High school notebook: Apollo-Ridge’s Tipton named conference dual-award winner
When coaches peeled away the drape to reveal award winners at Monday’s Allegheny Conference football banquet at the Clarion Hotel in New Kensington, one thing became abundantly clear if it hadn’t already: Tre Tipton was the best all-around player in the conference.
The senior from Apollo-Ridge not only was named co-offensive player of the year with Highlands’ Elijah Jackson, but he also won the conference’s defensive player of the year.
While it’s somewhat uncommon to pick the same player for both awards, conference coaches bent the rule for Tipton, a Pitt recruit, who altered many game plans.
“We voted offensive first and (Tipton and Jackson) tied,” Apollo-Ridge coach John Skiba said, “then the coaches asked to have Tre be nominated because he shut down everyone’s best. It’s a great honor.”
Playing quarterback, running back and receiver, Tipton rushed for 1,028 yards, passed for 515 and caught 25 passes for 475 yards. He scored 18 touchdowns and led Apollo-Ridge with 176.9 all-purpose yards a game.
As a defensive back, he often shut down the other team’s top receiver and forced teams to throw to the opposite side of the field.
Jackson, who became Highlands’ all-time leading rusher, ran for an A-K Valley-best 1,708 yards and 18 TDs.
The Allegheny Conference also wanted to honor the tremendous season by Tipton’s teammate, emerging sophomore Duane Brown, so it created an award for him: all-purpose player of the year. Brown ran for 1,216 yards and 24 touchdowns and passed for 929 yards and 14 scores. He averaged 110.5 total yards per game.
Highlands’ undefeated regular season prompted another individual honor as senior tackle Justin Anuszek was named offensive lineman of the year. Freeport junior Logan Thimons, meantime, grabbed defensive lineman of the year honors. The West Virginia recruit made 122 tackles, 65 solo, with 5 1⁄2 sacks.
Sam Albert was the conference’s coach of the year.
Petrishen to visit PSU
Central Catholic standout football senior Johnny Petrishen received a scholarship offer from Penn State on Monday — it’s his 33rd Division I offer — and he plans to make an unofficial visit to University Park this weekend.
The Lower Burrell native said he plans to schedule official visits to Penn State, Pitt and Virginia.
NCAA rules allow an athlete five official visits.
Petrishen said he would like to have a decision made by “right around New Year’s.”
Petrishen, being recruited mainly for defense, played safety and receiver for the Vikings, who fell to Pine-Richland in the WPIAL Class AAAA championship.
Petrishen moved to wildcat quarterback for his final two games and rushed for 381 yards in those games: 211 in the semifinals and 170 in the final, the latter on 34 carries.
Kiski Area on the run
The WPIAL and PIAA cross country postseasons are long over for this year, but Kiski Area runners are keeping busy. They will compete in two national-level events Saturday in New York.
Sophomore Eric Kennedy will run in the Foot Locker Northeast Championship in the Bronx, and several members of the Cavaliers girls team will run in the Nike Northeast Championship in Wappinger Falls.
Kennedy is in the Northeast Region race set for 11 a.m.
“It will be a cool experience,” he said. “It’s great to see other teams and runners from all over the country in such a fast race.”
Kennedy’s brother, Brent, now at Notre Dame, ran in the same event in 2012 and advanced to the national meet in San Diego.
Sports Illustrated video
SI.com‘s in-depth video on the final football game between Ford City and Kittanning has hit the internet.
The magazine’s online crew filmed practices, took shots of both towns and talked to coaches and players about the 100-year-old rivalry that will end with the merger of the Armstrong County schools.
The latest episode, hailed as “The Last Ride,” is part of the season No. 3 of SI.com’s “Underdogs” series.
Here is a link to the 12-plus minute episode: si.com/underdogs/season-3/kittanning-ford-city-high-school.html?noroute=true.
Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at [email protected].