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Armstrong County football players make it official, sign with colleges | TribLIVE.com
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Armstrong County football players make it official, sign with colleges

A.J. Panian
| Wednesday, February 4, 2015 10:51 p.m
VNDHighKitt2092014
Louis B. Ruediger | Trib Total Media
Kittanning's Nick Bowers pulls in a 80-yard reception as Highlands' Wil Burris defends in the second quarter Friday, Sept. 19, 2014, in Kittanning.

A bumper crop of local football talent had area schools’ fax machines working early Wednesday morning.

Kittanning’s Nick Bowers, Apollo-Ridge’s Tre Tipton, Karns City’s Logan Moroney and Freeport’s Andrew Romanchak signed national letters of intent to accept Division I scholarship offers on the first day of the NCAA’s signing period for football.

Bowers signed with Penn State after switching his verbal commitment last week from Pitt to the Nittany Lions. Tipton goes down as one of the very first recruits to sign for new Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi, and Moroney and Romanchak will be teammates in the fall at Robert Morris.

Bowers made no secret of his distaste for the hustle of the recruiting circuit, which is why it was no surprise that he was at Kittanning High School as early as possible to be the first local player making his decision final.

“I’m really pumped. I’m excited that it’s over because I really did not like the recruiting process,” Bowers said. “We came in at 6:45 (a.m.) and went to the guidance counselor’s office to sign the papers, and we sent them over as soon as we could.”

The 6-foot-4, 240-pound tight end recruit was joined by a large group of coaches, teammates, friends and family members in the school library, and he took the time to thank them all for being there. And while he is excited to take the next step in his career, he’s not yet ready to bail on Kittanning.

“I don’t really want (high school) to end yet. I’m going to enjoy my time here and have fun with my friends before I have to go, because once I leave, it’s all business from there,” Bowers said. “(Penn State coach James Franklin and I) haven’t really talked about football yet, but I’m guessing that will come pretty soon. I think he’ll be sending some workout and lifting stuff and maybe a playbook to start getting to know the plays early.”

To the south at Apollo-Ridge, Tipton was just as eager to send off his letter of intent in the morning, and his was the second received by Pitt’s staff.

“It was crazy. It felt like it finally happened. (Tuesday) night it finally hit me: I’m going to college. This is an opportunity that is going to be amazing,” Tipton said. “I told everyone it wasn’t about me going to Pitt. It’s we are going to Pitt. This is for all of the people that stuck by me. A-R is in my blood. I will make sure I never forget my roots.”

The 6-foot, 170-pound receiver was one of six WPIAL signees for the Panthers, a team already littered with WPIAL standouts such as all-ACC receiver Tyler Boyd of Clairton. The A-R star now is preparing to join that group.

“Everybody is all-conference and all-state now at this level,” Tipton said. “Now it’s up to you to find out what sets you apart and what makes you unique. I’m ready.”

Robert Morris claimed the other two signees from the area as it attempts to bounce back from a down season. Romanchak, recruited as a safety, and Moroney, a tight end/receiver, have yet to meet, but given the positions each was recruited to play, it’s likely they’ll be looking across at one another on the practice field soon.

“They way the coaches there were talking, they had a really good freshman class last year but not very many seniors,” Moroney said. “Our class and the class ahead of us are going to be really crucial for them, and I think if we put it together, we’ll be a really good team.”

Romanchak also is eager to make an impact at Robert Morris, and he thinks the experience of playing as a quarterback and defensive back against the likes of Bowers, Tipton and the rest of the Allegheny Conference has prepared him for the next level.

“The competition was amazing this year. It was one of the strongest in the WPIAL. And it was fun to play every week,” he said.

Though it is impossible to confirm because of incomplete records, the consensus among the area’s high school coaches is that this is the first time that Armstrong County schools and the Leader Times coverage area has produced four Division I football players in the same season.

Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at mgrubba@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Grubba_Trib.

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