Share This Page

Gorman: Mt. Lebanon WR raising eyebrows, profile

| Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Mt. Lebanon's Troy Apke scampers down the sideline past the North Allegheny defense for a 57-yard TD pass play on Friday, Aug. 31, 2012. Apke committed to play at Penn State on Saturday, April 13, 2013.

Mt. Lebanon coach Mike Melnyk has been trying to sell college coaches on junior receiver Troy Apke, but he kept encountering one problem.

“When you mention a kid and say he's a pretty special player but only caught nine balls last year, they kind of raise their eyebrows,” Melnyk said.“I think people are starting to find out about him.”

Apke raised eyebrows — and his profile — Friday night in a 39-36 overtime victory at Woodland Hills.

After catching nine balls for 182 yards and a touchdown last season, Apke had 12 receptions for 273 yards and three touchdowns against the Wolverines.

“Last year, we had Luke Hagy, and we were obviously going to run him a lot,” Apke said. “I had my role, which was blocking. This year, I needed to step up, and I just know that every time I get the ball, I have to make a play.”

Call the win at Woodland Hills his coming-out party as a bona fide major-college prospect.

“I guess it was,” Apke said. “I didn't notice how many yards and catches I had during the game, but it did boost the team's confidence.”

No play was bigger than his left-handed grab of a corner fade for a 13-yard touchdown with a defender holding his right arm with 49 seconds left that sent the game into overtime.

“Amazing,” Melnyk said.

The 6-foot-2, 175-pound Apke has speed to match his leaping ability. He was timed in the 40-yard dash in the 4.43-4.45 range at college camps this past summer.

Pitt already has offered Apke a scholarship. The Panthers had two advantages in their early discovery: Apke's father, Steve, was a star linebacker at Pitt in the mid-1980s and Pitt linebackers coach Chris Haering coached Apke at Mt. Lebanon last season.

“I like Pitt,” Apke said, “but I'm open-minded.”

Apke now ranks among the WPIAL leaders with 28 receptions for 612 yards and eight touchdowns.

“When coaches look for those measurables, they say OK,” Melnyk said. “Now, he's got some great tape with performances.”

A former receivers coach at Division III Albright College, Melnyk has worked with Apke on his route-running and said he has become a threat to use his speed not only on deep posts, but coming out of breaks on shorter routes.

“I'm excited because I've got him a whole 'nother year,” Melnyk said. “I think he's going to be a pretty special kid.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.