High school notebook: Southmoreland’s Comforti settles on sport, college

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Saturday, February 8, 2020 | 4:21 PM


While challenging and often debatable, Riley Comforti finally found comfort in his college decision.

The two-sport standout from Southmoreland opted to play football at the next level, signing a letter-of-intent Wednesday to play wide receiver at Alderson Broaddus in Philippi, W. Va.

Comforti was one of the WPIAL’s top pass-catching threats over the last two seasons and helped lead the Scotties to the WPIAL playoffs for the first time since 1979.

He also is the leading scorer for the WPIAL playoff-bound basketball team. In fact, just hours after signing his college letter, Comforti poured in a season-best 32 points in the Scotties’ 62-58 overtime victory at Section 4-3A-leading Washington.

“It was definitely tough,” Comforti said of choosing between the two sports. “To be honest, I really liked the coaching staff at (Alderson Broaddus) and all of their intentions. But I definitely had more options for football and I thought this was the the best choice for me.”

For his career, Comforti has more than 1,000 points in basketball and over 1,000 yards receiving on the football field.

Huss to W&J

Derry’s Justin Huss, the Trib Westmoreland Football Player of the Year in 2019, will further his playing career at Washington & Jefferson.

The running back and safety would make anybody’s comeback player of the year ballot. Huss is working his way back from a fractured right leg injury he suffered during this basketball season.

The Trojans’ speedster broke his left leg during the summer of 2018 during a 7-on-7 football workout but came back to rush for 1,995 yards and scored 32 touchdowns during his senior season.

With single-game performances that included rushing totals of 304 and 405 yards, Huss broke and then re-broke the school record.

He also had interest from Seton Hill and Mercyhurst, Division II programs.

Huss, who did not need surgery for the second fracture, plans to be ready to run again in March, which means he could return for track season. He said he might attempt football and track at W&J. Huss is a former WPIAL Class AA 400-meter champion.

Brunson ranked

Mt. Pleasant junior softball player Haylie Brunson is rated No. 124 in Extrainningsoftball.com’s Class of 2021 national player rankings. Brunson, a shortstop/third baseman who plays for the Beverly Bandits-Allen travel team, is a Pitt commit.

Ruffner top player

Latrobe hockey standout Lane Ruffner was named one of the PIHL’s players of the month. One of the league’s top defenseman, Ruffner was a Class AA All-Star this season and has helped the Wildcats allow a league-low 1.47 goals a game.

He had a two-goal game against unbeaten Baldwin for the playoff-bound Wildcats (13-1).

Ruffner is on a nine-game point-streak.

In December, he signed with the Wichita Warriors of the North American Hockey League.

Persin honored

Hempfield senior Olivia Persin, a softball, basketball and volleyball player, was recognized recently as the 22 The Point Chaffin Luhana Pittsburgh Scholar Athlete of the Year.

She received a $5,000 scholarship.

Hauger catches on

Mt. Pleasant senior kicker Luke Hauger not only came back from an ACL injury to kick for the Vikings this past season, but he also earned a spot on a local college team.

Hauger signed Wednesday to play at Ston Hill. He missed his junior season because he had an ACL replacement.

Hauger works out with Kohl’s Kicking Camps in the offseason. He attended the program’s national camp in July in Wisconsin. He made 42 of 45 extra points in his high school career.

Recruiting scene

A few late local Division II football signees last week included Norwin’s Tanner Queen (Seton Hill), Greensburg Central Catholic’s Chase Pisula (Lake Erie), and Aaron Bowen of Hempfield (Mercyhurst).

• Area football players headed to Division III programs include Franklin Regional’s Anthony Bonacci (John Carroll), Belle Vernon’s Anthony Sauritch (Juniata) and Max Bryer (Kenyon), Ligonier Valley’s Ayden Kelley and Dunavin Graham (Saint Vincent), Norwin’s Sean Pavlic (Saint Vincent), Penn-Trafford’s Noah Allen (Washington & Jefferson), and Zach Kuvinka (Saint Vincent) and Brandon Brown (Washington & Jefferson) of Greensburg Central Catholic.

• Penn-Trafford athletes who signed include softball players Morgan Hilty (Mercyhurst) and Jess Lichota (John Carroll), and baseball players Giovanni Scott (Pitt-Johnstown), Brent Creehan (Mt. Aloysius) and Hayden Ford (Frostburg).

• Zach Vanek, a soccer player from Hempfield, signed with Cal (Pa.).

• Recent signees from Belle Vernon include soccer players Danielle Engstrom (Toccoa Falls, Ga.), Marissa Grubbs (Penn State Behrend), football player Andrew Pacak (Lackawanna) and gymnast Elizabeth Hartman (Gannon).

—Jeannette senior linebacker Justin Cramer has an offer from Edinboro.

• Norwin football player Anthony Giasante (2021) has an offer to play at Dartmouth.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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