City League QB among 5 finalists for Willie Thrower Award for 1st time

Tuesday, January 24, 2023 | 3:46 PM

Westinghouse quarterback Keyshawn Morsillo, who led the Bulldogs on a historic run to the state football finals, was announced Tuesday as one of five finalists for the Willie Thrower Award.

Morsillo is the first City League player selected as a finalist in the three-year history of the award, which recognizes the top high school quarterback in Western Pennsylvania. The other finalists are Steel Valley’s Cruce Brookins, Sto-Rox’s Josh Jenkins, Armstrong’s Cadin Olsen and Central Catholic’s Payton Wehner.

In all, 31 quarterbacks received nominating votes, and finalists were determined by a panel of coaches from each of the WPIAL’s 17 conferences and the City League, along with members of the media.

The five finalists will be recognized at a luncheon March 25 at the Knead Community Cafe in New Kensington, where the winner will be announced. The award was named in honor of Thrower, a New Kensington native who won two WPIAL titles and became the NFL’s first Black quarterback in 1953.

Olsen won the award last year.

The winner receives a 29-pound bronze replica of a statue of Willie Thrower at Valley High School.

Four of the five finalists are seniors. Wehner is a junior.

Brookins, a Pitt defensive back recruit, scored 35 touchdowns last season and led Steel Valley (12-1) to the WPIAL 2A title. He rushed for 1,716 yards, passed for 858 yards and threw for seven TDs.

Jenkins passed for 2,431 yards and 31 touchdowns for a Sto-Rox team that went 10-3 and won a conference title. He finished his high school career with more than 5,000 passing yards and 60 touchdowns.

Morsillo helped Westinghouse become the first City League team to reach the state finals since 1997. He passed for 2,544 yards and 43 touchdowns as the Bulldogs (14-1) won the City League title and reached the PIAA 2A final. He added 916 rushing yards and 16 TDs.

Olsen, a Penn recruit, led the WPIAL in passing with 3,210 yards and 43 TDs as Armstrong (10-2) won its conference title. He finished with 7,819 career yards, seventh best in WPIAL history.

Wehner ranked second among all WPIAL passers with 2,504 yards and was the first Central Catholic quarterback to top 2,000 in a regular season. He led the Vikings to a runner-up finish in WPIAL 6A.

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

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