Westmoreland football notebook: Penn-Trafford’s Brad Ford sets unbreakable record

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Wednesday, September 16, 2020 | 5:45 PM


Senior running back Brad Ford’s 99-yard rushing touchdown last week in the season opener against Latrobe was a Penn-Trafford program record, Warriors football historian Rush Pedder pointed out.

The play broke the mark of 98 yards set by Chris Schneider in 1993. The other scoring runs in the Warriors’ top five include Caleb Lisbon (94 yards, 2017), Christian Jantz (94 yards, 2016), Jim Santimauro (94 yards, 2003), Blaise Abramovitz (84 yards, 2003) and John Filkovski (82 yards, 1981).

Pulling rank

After an impressive, 20-0 victory over McKeesport last week, Belle Vernon moved into the No. 4 spot in the Trib Class 4A rankings.

The Leopards were not in the preseason top five.

Jeannette is the only other Westmoreland team ranked, at No. 3 in Class A.

Derry (3A) and Greensburg Central Catholic (A) dropped out of the rankings after opening-week losses.

700 Club

Greensburg Salem remains one win shy of 700 as the Golden Lions get set to host Knoch on Friday night at Offutt Field.

A win would make Greensburg Salem the fifth WPIAL program to reach 700, but it also would throw the team into a statewide group that includes 13 schools with 700 or more victories.

The all-time wins list includes: Mt. Carmel (866), Easton (838), Berwick (825), Jeannette (756), Steelton-Highspire (754), New Castle (745), Aliquippa (737), Coatesville (722), Williamsport (719), Washington (710), Philadelphia Central (709), William Penn Charter (705) and Huntingdon (700).

Oh, brother

There are at least three county teams with siblings playing quarterback and other offensive spots, so a brother-to-brother touchdown combination is possible at all three places.

Jeannette has freshman quarterback Brad Birch and junior wideout Brett Birch. The pair tried a deep ball on the first play of the game last week against Clairton. At Yough, junior Tristan Waldier is back throwing passes to his senior brother, C.J. Last week, C.J. caught two scores from Tristan, who missed most of last season with an injury.

And Greensburg Central Catholic backup quarterback Nate Dlugos could end up passing to his brothers, Zach and Nick, who play running back and receiver for the Centurions.

Danny Dlugos, another running back, is a cousin.

More bloodlines: Yough also has the Marballie brothers, Gamal and Kadeem, and Penn-Trafford has twin defensive backs in Mason and Nate Frye.

Sanders starts

Jeannette grad Imani Sanders is a first-year player at Steel City Academy in Pittsburgh. The former running back started at wide receiver in the team’s opener last week at Fork Union Military Academy.

Steel City offers a post-grad year for players who aren’t quite ready to make the jump to college football, without losing any eligibility. The academy vows to help players get into four-year programs.

Football down by the river

Jeannette will play one of two Saturday games in the Class A Eastern Conference as the Jayhawks kick off at noon at Riverview.

While Jeannette is relatively new to playing Saturdays, a byproduct of playing in the Eastern, Riverview is quite used to the custom.

Riverside Park will open its 60th season of hosting high school football. The park does not have lights but in the past has set up portable lights for random night games at the Oakmont field. Afternoon games are its trademark.

There aren’t many better atmospheres than fall Saturdays at Riverside Park, which sits along the Allegheny River and has a charming backdrop of leaf-changing trees.

Riverview is the only Eastern team to play in all of its 41 seasons.

Hempfield healthy?

Hempfield sustained some key injuries in its scrimmage with Penn-Trafford two weeks ago, but the Spartans have all but one starter set to play this week at home against Seneca Valley, according to coach Rich Bowen.

The lone injured player who is not expected to go Friday is linebacker Anthony Vallano.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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