Xtra Points: Beaver Falls junior Cottrill gives shades of Jeter
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Maybe you have heard the tale of the Beaver Falls High School athlete who was so adept at two sports that Division I colleges recruited him in both. That was the story of 2006 graduate Lance Jeter.
Now, another Beaver Falls athlete might repeat the story.
Division I colleges are taking notice of Elijah Cottrill, a Beaver Falls junior who is starting to head down the same two-sport path as Jeter.
Cottrill already has opened the eyes of some college basketball coaches. A guard, he was a key player on Beaver Falls' run to the WPIAL Class AA championship last year. But major-college coaches in football also are starting to become interested in Cottrill, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound receiver/defensive back.
"Lance and Elijah are very similar," said Beaver Falls basketball coach Doug Biega.
Although Cottrill doesn't have a scholarship offer yet in either sport, Biega believes those could be just around the corner. Duquesne and Seton Hall have shown the most interest in his basketball skills. But West Virginia, along with a few other schools, also likes Cottrill, and the WVU basketball coaches had Cottrill attend a recent Mountaineers football game.
Beaver Falls football coach Ryan Matsook said more colleges are starting to show interest in Cottrill for football.
"The feedback I've gotten from West Virginia, Pitt and some MAC schools is that if he had gone to one of these college camps or combines this summer, he would probably have football offers on the table now," Matsook said. "But they still want to see him. He has Division I ability as a receiver or safety."
Matsook compared Cottrill to former Beaver Falls standout Todd Thomas, another two-sport standout who is now a Pitt football player. But Thomas didn't have as many Division I colleges recruiting him for basketball.
"Todd was a little taller, but they have the same kind of physique," Matsook said.
As for Jeter, he accepted a football scholarship to the University of Cincinnati. But Jeter played football only one year in college before leaving and attending a junior college in Florida. From there, he accepted a basketball scholarship to the University of Nebraska, where he was a two-year starter.
"Elijah is as good of an athlete as you're going to see around here," Biega said. "He has phenomenal hands, phenomenal quickness and he's an explosive athlete. Plus, he has a rare thing nowadays with kids. He has a high sports IQ. He watches sports, he pays attention to sports and he knows what to do on a basketball floor.
"Lance tried to go the football route at first because he thought it might be easier to make it professionally, but his heart was in basketball. Wherever your heart is is where you're going to succeed. I think basketball is in Elijah's heart. He's very good at football, but he loves basketball."
Ashley Lytle recently forced the Ellwood City school board to rescind a district policy that did not allow a girl to play on a boys team in contact sports such as football, soccer and basketball, or a boy to play on a girls team. Lytle is now a reserve kicker on the Wolverines football team.
But three boys at Ellwood City turned the table and joined the girls soccer team because there is no boys team at the school. But the additions of Devin and Derek Cortez and Nick Valvano to the Ellwood City girls team hasn't made much of a difference. Ellwood City still hasn't won a game this season and has scored only one goal in 13 games.
Most of the City League teams haven't had much success since joining the WPIAL in some sports this school year. But one City League runner is making waves on the WPIAL cross country scene.
Allderdice's Ean DiSilvio was the top distance runner in the City League and Saturday he beat some top WPIAL runners to win the individual championship among big school runners at the Central Catholic Invitational. DiSilvio is one to watch at the WPIAL cross country championships in two weeks.
The way Lenny Williams is throwing a football, he has a legitimate shot at surpassing the WPIAL career passing record.
Williams, a junior at Sto-Rox, already has thrown for 4,759 yards in three seasons. He became a starter early in his freshman year and threw for 3,562 yards in his first two seasons. This year, he has thrown for 1,197 yards. With the rest of this year and all next season, Williams has a shot at the WPIAL record of 7,164 yards, set by 2011 South Fayette graduate Christian Brumbaugh.
But even if Williams breaks Brumbaugh's mark next season, one might have to wonder how long a new mark will stand. South Fayette's Brett Brumbaugh (brother of Christian) is only a sophomore, but leads the WPIAL in passing this season with 1,582 yards. He played some as a freshman and has 2,038 yards in two years. South Fayette is undefeated this season and could go deep into the playoffs. Brumbaugh easily could have well in excess of 3,000 yards passing by the end of this season.
Aliquippa continues to have the No. 1 scoring offense and defense in the WPIAL. Aliquippa leads in scoring with an average of 51.8 points a game while the Quips allow only 1.7.
South Fayette has the No. 2 offensive team, averaging 50.7 points, followed by Clairton (47.5) and Mars (44.2).
On defense, Beth-Center is No. 2 at 3.2 points a game, followed by South Fayette (4.0) and North Allegheny (5.0).
One of the leading rushers in the WPIAL is a quarterback.
Northgate's Cody Walter is a 5-9, 175-pound senior quarterback who is among the top 15 rushers in the WPIAL with 798 yards on 93 attempts. He has rushed for more than 200 yards twice in the past three games.
Walter has thrown 46 passes in six games and completed 21 for 393 yards. He has helped Northgate to a 5-1 record.
• Upper St. Clair quarterback Pete Coughlin doesn't throw often, but he is accurate when he does, completing 80.4 percent of his passes. He has completed 44 of 51 attempts for 666 yards. He also has 10 touchdown passes.
• Avella's turnaround story has been well-documented in Western Pennsylvania, but the New York Times also ran a feature article on the Eagles recently. Avella is 5-1 this season. Before that, Avella had won a total of three games in the past five seasons, and the Eagles had won more than one game in a season only once in the past nine years. The team's roster was so small a few years ago that the Eagles had to use a female cheerleader. But Avella already is guaranteed its first non-losing season since 1994.
• Penn Hills is on the edge of qualifying for the WPIAL playoffs. The Indians (2-4, 2-3) have made 14 consecutive playoff appearances, tied for the fifth-longest current streak.
First Published October 12, 2012 12:00 am