TribLive HSSN WPIAL Preseason All-Star team honored at Kennywood Park
Billed as the best Western Pennsylvania has to offer for the upcoming season, many WPIAL champions were recognized Tuesday when the annual TribLive High School Sports Network Preseason All-Star football team was honored at Kennywood Park.
Twenty-five players garnered preseason laurels from Trib HSSN to go with their decorated resumes that include championships, gaudy statistics and a multitude of Division I scholarship offers.
Taking the stage across from the park’s famed Potato Patch were players hungry for success.
The group included three seniors from defending Class 6A champion Pine-Richland: Mike Katic, Andrew Kristofic and Tyler King.
“It will take a lot of hard work (to win again),” Kristofic said. “We certainly have an even bigger target on our backs this year, but we have great core of guys back this year, a great offensive line, great front seven. There’s a lot of chances for guys to step up and fill positions on both sides of the ball.”
Also recognized was a trio from WPIAL Class 5A champion Gateway: senior receiver/defensive back Jeremiah Josephs, senior receiver/defensive back Courtney Jackson and sophomore running back/linebacker Derrick Davis.
“We’re just going to compete and play football how we play,” Josephs said. “We are physical, fast. On offense, we will run by you or through you, whatever we have to do. On defense, we’re going to hit, cover and dominate.”
Washington safety Dan Walker Jr., who hoisted a Class 2A title a year ago, was selected.
Players from recent championship teams -- Aliquippa senior receiver/defensive back MJ Devonshire, Steel Valley senior running back/linebacker Todd Hill and West Allegheny tight end Mateo Vandamia -- were honored.
As was Imani Christian senior receiver RJ Hart, who played in the Class A title game a year ago.
Mars junior lineman Michael Carmody also is a WPIAL champion, though on the basketball court.
One of the favorites in Class 5A this season, Penn Hills had three players named to the Trib HSSN preseason team: quarterback Hollis Mathis, linebacker Corey Thomas and receiver/defensive back Daequan Hardy.
Shady Side Academy’s tandem of quarterback/defensive back Skyy Moore and receiver Dino Tomlin have championship aspirations.
Winning a title also is the goal for Woodland Hills defensive back Mike Coleman, Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic receiver/linebacker Nikhai Hill-Green, Latrobe lineman Trent Holler, West Mifflin running back/defensive back Parrish Parker, North Allegheny receiver/defensive back Joey Porter Jr., California running back/lineman Jelani Stafford and Norwin safety Jayvon Thrift.
Yough running back Dustin Shoaf had the largest audience of any player Tuesday at Kennywood, with many of his Cougars teammates celebrating his selection and looking forward to the 2018 season.
“Pretty much every one of (my teammates), I’ve been playing with since I was 7 years old,” Shoaf said. “I wouldn’t trade any of them for anyone. They’re my best friends. That’s what it’s all about.”