Talented quarterbacks highlight WCCA Foothills Football Classic rosters
By: Paul Schofield
Thursday, April 26, 2018 | 9:24 PM
Robert Kennedy led Jeannette to WPIAL and PIAA Class A football titles last fall.
So when his coach, Roy Hall, was selecting the Blue team roster for the second annual Westmoreland County Coaches' Association Foothills Football Classic, picking Kennedy was a no-brainer.
The Tribune-Review Player of the Year and Pennsylvania Football Writers State Class A Co-Player of the Year finished off a tremendous senior season. Now he hopes to give Hall another victory.
Hempfield senior Justin Sliwoski missed three games his senior season because of an injury. Instead of playing college football at a lower level, he opted to be a preferred walk-on at Pitt.
Both hope to put on a show one more time in high school at the Foothills Classic, which will be held at 7 p.m. June 15 at Hempfield.
“We know what Robert brings to the field,” Hall said. “We won't strictly use him at quarterback. We'll see him at running back and wide receiver. We have a lot of talented players.”
Kennedy completed 87 of 152 passes for 1,462 yards and 25 touchdowns, and rushed for 1,356 yards 22 touchdowns. He also caught eight passes for 192 yards and one TD.
He also had 12 interceptions — two against Farrell in the state semifinals — and had six (punt and interception) returns for touchdowns.
“I have something to prove,” Kennedy said. “A lot people didn't respect what I did because I played in Class A. Coach Hall will use me like he did at Jeannette.”
The Blue squad's other quarterbacks are Penn-Trafford's Cam Laffoon and Norwin's Brock Dieter. Hall said he will learn more about the other players from Norwin coach Dave Brozeski, who is on his Blue staff.
Sliwoski is one of three quarterbacks for the Red team. He had a good season despite playing behind a young offensive line. He had Division I offers from Dayton, Dartmouth, Columbia and Georgetown.
Sliwoski completed 126 or 223 passes for 1,668 yards and 19 touchdowns. He is eager to throw to a couple new teammates: Kiski Area's Ross Greece (20 catches, 26 yards), Latrobe's Ivan Etienne (20 catches, 175 yards) and Greensburg Central Catholic's James Rice (23 catches, 302 yards).
“I just want to go out, have fun and show off my skills to the other athletes in the county,” Sliwoski said. “I have to get familiar with some new faces.”
Derry coach Tim Sweeney will coach the Red team, and he selected some talented signal-callers along with Sliwoski. Also on the squad is Greensburg Salem's Jacob Hoyle, who is recovering from knee surgery that ended his season early, and Sweeney's quarterback at Derry, Ryan Polinsky.
“The rules state we have to throw the ball,” Sweeney said. “That's different how I like to coach, but I got (a staff with) Rich Bowen (Hempfield), Aaron Smetanka (Greensburg Central Catholic) and Jason Marucco (Latrobe) who like to throw.
“I'm just excited to coach some of the players I read about all season from the county. That's going to be fun.”