Westmoreland high school notebook: Hempfield’s Graham gets 3 more Division I offers

Saturday, December 7, 2019 | 5:52 PM

Hempfield senior football player Cole Graham added three Division I college opportunities to his suddenly growing list.

He announced scholarship offers last week from FCS programs Lehigh, Duquesne and Monmouth.

Graham, a 6-foot-6, 270-pound two-way lineman, also has a FBS offer from Connecticut.

Graham helped Hempfield rush for 2,039 yards, led by senior running back Nathan Roby (1,449 yards, 19 TDs), and pass for 1,625 yards.

Graham hopes to follow his teammate’s path to the next level. Senior Fintan Brose is a Delaware commit.

Another linemate, Ryan Cross, has an offer to play at St. Francis (Pa.) as a preferred walk-on.

Hoops to watch

The first full week of high school basketball has plenty to offer, including the start of section play for many teams.

The 17th annual Mike Rettger Memorial Tournament will be Monday and Tuesday at Franklin Regional.

It is a round-robin format this season, with Norwin playing Baldwin at 6 p.m. Monday, followed by Monessen and Franklin Regional at 7:30 p.m.

On Tuesday, it’s Norwin vs. Monessen at 6 p.m. and Baldwin vs. Franklin Regional at 7:30 p.m.

Greensburg Central Catholic and Jeannette will renew their rivalry with the girls playing Monday night and the boys meeting Tuesday night. Both games are at Jeannette.

Mt. Pleasant at Greensburg Salem is a good boys matchup Tuesday night.

Also Tuesday, the Norwin girls, ranked No. 4 in Class 6A, travel to play Class 4A No. 3 Blackhawk, and Gateway visits Penn-Trafford.

Girls section openers to watch Thursday include Norwin at Pine-Richland (1-6A) and Ringgold at Belle Vernon (3-4A).

Boys section games of note Friday include Franklin Regional at Hampton (3-5A) and Greensburg Central at St. Joseph (3-A).

WCCA Shootout

Hempfield will host the second Westmoreland County Coaches Association Showcase for boys basketball Saturday.

There will be four games at Spartan Field House: Monessen vs. Mt. Pleasant at noon, Derry vs. Southmoreland (1:45 p.m.), Jeannette vs. Burrell (3:30) and Belle Vernon vs. Greensburg Central Catholic (5:15).

Three games will be played at Hempfield’s old gym: Hempfield vs. Kiski Area (noon), Norwin vs. Valley (1:45) and Latrobe vs. Greensburg Salem (3:30).

Derry hires DePalma

Derry has a new softball coach.

John DePalma, a former assistant baseball coach for the Trojans, was hired last week to replace Pat Maloy, who resigned after five seasons.

DePalma is a successul travel coach at the youth levels, guiding a Vipers (Latrobe) team to the USSSA World Series.

He also coached Firecrackers Softball, out of Southern California, at the 13U and 14U levels.

He also is a former assistant baseball coach at Pitt-Greensburg.

Latrobe softball still has a vancancy, which it will look to fill Dec. 17, athletic director Mark Mears said.

Coaches of the year

WPXI Skylights held a season-long fan vote for its high school coaches of the year in each classification and the City League.

Three winners hail from Westmoreland programs: Belle Vernon’s Matt Humbert (Class 4A), Burrell’s Shawn Liotta (3A) and Southmoreland’s Dave Keefer (2A).

Humbert guided BVA to its first WPIAL championship appearance since 2009, and Liotta’s Bucs finished 6-4 and Keefer led the Scotties (5-6) to their first WPIAL playoff appearance since 1979.

The other top coaches are: Eric Kasperowicz of Pine-Richland (Class 6A), Ryan Linn of Moon (5A), Ed Dawson of Cornell (A) and University Prep’s Lou Berry (City League)


Belle Vernon senior football player Nolan Labuda, a record-breaking receiver, has a preferred walk-on offer from Akron.

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

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