Trib HSSN Football Player of the Week for 2021 Week 6

Sunday, October 10, 2021 | 7:59 PM

Mt. Lebanon senior running back Alex Tecza could do nothing about the weather in Week 6 as a series of storms forced the stoppage, then the suspension of the Blue Devils’ big No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown against visiting Central Catholic.

Mother Nature may have stopped Tecza in the third quarter Friday, but the visiting Vikings had no answers as Tecza led Mt. Lebanon to a 35-14 win Saturday.

“We were excited about how Alex played, but understand nothing surprises us about what his numbers were or how he plays,” Mt. Lebanon coach Bob Palko said. “Not only can he carry the ball, but he is pivotal in our passing game as a receiver and in the protection, plus he is a tremendous safety on defense.”

Over the course of Friday night and into Saturday morning, Tecza rushed for 259 yards on 31 carries with touchdown runs of 3 and 43 yards. He also added 21 yards on three receptions.

All of this against a Central Catholic defense that allowed only seven points in the last three weeks.

Palko was thrilled with his star back, but knew that many played a big part in those mind-blowing numbers.

“Alex will be the first person to tell you how vital the offensive line was in his production, as well as the blocking that the tight ends and wide receivers did,” he said. “The work Coach Marcellus has done with the O-line and the rest of the offensive coaches have helped raise the bar with our execution and practice habits.”

The big performance in the big game capped off an impressive two weeks for Tecza and the Blue Devils. The senior rushed for 437 in big wins for Mt. Lebanon over North Allegheny in Week 5 and Central Catholic in Week 6.

“The atmosphere at Lebo on Friday Night was electric, between the student body and the community, plus all of the fans Central Catholic brought,” Palko said. “With that being said, I’m sure he was juiced up to play.”

This was the second time this season Tecza has rushed for more than 200 yards. He is 23 yards shy of 1,000 yards rushing for the season.

Palko is in his 27th season as head coach and his third year at Mt. Lebanon. He has coached plenty of great running backs in his many championship seasons and Tecza is definitely one of them.

“I am really not a good guy to compare one player to another, especially how long I’ve been coaching and the style of play from the different years,” he said. “I can tell you that Alex Tecza is a really good football player. He is a complete running back in all phases of the game.

“Plus his return abilities and his defensive prowess make Alex Tecza a great prospect for a bunch of D1 schools. The best part about Alex, is how hard he works and how much he cares about his teammates. To add to the equation is how good of a student he is.”

With three games left, Mt. Lebanon is in the driver’s seat for the Class 6A regular season championship and the top seed in the postseason.

For the immediate future though, the undefeated Blue Devils must try to avoid a letdown as they hit the road to visit Norwin.

“I don’t have a crystal ball, but I would hope the leadership we have on this football team will not allow each other to stop working and not go out and play to our abilities,” Palko said. “But the other teams practice and play just as hard as we do.”

WPIAL Week 6 Honorable Mentions

Collin Dietz – Fox Chapel

Fox Chapel did not get off to a quick start, losing its first two games this season. However, the Foxes have rebounded to win four of five, including a key conference game that may have them playing playoff football come November.

Senior quarterback Collin Dietz was the key in a win at Kiski Area on Friday. Dietz connected on 10 of 15 passes for 218 yards and touchdown tosses of 40, 65 and 22 yards.

Dietz also scored on a 10-yard run that sparked a 21-point fourth quarter as the Foxes moved into a tie for first place with Pine-Richland after a big 35-21 win over the Cavaliers in a key 5A Northeast Conference game.

Caleb Williams – Montour

Falling behind early at home by two touchdowns in a key conference football game is usually not a good recipe for success.

Fortunately for Montour, its senior running back delivered the goods in a Master Chef-type performance.

Williams rushed for 263 yards on only seven carries, plus he scored on two long touchdowns of 69 and 71 yards as the Spartans evened their 4A Parkway Conference record with a finger licking good, 28-21 victory over visiting Blackhawk.

Landan Stevenson – Mapletown

In Class A football, the top players rarely get a break. They are on for nearly every snap on offense, on defense and even on special teams.

On Friday in Week 6, Avella players were hoping that Mapletown junior running back Landan Stevenson would eventually need a break. The only thing Stevenson broke was the Eagles spirits.

Stevenson rushed for 216 yards on 18 carries and scored on runs of 3, 6, 42 and 29 yards, plus he returned an interception 26 yards for a touchdown as the Maples evened their Class A Tri-County South Conference record with a 45-16 triumph over host Avella.

2021 HSSN Players of the Week

Week 5 – Nijhay Burt, Steel Valley

Week 4 – Devin Whitlock, Belle Vernon

Week 3 – Trenton Carter, Carmichaels

Week 2 – Abraham Ibrahim, Chartiers Valley

Week 1 – Graham Hancox, Seneca Valley

Week Zero – Carson Davidson, Blackhawk

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