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Versatile senior signs with IUP

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Elizabeth Forward's Rex Pearce signed a letter of intent for a football scholarship offer to attend Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Pearce a linebacker and running back for the Warriors was a 2-time Big 9 All-Conference selectee at linebacker and a 1-year selectee at running back. Cindy Shegan Keeley|Daily News
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Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, 11:48 p.m.

In back-to-back years, Elizabeth Forward coach Mike LeDonne had no choice but to yank Rex Pearce from the offensive side of the football because of injuries.

So what did Pearce do?

Well, the 6-foot-2, 215-pounder became an all-conference linebacker two years in a row and led the Warriors with 92 tackles during a senior year in which Elizabeth Forward made the playoffs for the first time since 2005, and he did it all on a bad ankle.

But it was his near 600 yards rushing during the first five weeks of his senior season that impressed Division II Indiana (Pa.) the most.

Pearce signed a letter-of-intent Wednesday with the defending PSAC champs, and even though IUP lists his positions as fullback and linebacker, the Hawks are eyeing him on offense.

“He had a great season on both sides of the ball,” LeDonne said. “It's a shame that we weren't able to use him on offense all year or there is no doubt he would've gained 1,000 yards.”

Instead, Pearce totaled 593 yards and eight touchdowns before hurting his ankle in a loss to West Mifflin.

“IUP really like him on offense — like H-back, tight end, fullback,” LeDonne said. “Most of his recognition has been on the defensive side of the ball but he showed that he is a good running back as well.”

Pearce had plenty of interest from schools such as Duquesne, Bucknell, Robert Morris and a handful of Ivy League teams.

“Rex isn't the most vocal young man, but he leads by example,” LeDonne said. “Rex was a true leader of the team this year and a captain of defense. He was the personality of this team last year.”

Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib

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