Westmoreland County high school notebook: Rival QBs earn conference honors

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Saturday, December 16, 2023 | 11:01 AM


A pair of Westmoreland County senior quarterbacks were honored by the coaches of the WPIAL Class A Eastern Conference, one for his play on defense.

Greensburg Central Catholic’s Tyree Turner was voted the conference’s offensive player of the year, while Jeannette’s Payton Molter received top honors as the best defensive player.

Turner piloted GCC (8-4) to the WPIAL Class A quarterfinals, passing for 1,584 yards and 18 touchdowns and rushing for a team-high 684 yards and 12 TDs.

Molter, who recently gained an offer to play at Division II Mansfield, played quarterback and middle linebacker for the Jayhawks (7-4). He threw for 1,573 yards and 20 touchdowns and rushed for 477 yards and eight scores while delivering 32 tackles, a sack and two fumble recoveries on defense.

Signing day

Wednesday is the first day of the NCAA Division I football early signing period, which runs through Friday.

The regular period goes from Feb. 7 through April 1 (Division I) and August 1 (Division II).

County players expected to sign Wednesday include Belle Vernon’s Quinton Martin (Penn State) and Norwin’s Jackson Pons (Miami of Ohio), both of whom are enrolling early.

Thomas breaks record

Norwin hockey star Alex Thomas, a senior forward, missed two games with an injury this season. But that didn’t stop him from etching his name in the program record book.

Thomas broke Knights records for all-time points and assists and tied the mark for career goals.

The records of 165 points, 94 goals and 71 assists were set by Daniel Merz, who played from 2010-13.

Thomas, who recently signed a tender with the NAHL’s Colorado Grit, has 170 points in his highlight-filled tenure in the PIHL.

He broke the points record last Monday in a thrilling, 6-5 shootout win over rival Penn-Trafford. He had two goals and two assists at Palmer Imaging Center in Delmont.

He had a hat trick Thursday in a 7-4 win at Armstrong to tie Merz’s goals mark.

“I love playing for my school, and to break the point record means a lot to me,” Thomas said. “I couldn’t have asked to do it with a better group of people. Even one of our injured guys got dressed up, fully geared, just to jump on the ice whenever I broke it.”

Thomas was leading Norwin (7-3-0-2) with 22 goals and 13 assists.

Heading south

The Greensburg Salem girls basketball team is playing in the KSA Tournament this week in Orlando, Fla.

The Golden Lions open against Lightridge High School (Va.) at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, then play the winner of Ross Shepherd (Edmonton) and Archer (Ga.) on Thursday.

Recruiting

Hempfield senior Joe Dolinski made a verbal commitment to continue his football career at Lock Haven. Dolinski (6-4, 285) played guard and tackle for the Spartans on offense and lined up at defensive tackle. He also had Division II offers from Seton Hill, West Virginia State and Mercyhurst.

• Senior Carlee Valenta of Penn-Trafford signed to shoot rifle at Texas at El Paso.

Belle Vernon senior football player Adam LaCarte picked up an offer from Ashland, a Division II school in Ohio. LaCarte, a 6-foot, 175-pound safety, was second on the team this season with 74 tackles and had three interceptions for the WPIAL and PIAA 3A champion Leopards (13-1).

• Senior Aiden Johnson, another key component in Belle Vernon’s title run, received an offer to play at Division II Shippensburg. Johnson (6-3, 215) had 48 tackles this year, 10 for loss, and led the team with seven sacks.

• Dane Levi, a two-way lineman at Belle Vernon, now has five offers to play at the Division II level. Frostburg State reached out to the 6-foot-3, 280-pound senior.

Greensburg Salem senior Jade Mazzoni will continue her lacrosse career at Thiel. Mazzoni has 60 career goals.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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