Open competition bolsters West Allegheny roster
West Allegheny's Zach Medved has noticed some added effort at practice this summer, maybe because so many jobs were undecided.
“That makes things a lot more fun and exciting,” said Medved, a starting linebacker and tight end. “Nothing's ever dull because you never know when somebody's going to come out and trump somebody else. Then that other person says: ‘I just got beat. I've got to go out there and get them back.' You've always got high-tempo practices.”
West Allegheny returns about half of its 22 starters from last season's roster that reached the playoffs. The positions hit hardest by graduation were receiver and defensive back, but the Indians have good depth to fill both spots.
“We've got a bunch of guys coming back who have played as underclassmen,” Medved said. “I have a good feeling about this year.”
So do others who believe the Indians should be grouped among the favorites to win the Parkway Conference. But with so much roster turnover, coach Bob Palko doesn't want that label quite yet. The Indians lost their leading rusher, passer and receiver.
“It's not like we're sitting here with the cupboard full,” he said. “I'm not complaining, but I wouldn't say we've got a lot back. I think we've lost a lot. But we do have some kids who have played.”
However, Palko does see much potential.
West Allegheny should be strong in the backfield, where junior Tory Delmonico (6-foot-2, 185 pounds) and sophomore Andrew Koester (6-3, 175) will replace Dylan Bongiorni at quarterback. Delmonico rushed for 571 yards last season, many from the wildcat formation.
The Indians have back senior running back Nick Halbedl (5-10, 190), who was a top rusher before tearing his ACL a year ago. He'll share carries with senior Oleg Chubko (5-9, 195) and sophomore Armand Dellovade (5-11, 180), who played as a freshman.
Shea Beaumont (5-10, 230) will anchor the offensive line, and Dustin Windemaker (6-3, 265) could stand out on defense.