On a night when West Allegheny honored a former defensive coordinator for his entrance into the school's hall of fame, the Indians put on a defensive performance for the ages.
Somewhere, Guy Rippole had to be smiling after West Allegheny's defense kicked around a fast, skilled Central Valley offense. All you need to know about how this game went is that Central Valley had almost as many yards in penalties (32) as yards rushing.
In a battle of two of the best teams in WPIAL Class AAA, West Allegheny defeated visiting Central Valley, 13-7, in a big Parkway Conference game at Joe P. DeMichela Stadium. The winning points were scored in the third quarter on a double pass.
Clairton 36, Fort Cherry 28
Clairton take on Fort Cherry in Friday night football action. (Video by Andrew Rush; 9/28/2013)
West Allegheny 13, Central Valley 7
West Allegheny takes on Central Valley in Friday night football action. (Video by John Heller; 9/28/2013)
Western Beaver 50, Rochester 6
Western Beaver takes on Rochester in Friday night high school football action. (Video by Lucas Good; 9/27/2013)
West Allegheny (5-0, 5-0), the defending WPIAL champion and the No. 2-ranked Class AAA team, held Central Valley to two first downs, 35 yards rushing and -- get this -- 51 total yards. This from a Central Valley team that was ranked No. 3 in Class AAA and came in averaging 38 points. Central Valley's only touchdown was an interception return.
West Allegheny coach Bob Palko gave plenty of credit to current defensive coordinator Bryan Cornell. But Palko also paid tribute to Rippole, who was West Allegheny's defensive coordinator on a PIAA championship team and three WPIAL championship squads. Rippole died of a heart attack eight years ago.
"Bryan is from here and grew up here, but I still have to give a lot of love to coach Rip," said Palko, whose son, Tyler, also was honored for his entrance into the West Allegheny hall of fame. "Rip was just a tremendous guy and we miss him deeply. His work and effort here is not unnoticed and Bryan will tell you that. He was our mentor and taught us how to do this."
Central Valley (4-1, 4-1) played its first game without coach Mark Lyons, who was suspended by the school for two weeks. But the Central Valley offense didn't show up, either, although West Allegheny had a lot to do with the Warriors' futility.
"Until I watch the tape, give West Allegheny all the credit," said Shawn McCreary, Central Valley's interim coach. "They kicked our butts on that side of the ball, that's for sure. I'm sure in some situations, we didn't execute well, but that's because of what West Allegheny was doing to us. Man-to-man, they were beating us."
But it was a collective defensive effort. The West Allegheny line got defensive penetration and the linebackers and defensive backs swarmed to the ball.
"When we have good games on defense, it's always everyone doing it," said West Allegheny linebacker Tory Delmonico. "You can't play defense with 10 guys or nine guys. It has to be all 11 guys doing their job and that's what we stress here at West A."
Delmonico played a big role in the win as he intercepted a pass to set up West Allegheny's first touchdown, threw a touchdown pass and recovered an important fumble late in the game.
He helped bring West Allegheny back from a 7-0 first-quarter deficit. On the second play of West Allegheny's second possession, quarterback Andrew Koester tried a short pass to his left. But Central Valley linebacker Ryan Roberson stepped in front of the pass, intercepted it and raced untouched 60 yards for a touchdown.
West Allegheny used an interception to set up its first score in the second quarter. On second-and-12 from the Central Valley 25, quarterback Nathan Climo tried a pass into the left flat, but Delmonico intercepted it at the 31. On the next play, Chayse Dillon took the direct snap from center and scooted off the right side 31 yards for the tying touchdown. Dillon finished with 105 yards on 20 carries.
The score stayed 7-7 until the third quarter. On West Allegheny's first possession of the second half, the Indians moved from their 47 to the 32. Then on second-and-8, Koester threw a backward pass to Delmonico, who lofted a pass into the end zone to Robert Threet for a touchdown.
That was all the West Allegheny defense needed.
"Our defense was on the field the whole game," McCreary said. "I thought our defense played well but their defense played extremely well."
Palko said: "We executed a game plan to perfection and when you hold down someone as talented as them, it's a nice performance."hsfootball
For more on high school sports, go to "Varsity Blog" at www.post-gazette.com/varsityblog. Mike White: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1975 and Twitter @mwhiteburgh. First Published September 28, 2013 4:15 AM