Westmoreland high school notebook: Hempfield punter makes all-star roster

Sunday, February 25, 2024 | 4:55 PM

Players from Westmoreland County have been selected to the East-West football all-star games before. Quarterbacks, running backs and linebackers are not uncommon picks.

But a kicker/punter making the roster? That is something new.

Hempfield’s Josh Reilly was chosen for the East team that will play the West in the large-school game at 5 p.m. on May 19 at Cumberland Valley’s Chapman Field.

The small-school game kicks off at noon.

Reilly is second all time at Hempfield in career extra points, making 62 of 64. He was 3 for 3 on field goals last season with a long of 43 yards.

“He worked every day to be consistent with the little things involved with being an impactful kicker/punter,” Hempfield coach Nick Keefer said. “Not every school is fortunate enough to have just a kicker on the roster. Some of them have to share with soccer or just have another athlete perform the kicking duties.”

The 6-foot-4 Reilly also plays volleyball for the Spartans.

Norwin’s Luke Denny also was picked for the large-school game, as a safety. The Lehigh commit set a school record for receiving yards in a season with 1,046. He had 44 catches and 11 touchdowns. He had 60 tackles, an interception and eight pass breakups on defense.

Latrobe’s Ron Prady will be an assistant coach for the East.

Small-school selections include Southmoreland running back Da’sjon Craggette and the Belle Vernon pair of tight end Aiden Johnson and defensive end Braden Laux.

Laux, an Eastern Michigan commit as a tight end, threw for 1,733 yards and 19 touchdowns and had 32 tackles and four sacks.

Craggette, a Cal (Pa.) recruit, rushed for 1,462 yards and 10 touchdowns. Johnson was a key run-blocker for the Leopards in their WPIAL and PIAA 3A repeats.

Johnson, who will play at Millersville, had 48 tackles, 10 for loss, and seven sacks. Laux was the Leopards quarterback and also was a key pass rusher.

Roger Beitel of Ligonier Valley will be the East coach for the Small-school game, with Jeannette’s Tom Paulone his staff.

Full rosters here.

Alley cat

Hempfield sophomore bowler Amelia Droste received some hardware during the WPIBL singles championships Thursday.

Droste was recognized as a division MVP, made the all-singles first team and had the top singles average and high game in the championship (246).

Droste, who led the field in qualifying with a 661 series, made the 3A semifinals before falling to eventual champion Veronica Flanagan, a junior from Kiski Area, 189-181.

DeVito hired

Norwin hired Ashley DeVito as girls soccer coach.

DeVito, 31, spent seven seasons as the girls head coach at Penn Hills. She replaces Dian Metzger, who resigned after three seasons.

Penn Hills went 44-76-3 record during DeVito’s tenure, including four trips to the WPIAL playoffs.

DeVito, who played at Penn Hills and Edinboro, and coaches club soccer, became the coach at her high school alma mater right after graduating from college.

Norwin won just nine games in the last two season and have not made the playoffs for two years in a row, a rarity for a program that had never missed the postseason prior to the 2021 season.

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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