Former Pine-Richland head coach begins season with Mars football team

MARS TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Mars football has a new but familiar face leading them this season. Former Pine Richland head coach Eric Kasperowicz is now at the helm for the Fightin’ Planets.

After being in the spotlight for an alleged hazing investigation with the Rams program, he was ultimately let go by the Pine-Richland administration. However, Kasperowicz now aims to move forward and lead Mars to their first ever WPIAL title.

“The community’s been nothing but just outstanding, welcoming,” said Kasperowicz.

It’s a new chapter and a new challenge for Kasperowicz. One he’s welcoming with wide open arms.

They’ve been thriving to get over that hump,” said Kasperowicz. “Mars traditionally has been a great football program, won a lot of football games, just hasn’t quite been able to get over the hump. And that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Kasperowicz’s journey to Mars has been anything but an easy one. Back in April 2021, Pine-Richland fired the head coach following claims of bullying and hazing in the program — claims Kasperowicz firmly denies.

“It was very tumultuous,” said Kasperowicz. “It was a tough time. I mean, ... you have 99.9% of the people in your corner backing you, from kids, to players to parents, when it’s an administrative issue. It’s just a shame that they did that to those kids. But, you know, we’re back on our feet. Everything’s moving forward. We’re on to the next phase, and we’re looking to turn this program and Mars around.”

When it comes to changing the culture at Mars, the players have welcomed those changes with open arms.

“This year, we have the biggest freshman class playing football I’ve ever seen,” said senior defensive end and guard Alex Jablunovsky. “We have more kids (than we) have ever had on the team before, and I think his presence and this coaching staffs’ presence is really going to help build excitement for the program.”

Kasperowicz embraces community in every sense of the word. It’s a value he’s making sure to instill in his new players.

“He was encouraging us to go to games with other teams because he feels that’s really important — that building that entire community support for our team,” said Jablunovsky

And while it may take a little time for Mars to get over that hump and win their first WPIAL title, Kasperowicz knows good things are on the horizon for his new team.

“They’re thirsting for that; they want that. They want to be great,” said Kasperowicz. “So it’s in place. ... Whether it takes ... three weeks or whether it takes three years, I don’t know. But we’re going to try to make that the sooner rather than the latter.”

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