Penn Hills lineman caps high school career with East-West All-Star appearance

Saturday, June 5, 2021 | 11:35 AM

Claude Vangelus wasn’t a refined offensive lineman when he started with the Penn Hills High School football program.

Relying primarily on his size, Vangelus entered high school with learning to do. All of his progression over four years led to Vangelus being selected to participate in the recent Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association East-West All-Star Game on May 30 in Harrisburg.

Vangelus, who will play for Millersville this fall, represented the West in a 38-13 defeat.

“I feel like I’ve grown tremendously, especially in the past 2½ years,” Vangelus said. “Definitely with my pass protection. When I was a freshman, I didn’t know what a kick step was.”

The 6-foot-2, 300-pound right tackle helped Penn Hills close the regular season with a three-game winning streak to make the Class 5A playoffs in a pandemic-shortened season. The Indians fell 14-0 to Gateway in the first round of the playoffs.

Penn Hills coach Jon LeDonne appreciated Vangelus’ attitude.

“He’s always happy and having a good time,” LeDonne said. “He was a four-year starter for us and earned his time as a freshman.”

What allowed Vangelus to step into a key role for Penn Hills this year was his ability to protect the blind side for the Penn Hills offense. While no one would likely describe Vangelus as a marathon runner, few do a better job in short bursts.

“His footwork and hand speed,” LeDonne said, describing what makes Vangelus stand out. “He may not be fast. He’s quick. He had some good size, good footwork and great hands. He was determined to get on the field.”

Being determined will help Vangelus at the next level. Millersville is a Division II program that has been rebuilding.

The Marauders’ last winning season was a 6-5 campaign in 2005. Millersville, which didn’t have a season in 2020 because of the pandemic, finished the 2019 season 2-9, including a 1-6 mark in the PSAC East.

Vangelus is excited about being involved in trying to turn around a program.

“When I got to the school and talked to the coaches, they sold me on how they are going to change the culture around this year,” Vangelus said. “The group of kids they are bringing in are a great group of kids from all over Pennsylvania. When I went to see the campus, I fell in love with it my first time going out there.”


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