| Special for the time
NORD-FAYETTE TWP. West Allegheny head coach Dave Schoppe has been training for 29 years, studying with some of the best in the business, and waiting for his chance at the top job.
Then when he got his chance, there was a pandemic. This year he welcomes the chance to train under normal conditions.
“We had players last year,” said Schoppe. “But we never really got the chance to become a team. I never felt like we were a complete team because we couldn’t get together and build the chemistry.
Now we had this chance and we will see a typical West Allegheny football team, we will give everything we have and never give up. “
While last year has been a difficult year in many ways, it was still pleasant to watch Gavin Miller quarterback. He passed over 1,500 yards in his first full year as a starter and received some college interests, despite already signing up to play baseball at Auburn.
“Gavin has such football intelligence that I can make a phone call and he can change it on the line,” said Schoppe. “We have worked hard on our running game, but it will be tempting to split teams and see what happens – we will definitely have a few wrinkles.”
The Indians are likely to show some wrinkles in defense as well, led by linebacker Devan Zirwas.
“Bryan Cornell is our defensive coordinator and it’s really impressive what the kids need to know,” said Schoppe. “They take great pride in their defense and I would say it’s one of our strengths.”
Over the years, West Allegheny has also been known for its strong specialty teams and over time as you prepare, that tradition continues.
“Special teams are big for us,” said Schoppe. “We spend more time with it than anywhere I’ve trained.”
Coach: Dave Schoppe (2nd year, 3-4)
Record for 2020: 3-4 total, 1-4 in Allegheny Six Conference
Top players lost: Nico Flati, Breana Gerst
Top returning players: Gavin Miller, JaShon Spencer, Nodin Tracy, Shane Tuthill, Nico Taddy, Devan Zirwas
Offense: Schoppe says that after 29 years of coaching in different systems he has many ideas to choose from, but Miller’s skills and knowledge in the system will be a key factor.
Zirwas and JaShon Spencer will be his two top targets to throw at while Nodin Tracy will do things in the backfield at the running back. Nathan Toner and Shane Tuthill will be the two front runners on the offensive.
defense: Toner is the only returning starter for West Allegheny. Zirwas and Tracy are headlining an experienced linebacker group. Spencer and Nico Taddy will be two players to watch out for in Indian secondary school.
Last WPIAL title: 2016
Last appearance in the WPIAL playoffs: 2018
Last WPIAL playoff win: 2018
WPIAL title: 8th