Westmoreland high school notebook: Standout linemen abound in area

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Saturday, July 27, 2019 | 6:02 PM


It is no secret: Lineman looks to be the premier position his season in Westmoreland County football. Area teams should be well-protected up front with a number of Division I prospects pushing the pile.

Belle Vernon rising senior Hayden Baron is one of them as he continues to find his way into the conversation.

Baron, a 6-foot-3, 260-pound tackle and defensive end, received his second Division I FCS scholarship offer Wednesday, from Robert Morris.

He made a recent visit to the Moon campus.

His other offer came about a month ago from Valparaiso, the same school to offer Penn-Trafford senior tackle Derek Sutherland (6-2, 240).

Penn-Trafford graduate Dave Bucar is the assistant head coach and offensive line coach at Valpo.

A number of other area linemen have Division I interest from mid-major programs or have made verbal commitments on the eve of their senior season.

Hempfield two-way lineman Fintan Brose (6-4, 280) recently pledged to Delaware. Ligonier Valley offensive guard and defensive tackle Michael Petrof (6-2, 275) committed to Navy, and Petrof’s teammate, tackle and defensive end Christian Jablonski (6-5, 260), chose Lehigh.

Throw two more into the mix: another Ligonier Valley two-way tackle in Wylie Spiker (6-3, 260), who has an offer from Duquesne, and Derry’s Max Malis (6-2, 270), a tackle and defensive end, who was offered by Air Force.

All-state soccer

TopDrawerSoccer, which covers recruiting and ranks teams on a nationwide scale, released its all-state teams from the 2018 fall season. The area was well-represented on the boys and girls teams.

Local players on the all-state team are: Belle Vernon grad and Duquesne recruit Markello Apodiakos; Norwin grad Carter Breen (Duquesne); Franklin Regional grad Auston Kranick (Oakland); and incoming Pitt freshman Luke Mort of Greensburg Central Catholic. Local girls all-state picks: Valparaiso freshman Kiley Dugan and fellow grad Jordan Lawrence of Penn-Trafford; Norwin senior Eva Frankovic, a Pitt commit; Norwin grad Maddie Genicola (Duquesne); Norwin grad Lexi Gray; and sophomore Tatum Gretz of Greensburg Central Catholic, a Villanova commit.

Derry girls hoops

Derry still has a girls basketball coaching vacancy, but it won’t last much longer. The district is scheduled to name a coach on Aug. 1. Matt Regula resigned in March after one season. Derry went 9-11 and finished a game out of a WPIAL Class 3A playoff spot. The program has had three coaches in the last three seasons. The others were William Tyler Johnson, who also coached on season; and Rich Zemba, who spent five years at the post until he resigned in 2017.

Another girl at Yough?

Yough has had a female football player on its roster the past couple of seasons and will again this fall with junior Kylie Roebuck. But she could have company. Cougars coach Scott Wood said senior Hadley Sleith, a three-sport athlete who could be adding a fourth, is considering trying out for the kicking duties.

“She used to be our water girl,” Wood said. “We asked her if she wanted to kick. She said yes.”

Robuck’s father used to coach youth football in Herminie, which drew Kylie’s attention to the game. She has seen playing time at linebacker during summer 7-on-7 competitions.

Food for thought

Jeannette is simplifying its offensive calls in football, and it might make some of the linemen hungry. Offensive coordinator Ryan Reitz, who has worked to implement the spread offense, with yearly tweaks, said the Jayhawks will do away with complicated X’s and O’s on wristbands and operate based on one-word calls — involving food.

Turkey. Rigatoni. Steak. Watermelon, and even grapes are among the names that plays will be called. Play cards might be used on the sidelines.

“It’s easier and quicker to get those calls in,” Reitz said. “The kids hear that word and immediately know what play we’re running. My dad used to do this for certain plays on the 2007 team. If we wanted a quick play change, we’d call ‘turkey,’ or whatever, and Terrelle (Pryor) would take off.”

Game change

Jeannette was scheduled to play Imani Christian in WPIAL Class A Eastern Conference football game Week 2 at Wilkinsburg’s Graham Field. But with ongoing renovations, that venue will not be ready, so the game will be played at 7 p.m. Sept. 6 at Jeannette’s McKee Stadium.

Recruiting trail

Greensburg Central Catholic senior baseball player Paul Rice said he will continue his playing career at Alderson Broaddus. Known for his solid defense behind the plate, Rice has been one of the top blocking catchers in the Centurions’ section. Last season, he hit .339 with a team-best 16 RBIs and a 1.007 OPS.

• A girls basketball player to watch next season is Southmoreland rising sophomore Bailey Kuhns. The 5-foot-11 forward already has a scholarship offer from Division II national power IUP. Kuhns played in all 24 games last season for the Scotties (18-6) and averaged 10.7 points and 7.4 rebounds.

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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