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Top-tier running back Dorian Brown returns to lead Baldwin

| Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, 8:24 p.m.
Baldwin's Doug Altavilla looks downfield during a passing drill on Wednesday August 15, 2012. Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Baldwin's Dorian Brown runs through the defense during practice on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012. Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review

Baldwin running back Dorian Brown ended a sensational 2011 junior season with more than 1,500 all-purpose yards and 12 touchdowns.

Coach Jim Wehner is expecting more of the same this season from the explosive third-year starter.

“We expect Dorian to be one of the top backs in the WPIAL,” said Wehner, who is in his fourth year at Baldwin. “We have other people that need to step up for us to be in the mix.”

Brown, who rushed for 1,292 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2011, packed on 20 pounds of muscle following his sophomore season and has added another 15 pounds to his sturdy frame since last fall.

Wehner believes his star athlete, who is being recruited by Navy, Youngstown State, Akron, Toledo, Temple, Duquesne and Robert Morris, has all the tangibles needed to be a premier running back.

“He is very strong and fast, and he has great vision,” Wehner said.

Brown will be joined in the backfield by returning quarterbacks Doug Altavilla, a 6-foot, 180-pound sophomore, and Luke Smorey, a WPIAL and PIAA finalist in the javelin last spring.

The pair combined for 611 yards passing a year ago.

Baldwin is hoping to take another step up the WPIAL Class AAAA hierarchy this season.

The Fighting Highlanders have gone from 2-7 in 2009 to 3-6 in 2010 to 4-5 in 2011. Under Wehner, the team snapped a lengthy losing streak in 2009 and ended a five-year WPIAL playoff drought that year.

Returning to the playoffs this season may prove yet to be a formidable task, as they are competing in a rugged Class AAAA conference that, due to WPIAL realignment, includes holdovers Peters Township, Mt. Lebanon, Upper St. Clair, Canon-McMillan and Bethel Park, plus newcomers Woodland Hills, Penn Hills and Plum.

Seven of the nine teams on this year's schedule were playoff qualifiers in 2011. Upper St. Clair advanced to the WPIAL championship at Heinz Field last year.

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