Trib HSSN Football Player of the Week for Week 10
Sunday, November 15, 2020 | 8:50 PM
In hockey, they call it the spin-a-rama. The action of making a full turn while skating with the puck.
Central Valley junior running back Landon Alexander turned Martorelli Stadium into his personal ice rink Friday in helping his team to a second straight WPIAL Class 3A football championship.
Alexander spun, twisted, turned and ran his way to a golden performance on the ground as Central Valley blanked Elizabeth Forward, 35-0.
“That is Landon’s own special trait,” Central Valley coach Mark Lyons said. “We saw this earlier in his developing years. I do believe Landon and his position coach, Coach DeVincentis talk daily on when is it the correct time to use the spin. The running backs spend a great amount of time watching film and talking during practice on perfecting their individual skill set.”
Highlighting several runs with a spin move to avoid being tackled, Alexander rushed for 221 yards on 21 carries and scored touchdowns on runs of 10, 41 and 31 yards.
“Landon showed great patience on every carry,” Lyons said. “I thought Landon made significant yards after contact.”
His performance in Friday’s championship put him over 1,000 yards rushing for the season with 1,168 yards on 93 carries and 15 touchdowns.
“His vision stands out immediately,” Lyons said. “Landon is always asking questions concerning the blocking assignments of the offensive linemen. In fact, all of our running backs are part of the offensive linemen film session. After every series, Landon quickly wants to view the iPad to dissect his runs.”
When Lyons talks about his running backs, he is talking about a deep and talented group. While Alexander leads the way, they have received contributions from the likes of sophomore running back Bret FitzSimmons, senior receivers Myles Walker and Stephon Hall, senior quarterback Ameer Dudley and senior running back Amarian Sanders.
The five of them have combined to rush for more than 1,400 yards.
“We have unselfish players who are only concerned with the team success,” Lyons said. “Landon’s numbers are a by-product of his work ethic and the overall balance of this offense, which doesn’t allow for teams to key on one particular player.”
The victory for Central Valley (10-0) produced the Warriors’ second straight crown and fourth district championship in their 11-year history. Now they are two wins away from their elusive first PIAA football championship. Their journey for a return to Hershey and the PIAA Class 3A title game begins Friday with a trip to Mansion Park in Altoona to battle District 5 champion Bedford (10-0).
“The quarterback (Mercury) Swaim is impressive,” Lyons said. “They are physical and come right at you with the wing-T option game. You can easily tell they have seniors on that team who have played a lot football together.”
WPIAL Week 10 Honorable Mentions
Cole Spencer, Pine-Richland
Spencer, a senior, has accomplished so much in his magnificent scholastic career. He is a district and state wrestling champion as well as 2019-20 Trib HSSN Male Athlete of the Year. He can add championship starting quarterback to his bulging resume. Spencer completed 15 of 22 passes for 130 yards and a touchdown, plus he rushed for 103 yards and scored twice as the Rams rolled to a 35-0 win over previously undefeated Peters Township in the Class 5A finals.
Jake Pugh, Thomas Jefferson
Pugh had been the focal point of the Thomas Jefferson offense during four quarters of regulation, so why not overtime as well? The Jaguars senior quarterback connected on 12 of 24 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns to go with two rushing scores. The second of those running touchdowns was a 2-yard sneak that provided the golden points in overtime of a 35-28 thriller over Aliquippa to give TJ the school’s 10th WPIAL title, fifth in six year and back-to-back 4A championships.
Josh Hough, Beaver Falls
Last week’s HSSN Player of the Week started the WPIAL Class 2A championship game with a bang by returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown. Unfortunately for the Syracuse recruit and his Beaver Falls teammates, a penalty wiped the return off the scoreboard. However, that was about the only thing that did not go the Tigers’ way in the first half as they built a 28-0 lead by halftime. Hough ended up with 104 yards rushing with touchdowns on runs of 20 and 18 yards and BF claimed a fifth WPIAL championship with a 43-30 victory over Sto-Rox.
Jaydin Canady, Jeannette
Championship Saturday began with a Class A stunner. The surprise wasn’t that Jeannette won. It was that they showed no mercy. The first and biggest blow came in the opening quarter when Clairton senior quarterback Jonte Sanders had the ball swatted out of his hands as he tried to throw deep and was returned 40 yards for the first score of the morning. The swatter and returner was Jayhawks sophomore Canady. Canady struck again, blocking a Bears punt and returning it 25 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter to help Jeannette pull away to a 45-14 victory over the defending WPIAL Class A champions.
2020 HSSN Players of the Week
Week 9: Josh Hough, Beaver Falls
Week 8: Logan Harmon, Apollo-Ridge
Week 7: Dontae Sanders, Clairton
Week 6: Ethan Dahlem, Upper St. Clair
Week 5: Jaedan Zuzak, California
Week 4: RaShawn Reid, Rochester
Week 3: Ryan Hubner, Plum
Week 2: Logan Shrubb, Keystone Oaks
Week 1: Devin Whitlock, Belle Vernon
More High School Football• Chartiers Valley cornerback Lamont Payne commits to Penn State
• High school roundup for Sept. 18, 2021: LeFebvre leads Western Beaver past Beaver
• 5 things we learned in Week 3 of H.S. football: Bishop Canevin joins Class A conversation
• George Guido: Valley’s ‘Dirty 30’ 1996 football team to be honored
• Tough challenges await unbeaten Kiski Area, Highlands