West Allegheny's defense makes the difference in title game
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Asked what it would be like to play the Central Valley football team a second time, West Allegheny coach Bob Palko's response drew a laugh.
“We didn't want to face them the first time,” Palko said.
Whether the Indians wanted to may be up for debate, but there's no question West Allegheny did a number on the Warriors in both meetings, the most recent a 16-6 victory in Saturday's WPIAL Class AAA championship game.
West Allegheny (13-0) held Central Valley's Jordan Whitehead in check, something few WPIAL teams have been able to do. Whitehead entered the game with 663 rushing yards, 299 receiving yards and 20 total touchdowns.
“Jordan Whitehead is a tremendous talent, but he's not the only one,” Palko said. “The other kid we had to worry about was their quarterback (John George) because he extended plays.
“Proud of the kids and proud of the defensive staff for the game plan they came up with. But it's not easy.”
Whitehead finished with one catch for 18 yards, which came in the first half. He carried three times for 13 yards. George was 7 of 13 for 71 yards.
West Allegheny limited Central Valley to 177 total yards — just 71 after halftime — and 10 first downs.
“We wanted to be tougher than them,” linebacker Armand Dellovade said. “I think we did that.”
Linebacker Tory Delmonico credited defensive coordinator Bryan Cornell with devising the game plan and for forcing the Indians to watch an absurd amount of film this week.
“We dedicated (last) week to watching more film than we have ever watched,” Delmonico said. “We knew our checks. We were sharp. It paid off because we knew all the things they could do from every formation.”
Dellovade took it a step further.
“If we wouldn't have done that, then we wouldn't have won,” he said. “I think it helps that much.”
Although the Indians were unable to intercept George, who took over for injured starter Nate Climo during a Week 7 win over Moon, they did force three fumbles, recovering two of them — by linebacker Sean Orsini and defensive back Jed Buck.
“The kids executed,” Palko said. “They came out and took it to us a little bit. The kids responded.”
Dellovade and Orsini led the charge with 11 tackles, including nine solo stops apiece. Each, along with defensive end Matt Holmes, also had a sack.
Defensive back Nic Daigle recorded five tackles, while Delmonico and defensive end Averi Rose each added four.
In 13 games, West Allegheny has allowed more than a touchdown just five times. One of the eight was a 13-7 win over Central Valley (11-2) on Sept. 27, a game in which neither JaQuan Pennington nor Whitehead was able to take over. West Allegheny used a trick play — a 32-yard Delmonico pass to Robert Threet — to sneak past the Warriors.
The Indians' dominant defense allowed significantly more wiggle room Saturday.
“I always think it's harder to beat a team twice in a season, especially how we beat them last time,” Delmonico said. “I'm sure they were pretty upset about that. We came away with a victory, so I'm happy.”
Jason Mackey is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers claim former Cowboys cornerback Webb
- Secret judicial ruling blocks release of sexually explicit emails
- Pirates notebook: Lambo called up to replace ailing Snider
- Saturday’s scouting report: Reds at Pirates
- Missing Northview Heights girl found safe in school
- S&P races to August milestone
- NFL notebook: Niners’ Smith gets 9-game suspension
- Butler County coroner identifies man found in Lake Arthur
- Beijing expected to restrict Hong Kong candidates
- McDonnell case heads for jurors
- Penn State notebook: NCAA rebuts report of eased PSU sanctions