Westmoreland notebook: WCCA 7-on-7 tournament returns

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Saturday, July 16, 2022 | 5:47 PM


The “skill” guys — the quarterbacks, running backs, receivers and defensive backs — will be on display Thursday at the Westmoreland County Coaches Association Larry Sellitto Memorial 7-on-7 Football Championship, a sure sign high school football is fast approaching.

The pitch-and-catch event begins at 9 a.m. at Latrobe’s Rossi and Graham-Sobota fields, with pool play games all day until the championship at 2 p.m.

Norwin is the two-time defending champion, but Penn-Trafford returns having won five titles and finishing second three times.

The Warriors, of course, won WPIAL and PIAA Class 5A championships last fall.

Norwin and Penn-Trafford, however, both have to replace starting quarterbacks — as do a number of teams in the field. One player in the mix for Penn-Trafford is 6-foot-4, 250-pound senior Conlan Greene, who committed to Temple as a defensive lineman.

Hempfield has strong-armed senior Jake Phillips under center, and Greensburg Salem brings back WPIAL receiving leader Cody Rubrecht.

Greensburg Central Catholic has been giving 7-on-7 QB reps to junior Tyree Turner and freshman Samir Crosby, a Jeannette transfer, while senior Nate Dlugos has moved to receiver.

This will be the 11th year for the WCCA event. It was cancelled in 2020.

Latrobe will field two teams in the 16-team field. Franklin Regional is not competing this year.

Bracket A has Greensburg Salem, Valley, Ligonier Valley, Greensburg Central Catholic, Latrobe (A), Norwin, Burrell and Southmoreland.

Bracket B consists of Hempfield, Latrobe (B), Yough, Jeannette, Kiski Area, Mt. Pleasant, Derry, and Penn-Trafford.

Latrobe (Ron Prady), Southmoreland (Tim Bukowski), Jeannette (Tom Paulone), Yough (Ben Hoffer), Derry (Mike Arone), and Valley (Dave Heavner) all have new head coaches.

Teams get six points for a touchdown, one for a conversion from the 3-yard line and two from the 10, one for a defensive stop on downs and three for an interception, which cannot be returned.

Games are 25 minutes long and played on 40-yard fields. Reaching the 20-yard line is a first down.

Penalties are assessed for pass interference, holding, delay of game, and for offside, motion and false starts.

Bilinsky offered

Norwin rising senior basketball player Adam Bilinsky’s recruiting stock is rising as the AAU season treks through the summer.

Bilinsky, a 6-foot-3 guard with hops, recently was issued a pair of Division II college scholarship offers, from Mercyhurst (Erie) and D’Youville (N.Y.)

Bilinsky, a standout for Mason Elite AAU — owned by former Highlands and Duquesne star Micah Mason — averaged 17.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks per game last season for the Knights.

Griffins land a pair

The national renowned Seton Hill baseball team likes to recruit from its backyard, and the Griffins pulled in verbal commitments from a pair of local players.

Both are power hitters in Penn-Trafford rising senior Jakob Haynes and Norwin senior Chris Slatt.

Haynes, a catcher, was slowed by a broken leg and missed most of the spring high school season.

But he has returned to form this summer playing for the Pittsburgh Spikes. Slatt, who played first base for Norwin, is a member of Hardcore Elite Baseball.

Recruiting

Norwin’s rising senior special teams pair of kicker Joey Castle and longsnapper Xander Smith, both of whom has attended national showcases in recent months, received invites to play at Akron, with a chance to earn a scholarship later.

They have a similar offer from Buffalo.

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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