Monday, December 24, 2012 | 1:19 PM





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Although Tyler Boyd and Mack Leftwich played different positions on the football field, they were alike in so many ways. Both Boyd and Leftwich played vital roles on history-making teams. Both had individual accomplishments that put them in the WPIAL record books.

And both can say they are Player of the Year.

It was so hard to choose between the two standout players, so the MSA Sports staff has picked Clairton’s Boyd and North Allegheny’s Leftwich as co-Player of the Year for the WPIAL. Boyd did a little of everything for Clairton, playing running back, receiver and defensive back. He also punted and returned kicks.

Leftwich had one of the best seasons of any quarterback in WPIAL history.

Boyd and Leftwich also lead the MSA Sports Elite 11 all-star team. Here is a look at Boyd and Leftwich, as well as the other nine players on the Elite 11:

QB, 5-11, 190, Sr.

Leftwich played only two seasons of high school football in Pennsylvania after moving to the North Allegheny district before his junior year. In those two years, Leftwich had 7,013 yards offense.
This season, Leftwich helped North Allegheny become the first team to win three consecutive WPIAL Class AAAA titles and the Tigers also set a state championship game record by scoring 63 points in a 63-28 victory against Coatesville.

Leftwich almost had 4,000 yards offense this season. Leftwich completed 177 of 268 passes for 3,331 yards and 45 touchdowns. He also rushed for 553 yards on 138 attempts and helped North Allegheny finish 16-0.

Leftwich moved to Pennsylvania when his father, Spencer, became a Pitt assistant coach under Todd Graham (Spencer Leftwich is now a University of Arizona assistant). In two years, he completed 303 of 498 passes (66 percent) for 5,554 yards and 65 touchdowns. He also rushed for 1,459 yards on 286 attempts.

Leftwich’s 3,331 yards passing this season was second-best in WPIAL history and he was only the third in WPIAL history to throw for 3,000 yards in a season. The others were Seton-LaSalle’s Bill Stull and South Fayette’s Christian Brumbaugh. Leftwich was at his best in the playoffs. In seven postseason games (WPIAL and PIAA), Leftwich completed 95 of 141 (67 percent) for 1,610 yards and 22 touchdowns.

Leftwich will play next season at University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). He originally committed to Stephen F. Austin, an NCAA Division I-AA school in Texas. But when Sean Kugler (Steelers offensive line coach) became UTEP’s coach, he offered Leftwich a scholarship and Leftwich accepted.

RB-WR-DB, 6-2, 175, Sr.

Clairton finished this season on a 63-game winning streak. Boyd was on the varsity for every one of the victories.

Boyd moved into the starting lineup as a sophomore and finished his career with 5,755 rushing yards, the fifth-highest total in the history of the WPIAL. He also set a record for touchdowns in a career with 117, breaking the mark of 110, set by former Hopewell star running back Rushel Shell.

This season, Boyd helped Clairton win a fifth consecutive WPIAL Class A title and a fourth-consecutive PIAA championship. He rushed for 2,567 yards on 235 attempts, good for an 11.9 yards-per-carry average. He also caught 12 passes for 218 yards and scored 50 touchdowns. He even played some at quarterback, punted and returned kicks.

Boyd is an outstanding athlete. He was an all-section player in basketball last season and came out for baseball in the middle of the season this past spring. He ended up becoming the starting shortstop.
But football is undoubtedly his best sport. He will play in the prestigious U.S. Army All-American Bowl Jan. 5 in San Antonio.

Boyd has not made a college decision yet. He already has visited Pitt. He has January visits planned for Michigan State, Penn State, West Virginia and Rutgers.

And now the rest of the Elite 11:

OT-DL, 6-4, 280, Sr.

Scouting services rank Kugler among the best offensive linemen in the country. Rivals.com has him at No. 6.
Kugler was a three-year starter at North Allegheny after moving to the district from Buffalo when his father became the Steelers offensive line coach. Pat won a WPIAL championship in all three years as a starter. This year, he helped lead a strong North Allegheny running game and also helped keep pressure off quarterback Mack Leftwich. Kugler also was a good defensive player and had 44 tackles.

