2023 Valley News Dispatch high school football all-stars

Saturday, December 16, 2023 | 5:09 PM

Parker Anderson

Knoch, OL/DL, Sr.

The 6-foot-1, 260-pounder was a difference maker in the trenches for the playoff-qualifying Knights in Class 3A. He helped Knoch gain more than 3,000 total yards and collect eight victories in 11 games. Coaches in the Allegheny 6 Conference recognized him as the most valuable offensive lineman.

Devin Beattie

Burrell, RB/LB, Sr.

The Bucs were a run-heavy team again in 2023, and opposing defenses knew that Beattie was the main man to get the ball. He carried the ball 255 times for 1,204 yards and nine touchdowns. He added eight catches for 197 yards and a score. Beattie earned Allegheny Conference second-team laurels at a loaded running back position.

Demetrius Ballard

Valley, OL/DL, Sr.

Ballard, a Division I prospect, often wrecked offensive game plans with his technique and strength. His talents were particularly on display against Uniontown, where he had 12 tackles and one sack and recovered a fumble that he returned 27 yards for a touchdown. His efforts were honored with selection as both the Allegheny 6 Conference’s defensive line MVP and the overall defensive MVP.

Dom Beyer

Plum, RB/LB, Sr.

He wore a No. 1 on his Mustangs jersey, and he was No. 1 in tackles for the Plum defense with 102 stops, 99 of them solo. He was often in the opposing offense’s backfield and recorded eight sacks. A VND second-team all-star last year, Beyer was recognized for his 2023 season with Big East Conference first-team honors.

Carlo Buzzatto

Riverview, RB/LB, Sr.

He started the season sharing rushing duties, but when fellow senior Landon Johnson went down with a season-ending injury, Buzzatto was the workhorse. He set a single-game team rushing record with 418 yards on 40 carries and three touchdowns in a one-point loss to Leechburg. Buzzatto finished his season with 2,070 yards on 210 carries and 17 touchdowns and was voted an Eastern Conference first-team all-star.

Mason Caldwell

Kiski Area, OL/DL, Sr.

Caldwell used his strength and 6-foot-4, 255-pound frame to open holes for the run game and help protect junior quarterback Carson Heinle in the passing attack as the Cavaliers navigated their way through a challenging Greater Allegheny Conference slate to make the WPIAL playoffs. He was honored for his play with selection to the conference’s first-team offense at tackle.

Ryan Cochran

Deer Lakes, WR/DB, Sr.

A tall target for quarterback Derek Burk at 6-foot-3, Cochran, a newly minted Edinboro commit, made a difference on both sides of the ball for the WPIAL Class 3A quarterfinalist Lancers. Cochran caught 27 passes for 409 yards and four touchdowns while making numerous plays, including three interceptions, on the defensive side of the ball. He was selected to the Allegheny 6 Conference all-star first team at both wide receiver and defensive back.

Jake Cummings

Leechburg, TE/LB, Jr.

Cummings was a calming presence on both sides of the ball for a Leechburg team that qualified for the WPIAL Class A playoffs for the third year in a row. A strong blocker, he also was a dual threat on offense as he led the team with 43 catches for 507 yards and four touchdowns to go along with 52 rushes for 251 yards and eight scores. Cummings was selected to the Eastern Conference first team at tight end and linebacker.

Devin Curler

Plum, OL/DL, Sr.

Coach Matt Morgan, an offensive lineman at Plum, Pitt and in the NFL, appreciates strong play in the trenches, and at 6-foot-4, 295 pounds, Curler brought intensity and power for a line that opened holes for Nick Odom and others in the Plum run game and protected quarterback Sean Franzi. Curler’s efforts were awarded with Big East Conference first-team all-star honors at tackle.

Jayden Floyd

Leechburg, QB/LB, Jr.

Floyd joined select WPIAL company with a 1,000-1,000 season on offense for the Blue Devils. He threw for 1,469 yards and eight touchdowns and eight interceptions and added 166 carries for 1,155 yards and 18 scores. Eastern Conference coaches voted him as a second-team all-star at both quarterback and linebacker.

Isaiah Gonzalez

Kiski Area, WR/DB, sr.

A tall, speedy target in the passing game for the Cavaliers, Gonzalez hauled in a team-best 37 passes for 599 yards and seven touchdowns as Kiski Area made a return to the WPIAL playoffs in Class 5A. He hauled in five passes for 49 yards and a score in a win over Armstrong that clinched the postseason berth. Gonzalez, also a leading scorer for the Cavaliers basketball team, was voted a Greater Allegheny Conference first-team all-star.

Noah Love

Burrell, OL/DL, Sr.

With an offense that relies on the run as much as the Bucs, good run blockers are a must, and Love was just that this season. He helped open holes for a Burrell rushing attack that totaled 2,271 yards and 19 touchdowns on 494 attempts. He also secured the defensive line as the Bucs returned to the WPIAL playoffs in Class 3A. Love was tabbed a first-team Allegheny Conference all-star at offensive guard and a second-team pick at defensive tackle.

Ryan Lydon

Apollo-Ridge, C/DL, Jr.

The big junior center anchored an offensive line that helped quarterback Karter Schrock lead both the run and pass games for the Vikings. He also was tough to move in the trenches defensively and recorded 37 tackles in nine games. He earned first-team Allegheny Conference all-star honors at center and second-team conference laurels at defensive tackle.

Angelo Markey

Highlands, OL/DL, Sr.

When the Golden Rams defense needed a play made, Markey was right there. He collected 43 tackles and added four sacks. He made 10 tackles in a win over Hampton in the regular-season finale, helping secure a WPIAL Class 4A playoff spot. Markey was recognized for his efforts with selection to the Greater Allegheny Conference first team at defensive tackle.

