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Belle Vernon's Fields, Elizabeth Forward's Davidson honored as two-way Big 9 stars

| Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Rich Downer/For The Valley Independent
BV Area coach Aaron Krepps has two returning All-Conference players to depend on for leadership this season. Joining Krepps in the photo are, keeling from the left, Austin Fields and Jake Sweitzer.
Ronald Vezzani Jr. | For the Daily News
Elizabeth Forward quarterback JaQuan Davidson looks downfield for running room against West Mifflin on Thursday, October 3, 2013, at Elizabeth Forward.
Rich Downer/For The Valley Independent
Ringgold's Nico Law is The Valley Independent Player of the Week.

In the Big 9 Conference, they take their all-conference teams like their football — seriously.

The coaches selected a first team offense and defense, as well as second team offenses and defenses and an honorable mention list.

It is rare that a player makes first team on both offense and defense.

This year, just four players earned that distinction - Belle Vernon Area's Austin Fields, Elizabeth Forward's JaQuan Davidson and Thomas Jefferson's Mat Nagy and Dalton Dietrich.

Fields was named to the first team as a guard and defensive lineman while Davidson was tabbed as a multi-purpose back on offense and a defensive back.

Davidson, a Pitt recruit, threw for 1,038 yards and 14 touchdowns and also rushed for 1,109 yards and scored 15 TDs.

Fields' coach at BVA, Aaron Krepps, said it is an impressive feat to make the first team on both offense and defense.

“In this conference, if you are doing that, it says a lot about the kind of football player you are that coaches think that highly of you and notice you to that degree,” Krepps said. “Austin is that kind of player. Last year he made the first team on offense and the second team on defense and this year he went one better.”

Also making the first team for BVA was tight end Jake Sweitzer.

Ringgold's Nico Law (quarterback) Alan Pritchett (wide receiver) and Matt Kirby (linebacker) were first team selections, as were EF's Matt Bernadowski (wide receiver), Brandon Janicki (defensive line) and Ryan Wardropper (linebacker).

Ringgold coach Matt Humbert said he was pleased that Law was a unanimous choice at quarterback because he was deserving of that, but added he was especially thrilled for Kirby.

“I felt so good for Matt because he is such a hard worker at what he does and making the first team is a real accomplishment for him,” Humbert said. “He is very deserving.”

Sweitzer caught 18 passes for 255 yards and scored three TDs.

Law threw for 1,494 yards and 14 TDs and also rushed for 1,210 yards and scored 14 TDs.

Pritchett caught 30 passes for 524 yards and scored six TDs.

Bernadowski caught 29 passes for 758 yards and scored a combined 21 TDs.

Conference champion TJ placed six players on the first team, including Defensive Player of the Year Chase Winovich (linebacker).

West Mifflin's Jimmy Wheeler (running back) was named Offensive Player of the Year.

Law, a junior, was the only local underclassman on the first team.

Second team selections for BVA included Devin Hannan (tackle, defensive line), Cody Menges (wide receiver), and Aaron McCullough (defensive line).

Ringgold's second team selections were Zach Wooley (guard), Dayshore Majors (wide receiver), Brandon Thomas (defensive back) and Connor Dudas (kicker, punter).

EF's second team selection was Jalen French (running back).

Hannan and Thomas are both juniors.

Getting honorable mention from BVA on offense were Derek Verkleeren and McCullough.

Ringgold's honorable mention players were Aaron Szakal and Kenny Tarpley on defense and Eric Higgs and Nick Trocano on offense.

EF's honorable mention player was Daymond Morris on offense.

Szakal, Higgs and Morris are juniors and Verkleeren is a sophomore.

The All-Conference Team will be honored at a banquet Dec. 15 at the Willow Room in Rostraver Township.

Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or

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