George Guido: Thrower award to be presented again this year

Saturday, October 16, 2021 | 5:26 PM

The Willie Thrower Memorial Foundation is working toward the second annual Willie Thrower Award to recognize the top high school quarterback from Southwestern Pennsylvania.

The award is named after the former New Kensington and Michigan State standout who became the NFL’s first Black quarterback while with the Bears in 1953.

Thrower died in 2002.

The winner of the first award from the 2020 season was Pine-Richland’s Cole Spencer. He received a hand-held replica of the Willie Thrower statue that sits inside the entrance to Valley High Memorial Stadium.

The award and the statue were created by Louisville-based sculptor Stephen Paulovich, a 1979 Valley graduate.

Spencer was one of five finalists determined by a voting panel consisting of two coaches from each WPIAL conference and the City League. A panel of 34 media members who cover high school football also voted.

The panelists will be voting again after the season, and the award-winner will be determined at a luncheon in early April.

The foundation will meet soon to determine an exact date and if the luncheon will be open to the general public.

Hopefully, strains of the coronavirus will be dissipated by then.

The other four finalists from the 2020 season were Brad Birch (then of Jeannette), Ameer Dudley of Central Valley, Ethan Dahlem of Upper St. Clair and Jake Pugh of Thomas Jefferson.

Kiski Area memorabilia

Some of the Kiski Area football history will come to life for those who visit the Victorian Vandergrift Museum and Historical Center.

The late and long-time assistant coach Frank Morea has a display of Cavaliers memorabilia dedicated to him at the museum, located at 184 Sherman Avenue.

Morea played for the former Vandergrift High School in the late 1940s when the Blue Lancers experienced considerable success. The museum will be open this Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through Dec. 18.

Sunday’s event is in conjunction with other historical museums in Apollo, Leechburg and Hyde Park.

As an assistant for Vandergrift when the transition was being made to Kiski Area, Morea was instrumental in bringing Dick Dilts to Kiski when the school opened in 1962.

The fledgling school wanted to hire Ray Fiorini, whose Avella team had defeated Washington Township for the 1961 WPIAL title. But, at the same time, the school district elevated Fiorini to principal.

Kiski Area then set its sights on Ronald Corrigan of Tyrone. But the superintendent there wouldn’t let Corrigan out of his contract and, in fact, gave him a substantial pay raise.

The season was fast approaching, and Morea told school officials to look into bringing over Dilts from Pine-Richland. Morea and Dilts were college teammates at Slippery Rock — and the rest is history.

For further information, consult the Vandergrift museum’s website at

Fox Chapel hockey

Fox Chapel is doing all it can to put last season, when the Foxes finished 4-12, behind it.

The Foxes are off to a 3-0 start, outscoring the opposition 27-5. That’s eye-opening when one considers Fox Chapel scored 54 goals the entire 2020-21 season.

Fox Chapel will play Freeport at 7:20 on Monday at Alpha Ice Complex in Harmar. If the Foxes win, they will equal their victory total from last season.

More Football

Plum’s Moore-Watkins, Thomas sign on to continue football careers
Ohio-bound D.J. Walker, 5 other Aliquippa seniors make college commitments official
High school sports notebook: Ex-Hempfield, Jeannette football assistant heads to Central Catholic
Pine-Richland linebacker Max Heckert gets green light to commit to Slippery Rock
Cal (Pa.) lands 4 Western Pa. high school football stars