Fall sports prospectus: Owen Prasko

Northern Cambria running back Owen Prasko (4) bursts down the field during the Colts’ home opener against United Aug. 23, 2019. Photo by Bob Leslie.

Fall Sports Prospectus is a daily series that will spotlight some of the top players across the Laurel Mountain Sports area as the fall sports season approaches.

A speedy back with the Northern Cambria football team, rising senior Owen Prasko proved to be a solid complimentary piece to the Colts’ rushing attack last season.

Averaging 8.4 yards/carry, the 5-foot-11 running back carried the ball 93 times for 777 yards behind star running back Adam Kopera.

But with Kopera now graduated, the Colts expect to rely heavily on Prasko this season as the starter.

“Owen is a game-changer type of player,” Northern Cambria coach Sam Shutty said. “He always finds a way to make a big play when we need it and give our team the momentum we need to be successful.”

Injuries and a young lineup set Northern Cambria back a step last season as the program went 4-7 with an appearance in the District 6 Class A playoffs. But with the loss of Kopera and several key pieces to the offensive line such as Joe Wagner, Joe Rezk and Zach Daisley, Prasko will most likely be working with a younger and greener offensive line.

Though the offensive line may be more inexperienced than usual, Prasko has a way to work around it. Focusing on his vision and ability to read the defense, he can navigate through the blocks and shoot through open spaces.

“My greatest strength is allowing my line to get on blocks and find the holes they open up (and) my ability to take advantage of what the defense gives me and the yards after contact,” Prasko said.

Cited as a workhorse on his team, Prasko’s work ethic and agility will prove to be valuable commodities as well.

“Owen has a strong desire to be successful for himself and his team,” Shutty said. “He does not waste his opportunities, and he always strives to be the best football player he can be.”

In addition to his physical workouts and conditioning over the summer, Prasko has become a student of the game over the offseason, engulfing himself in the playbook and film.

He now hopes that all the work this offseason pays off. Northern Cambria begins the season at home Aug. 28 against Purchase Line.

“I am 100 percent devoted to being the best player I can be to help my team,” Prasko said. “I study the playbook, study film and condition myself mentally to be ready to play. This year I plan to be more of a leader to the younger players. I am trying to improve on tackling and blocking by working harder at practice and listening to my coaches’ advice.”