Codi Mullen

Knoch, QB/DB, Jr.

Again an anchor on both sides of the ball for the Knights and their run to eight wins (8-3) and a return to the WPIAL playoffs, Mullen threw for 1,852 yards and 18 touchdowns against eight interceptions and added 525 rush yards and five scores on 120 attempts. Also a reliable punter, Mullen earned first-team Allegheny 6 Conference honors on special teams as well as at defensive back.

Colton Otterman

Freeport, HB/OLB, Sr.

The Yellowjackets didn’t have the year they hoped for in and out of Allegheny 6 Conference play, but Otterman did his best to help keep his team alive in the postseason hunt down to the final game of the regular season. He carried the ball 81 times for 542 yards and five touchdowns and made 85 tackles, including 27 for a loss. His 17 sacks led the Alle-Kiski Valley. Otterman was selected a first-team conference all-star at halfback and outside linebacker.

Brady Paga

Freeport, OL/DL, Sr.

A Valley News Dispatch second-team pick last year, Paga anchored the Yellowjackets line from his center position and helped along a relatively youthful Freeport team in its journey through conference and nonconference play. He was selected a first-team Allegheny 6 Conference all-star at center. Paga was no slouch on defense either with 53 tackles from his defensive tackle spot.

Dylan Pinkerton

Knoch, TE/LB, Jr.

The Knights defense led the Allegheny 6 Conference and was third in all of Class 3A, allowing just 16.3 points a game in 2023. Pinkerton was a big reason why the defense was so stingy. He led the way with 101 tackles, one of the top totals in the Alle-Kiski Valley. For his efforts, Pinkerton was selected to the conference first team at inside linebacker.

Aaran Randolph

Highlands, QB/DB, Sr.

Randolph missed a couple of games at midseason because of injury, and his absence was felt. He made an impact in his return and helped the Golden Rams win their final two Greater Allegheny Conference games to make the playoffs. He was named a conference first-team all-purpose performer as he carried the ball 110 times for 801 yards and nine touchdowns and added 370 yards passing and three additional scores.

Nick Rossi

Deer Lakes, OL/DE, Sr.

Also a first-team VND all-star last year, Rossi returned to his familiar defensive end position and recorded another standout season for a Lancers team that made the WPIAL playoffs for the second year in a row. He also was an offensive line anchor who helped a potent Deer Lakes offense rack up nearly 4,000 total yards and 48 touchdowns. Postseason honors for Rossi included conference first-team defensive laurels.

Karter Schrock

Apollo-Ridge , QB/LB, Sr.

Schrock made an impact on both sides of the ball for the Vikings and earned first-team all-conference recognition at quarterback and linebacker. He threw for 1,066 yards and six touchdowns and added 1,224 rush yards and 16 scores in his return from missing almost all of his junior season because of injury. Defensively, he led Apollo-Ridge with 69 tackles and an interception.

Chase Weihrauch

Springdale, QB/LB, Jr.

The Dynamos showed improvement this fall, and Weihrauch was a big part of that as he made an impact on both sides of the ball. The dual-threat quarterback threw for 958 yards and 14 touchdowns and added a team-best 722 rushing yards and two scores on 119 carries. Weihrauch also led the team in tackles with 90, forced three fumbles and recovered two others. He was voted a second-team Eastern Conference all-star at linebacker.

Zier Williams

Deer Lakes, RB/LB, Jr.

Williams will return next season as an anchor of the Lancers offense, and he will attempt to build on a strong junior campaign that saw him surpass 1,000 rushing yards (1,147) and collect 13 touchdowns on 188 attempts. He produced 115 yards and a touchdown on 21 attempts in Deer Lakes’ first-round playoff win over Southmoreland.

Second team

Ethan Alwine, Knoch, RB/LB, Sr.

Christian Brancato, Burrell, RB/LB, Sr.

Lucas Gamble, Leechburg, HB/DE, Jr.

Colton Gent, Springdale, RB/DB, Jr.

Toby Green, Riverview, RB/LB, Sr.

Sam Guthrie, Deer Lakes, TE/LB, Jr.

Brennan Haidze, Highlands, OL/DL, Sr.

Sean Franzi, Plum, Sr., QB/P, Sr.

Aiden Fletcher, Deer Lakes, RB/LB, Sr.

Wyatt Foster, Knoch, OL/DL, Jr.

Montrell Johnson, Highlands, WR/DB, Jr.

Landon Kucic, Kiski Area, RB/LB, Jr.

Wayne Love, Deer Lakes, WR/DE, Sr.

Tyler Maglisco, Burrell, RB/DB, Sr.

Brennan Moore, Kiski Area, WR/LB, Sr.

Cam Murphy, Kiski Area, OL/DL, Jr.

Darian Nelson, Plum, WR/LB/DB, So.

Nick Odom, Plum, RB/DE, Jr.

Chuck Perkins, Valley, HB/FB/OLB, Sr.

Tyrese Samuels, Fox Chapel, WR, Sr.

Spencer Sells, Apollo-Ridge, OL/DL, Sr.

Bennett Shaw, Knoch, OL/LB, Sr.

Brady Sullivan, Freeport, WR/DB, Sr.

Jack Tongel, Plum, WR/LB, Sr.

Isaac Woods, Freeport, OL/DL, Sr.

Michael Love is a TribLive reporter covering sports in the Alle-Kiski Valley and the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. A Clearfield native and a graduate of Westminster (Pa.), he joined the Trib in 2002 after spending five years at the Clearfield Progress. He can be reached at mlove@triblive.com.

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