Aaran Randolph is one of the most versatile athletes in the WPIAL. He is able to play multiple positions and play all of them extremely well. Offensively, he is a ball carrier that can also do a little bit of everything. He has great vision and a high football IQ which allows him to make great cuts and see openings before they appear. He has good hands and can also play the receiver position if needed. This season for the Highlands football team he will be playing the quarterback position. He has a good arm but most importantly he is going to have the ball in his hands every play. He is super shifty and will be able to run QB power as well as roll out and scramble around and make plays. Now, defensively is where I believe Aaran Randolph will be most special. Over the years he has played linebacker and defensive back. In my opinion he projects best at the safety position on the college level. He has great speed as he runs a sub 4.5 40-yard dash and he takes great angles to the ball. He is a physical player and he is a great tackler. I believe that he has the ability to play safety at a high level in college. Aaran Randolph is one of the most underrated players in the WPIAL and I believe that he will wake everyone up in his senior season.
The Aaran Randolph Interview!
Question: So last season you filled up the stat sheet playing several different positions, what gives you such a great ability to make plays offensively at many positions?
Answer: “My vision and my IQ. I feel like I see the field extremely well and I can read what the defense is doing.”
Question: What is your most valuable skill defensively.
Answer: “I am a team leader on defense.”
Question: What is your most valuable skill on the football field offensively?
Answer: “Carrying the football.”
Question: What is your favorite thing about being apart of the Highlands football program?
Answer: “The coaches are great, they are so heavily involved in our lives. It’s just great man.”
Question: What is a skill of yours on the football field that is overlooked?
Answer: “My speed and cutting ability. I feel like people don’t think I’m fast until they play against me.”
Question: Have you gone to any camps yet and have any schools shown any interest?
Answer: “I just went to the CalU camp actually and Holy Cross and Allegheny have showed light interest.
Question: Are you planning on going to anymore camps this summer?
Answer: “Yes, St. Francis, Akron and Pitt.
Question: What are your individual goals for this upcoming 2023 football season.
Answer: “To have a big role and to earn my teammates trust.
Question: What position do you feel like you project best at on the next level?
Answer: “Well, I love playing offense, but I believe that I am a division one defensive back and I am out to prove that.”
Question:Heading into this season, what is one thing you are really looking to improve on?
Answer: “Definitely my passing ability.”
Question: Are there any young guys on the team that you feel will make a big impact for the team this year? If so who?
Answer: “Brayden White & Montrell Johnson”
Question: What are you most looking forward to proving on the field this season?
Answer: “That I can take on the QB role.”
Question: What is you favorite thing about carrying the ball?
Answer: “It’s a great feeling and I love making defenders miss!”
Get to know Aaran!
Question: How old are you?
Question: Favorite Coach Ever?
Answer: Don Bushman (Little League Coach)
Question: Most yards and TDS you have ever had in one game?
Answer: 180 yards and 6 touchdowns er
Question: Favorite thing about football?
Question: What NFL player would you say your game resembles the most?
Answer: Jalen Hurts
Answer: Oregon & Coastal Carolina
Question: Favorite NBA Team?
Question: Favorite NFL Team?
Question: Favorite Rapper/Artist?
Answer: Juice WRLD
Question: Top hype song?
Answer: “I don’t listen to music before games.. I just listen to “the Deck of Cards”.”
Question: Favorite Food?
Question: Favorite Drink?
Answer: Gatorade or Water
Question: Favorite hobby outside of Football?
Answer: Exploring the outdoors.
Question: What are your career Goals?
Answer: Graphic Design
My final take on Aaran Randolph is that I believe he can play division one football defensively. His speed is what separates him from other players, he is able to get in and out of his breaks extremely fast. He has great instincts which allow him to read plays and swarm to the ball. With all of the abilities he has shown on tape, I am confident in saying I believe that he will be a college defensive back. I am super excited to see what he does this year. Aaran Randolph is a player everyone needs to watch out for this season.
