A-K Valley quarterbacks set the bar high in 2019

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Tuesday, October 29, 2019 | 6:46 PM


When the regular season ended this past Friday, seven quarterbacks from around the WPIAL had surpassed the 2,000-yard passing mark.

Deer Lakes’ Aris Hasley and Burrell’s Alex Arledge were two of them.

In his senior season, Hasley took the Lancers’ offense to a new level and became the leading passer in A-K Valley history in the process. With a career total of 4,752 yards, he surpassed Highlands’ Seth Cohen record of 4,083.

“I feel like a lot of good players have come through the A-K Valley and the fact that my name is atop that list shows how hard I’ve worked and how hard my team has worked because I couldn’t have done any of this without them,” Hasley said.

The 5-foot-10, 175-pound signal caller finished his senior season with 2,368 passing yards and 24 touchdowns. Not only did Hasley light up the airways, but he was also a threat on the ground, leading the Lancers with 406 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

“I expected big things out of myself and I tried to raise the bar pretty high,” Hasley said. “I was kinda disappointed with how the season turned out because I wanted to make the playoffs. That was probably my main goal this season. But I was just trying to do whatever I could do to put us in the best situation possible.”

About 12 miles to the East, Arledge was rewriting the record books for the Bucs.

He shattered Burrell’s single season passing yards record of 1,648, set by Garyn Ehrlich in 2004, by throwing for 2,462 yards. He also broke Burrell’s single-game completions record when he connected on 25 of 37 pass attempts against Waynesburg.

Over the course of the season, the 6-3, 190-pound quarterback showcased a strong arm that allowed Shawn Liotta to open up his run-and-shoot type of offense, and the Bucs became the only team in the WPIAL to produce a 2,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard receiver and a 1,000-yard rusher.

“It’s crazy to think about that and just realize how good those numbers are,” Arledge said. “As a team, we never really focused on our stats. We just played as a team and did the best that we could. We were never really worried about it.”

Both quarterbacks operated offenses that were fast paced. On occasion, the Bucs leaned on senior running back Mikey Scherer and there were times where Arledge only threw the ball six or seven times. Against Deer Lakes, he completed 5 of 6 pass attempts for 90 yards in a 16-14 win. Two weeks before that, Arledge threw five passes for 75 yards and two of them went for touchdowns.

Then, after throwing at least two interceptions in the team’s first three games, Arledge compiled a streak of 187 pass attempts without an interception. That streak ended on his last attempt of the season this past Friday against Derry.

“He was accurately putting the ball where it needed to be and it was on time,” Liotta said. “We run a lot of routes where our receivers are adjusting based on the coverage and that required Alex to be on the same page with his receivers. That came with a lot of reps at practice over the course of the season.”

Just like with Arledge, accumulating a greater knowledge of the offense helped Hasley improve heading into his senior year. After two years of capturing the basic concepts of the Deer Lakes scheme, Hasley had a solid understanding this season, and it showed with how he was able to deliver the ball to multiple receivers.

“He started to realize who we were trying to get the football to,” Deer Lakes coach Tim Burk said. “When we put new things in, he immediately understood who we were trying to get the ball to. He started understanding that we ran certain things to get Jack (Hollibaugh) open, then we also ran certain things to get Trey (Darrah) open.”

Both Hasley and Arledge set the bar high in 2019, and while one of them became the leading passer in A-K Valley history, the other is just waiting his turn.

“I always set the bar high for myself and set my goals the highest I can,” Arledge said. “I want to be the best and that’s always my goal. But I just want to go out there and play my game.”

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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