Entering the 2013 football season, Eric Kasperowicz was a bullet point on perhaps the WPIAL's most compelling storyline -- how would a handful of local coaching legends be replaced at their respective schools.
Kasperowicz is in his first season as the head coach at Pine-Richland, taking over for the recently retired Clair Altemus, who coached the Rams for 16 seasons and won a WPIAL Class AAA title in 2003 (the program has since moved up to Class AAAA).
A former Parade All-American quarterback at North Hills in the mid-1990s, Kasperowicz was Altemus' offensive coordinator before being handed the reins to the program.
Last Friday, he couldn't have asked for a much better debut, as Pine-Richland rolled past Fox Chapel, 49-18, to give him his first career victory. For Kasperowicz, it was a resounding way to usher in a new era.
"It was definitely a little bit different," he said of the experience coaching his first game.
The most impressive aspect of the Rams' victory may have been the play of junior quarterback Ben DiNucci. Last season, DiNucci emerged as one of the better, and more overlooked, passers in the WPIAL, throwing for 1,219 yards while completing 59 percent of his passes.
In the victory against the Foxes, DiNucci, playing in an offense with six other returning starters, completed 10 of 14 passes for 244 yards and a touchdown.
"He definitely has matured over the course of the past year," Kasperowicz said. "He's improved his decision making, which, to be a quarterback in our offense, is paramount."
Junior running back Connor Slomka added five touchdowns in the victory.
Though he has coached just one game, Kasperowicz is confident that his team can excel this season at a school that expects no less than what his predecessor was able to accomplish.
"We've got high expectations here at Pine-Richland," Kasperowicz said, "that's for sure."
Avonworth raises eyebrows
In what may have been the most surprising result of the WPIAL's first weekend of games, Avonworth had its way with perennial Class A power Rochester, dominating the Rams in a 33-6 victory.
Although the margin of victory is certainly noteworthy, seeing as Rochester hadn't lost a regular-season game by that margin since 1996, the fact that it happened against the Antelopes shouldn't be a shock.
Over the past five years, Avonworth has a record of 43-13 and after a 5-5 mark last season, it brought back several experienced players, some of whom made a difference in last Friday's win.
Harvey steps up
Several players stood out in Summit Academy's season-opening, 35-6 rout of East Allegheny last Friday, but none did so more than running back Elijah Harvey.
By game's end, Harvey rushed for 213 yards, the seventh most of any WPIAL player in the opening weekend, to go along with three touchdowns. Each of his three touchdown runs was longer than 30 yards, including his final score of the game, which went for an eye-popping 95 yards.
Indians defense holds strong
Shady Side Academy's football team is perhaps best known because of star running back Dennis Briggs, who committed to Pitt in June, but the Indians defense was statistically the best in the Class AA Allegheny Conference last season, limiting opponents to an average of 17.2 points per game.
Shady Side's defense continued that work from 2012 into this season, as it shut out Ford City en route to a 21-0 victory Friday. Seven defensive starters from last year are back for the Indians this season.
Games of interest
Central Catholic at North Hills -- In what will hopefully be a more entertaining game than last season's 14-0 slugfest, Pat Carey faces his first marquee opponent in a Central Catholic team that has a strong case to be the No. 1 team in Class AAAA.
Hampton at Highlands -- The Talbots entered the season expected to be one of the better teams in the Greater Allegheny Conference, but were drubbed by Indiana last week. They'll look to avoid their first 0-2 start since 2010 as they take on a Highlands team coming off a 19-point victory against Hollidaysburg.
Craig Meyer: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @CraigMeyerPG