No-nonsense senior leads Norwin into Class 5A competition

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Monday, August 22, 2022 | 4:42 PM


While he appreciates the benefits and value of social media, Noah Vogel doesn’t rely on the look-at-me platforms to forward his football career.

“Just because I don’t post something doesn’t mean I’m not working,” the Norwin senior said. “I didn’t film and post those 90-degree days in the heat when I was pushing sleds with my grandpa. But I know I did that. That should be good enough.”

Don’t get him wrong, the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Vogel has posted pictures of himself alongside Los Angeles Rams’ star Aaron Donald before. Wouldn’t you?

Through a personal strength coach, he has worked out with the Super Bowl champion and learned his techniques.

“A couple days ago, I showed our guys the cross-chop he does,” Vogel said. “It keeps them honest.”

But don’t expect Vogel, a tight end/defensive end, to showboat on Twitter, TikTok or Instagram. It’s simply not his style.

“As we get closer (to the start of the season), there is less to be said and more to be done,” he said. “It’s about leading the younger guys.”

Vogel will be a key, two-way leader this season for Norwin, which drops to Class 5A to face more like-minded teams that are much closer in proximity.

“It’s all the teams we used to play in Big East (youth football),” Vogel said. “I remember when we were done playing with them, we said see you later because we wouldn’t play them in high school. But here we are, playing Gateway, Penn Hills, all these teams again. It’s pretty cool. It’s going to be a lot more competitive.”

Gateway will bring some familiar faces: Vogel grew up in Monroeville and moved to North Huntingdon in the fifth grade.

He was a basketball player before committing full on to football.

Now, he works out six times a week as he grinds toward his ultimate goal.

“I want to earn a scholarship,” said Vogel, who had a 3.7 grade-point average last year.

The grind of Class 6A wore on the Knights.

“Road games were a factor,” Vogel said. “You’re on a bus for an hour and 15 minutes or more — we had the bus break down a couple times — and you have to get off the bus and get fired up. It’s not easy. At the same time, that’s not an excuse.”

Last year, Vogel had 24 tackles, including three for loss, and made six receptions for 54 yards. He had a touchdown against Penn-Trafford.

His blocking ability will allow Rich Bowen’s revamped offense to operate.

“Noah is hands down one of the main leaders of our team,” Norwin coach Dave Brozeski said. “He has a tremendous work ethic and is a tremendous competitor. He drives his teammates.

“Noah’s ability to lead by example will help our team work to be successful this season.”

Vogel has taken a liking to Bowen’s offense, which will feature running backs Christian Beck and Kai Weems and standout receiver Jackson Pons.

Senior Nick Urey was competing for the starting quarterback spot with freshman Tristan Tavares.

“We might run some seam-outs out of RPO,” Vogel said. “I am never going to ask for the ball, but I wouldn’t mind catching some passes, for sure.”

Defensively, Vogel can line up down on the line or on the end. While he slightly resembles New Orleans Saints quarterback Andy Dalton, Vogel is not a quarterback, but he enjoys chasing them around the field.

When the Knights yell, “blitz,” Vogel is the first to blast off.

“When I was little, people would say, ‘Who’s the tall, ginger kid?’” Vogel said.

Norwin, which went 4-6 and narrowly missed the playoff last year, is trying to break a four-year playoff drought. The Knights’ last winning season came in 2008.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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