2023 Trib HSSN Preseason Football All-Star Team: Central Catholic’s Anthony Speca

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Thursday, August 3, 2023 | 6:01 AM


The Harry Truman quote is on his cell phone screen for quick reference.

“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”

Anthony Speca of Central Catholic believes those words can be applied to his football team.

“From a team standpoint, we have had too much individuality here,” the standout middle linebacker said. “You see (Mt. Lebanon) and what they’ve done. They were together. We’re better if we play as a team.”

A Penn State commit and four-star prospect, Speca does not worry about his stats and barely engages in social media.

He said the team-first mentality may have been missing the last two years when Central finished as WPIAL runner-up. It could be the necessary ingredient to make this season sing.

The Vikings have made the WPIAL final four straight years, winning titles in 2019 and ‘20.

“This year, the focus is on winning. … Winning is very important to me,” Speca said. “Less drama outside of football.

“You come to Central and get offers, but what people don’t understand is that schools will recruit you more if you win. Do your job and win games.”

Speca has been a force at middle linebacker for the Vikings. He and senior Cole Sullivan, a Michigan commit, make a one-two pair of run-stoppers who wreak havoc on quarterbacks.

“I am more confident with him by my side,” Speca said of Sullivan. “It allows me to do my job better.”

Speca made 122 tackles last season and recorded six sacks.

He spent more time in the backfield than some opposing running backs.

New Central coach Ryan Lehmeier has made some minor tweaks to the defense, but his goal was to make his playmakers “comfortable” doing their jobs.

“It’s so fantastic to be able to come on here with such a good senior class,” said Lehmeier, who replaced Terry Totten, the Vikings’ head man for 18 years. “Anthony is mature beyond his years. I mean, he is a tremendous player, but this dude is an ace of spades as a person. His leadership is not just with the team; it’s with adults, too. He’s a tone-setter.”

Remember, Lehmeier was an assistant at Seneca Valley and Pine-Richland, so he coached against Speca and the Vikings before joining them.

“He’s explosive,” Lehmeier said. “He’s a very intense kid.”

A MaxPreps All-American when he was a freshman and a former first-team all-state player, Speca may garner his appreciation for unity from his family.

He is close with his parents, Mike and Carrie, and his siblings, Mikey (25), Lilah (20) and Daniel (16).

The Specas recently returned from a vacation in Italy.

“My parents are so hard-working, especially my dad,” Anthony said. “I really look up to my dad and appreciate all he has done for me. We’re all pretty tight.”

Speca will follow one of his closest friends, Quinton Martin of Belle Vernon, to Penn State. His teammate, Peter Gonzalez, a wide receiver for Central Catholic, also is PSU-bound.

“Q and I have been friends since we started playing AAU basketball together in sixth grade,” Speca said. “We always talked about what it would be like to play together (in college). The opportunity came and we both decided to go there.”

Anthony Speca

School: Central Catholic

Senior

6-2/220

LB/FB

Committed to: Penn State

Division I offers: Pitt, West Virginia, Ohio State, Michigan, Akron, Boston College, Cincinnati, Colorado, Florida State, Louisville, LSU, Maryland, Michigan State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Purdue, Syracuse, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin.

2022 statistics: Had 122 tackles, 19 for loss, six sacks, three forced fumbles and one interception.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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