Valley News Dispatch Offensive Player of the Year: Burrell’s Alex Arledge
Saturday, December 14, 2019 | 7:40 PM
Valley News Dispatch Offensive Player of the Year
QB, Junior, 6-3, 190, Burrell
Burrell football coach Shawn Liotta was looking for a quarterback, and this past season, he found one in junior Alex Arledge.
The 6-foot-3 gunslinger stepped into Liotta’s complicated run-and-shoot offense and simply took over. He completed 147 of his 274 pass attempts for 2,462 yards and 27 touchdowns.
At the helm of a fast-paced, high-scoring offense, Arledge guided Burrell to its first winning season since 2012 and rewrote the school’s record books along the way. He set a new mark for single-season passing yards and also set the new single-game completion record when he connected on 25 of 37 pass attempts in a game against Waynesburg.
For a high school coach who is known for lighting up the scoreboard, Liotta said that it was fun to watch Arledge sling the pigskin this season.
“He just really allowed us to attack people down the field and sideline to sideline,” Liotta said. “I mean, I have a pretty big playbook, and when you have a quarterback like Alex, there is really no limit to what I can run out of my arsenal, so he allowed us to use everything this season.”
Not only did Arledge put up big numbers, but he did it efficiently as well. After throwing eight interceptions in Burrell’s first three games, the junior quarterback attempted 187 passes without an interception. His streak ended on his final pass of the season.
“We threw the ball a lot in between those two instances,” Liotta said. “That just showed me the maturity in the way he was able to grasp the offense and improve throughout the season.”
Arledge also led an offense that was the only one in the WPIAL to produce a 2.000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard rusher and a 1,000-yard receiver at the end of the regular season. For his successful offensive season, Arledge was selected as the Valley News Dispatch Offensive Player of the Year.
How do you think your first year as a starting quarterback went?
I think our season went pretty well and did above expectations, I guess you could say. But we obviously didn’t reach our goal. I think overall we did great. We kind of put Burrell back on the map. But I can’t thank my coaches and teammates enough, because without them, there’s nothing.
Did you exceed the expectations you had set for yourself?
My thought was just going out and playing my game and just play to the best of my abilities. I wanted to do whatever I could to help my team win. I wasn’t really worried about the stats that much. I mean, I had goals for myself, but I think I did pretty good.
Was there one moment or moments that stuck out to you the most?
I think my teammates and coaches will agree with me on this but our win in overtime over Freeport. It was definitely the best game I’ve ever been in in my entire career. The energy in the stadium and just how we never gave up. We just kept fighting into overtime and we came out with a win.
You brought Burrell to the brink of a playoff appearance. What was that run like for you?
It was fun. I had a blast. It’s kind of like, people don’t like practice, but our team, we looked forward to it, going out and just having fun.
The senior class had a lot of talent. What was it like playing with them?
I can’t thank them enough. They worked their butts off and they never gave up on the team. They worked hard every day, and they went out and gave it their all on Fridays. They couldn’t have done any better.
You had a streak of 187 pass attempts without an interception. Were you aware of that at all during it?
I was aware of it. At the beginning of the season, I had my mistakes, but that’s something that’s going to happen. You just have to keep your head straight. But that’s what practice is for, to get more reps, get a better connection with your receivers.
You solidified your place in the Burrell record books this year. That’s gotta be a pretty good feeling, right?
It makes me really happy that I was able to go out there and do that. I wanted to put my name in the records, but I’m not done yet.
How do you follow that up next year as a senior?
It just gives me motivation to want to top those numbers. I’m definitely going to work hard this offseason to get ready for next year and break those records.
Do you have a favorite touchdown you threw?
The first touchdown of the season to Seth against Valley. Just because it was the first touchdown of the season and it kind of showed everybody what we were about and that we weren’t a joke.
Coach Liotta had you run some quarterback sneaks this year. What was your first reaction when you found out that was in the gameplan?
I was psyched up. I like to have the ball in my hand and be able to make plays. That always makes me excited.
What’s your favorite play call from Coach Liotta’s play book?
D.C. It’s our stop or go route. It was basically our bread and butter this season.
What’s your plan for the offseason?
I’m gonna be playing for Evolve down at the Steelers complex. So I’m pretty much gonna be down there all offseason speed training and 7-on-7 stuff. Then we have some weight stuff for Burrell that starts in mid-January, so I’ll be doing that as well.
The NCAA playoff field is set. Do you have a team that you think will win?
I’m gonna have to say LSU. I mean, I’m a big Bama fan, so I’m not too happy about that. But if I’m going to be truthful, I gotta go with LSU. Their offense is unstoppable.
Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
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