Ligonier Valley, Latrobe, Jeannette coaches eager for East/West All-Star game

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Friday, May 17, 2024 | 5:43 PM


For Ligonier Valley’s Roger Beitel, Latrobe’s Ron Prady and Jeannette’s Tommy Paulone, being selected to coach in Sunday’s East/West All-Star games at Cumberland Valley is a tremendous honor.

Beitel is the head coach of the Small School West team and Prady is the defensive coordinator for the Big School West squad for the games, which are sponsored by the Pennsylvania State Football Coaches Association.

The small school game is at noon and the big school game begins at 5 p.m.

“I’m excited and honored,” Beitel said. “”It’s going to be a lot of fun. I have a great staff and developed some new friends. The kids are great and they are very talented — big, physical, fast and athletic. I’ve been impressed, and I’m glad that we don’t have to go against some of the players we’ve gone against in the past.”

Some of the Small School West players include Southmoreland running back Da’sjon Craggette, Imani Christian linebacker David Compton and defensive tackle Fred Woodfork, Elizabeth Forward linebacker Kystian Kennedy and Steel Valley offensive lineman Mike Crist.

“The offensive line is a group that jelled first,” Beitel said. “I’m excited to see how the offense should be explosive. Our quarterbacks are talented and the wide receivers are electric.”

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart coach Donnie Militzer and Paulone are in charge of the offense, while Loyalsock coach Justin Van Fleet and Juniata Valley coach Bill Musser handle the defense.

“Being selected is special and it’s an honor to work with coach Beitel,” Paulone said. “I’m working with some great kids.”

Beitel said he likes what Militzer and Paulone bring to the offense. He’ll know what to expect when Ligonier Valley plays OLSH and Jeannette this season.

“I just give the direction and let them go,” Beitel said. “We’ve worked well together.”

What really excites Beitel is the defense. He said it took four practices before the offense found its footing against the defense.

“The rules of the game benefit the offense,” Beitel said. “I just hope we tackle as well as we we’ve played in practice.”

Prady said that he’s grateful to be selected as a coach.

“It’s an honor,” Prady said. “I’m looking forward to see how the defense performs.

“It’s a talented group I’m working with. They’re all good player and good people. I’ve enjoyed being around them.”

Cumberland Valley’s Josh Oswalt is the Big School West head coach. His assistants are Prady, Butler’s Eric Christy, Williamsport’s Mike Pearson, Baldwin’s Dana Brown and New Oxford’s Jason Warner.

Some of the WPIAL players on the team include North Allegheny quarterback Logan Kushner and defensive end Aidan Buggey, Canon-McMillan quarterback Michael Evans, Mars defensive end Connor Hartle, Hempfield kicker Josh Reilly, wide receiver Keiran Lippmann and offensive lineman Joe Dolinski, Penn-Trafford safety Carmen Metcalfe and Gateway running back Jaquon Reynolds.

“It’s been fun working with all these players,” Prady said. “It has been neat to see how they’ve come together as a team.”

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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