Kugler made a verbal commitment to the University of Michigan during his junior year. He turned down scholarship offers from a number of schools across the country.

WR-DB, 6-2, 185, Sr.

Foster is ranked among the top 10 receivers in the country by some scouting services. He played as a freshman at Monaca and then Central Valley the past three seasons. He was Mr. Versatility for CentralValley. He caught 45 passes for 756 yards this season and rushed 67 times for 549 yards. He also had 67 tackles and four interceptions from his defensive back position, and averaged an impressive 39.88 yards on punts.

Foster finished his career with 119 catches for 2,003 yards and 1,332 yards rushing and 11 interceptions.
Foster had scholarship offers from colleges across the country. He narrowed his list to Pitt and Alabama, and announced this past Friday that he had made a verbal commitment to Alabama.

QB-DB, 6-2, 182, Sr.

Roth was Mount Lebanon’s starting quarterback for only one season, but he made it a memorable one. He became the first quarterback in Mount Lebanon history to throw for 2,000 yards in a season. He finished 156 of 295 for 2,514 yards and 28 touchdowns. Roth played some at receiver in the past.

Roth is a good athlete, starting for the Mount Lebanon basketball team since his sophomore year. He will play football next season at Princeton of the Ivy League. He also considered Bucknell, Dartmouth and Cornell.

WR-RB-DB, 6-3, 185, Sr.

Wilson had a career like no other receiver in WPIAL history. He finished with a WPIAL record 220 receptions and also broke the WPIAL record for reception yardage with 3,192.

Wilson shined as a receiver and defensive back the past few years, but added a new trick to his game this season. Wilson also played running back and rushed for 489 yards on 73 attempts.

Wilson is one of the best two-sport athletes in the state. Besides his football talent, Wilson is also a talented point guard in basketball. He has scholarship offers in both sports. North Carolina State, Temple, Ohio and Akron have offered for football while Robert Morris, Drexel, Akron, St. Bonaventure and Hofstra have offered for basketball.

OT-DT, 6-6, 280, Sr.

Johnson is a prototypical size for a top offensive lineman, and scouting services rank him among the top 20 offensive linemen in the country. He is strong with long arms and also moves well. He also played defensive tackle this season and helped Belle Vernon make the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs.

Johnson had scholarship offers from colleges across the country. He originally made a verbal commitment to Penn State this summer, but backed out of the commitment after the NCAA hit the school with sanctions. Johnson re-opened his recruiting and then decided to attend Pitt.

RB-DB, 6-0, 183, Jr.

Henry has been in Aliquippa’s backfield since his freshman year, and he had Aliquippa fans exclaiming “Oh Henry” many times this season. Henry helped Aliquippa win a second consecutive WPIAL Class AA championship . He rushed for 1,919 yards on 197 carries and scored 31 touchdowns. He also is an outstanding defensive back.

Although he is only a junior, Henry already has scholarship offers from Division I colleges. Pitt, West Virginia and Ohio State have already offered. He is expected to have many more offers by the time he is a senior.

WR-DB, 6-2, 190, Sr.

A versatile player who helped South Fayette finish 11-1 thsi season. He had 58 catches for 1,190 yards and also scored 19 touchdowns. He also was an excellent kicke returner and also had an uncanny ability to block kicks and punts.

Challingsworth made a verbal commitment to Pitt in the summer, but ended up accepting a scholarship to Pitt a short time later.

RB, 5-11, 200, Jr.

Washington made it to the WPIAL Class AA championship game this season, and McKenzie was one of the main reasons. He led the WPIAL in rushing during the regular season and finished with 2,689 yards on 232 attempts (11.6 yards per carry). He also scored 42 touchdowns.

McKenzie had almost 3,900 yards rushing the past two seasons. Pitt, Purdue and Maryland already have offered scholarships.

QB-DB, 6-0, 190, Jr.

Williams is one of three juniors on this year’s Elite 11. Not many players in WPIAL history have thrown for 2,000 yards and rushed for 1,000 in a season, but Williams did it this season.

Williams finished with 127 completions in 227 attempts for 2,237 yards. He also ran for 1,189 yards on 151 attempts and led the Vikings to the WPIAL Class A title game before losing to Clairton.

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