PA Today’s Jon Magusiak was back on site at the Wolvarena for the third consecutive week. He has now seen every team play multiple times outside a few. The power rankings up to this point have been who I believed played the best each week. This weeks rankings will be based off of wins and losses, it is simply the 5 teams who have been the most successful through three weeks. Buckle up because I’m sure to rock the boat with this one!
*All records are according to the official 210ths league game documentation.
#1 Farrell Steelers (6-0)
What else can I say? The Steelers have been incredible through three weeks and they have showed zero sign of slowing down. They actually are only improving as the weeks go on, this past week they added Jun Jun Andrada to the fold and boy did he make a difference defensively for the Steelers. He is a player that plays sideline to sideline and flies around making plays until the whistle blows and sometimes even after (In a good way). Kabron Smith has been the leader of this team at the QB1 position and he will continue to make big throws for the Steelers. Juju Philips, Juju Johnson, Braylon Harrison, Brandon Chambers and Simeir Wade have all been dynamic as hell and they showed everyone exactly what they are about these first three weeks. The Farrell Steelers are the PA Today #1 overall ranked team in the 210ths 7v7 summer passing league and until someone beats them that will not change.
#2 Steel Valley (6-0)
The Steel ValleyIronman remain undefeated after three weeks of league play. They have played all 6 games with their star wide receiver and defensive back playing the quarterback position. Da’Ron Barksdale has grown each week at the QB position and this past week he looked extremely comfortable in the pocket. He was making timely throws and good decisions all day. Under his leadership the offense has been rolling. They have weapons on the outside like Austin Ganzy, Carlos Scott Jr., and Donald Barksdale at their disposal who are all big time playmakers. This past weak Carlos ScottJr. was the leading playmaker out of the three. He has great size, athleticism and speed at the wide receiver position. He is the guy that allows the Ironmen to stretch the field. Defensively, this is most likely the best secondary in the league. Trying to throw on this team is not easy, they are solid at every position in the secondary and they have showed very early on in league play that it is a no fly zone. Steel Valley is no longer a team we are shocked to see do well, we all now expect greatness from the program and they continue to live up to our high expectations
#3 Woodland Hills (5-1)
Here come the Wolverines! The Wolverines lost their very first game in league play back in week one against Steel Valley. There was a lot of controversy over the outcome of the game but after talking with the league statistician he confirmed that it was indeed a loss. So, the Woodland Hills football team is 5-1 in 7v7 league play through three weeks and they are only getting better. The team is led by sophomore QB Cam Walter, he has been absolutely fantastic up this point. He has been making key reads, big throws and good decisions as of late. He is a rhythm quarterback who starts strong and improves as the game goes on. This team is full of dynamic playmakers which include Amere Brown. Scoop Smith, Prince Tarrant, George Hill, Brandon Jones, Landon Akins, and Zykir Moore. All of these players contribute a great deal to the Wolverines success. They are playing some of the best ball right not if not the best. This team is ready to make a run at the 7v7 title and that’s already fully in motion.
#4 Clairton (5-1)
The Clairton Bears have remained consistently impressive through the first three weeks. They are a team that flies around and makes plays from start to finish. They are led by senior QB Mike Wright Jr. and he has been super impressive through three weeks so far. He has made good reads and big throws when the Bears need them. He has weapons such as Drachir Jones, Donte Wright, Taris Wooding, Zane-near Correll and Michael Ruffin who all make a big impact for the Bears. Offensively, they have a ton of playmakers that are able to make plays in the open field. This 7v7 is the perfect league for them to show off their talent. Defensively, they are a team who is fast and flies around making plays on the ball. Their secondary is extremely strong and they make it air tight back there, quarterbacks are in for a tough outing anytime they face this secondary. Through three weeks they have won 5 games and have only one loss. This team is playing some of ther best ball in the league right now in my opinion.
