Penn Hills football standouts rack up postseason honors

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Sunday, December 13, 2020 | 1:54 PM


Even though the Penn Hills football season didn’t finish the way the team hoped, the Indians had 13 players recognized for their play this season as they received all-conference honors.

The Indians (4-4, 4-1) had six players receive first-team honors in the Northeast Conference from the Western Pennsylvania Big 56 this season.

Senior safety Noel Roach, an Akron commit, headlined the selections. Roach, who was a first-team selection last season, finished third on the team with 35 tackles and second with three interceptions.

“He’s an awesome player and an awesome individual,” coach Jon LeDonne said. “He’s a student of the game. He has the physique with the long arms and the athletic build. However, his mind is what takes him over the top.

“I think any other recruiting year, he gets a Power Five or a bigger (scholarship), not to knock the MAC conference. I think he will go to Akron and really excel there.”

The 6-foot-2, 188-pound senior was the Indians’ leading receiver with 245 yards and three touchdowns.

“It is always an honor to be selected all-conference first team and to be recognized by the other team’s coaches as one of the best,” Roach said. “With it being my senior season during a time like this, it’s extra special because we didn’t know we were going to play and for my hard work not to go unnoticed.”

Senior outside linebacker Jawann Brown received first-team honors for the second season in a row. Brown finished second on the Indians with 37 tackles and one sack.

Senior running back Derrick Topeck, senior kicker Jonah Silverman and junior center Luke Pugliese also received first-team honors.

Topeck finished third in rushing with 256 yards and three rushing touchdowns. Pugliese led the Indians with three sacks and finished with 29 tackles, while also anchoring the Indians offensive line.

“It’s a testament to the type of kids we bring up through our program now,” LeDonne said. “They worked their butts off and they deserve that recognition. Some of the guys are repeat selections. It’s a nice honor to end the year for them.”

A trio of defensive backs were named to the second team, including senior Dontae Pollard, junior Jaden Dugger and junior Chase Barney.

Pollard, who received first-team honors last season, had two interceptions this season before his final year was cut short due to a knee injury. Dugger led the Indians with four interceptions.

Senior guard Damone Moultrie and senior tackle Claude Vangelus joined Pugliese receiving all-conference honors.

Freshman quarterback Julian Dugger and senior inside linebacker Cameron Hopkins also were named to the second team.

Dugger finished the season with 930 yards passing with six touchdowns and five interceptions. Hopkins, who received second-team honors last season, led the Indians with 54 tackles and had one interception.

Freshman running back Amir Key was the lone Indians player to receive honorable mention honors.

Key led the team in rushing with 267 yards and two touchdowns.

“I’m glad that they didn’t go unnoticed either, and all the hard work we put in during the offseason helped us a lot,” Roach said. “For there to be so many of us goes to show how solid our team was this year.”

The Indians’ season came to a close after a 14-0 loss to No. 2 Gateway in the first round of the WPIAL Class 5A playoffs Oct. 30.

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