Nearly 150 players attend WCCA underclassman showcase
The inaugural Westmoreland County Coaches Association underclassman football showcase went better than expected.
Its second year exceeded even higher expectations.
Nearly 150 underclassman football players attended the 2014 showcase, which took place earlier this month at Hempfield High School. WCCA organizers expected to see at least 115 attendees after getting about 100 last year.
“(We were) pleasantly surprised,” WCCA President Larry Sellito said. “It was great to see the response. We were able to do what we wanted to do, which was reach out to the neighboring communities and the county.”
Sellito said every school in Westmoreland County, except for Ligonier Valley, sent players to the showcase. Schools from neighboring counties, such as Gateway, Plum and Springdale in Allegheny County and Leechburg in Armstrong County, also had players attend.
“The way the calls were coming in the last week, we were hoping to get around 150,” Sellito said. “We were prepared for 175 kids, just in case.”
Hempfield led all high schools with 21 players at the showcase, while Franklin Regional had 18 and Norwin and Greensburg Salem had 11 each. Penn-Trafford sent eight players to the showcase.
Additionally, 43 colleges attended the showcase to scout players — an increase from 32 in 2013. Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) schools that attended included New Hampshire, Albany, the Citadel, Duquesne, St. Francis (Pa.) and Robert Morris. Local universities to attend included IUP, California (Pa.), Slippery Rock and Seton Hill. Colleges at the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I) level couldn't attend, but Sellito said results from the day would be sent to all FBS schools this week.
Players who attended the showcase participated in skill tests, including the 40-yard dash, pro shuttle, bench press and vertical leap, along with positional drills.
The WCCA named three players as standouts of the day based on their performances in the 40, shuttle, bench press and vertical. Yough's Clay Waldron was named as the top skill position player, Southmoreland's Jake Beistel was named the top lineman and Penn-Trafford's Joe Peduzzi was named the top up-and-coming player.
“A lot of (players) stood out, but those boys scored a cut above everybody else that day,” Sellito said.