Between Rashard Mendenhall, Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer, it's been said that the Pittsburgh Steelers have an embarrassment of riches at the running back position. Some have gone as far as saying the trio gives Pittsburgh the most depth at the position in the NFL.
While not many have said that North Star boasts the best backfield depth in District 5. The statement may be true.
The Cougars, who are in the District 5 Class A championship game for the fourth time in five years, can counter any defense with a runner suited to help North Star win a football game.
And North Star (10-2) has won seven straight games, including three by shutout, heading into Friday night's championship game against Berlin (10-1) at Somerset. The game also serves as a first-round game in the PIAA Class A playoffs with the winner drawing the WPIAL champion, either Clairton or Sto-Rox, Nov. 30.
"For us, everything starts with the line play more so than anything else," North Star coach Stacy Schmitt said. "If we're having a hard time moving people, Thomas Miller is the better back to move people with. Shawn Costas has blinding speed."
Miller, a 5-foot-8, 185-pound junior, rushed for more than 1,000 yards as a sophomore. This year, he's carried the football 142 times for 709 yards and six touchdowns. Two of those scores, 26 of his carries and a season-high 132 yards came in last week's thrilling 21-20 win at Northern Bedford in double overtime.
Costas (5-5. 145) has rushed for a team-high 714 yards and 6.0 yards per carry. His best game came at Blacklick Valley when he rushed 19 times for 176 yards.
The nature of a particular game determines who will be effective and which back we'll go with," Schmitt said. "It's not a case of which back is better because they're both very good."
No matter the back, North Star will need to run the football against a determined Berlin team coming off a semifinal performance against Windber where the Mountaineers rushed for 463 yards and five touchdowns.