quarterfinals on the line, Sunseri called his own number and dove into the center of the line. "As soon as I hit the pile, I was thinking,'do not stop unless they have to pull you out of this endzone,'" he said.

A few minutes later, the game-winning extra point sailed through the uprights and the Vikings celebrated a 35-34 victory over Gateway. Sunseri was 5-of-11 for the game for 75 yards and a TD throw. He ran for two scores as well.

Next up for Central is Erie Cathedral Prep, a team they defeated 45-7 earlier this season. Sunseri said he isn't too concerned about a letdown. "It kind of showed throughout the season - no matter who the team is, we're able to focus. Any time on any day, any team can beat you; just look at the way the college football season
has gone," he said.

While he prepares for the next step towards the state title, the No. 24 QB in the rankings has put his recruitment on the back burner. "I'm kind of just going totally with trying to get a state championship," he explained. "One of our goals was to win that, and I'm trying to do that. I'm trying to just win that first and then I can enjoy being recruited after the season."

After committing to Louisville in May, Sunseri decided in October to open his recruitment up somewhat. He still remains a verbal committment to the Cardinals, but he has listened to overtures from Boston College, Tennessee, Ohio State and Pittsburgh thus far.

The Cards aren't going down without a fight, though. Head coach Steve Kragthorpe made it a point to travel to Pittsburgh last week and visit with Sunseri at his school. "He came out to practice, and he watched us throw," Sunseri said. "It was nice to see him and be able to talk to him. He's also talking to one of our wide receivers (Andrew Taglianetti - 5-11, 175, WR/DB). One thing about Coach K is he never makes you feel pressured. He's really cool about everything. He really gets to know you more as a person before anything else.

"When I let him know I was going to open things up a little bit, he was okay with that. He was cool about it and didn't put any pressure on me. When he reacted like that I realized that this is a guy I could see myself playing for someday.," he added.

Sunseri and the coaches will have a chance to talk in-depth this coming weekend. After his playoff game Friday night, Sunseri will travel down to UofL for an official visit beginning Saturday. "I had already scheduled this visit not knowing how far we would go in the playoffs. Since I already delayed a visit once before, I'm going to go this time," he reported. "I'm looking forward to going down there and seeing all the coaches and seeing what it's all
about. I actually wanted to come down for the Rutgers game, but our coaches said that may not be a good thing with our game on Friday. And the Louisville coaches said they want to see me and talk to me, and they will get to spend more time with me since there is no game, so that will be good."

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