Derek Moye eager to guide Western Beaver football team

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Monday, August 19, 2019 | 9:22 PM


Derek Moye is short on football coaching experience. His only job as a coach, in fact, was last season when he oversaw the receivers at PIAA Class 3A champion Aliquippa.

But he is a veteran when it comes to playing the game. He parlayed a standout career at Rochester into a scholarship to Penn State, then had a stint in the NFL, spending parts of two seasons with the Saints, Dolphins, Steelers and Titans.

That, he said, prepared him to take on his role as Western Beaver’s coach.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to be around some of the great minds in football,” said Moye, 31, who runs his own speed-training business in Cranberry. “I think (Steelers) coach (Mike) Tomlin is a great football mind, but he’s also a great motivator and a players’ coach. Joe Paterno, he has a resume that speaks for itself as a coach.

“Also being around some of the players, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees … when you’re around those people, whether you do it consciously — which I kind of feel like I did do it consciously — you’re watching them, trying to learn from them trying to pull some of those things into coaching now.”

To help him in his maiden voyage, Moye surrounded himself with veteran assistants. He picked Tony Caltury, who has been coaching for more than a decade, to coordinate the offense and Ron Busby to oversee the defense. Busby is a longtime coach as well as a district employee who has familiarity with the players.

They take over a team that went 2-5 in the Class 2A Midwestern (3-7 overall) and missed the playoffs. They also inherit a team in its second season of a co-op with Lincoln Park.

The addition of the Lincoln Park athletes has the Golden Beavers roster up to 34, and, by all accounts, the players have blended seamlessly.

“I think it’s great having the kids come together,” said senior offensive lineman/linebacker Zach Altenbaugh. “It really is just one big family.”

The trick will be for all of them to learn Moye’s system and expectations. Moye envisions a style he would like to play, but he said he won’t force the proverbial square peg into a round hole when it comes to his system.

“I don’t think it would be very smart to not adapt your coaching style to the guys that you have,” he said. “If you come in wanting to run a spread system and want to pass the ball 80 percent of the time, but you don’t have a quarterback who can do it, that’s not being a very good coach.”

Moye has a quarterback who is young but experienced: sophomore Thad Gray, who threw for 648 yards with seven interceptions and four touchdowns. Brother Noah Gray likely will be his favorite target after catching 25 passes for 300 yards and three scores.

Altenbaugh, a 2018 first-team all-conference selection described as a “tough, hard-nosed football player” by Moye, and fellow linebacker Daquan Bradford will anchor the defense.

Moye was encouraged by what his team showed in seven-on-sevens during the offseason but said a lot of personnel decisions will come down to who performs the best in camp. Now that he has his plans in place, Moye is eager to get started.

So are the players.

“I’ve seen a lot of development on the team just in the past few months,” Altenbaugh said. “I’ve seen kids change for the better. There are a few kids whose work ethic wasn’t the best, but now they’re some of the hardest workers on the team.

“I’m not the kind of guy to sound cocky, but I think we have a great team. I think we can make the playoffs and make a run.”

Schedule

Coach: Derek Moye

2018 record: 3-7, 2-5

All-time record: 288-247-6

8.24, at Summit Academy, 12:30

8.31, South Side, 12:30

9.7, at Shenango*, 7

9.13, Riverside*+, 7

9.20, at Mohawk*, 7

9.27, at Ellwood City*, 7

10.5, Steel Valley, 12:30

10.12, New Brighton*, 12:30

10.18, at Neshannock*, 7

10.26, Freedom*, 12:30

*Class 2A Midwestern Conference game

+At Blackhawk

Statistical leaders

Passing: Thad Gray

66-99-648 yards, 4 TDs

Rushing: Raven Chandler*

89-350 yards, 4 TDs

Receiving: Noah Gray

25-300 yards, 3 TDs

*Graduated

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