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Westmoreland High School Football Notebook: Sophomore QP ignites Latrobe | TRIB HSSN

Westmoreland High School Football Notebook: Sophomore QP ignites Latrobe | TRIB HSSN

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Thursday 10 November 2022 | 11:01 am


When Ron Brady took charge of the Latrobe football program, he already knew many of the players because he was studying in the area.

One of them was John Wetzel, his sophomore quarterback.

“We have a lot of faith in Johnny,” Brady said. “We trust him to commit the crime. He can take off too. He has some legs.”

Witzel directed the attack in accordance with the Wildcats (7-4), who knocked out their first post-season win since 1968. No. 11-ranked Latrobe overpowered the Highlands No. 6, 28-21, in overtime to advance to Friday. Quarter-finals in third place Thomas Jefferson (7-3).

Wetzel (6-foot-2, 185 pounds) threw a pair of touchdown passes—a 14-yard hit to Corey Boerio and a 7-yard hit to Connor Lakin—as the Wildcats rushed into overtime.

“He did an amazing job turning him into third and thirteenth,” Brady said. “He was out of the jeep, he jumped over a kid and somehow stayed inside. That took over.”

Wetzel ran games, made a big throw and took off on the first touchdown, all the while providing cover in safety.

Consider it a constant force on both sides of the ball.

“It was very accurate,” Brady said. “He’ll go 6 for 7 or 8 for 9 and make good throws. We don’t throw it in a ton, but when we do, it’s been effective.

“With his ability to run, he took some pressure off (Robbie) Fulton. They compliment each other.”

Wetzel threw for 808 yards and 10 touchdowns and has a 517 yard dash and five touchdowns.

The Fulton was a solid propellant with nearly 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns. He tied his 9-yard run — and Ben Biggie’s extra point — in the third quarter, before winning the match by 6 yards in overtime.

borrow time

Ligonier Valley, ranked seventh in Class 2A, is aiming for a Friday night upset against No. 2 Beaver Falls (9-1) at Geneva College.

The Rams will, however, without Nick Lonas, a major two-way player who broke his collarbone last week in the team’s 27-20 win over the Western Beaver — the program’s first playoff win in WPIAL.

Lunas is the key to reverse and defensive back.

“We say he’s playing Jack because he’s a Jack of all trades,” Legionnaire Valley coach Roger Beetle said. “He will be replaced by a committee because he does so much for us.”

Bruce Krieger will be the key player, more defensively as a defender and attacker.

“With Nick out, it’s tough,” Krieger said. “We will probably get some new players to play with him.”

Ligonier Valley hopes to own football as it was last week when Western Beaver was limited to just 45 games.

Beetle tribute

Beitel has been named Steelers Youth Football Coach of the Week for Week 10. He will be honored at the Steelers’ upcoming match at Acrisure Stadium.

Common opponents

Top seed Bill Vernon (7-2) and ninth seed East Allegheny (8-3) will meet Friday at “Beach” in the Class 3A quarterfinals. While the teams are not opposition in the conference, they do share a large number of opponents.

They both played South Allegheny, Greensburg-Salem, Elizabeth Forward and Mount Pleasant.

Bill Vernon went 4-0 against those teams while the Wildcats were 3-1. Their only loss was Elizabeth Forward, 42-7.

Standard Cutters

You won’t find many rookie players like Ty Keffer this season in Southmoreland.

The 6-foot-4 junior wide receiver, who played his first season in football, finished with 73 receptions for 1,009 yards and 16 touchdowns. All three categories are school records.

Honours

A high-profile touch-ball catch by Nate Delgos, a senior Central Greensburg Catholic, went viral two weeks ago and caught the attention of SBLive of Pennsylvania.

The site put the play up for a vote, and it was the winner of all plays presented October 27-29 as the state’s play of the week.

Centurions quarterback Tyree Turner spiraled down the left sideline, ahead of Dlugos, who threw the ball to himself, grabbed it and raced for 64 yards to score.

He dragged a defender with him for the last 15 yards to add more zooms to the play.

Meanwhile, Hempfield’s senior Eli Benaconsky was voted Pennsylvania Athletic of the Week (October 23-29). He received 63.1% of the approximately 50,000 votes cast.

Binakonsky led the Spartans’ defense with 107 tackles and interceptions. He also rushed for 268 yards and seven touchdowns.

Recruitment

Binakonsky received a college offer to play at Notre Dame College, a Division II school in Ohio.

Another Hempfield player, receiver and defensive back, Ian Tuffs, has an offer to play for the Clarion of the Division II PSAC.

Janet Senior Linebacker/ Defensive Linebacker Andrew Ross and Senior Tight End/ Defensive End/Kicker Mitchell Steele have a chance to play at Westminster.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a writer on the Tribune’s editorial board. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

Tags: Bill VernonGreensburg CC, Hempfield, Latrobe, Ligonier Valley, Southmoreland



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