6 WPIAL quarterbacks selected as finalists for Willie Thrower Award

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Thursday, January 25, 2024 | 1:27 PM


WPIAL champions Nolan DiLucia of Peters Township, Logan Kushner of North Allegheny and Matt Seig of Fort Cherry were three of the six quarterbacks named Thursday as finalists for the Willie Thrower Award.

The award is given annually to the top quarterback in the WPIAL or City League. The others finalists are Penn Hills’ Julian Dugger, Montour’s Jake Wolfe and Central Catholic’s Payton Wehner.

The six will be honored at a luncheon April 6 at the Knead Community Cafe in New Kensington, where the winner will be announced. Aliquippa football coach Mike Warfield is a featured speaker at the event.

The finalists are chosen by a panel of voters that includes a coach representing each of the 17 WPIAL conferences and the City League along with relevant media members.

Organizers of the award said 29 quarterbacks received votes for this year’s award. The committee traditionally honors only five finalists but expanded the field to six to accommodate a tie.

The winner receives a 29-pound bronze replica of the Willie Thrower statue that stands outside Valley High School. Thrower, who was the NFL’s first Black quarterback, led New Kensington to two WPIAL titles.

Kushner passed for 1,877 yards, rushed for 1,475 and scored 48 combined touchdowns as North Allegheny won its second consecutive WPIAL title.

DiLucia emerged as one of the WPIAL’s top passers a first-year starter for Peters Township, which won its first district title. He topped all WPIAL passers with 3,036 yards and threw 30 touchdowns.

Dugger is a Pitt commit. The four-year starter finished his high school career with nearly 5,000 career yards. He showed why college coaches were recruiting him by throwing for 1,646 yards and 20 touchdowns while rushing for 776 yards and 11 more scores.

Fort Cherry won its first WPIAL title last fall behind Sieg, who rushed for 2,387 yards and 43 touchdowns. He added 1,671 passing yards and threw 20 TDs.

Wolfe passed for 2,662 yards and 31 touchdowns and rushed for 861 yards and 14 scores as Montour reached the WPIAL semifinals. He’ll graduate with 4,868 career passing yards.

Wehner ranks 13th in WPIAL history with 6,956 career passing yards. The St. Francis (Pa.) recruit added 2,940 yards and 36 touchdowns this season for the WPIAL 6A runner-up.

Previous winners were Armstrong’s Cadin Olsen, who won twice, and Pine-Richland’s Cole Spencer.

Chris Harlan is a TribLive reporter covering sports. He joined the Trib in 2009 after seven years as a reporter at the Beaver County Times. He can be reached at charlan@triblive.com.

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