Record-setting quarterback Johnny DiNapoli leaving East Allegheny

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Friday, July 9, 2021 | 1:01 PM


Johnny DiNapoli, who set a WPIAL passing record two years ago, has transferred this summer from East Allegheny to Elizabeth Forward.

As a freshman in 2019, DiNapoli passed for 1,728 yards, setting what is believed to be a WPIAL freshman record. He attended East Allegheny the past two school years, but previously lived in the Elizabeth Forward district, EF coach Mike Collodi said.

DiNapoli will be a junior.

“He’s been an Elizabeth kid his whole life,” Collodi said. “I was really excited when he was in eighth grade thinking maybe we would have him, because he was dynamic at the middle school level. … Now he’s coming back, which is great. He’s a great player and a big, strong kid who can do a lot.”

But while EF gained one football player this summer, it did lose another.

Rising sophomore Vernon Settles, a multi-sport athlete who started last fall as a freshman at wide receiver and cornerback, transferred to Central Catholic. He is the nephew of former Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch.

Settles was also a top scorer on EF’s basketball team and played some quarterback for the football team.

“That hurts to lose Vernon,” Collodi said. “But like I tell the team, it gives other guys opportunities to step up.”

The WPIAL has not yet received transfer paperwork for either student.

As an 11th grader, DiNapoli will need a waiver from the WPIAL to compete in the postseason this fall. Settles does not because the PIAA rule targets only transfers after the start of 10th grade.

After topping 1,700 passing yards as a freshman, DiNapoli threw for 460 last season. The 6-foot, 195-pound passer missed a couple of games in a regular season already shortened by the pandemic.

Collodi said DiNapoli will compete for playing time at quarterback. EF also returns junior Zion White, who became the starter late in the regular season and quarterbacked the Warriors to the WPIAL finals.

“It’s great to have competition,” Collodi said. “Zion took us to the WPIAL championship game last year when (then-senior) Evan Lewis went down, and Zion had a great run.”

Elizabeth Forward went 8-1 last season, won the Interstate Conference title and finished as WPIAL Class 3A runner-up to Central Valley.

“At our level, all of our guys play both sides of the ball,” Collodi said. “I know Johnny is a heck of a linebacker too, so we’re excited to see what he can do.”

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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