Westmoreland notebook: Greensburg Salem’s McChesney ideal Fralic Award candidate

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Sunday, November 21, 2021 | 7:21 PM


Greensburg Salem senior Billy McChesney is a standout football player and heavyweight wrestler.

So was the great Bill Fralic.

Which makes McChesney a perfect fit as a candidate for the 3rd annual Bill Fralic Award, which recognizes the top senior interior lineman in the WPIAL.

McChesney is the Class 4A representative — one of six finalists — for the award that will be presented to one winner Dec. 4 at a pancake breakfast at Longue Vue Club.

The other finalists are: Kanye Hawkins of Clairton (Class A), Mason Manos of Neshannock (2A), Sean FitzSimmons of Central Valley (3A), Trent Fraley of Moon (5A) and Donovan Hinish of Central Catholic (6A).

“It is a huge deal to be nominated, let alone be the finalist for 4A,” McChesney said. “It is a huge compliment that other coaches thought that my contribution to my team was worthy of a nomination for this prestigious award.”

Fralic, a former star at Penn Hills and Pitt before he went on to an All-Pro career as an offensive guard in the NFL, died of cancer in 2018 at age 56.

A foundation was formed in his name and an award came to fruition two years ago to honor his legacy and remind people of how good he was.

McChesney, a 6-foot-2, 275-pounder, played offensive guard and defensive tackle.

He will wrestle at Columbia.

Fralic was a WPIAL champion wrestler at Penn Hills and took third in the state in 1980. He later performed in WrestleMania 2 as part of a 20-man battle royal that was won by Andre The Giant.

Past Fralic Award winners are Miguel Jackson of Pine-Richland (2020) and Logan Danielson of Thomas Jefferson (2019).

Fralic is known for helping to popularize the ‘“pancake” block, hence the breakfast part of the ceremony.

Another former standout blocker at Pitt, Jimbo Covert, who recently was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame, will be the guest speaker.

McChesney had 75 tackles, 17 for loss, six sacks and six QB hurries for the Golden Lions, who finished 5-5.

“He is everything you look for in a player, leader and teammate,” Golden Lions coach Dave Keefer said. “And he is a better person than he is a football player.”

He helped the team produce one of the top passing offenses in the WPIAL, too. Senior quarterback Hayden Teska was second in the WPIAL with 2,137 yards and 20 touchdowns, while junior Cody Rubrecht caught 48 receptions for 1,010 yards and 11 TDs, and senior Donavin Waller had 35 catches for 508 yards and four scores.

“I had heard of Bill Fralic previously, but I wasn’t fully aware of him or his legacy until Mr. (Dan) Miller notified me that I was a finalist,” he said. “It wasn’t until my talk with him, coach Keefer, coach Parsley, and others that I became fully aware of Bill Fralic’s contributions to local athletics, professional athletics, the impact he had on the lives of those around him and the aura with which he had around himself.”

All-WPIAL honors

Greensburg Central Catholic boys soccer fell short of its goal to strike up a WPIAL three-peat, but the Centurions once again collected postseason accolades.

Senior Mason Fabean and junior Carlo Denis were named to the All-WPIAL Class A list, along with Jeannette sophomore Jordan Taylor, who led Westmoreland County with 45 goals.

Denis had 29 goals and nine assists, while Fabean finished with 27 goals and 14 assists as GCC (16-5) reached the WPIAL championship and PIAA quarterfinals.

Fabean finished with 78 career goals.

Taylor helped lead Jeannette to its first playoff appearance.

Dump and Chase

Franklin Regional senior hockey player Chase Williams was named the PIHL Class 2A Player of the Month for October.

Williams, a forward, led the returning Penguins Cup runner-up Panthers (5-0) to three wins last month. For the season, he leads the team with 12 points — four goals and eight assists.

Williams was recognized during the Buffalo at Penguins game Tuesday night at PPG Paints Arena.

Derry football situation

Derry has begun its search for a football coach after opening Vince Skillings’ position late in the season. Athletic director Brett Miller said the position will be advertised publicly later this week.

Derry battled youth, inexperience and injuries to finish 0-9. The Trojans were outscored 494-69.

Skillings was dismissed with two games remaining but a reason why was never made public as the district refused to comment on personnel issues.

Recruiting

Franklin Regional senior Zach Abdallah will continue his golf career at Gannon. He also plays hockey for the Panthers and has had postseason success in both sports, winning a WPIAL title in golf and a PIHL runner-up in hockey.

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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