Pine-Richland notebook: XFL comes calling for Ben DiNucci

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Saturday, November 26, 2022 | 11:01 AM


Former Pine-Richland quarterback Ben DiNucci is getting another shot at pro football.

DiNucci was drafted by the Seattle Dragons during the quarterback portion of the 2023 XFL Draft on Nov. 15.

The XFL is scheduled to return to play in February after the league was put on pause for two seasons due to the covid-19 pandemic following its relaunch in 2020.

The league is owned by a group headed by Dewayne “The Rock” Johnson.

DiNucci’s last professional action was in 2020 when he appeared in three games, including one start, for the Dallas Cowboys. He is one of two XFL quarterbacks with NFL experience, along with former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback A.J. McCarron.

The Cowboys selected DiNucci in the seventh round of the 2020 NFL draft out of James Madison. He was waived by the Cowboys on Aug. 30.

DiNucci led Pine-Richland to the 2014 WPIAL Class 4A title, passing for 4,269 yards and 46 touchdowns. His 4,269 passing yards ranks second all-time in a single season in state history behind Gateway’s Brady Walker, who threw for 4,653 yards.

Big 56 teams announced

The Western PA Big 56 Athletic Conferences announced its all-section teams for football, boys and girls soccer and volleyball on Nov. 14.

Below is a list of each Pine-Richland player that made the list by sport.

Football (Class 5A Northeast Conference)

First team offense: Isaiah Kerns (Sr., center), Ryan Cory (jr., guard), Jake Beam (sr., tackle), Ryan Palmieri (sr., all-purpose) and Grant Argiro (so., kicker).

First team defense: Max Hecker (sr., linebacker) and Andrew Mellis (sr., defensive back).

Second team offense: Ethan Pillar (jr., running back) and Vasile Balouris (jr., all-purpose).

Second team defense: John Rottinghaus (sr., defensive tackle), Sam Hecker (so., linebacker), Tanner Cunningham (so., all-purpose) and Joey Perry (sr., punter).

Honorable mention defense: Aiden Hasley (sr., defensive end), Evan Johnson (jr., linebacker) and Bryce O’Brien (jr., defensive back).

Coach of the year: Jon LeDonne

Boys soccer (Section 1-4A)

First team: Colin Zvejnieks (sr., forward), Ben Rishel (sr., at-large) and Cadan Bennett (jr., goalkeeper).

Second team: Cale Klaff (sr., midfielder).

Girls soccer (Section 1-4A)

First team: Stephanie Cornelius (sr., at large).

Second team: Kate Lindrose (sr., midfielder), Emerson Kline (fr., midfielder) and Gianna Koss (sr., midfielder).

Honorable mention: Manon Prokesch (sr., forward).

Volleyball (Section 1-4A)

First team: Kaili Doctor (sr., hitter), Isabella Hoppe (fr., hitter) and Katie Yanni (sr., hitter).

Second team: Sophia Menke (sr., hitter) and Sofia Morse (jr., setter).

Field hockey stars revealed

Fresh off its fourth consecutive WPIAL championship, Pine-Richland field hockey had four players make the Class 3A All-WPIAL team.

Jessica Albertson (jr., forward), Danielle Deer (sr., defender), Georgia Rottinghaus (so, midfielder) and Mary Wymard (sr., midfielder) were the four Rams that made the first-team list. Deer is a multi-time All-WPIAL selection.

Emma Westerhoff (sr., forward) was an honorable mention.

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer

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