Undefeated state champions, record-setting rusher among Trib 25 football all-stars

Saturday, December 14, 2019 | 11:09 PM

The WPIAL crowned six more champions this season, each with a unique story to tell. There was an undefeated state champion who celebrated win No. 16 in Hershey and a running back from Greene County who became the first to 3,000 yards.

They’re all represented here along with many other standout high school football players on the Trib 25.

Gateway’s Derrick Davis was named the TribLive High School Sports Network Football Player of the Year.


A.J. Beatty

Central Catholic, senior, TE/DL

Beatty (6-5, 265) helped anchor a Central Catholic defense that allowed only 11 points per game and won the WPIAL Class 6A title. The defensive end was among the most highly recruited WPIAL seniors this fall. He had received more than 40 Division I offers before committing in June to North Carolina.

Josh Casilli

Peters Township, senior, WR/DB

Casilli was a big-play threat for the Indians (12-2), who reached the WPIAL Class 5A finals. The Penn commit scored 22 times, including seven touchdowns of 50 yards or longer. His longest were a 90-yard kickoff return and an 80-yard punt return.

Michael Carmody

Mars, senior, OL/DL

Carmody (6-6, 290) was the WPIAL’s top recruit in the senior class, according to Rivals. He committed in June to Notre Dame over offers from Pitt, Penn State, West Virginia, Miami, Stanford and many others. His blocks helped Mars rush for more than 2,500 yards.

Logan Danielson

Thomas Jefferson, senior, OL/DL

Danielson represents a Thomas Jefferson line that was dominant all season long. He ranked among the WPIAL’s best two-way linemen this season as a guard and defensive tackle. He had a team-high six sacks, and his blocks helped the Jaguars (16-0) rush for 3,700 yards.

Derrick Davis

Gateway, junior, RB/DB

Davis compiled more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage and 28 touchdowns for the Gators, who went 12-3 and won the WPIAL Class 5A title for the second time in three years. He’s highly recruited with offers from Alabama, Clemson, Florida, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma and others.

Daniel Deabner

Thomas Jefferson, senior, WR/DB

Deabner was TJ’s top target for the second year in a row. He had 1,103 yards and 20 touchdowns this season as Thomas Jefferson (16-0) won WPIAL and PIAA Class 4A titles. He finished his Jaguars career with 2,668 receiving yards and 44 touchdowns.

Elliot Donald

Central Catholic, junior, DL

Donald (6-3, 230) made an immediate impact in his first season as a starter. The nephew of NFL star Aaron Donald was a disruptive force at defensive tackle and helped the Vikings win the WPIAL Class 6A title. His list of Division I offers includes Pitt, Penn State, West Virginia, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Texas A&M and others.

Ameer Dudley

Central Valley, senior, QB

Dudley led Central Valley (13-2) to a championship season with 1,938 passing yards and 23 touchdowns. The Warriors won the WPIAL Class 3A title by defeating rival Aliquippa twice in one season, and they finished as state runners-up in Hershey.

Zuriah Fisher

Aliquippa, senior, TE/LB

The Penn State commit helped Aliquippa (11-2) extend its championship game streak to 12 years. Fisher had 75 tackles and four interceptions for the WPIAL Class 3A runner-up. He also was heavily recruited by Pitt and West Virginia, along with Michigan State, Texas A&M and others.

Dorien Ford

Baldwin, junior, OL/DL

Ford (6-5, 285) capitalized on his national-recruit potential this season by earning all-conference honors at defensive tackle. He added a Michigan offer this week, raising his total to nearly 20. Pitt, Penn State and West Virginia also are recruiting him, along with Michigan State, Syracuse and others.

Dayon Hayes

Westinghouse, senior, OL/DL

Hayes (6-3, 240) led Westinghouse to its first City League title since 1996. The Pitt commit had 23½ sacks this season, raising his two-year total to 49½. The defensive end had more than two dozen offers including Penn State, West Virginia, Ohio State and others.

Corban Hondru

Peters Township, junior, FB/LB

The inside linebacker solidified the middle of Peters Township’s defense with 69 tackles, 10 sacks, 16 tackles for loss and one forced fumble. The Indians (12-2) won their conference title for the second year in a row. He lists offers from Akron, Ball State, Dartmouth and Penn.

