Thomas Jefferson linemen up for all-star team
Did you know that:
• Voting ends July 15 for the annual MSA Sports/Kennywood high school football preseason all-star football team?
Thomas Jefferson linemen Devin Danielson and Noah Palmer were nominated on defense, and Brentwood’s Austin Veatch (WR/TE) and Seton-La Salle’s Lionel Deanes (RB) were nominated on offense.
Danielson, who was named to the 2016 all-star team, also was nominated as an offensive lineman on the 2017 ballot. The TJ senior is a four-year starter and plans to continue his football career at Pitt.
Other South Hills area preseason all-star nominees include Clairton’s Tre’sean Howard (WR/TE), Travis Irons (OL/DL), Maurice Reeves (DL) and Kijafi Fuqua (LB); Bethel Park’s John Doleno (RB), Gavin Vargesko (OL) and James Gmiter (DL); Keystone Oaks’ Tyler Caragein (OL) and Jerry Volpe (DL); South Park’s Mike Mehalic (DL) and Isaiah Mack (LB); Steel Valley’s Todd Hill (LB) and Amonte Strothers (DB); as well as Mt. Lebanon’s James Stocker (QB), Elizabeth Forward’s A.J. Ackerman, West Mifflin’s Gerald Brown (DL) and Upper St. Clair’s Dom Cepulli (LB).
Along with Danielson, recent TJ graduate Zane Zandier, a Virginia recruit, was selected to last year’s preseason all-star team. Zandier was a wide receiver/defensive back for the Jaguars.
• Baldwin’s Taylor Dadig was named to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review “Terrific 10” all-star softball team?
Dadig was a junior shortstop who batted .643 in 2017, helped lead the Highlanders to a section title and a trip to the WPIAL Class 6A semifinals.
One of only five position players honored, he was joined on the all-star squad by Hempfield pitcher Morgan Ryan, Ellwood City pitcher Skyla Greco, North Allegheny shortstop Rachel Martindale, Albert Gallatin shortstop Annalia Paoli, Belle Vernon pitcher Bailey Parshall, South Park third baseman Katlyn Pavlik, West Greene shortstop Madison Renner, West Allegheny pitcher Ashley Seamon and South Side Beaver pitcher McKenna Smith.
Ryan was named player of the year.
• There is a hitting position called “slapper” in softball?
“A slapper is a hitting style where the batter is in motion when she makes contact with the ball,” Larry Mercurio, South Park’s coach, said. “Slappers hit exclusively from the left side (of home plate) regardless of whether they are left- or right-handed.”
• Whitehall resident Richie Ryan, a 2015 Central Catholic graduate, is a junior defensive tackle for Harvard?
The 6-foot-1, 275-pound Ryan played in 10 games and recorded 28 tackles last season. As a freshman, he finished with 11 tackles in nine games.
Ryan, who is majoring in government, was a three-year letterman on the offensive and defensive lines at Central Catholic and was a National Honor Society member.
He is one of five players from Pennsylvania listed on Harvard’s 2017 football roster, along with senior quarterback Joe Viviano (Conestoga), senior defensive ends Caleb Johnson (Northern Lehigh) and Scott Evans (Brashear) and freshman linebacker Andrew Irwin (Bishop Guilfoyle).
• There were nine winless football teams in the WPIAL last season?
They were Shaler, Hampton, Ambridge, Shady Side Academy, Ellwood City, Waynesburg, Brownsville, Vincentian Academy and Cornell.
Albert Gallatin snapped the WPIAL’s then-longest losing streak in football — 31 games — with a 26-20 conference victory over Uniontown in the next-to-last week of the regular season. The Colonials’ losing streak dated to the 2013 season.
• Baldwin graduate Sterling Jenkins is a redshirt sophomore offensive lineman at Penn State?
Jenkins (6-foot-8, 328 pounds) appeared in 11 games in 2016. He made his collegiate debut Sept. 3 against Kent State.
In high school, Jenkins earned prep All-American honors as an offensive tackle and played in the Under Armour All-American Game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.
• Preseason practice for high school fall sports teams — football, golf, girls volleyball, cross country, girls tennis, soccer and field hockey — begins Aug. 14?
• The annual TJ Football Boosters golf outing will be at 1 p.m. Aug. 11 at South Park?
Ray Fisher is a freelance writer.