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West Allegheny to be tested by Prep's passing attack

Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - West Allegheny running back Chayse Dillon.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review</em></div>West Allegheny running back Chayse Dillon.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - West Allegheny's Nick Halbedl stiff-arms West Mifflin's Davon Dutrieuille en route to a touchdown during the third quarter of the WPIAL Class AAA championship game Friday, Nov. 23, 2012 at Heinz Field.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review</em></div>West Allegheny's Nick Halbedl stiff-arms West Mifflin's Davon Dutrieuille en route to a touchdown during the third quarter of the WPIAL Class AAA championship game Friday, Nov. 23, 2012 at Heinz Field.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - West Allegheny's Armand Dellovade scores against West Mifflin during the third quarter of the WPIAL Class AAA championship game Friday, Nov. 23, 2012 at Heinz Field.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review</em></div>West Allegheny's Armand Dellovade scores against West Mifflin during the third quarter of the WPIAL Class AAA championship game Friday, Nov. 23, 2012 at Heinz Field.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - West Allegheny running back Nick Halbedl.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review</em></div>West Allegheny running back Nick Halbedl.

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PLAYER TO WATCH

NICK HALBEDL

West Allegheny

RB/OLB, Sr.

5-foot-9, 195 pounds

Halbedl led the Indians with 148 rushing yards in the WPIAL championship after missing much of last season with a torn ACL. He's part of the Indians' four-headed rushing attack, which could be bolstered Friday by the return of junior Tory Delmonico, sidelined the past three weeks with a knee injury.

how they got here

WA: Beat Ringgold, 48-7; beat Montour, 14-2; beat Thomas Jefferson, 24-7; beat West Mifflin, 34-8, in the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs.

CP: Beat Warren, 54-12; beat General McLane, 48-14, in the District 10 playoffs.

statistical leaders

WA: Passing: Andrew Koester, 49-108-840-6 TDs; Rushing: Chayse Dillon, 110-867-11 TDs; Receiving: Zech Medved, 17-375-3 TDs.

CP: Passing: Damion Terry, 175-256-2,860-43 TDs; Rushing: Delton Williams, 61-550-12 TDs; Receiving: Brendan Klemensic, 33-794-11 TDs.

by the numbers

6: PIAA playoff appearances for West Allegheny, which won the 2001 state title.

2000: Most recent PIAA title for Erie Cathedral Prep, making its 15th trip.

Top high school sports

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, 11:12 p.m.
 

PIAA class AAA Quarterfinals

West Allegheny (12-1) vs. Erie Cathedral Prep (12-0), 7 p.m. Friday at Veterans Stadium, Erie

For the third time in four weeks, a talented passing offense will test West Allegheny's defense.

Erie Cathedral Prep has one Michigan State recruit at quarterback and a second future Spartan catching passes, providing another significant challenge for an Indians defense that shut down the passing attacks of Montour and Thomas Jefferson.

“They've got a one-two punch that's special,” said coach Bob Palko, whose Indians travel Friday to Veterans Memorial Stadium for a PIAA Class AAA quarterfinal.

Prep quarterback Damion Terry has 2,860 passing yards and another 457 rushing. The 6-foot-4 senior has thrown 43 touchdowns this season, a District 10 record. Strong and accurate, Terry has completed 68 percent of his passes (175-256) with just six interceptions.

“He's the best we've seen by far,” Palko said. “He's calm, cool and he reads defenses very well.”

Terry threw six touchdowns in a 61-19 victory over Erie's Central Tech on Oct. 19, setting a school record for the state's No. 1-ranked team. He also had three games with five touchdown passes and twice threw four.

Three of his receivers have at least 30 catches, led by senior Delton Williams (6-2, 208), the team's other Michigan State recruit. He has 48 for 660 yards. Williams, who shifts between rusher and receiver, has 12 touchdown runs, eight scoring catches and three returning punts.

“They can run or throw the ball, and they're very good at both,” Palko said, “but their quarterback is the difference maker.”

Cathedral Prep's offense averages 51 points and 400 yards, but West Allegheny's defense has played well against pass offenses. The Indians held Thomas Jefferson to seven points in the WPIAL semifinals, when quarterback Joe Carroll added just one to his 34-touchdown total. A week earlier, Montour managed only three points against the Indians, when Devin Wilson was held to 14 yards.

KEYS TO VICTORY — WA: Control the ball with the running game. ECP: Keeping West Allegheny from building an early lead is key and prevent them from running the clock.

PREDICTION — Erie Cathedral Prep, 28-21

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