Derry’s Justin Huss named Tribune-Review Westmoreland Football Player of the Year

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Saturday, December 14, 2019 | 7:40 PM


PLAYER OF THE YEAR

JUSTIN HUSS

RB/DB, Senior, 5-9, 150, Derry

For fans who attended a Derry football game in 2019, the one thing they noticed is No. 21 never left the field.

And while Derry coach Tim Sweeney likes to use multiple runners, there was no doubt Justin Huss became the Trojans’ feature running back, following in the footsteps of 2018 Tribune-Review Player of the Year Justin Flack, Onreey Stewart, Colton Nemcheck and Tyler Balega.

In fact, Sweeney called Huss the best player in the WPIAL Class 3A Big East Conference.

The only time Huss wasn’t on the field was because of an injury. He missed the North Catholic matchup, a game the Trojans lost 13-3. And he missed some of the WPIAL playoff loss to Central Valley with an injury.

Huss finished his senior season by rushing for 1,995 yards. He caught 15 passes for 168 yards, and he scored 32 total touchdowns.

Because of his value to his team, Huss edged Ligonier Valley senior Kyrie Miller, Hempfield senior Nathan Roby and Penn-Trafford junior Ethan Carr for the 2019 Tribune-Review Westmoreland Player of the Year honors.

What makes what Huss accomplished more amazing is that he has screws and a plate in his lower left leg, which he broke prior to the 2018 season.

He missed the first four games and returned in Week 4 against North Catholic.

Huss displayed his speed at the 2019 WPIAL Class AA track and field championships at Slippery Rock, where he won the 400-meter dash and placed fourth in the 200. He won the 400 by more the 10 meters.

What does it mean to be named Tribune-Review Player of the Year?

It’s nice to see all the hard work pay off as a team and as an individual throughout the season and offseason.

What’s mean to be the next great Derry running back?

I got to watch Justin (Flack), Tyler (Balega), Shawn (Broadway), Onreey (Stewart) and Colton (Nemcheck) through the years starting my freshmen year, and it was nice to learn from them. They helped me out a lot. I tried to do my best when it was my time to step up.

What’s been special about Derry football the past four years?

It’s the brotherhood we have and playing Friday nights. The whole community, the band, cheerleaders and the support we received, there was nothing like it.

Do you guys play with a chip on your shoulder?

We do. We use (the respect card) as motivation every once and again. We use it on Fridays to go out and do the best we can.

What are your thoughts about your senior season?

I wish we could take that North Catholic game back. I banged up my knee and missed the game. It would have been nice to win another conference title, but North Catholic played well. We were just thankful to make the playoffs and get that first win. We’d like to go further, but Central Valley was a good team.

You also play basketball and run track. How do you juggle academics and athletics?

I trained myself and used my experiences through football. It helped me in basketball and helped me in track.

You are the defending champion in the WPIAL Class AA 400-meter dash. What are your hopes for 2020?

I want to run better times than last year, improve individually, place higher in states and hopefully win another WPIAL championship.

When you’re not playing a sport, what do you do to relax?

I like hanging out with my friends. I also like to hunt and fish. I wasn’t able to bag a buck yet.

Are there any other things you do at school?

I’m involved with the Interact Club and Chick-fil-A leader academy. The Interact Club goes around and helps the community. I also coached the midget Pups this year. They had a good season and ended up going to the Super Bowl. We lost to McGuffey.

What’s your plan for college? What type of school would you like to attend?

Right now I’m looking to major in business management. I’m looking for a college that feels like home in whatever sport. Right now, there are a lot of Division II and III schools looking at me for track and football. I’m not 100% sure where I want to go.

What is your favorite meal that your mom cooks?

I like the traditional Thanksgiving dinner: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy.

Were there any things the team did before a football game?

We’d sit in the locker room and listen to music and got our minds right. The ritual we had was every Thursday night, we’d hang out together at someone’s house. We’d eat food and watch TV.

Is there any special game you’ll always remember from your career?

The WPIAL championship in 2018 was pretty special. This year, it was the Beaver Falls game. I had a good game and we won for the final time on our field. It was a great atmosphere.

Who would you want to play you in a movie?

Kevin Hart because he’s so funny.

If you could sit down and have dinner with someone special, who would it be?

Athlete-wise, it would be LeBron James because of his work ethic and how great he is.

Is the any dream vacation spot you’d like to visit?

Hawaii would probably be my dream vacation.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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