Westmoreland notebook: ‘Heat week’ leads into start of training camp

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Saturday, August 3, 2019 | 6:27 PM


“Heat week” begins Monday around the state as football teams get set to open camps Aug. 12.

The heat acclimatization period was instituted in 2013 to better prepare players for the summer climate and how it relates to training, prior to full-contact practices.

Teams must implement a heat program for five consecutive days before the first day of camp, and players must take part in at least three consecutive days.

Penn-Trafford coach John Ruane often talks about the benefits of getting his team together and getting something out of each meeting, no matter the time of year — never a wasted moment during preparation.

“The advantages are we get to work hard on special teams’ scheme and skills. We condition hard to get in football shape and get into a routine with the tempo of practice,” Ruane said. “We want to basically get very good at … timing, footwork and scheme.”

Teams can’t work out for more than five hours during heat week, with two-hour rest and recovery sessions built in. Players can wear helmets and shoulder pads but are not permitted to hit.

Get in line

Like the big boys themselves, Division I college interest in area linemen keeps growing in size.

St. Francis (Pa.) is following suit with a number of other FCS schools in the market for front-line talent by making inroads to Westmoreland County programs.

Two more local players received scholarship offers this week — both from St. Francis — in Ligonier Valley’s Wylie Spiker and Derry’s Gavin Adams. Both are rising seniors.

The 6-foot-3, 260-pound Spiker is a two-way tackle for the Rams and also has an offer from Duquesne.

The Red Flash offer is the first for Adams (6-4, 280), a first-team all-conference blocker who plays left tackle and defensive line.

Other local incoming seniors with offers include Derry’s Max Malis (6-2, 270), a tackle and defensive end, who was offered by Air Force; Belle Vernon rising senior Hayden Baron (6-3, 260), who has offers from Valparaiso and Robert Morris; and Penn-Trafford tackle Derek Sutherland (6-2, 240), who also has a Valparaiso offer.

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

Norwin offers

Norwin basketball player Jayla Wehner already has a Division I scholarship offer from Western Carolina. But the skilled point guard added two NAIA offers last week, from Marian in Indianapolis, and Michigan-Dearborn.

The 5-foot-6 Wehner, an incoming senior, drew the offers while playing for the Western PA Bruins AAU program.

Her backcourt teammate, another senior-to-be in Olivia Gribble, also was offered by Michigan-Dearborn.

Anticipating “them”

The Southmoreland football team is ready to get the season started. On Wednesday, assistant coach Ron Frederick tweeted “23 Days!” referring to the time until his team’s season opener against Mt. Pleasant. It included a GIF of the Duke men’s basketball team and the hashtag, #BEATNORVELT.

What’s the significance of the hashtag?

“It’s Mt Pleasant,” Fredrick said. “We don’t use their name. Like Duke refers to North Carolina as Chapel Hill.”

Other teams have used this reference in the past, apparently.

“When I coached at Ringgold, (Belle Vernon coach Matt) Humbert called us that team across the river,” Frederick said. “We called them Rostraver.”

Fenton all-state

Recent Latrobe grad Reed Fenton likely will be remembered for his exploits on the basketball court, but he made quite a mark in volleyball, as well.

Fenton, who is a freshman basketball player at Lehigh, was named to the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches’ Association Class AAA all-state first team.

A 6-foot-4 outside hitter and four-year starter, Fenton helped Latrobe reach the WPIAL volleyball playoffs all four years. The Wildcats went 15-3 last season, won a section title and reached the semifinals. He made the all-section team four times.

One-upping dad

Fenton is a modest player. He neither seeks out nor basks in any attention he gets from basketball. But at some point, as he pumped in points for Latrobe, he must have stopped to think about his father’s point total.

It had to come up at a family dinner.

If Fenton wanted to one-up his dad, Neal, he did so. Reed finished with 1,300 points, one more than Neal (1,299).

“He really did not say anything at all,” Neal Fenton said. “Reed is a pretty humble kind of kid. However, I wanted Reed to surpass my brother, Keith, who is about 40 or 50 points ahead of me (on the scoring list).”

Said Reed: “It never really crossed my mind.”

Neal Fenton played at Lehigh.

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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