Ben Jackson

West Greene, senior, RB/LB

Jackson was the first rusher in WPIAL history to top 3,000 yards in a season. He set the single-season record with 3,076 yards on 203 attempts — an average of 15 yards per carry — and scored 50 touchdowns. He committed Dec. 5 to play football at Army.

Miguel Jackson

Pine-Richland, junior, OL/DL

Jackson (6-2, 240), who’s among the WPIAL’s best pass rushers, had 23½ sacks combined the past two seasons including 9½ this fall. He also had 56 tackles and two forced fumbles. He lists offers from Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Toledo and others.

Nahki Johnson

West Mifflin, junior, OL/DL

The talented defensive end was named conference defensive player of the year in the Class 4A Big Eight. Johnson had eight sacks and four forced fumbles despite missing three games. He committed in June to Pitt over offers from Penn State, Michigan and others.

Brenden Luffey

Moon, senior, OL/DL

Luffey (6-3, 285) played a leading role in Moon’s resurgent season. The two-way standout helped the Tigers finish 9-3 overall and earn a share of the conference title in the Class 5A Allegheny Eight. He’s announced Division I offers from Robert Morris and Rhode Island.

Jax Miller

Avonworth, senior, RB/LB

Miller rushed for 2,384 yards and scored 30 touchdowns for Avonworth (15-1), which won the WPIAL Class 2A title and later reached the state finals for the first time. He starred in the WPIAL finals with 43 carries, 291 rushing yards and four touchdowns.

J.B. Nelson

Mt. Lebanon, senior, OL/DL

Nelson (6-5, 295) solidified himself as one of the top linemen in the WPIAL this season. He earned first-team all-conference honors for the second year in a row, first as a defensive tackle last season and then as an offensive tackle this fall.

Kenlein Ogletree

Clairton, senior, WR/DB

Ogletree saved his best for Heinz Field. The wideout caught three passes and scored all three times as Clairton (11-3) won the WPIAL Class A title. He led the Bears with in receptions (42), receiving yards (876) and touchdowns (19).

David Pantelis

Upper St. Clair, junior, WR/DB

Pantelis led the WPIAL with 77 receptions for 1,169 yards and nine touchdowns. He averaged 15.2 yards per catch and 97.4 yards per game for Upper St. Clair (7-5). He also topped 200 yards receiving twice and added five interceptions on defense. He recently announced a Duquesne offer.

Jack Salopek

Norwin, senior, QB

Salopek, who committed to Western Michigan in May, passed for 2,231 yards and 16 touchdowns this season. He was one of only two WPIAL Class 6A quarterbacks to throw for more than 2,000 yards. He finished his career with 6,126 passing yards and 40 touchdowns.

Cole Spencer

Pine-Richland, junior, QB

Spencer was a good runner as a sophomore but emerged this fall as one of the WPIAL’s top passers with 2,994 yards and 36 touchdowns as Pine-Richland (10-2) reached the WPIAL Class 6A finals. The multisport athlete committed to Penn wrestling.

Shane Stump

Thomas Jefferson, senior, QB/DB

Stump was a two-way star for the undefeated Jaguars (16-0), who won WPIAL and PIAA Class 4A titles. At quarterback, he passed for 2,664 yards and 36 touchdowns, and rushed for 546 yards and 13 more scores. He lists D-I offers from Dayton, Howard and Valparaiso.

Zack Swartz

Washington, senior, QB

Swartz became the third player in WPIAL history with 6,000 career passing yards and 2,000 rushing. He threw for 1,852 yards and 22 touchdowns this season and led Washington (13-1) to the WPIAL Class 2A finals. Swartz announced this fall a Division I offer from Morehead State.

Eric Wilson

Sto-Rox, senior, QB

Wilson had his second consecutive 3,000-yard season and finished his Vikings career ranked sixth on the WPIAL all-time passer list. Wilson completed 211 of 367 attempts for 3,288 yards and 30 touchdowns for the WPIAL Class A runner-up. He has 8,006 career yards.

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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