WPIAL football player of the week — Week 14
Sunday, December 1, 2019 | 9:32 PM
Since expansion to six classes in 2016, WPIAL 3A champs, which all came from the Tri-County West Conference, are 4-0 in the PIAA semifinals.
Beaver Falls in 2016. Quaker Valley in ‘17. Aliquippa last season and Central Valley this year picked up state semifinal wins and advanced to Hershey.
Central Valley showed no rust after a quarterfinals bye as it rolled past District 6 champion Bald Eagle, 45-0, on Friday.
“The layoff did not concern our players focus,” Central Valley coach Mark Lyons said. “We had a great week of practice in our preparation for Bald Eagle.”
Leading the way was junior quarterback Ameer Dudley. He was 10 of 15 passing for 121 yards and two touchdowns as the Warriors jumped out to a 15-0 lead after one quarter and led 28-0 by halftime.
“Ameer understood where the ball needed to go on every play,” Lyons said. “Ameer never pressed himself into having to make a play. He allowed the play to unfold, read the defense and then executed the play.”
Dudley had no problems running, either. He ended up with 108 yards rushing and a score.
“We always feel he has the ability to make plays with his legs,” Lyons said. “We do have some run-pass options for Ameer.”
Dudley is second on the team in rushing behind Jaylen Guy with 554 yards and 10 touchdowns.
The second-year starting quarterback for the Warriors is closing in on 2,000 yards passing, with 1,842 yards and 23 touchdown tosses.
“His maturity and learning curve has been unbelievable each week,” Lyons said. “Ameer has a great demeanor playing QB. Our players trust in him and Ameer’s trust in his teammates have grown exponentially.”
Lyons points out Dudley’s maturity as a leader has been one of the biggest things he has improved on this season.
“Ameer realizes he does not have to carry this team every play or game. He has learned to take what the opponent is giving us and then rely on his teammates to make plays.”
This will be Central Valley’s second trip to the state finals in Hershey. The Warriors lost to Archbishop Wood, 33-14, in the 2014 Class AA title game.
On Saturday afternoon, the Warriors face District 2 champion Wyoming Valley as both teams enter the championship game with 13-1 records.
“They have a very strong running game,” Lyons said. “I’m impressed with their quarterback (Dominic) DeLuca. He never leaves the field. Just a throwback, does-everything type of player.”
So, will the Warriors look to Dudley to throw the ball or carry the ball more?
“We don’t go into a game with a presumed judgment,” Lyons said. “Ameer and our offense will be prepared to attack what they are giving us, whether it is with Ameer’s legs or arm.”
WPIAL Week 14 Honorable Mentions:
Bryson Venanzio, Gateway
Gateway knew they had a big hill to climb in facing perennial state power Archbishop Wood without star running back and linebacker Derrick Davis.
The WPIAL 5A champion Gators did have senior quarterback Bryson Venanzio, who concluded his fantastic season with another big game.
Venanzio connected on 24 of 31 passes for 237 yards and two touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough as the Vikings kicked a 25-yard field goal with 3 seconds left to give Archbishop Wood a 24-21 victory over Gateway.
Shane Stump, Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson not only evoked the mercy rule in its PIAA Class 4A semifinal, but the Jaguars also forced the clock to strike midnight after a 22-0 lead after one quarter in ending the postseason run of District 3 champion Lampeter-Strasburg.
Leading the Jaguars dominance was Shane Stump. The senior quarterback hit on 7 of 10 passes for 182 yards and three long touchdowns, two to Dan Deabner and one to Ian Hansen.
TJ scored 22 points in the first quarter and again in the third quarter as they are a win from their fourth PIAA championship after a 44-2 drubbing of the Pioneers.
Through four WPIAL playoff victories, Jax Miller ran wild, rushing for more than 900 yards as Avonworth ended up winning their first outright district championship.
However the offensive plan changed in the Antelopes first ever PIAA state playoff game on Friday. Enter quarterback Park Penrod.
The senior hit on 9 of 14 passes for 163 yards and three touchdown passes, plus he delivered the exclamation point with a one yard scoring run as the Antelopes pranced to a 35-21 victory over previously undefeated Wilmington to send Avonworth to the 2A finals to face Southern Columbia on Friday.
2019 Trib HSSN football players of the week:
Don Rebel hosts the Rebel Yell podcasts for HSSN.