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WPIAL Class AAA semifinal preview: West Allegheny vs. Franklin Regional

Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - West Allegheny's Torey Delmonico (left) and Chayse Dillon stand together at the Indians' stadium in North Fayette.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>West Allegheny's Torey Delmonico (left) and Chayse Dillon stand together at the Indians' stadium in North Fayette.
Ronald Vezzani Jr. | For the Tribune Review - Franklin Regional running Brett Zanotto (9) follows fullback Kevin Slezack during the WPIAL AAA quarterfinal game Friday, Nov. 8, 2013, at East Allegheny.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Ronald Vezzani Jr.  |  For the Tribune Review</em></div>Franklin Regional running Brett Zanotto (9) follows fullback Kevin Slezack during the WPIAL AAA quarterfinal game Friday, Nov. 8, 2013, at East Allegheny.

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PLAYER TO WATCH

TORY

DELMONICO

West Allegheny

RB, Sr.

6-foot-2, 203 pounds

The Indians' starting halfback, Delmonico has more than 1,000 total yards. He has rushed for 617 yards, caught a team-high 21 passes for 372 yards and completed one pass for 32 yards. He missed West Allegheny's title run in 2012 with an injury.

how they got here

WA: Beat No. 16 Hollidaysburg, 38-6, in the first round; beat No. 9 Indiana, 38-7, in the quarterfinals.

FR: Beat No. 13 Montour, 42-21, in the first round; beat No. 5 West Mifflin, 14-12, in the quarterfinals.

statistical leaders

WA: Passing: Andrew Koester, 76-118-1,267, 18 TDs; Rushing: Chayse Dillon, 102-973, 10 TDs; Receiving: Tory Delmonico, 21-372, 4 TDs.

FR: Passing: Charan Singh, 47-91-685, 9 TDs; Rushing: Paul Emanuele, 125-1,669, 5 TDs; Receiving: Colin Jonov, 19-358, 6 TDs.

by the numbers

WA: All-time: 317-334-14

Playoff appearances: 16

Last title: 2012

FR: All-time: 251-231-12

Playoff appearances: 14

Last title: 2005

Prediction

West Allegheny, 21-17.

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Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, 10:06 p.m.
 

Class AAA Semifinals

No. 1 West Allegheny (11-0) vs. No. 4 Franklin Regional (10-1)

7:30 p.m. Friday at North Allegheny

West Allegheny coach Bob Palko has a different opinion of the Greater Allegheny Conference than some.

As he prepares his team for a third consecutive WPIAL Class AAA playoff game against a team from the Greater Allegheny conference — a semifinal-round battle against conference co-champion Franklin Regional — Palko said the conference is a lot stronger than people think.

“People say the Parkway Conference is pretty strong and I agree, but the Greater Allegheny Conference has a lot of tough teams,” Palko said. “Franklin Regional is good, very good.

“They have a lot of talented, skilled players, and their defense is physical and sound. They're hitting on all cylinders.”

But so is West Allegheny, according to Franklin Regional coach Greg Botta.

“They're a very fundamentally sound football team,” Botta said. “They execute better than any team we've faced. They're close to flawless.”

Both teams are similar in their approach to the game. Both run the wildcat, different running backs and play aggressive defense.

Last week against West Mifflin, Franklin Regional's defense allowed Jimmy Wheeler to rush for 226 yards. But when the Panthers needed a stop, the defense, led by linebackers Kevin Slezak, Nate Fleck and Brett Zanotto, made the stops.

“They run 61 different formations,” Botta said. “But they run only six or seven plays, and they do it well.”

— Paul Schofield

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