#5 Carrick (5-1)
The surprise of the league in my opinion has been Carrick. This team is filled with young athletes that love to compete and play the game of football. They have a ton of energy and they are one of the most electric teams in the league. They are led by class of 2025 QB Zion Frye and he has been very impressive up to this point. He has made many impressive throws and good decisions through three weeks. Stephon Malloy has been one of the most impressive players out there in the entire league so far. He is a class of 2026 running back and linebacker that is super versatile and can make plays as a receiver and out of the backfield. He has made some plays in this league that have left some of us speechless. He is a big part of what Carrick does on both sides of the ball and he will be their cornerstone piece moving forward. Keyjuan Johnson has also stood out as a player who is very effective for them on both sides of the ball as well. He is a player that can go up and makes plays on the ball both offensively and defensively. Carrick has 5 wins and only 1 loss up to this point and in my opinion they are playing like the 5th best team out there right now.
To Early To Rank
*Penn Hills (3-1)
Penn Hills is a team that I believe has the capability to win this whole league. However they have only been here for 4 games and I’ve only had the pleasure of checking them out once live. I felt as if I have not evaluated them enough for them to qualify for a ranking yet. After one more week of games, I will submit them for consideration. However, this team is led by nationally ranked 3-star QB Julian Dugger and he is as talented as it gets at the QB position. He is a dual threat QB but my goodness can he tote the rock. He has an extremely strong arm that allows him to flick the wrist and get it to where he needs it to go. Naytel Mitchell is their big impact player on both sides of the ball and will continue to make plays for the Indians. I still need to evaluate this team more to identify more players but from what I seen, I can confidently say they are 100% a contender to win it all.
PA Today’s Jon Magusiak is back with another article on the 210ths 7v7 passing league and this time we are discussing the top players from the week. These were the five players that in my opinion stood out most this past week.
Daniel Cain – USO – 5’8 – WR/DB – 2024
DanielCain is a wide receiver and defensive back that plays for USO football team. He had a great showing in week two and I expect this guy to be one of their top playmakers this season. Cain is able to get open so easily due to his route running. He is a special route runner that sells everything. He isn’t the biggest receiver so corners try to be physical with him off the line, but this past week he proved he has the ability to get off the line when being pressed. I was also very impressed with his ability to catch the ball in traffic as well as adjust to the football in the air. Defensively, he is a defensive back that loves to fly around and makes plays. He has shown a great ability to come out the break and make plays on the football. His ball skills on both sides of the ball in my opinion is one of his strongest attributes. He has extremely strong hands with incredible reaction time. Daniel Cain is one of the top slot receivers in the city and I don’t think that’s much of a discussion.
Brandon Jones is a dynamic running back and defensive back for the Woodland Hills football team. This past week he showed up big when the Wolverines needed him most. His ability to make plays as a receiver is what sets him apart as a running back. He is a super versatile back that is able to do it all. He has great quickness, speed and vision, these attributes allow him to be the versatile player that he is. As a receiver he has great hands and runs good routes. He is also a good defensive back defensively for the Wolverines, and he takes really good angles to the ball. In my opinion Brandon Jones is one of the most important pieces to this team because of his versatility. When the lights are on this kid wants the ball. In overtime of the final game of the day, Woodland Hills QB Cam Walter connected Brandon Jones on the game winning touchdown pass to defeat Johnstown last week. I know that this is a passing league but the way that he stepped up and demanded that moment told me a lot about him as a player. Brandon Jones is gonna be a big problem for a lot of teams in 5A this season!
Kabron Smith is the QB for the Farrell Steelers football team and he has been nothing short of magnificent in this league up to this point. He has now led his team to a perfect 4-0 record and he has done it in style. He has gone on to put on an absolute passing clinic so far, he is spinning the football as well as anyone out at the Wolvarena. He has a ton of dynamic playmakers at his disposal and he knows just what to do with them. He is one of the most talented quarterbacks out there when it comes to a spinning the rock. He throws the ball with great accuracy and he can make every single throw. He is a player that leads by example, he is a leader that allows his play to do the talking. He has played some of the best 7v7 football through two weeks, but in week two he was just a lil bit more special than the first week and that is why he is one of five players of the week.
Donald Barksdale – Steel Valley – 5’10 – 170 lbs – RB/DB – 2025
Donald Barksdale is a running back and defensive back for the Steel Valley football team. He is one of the best two-way players in the WPIAL in my opinion. Offensively, he has shown the ability to be super versatile. In the first two weeks he has been responsible for the majority of his teams touchdowns. He has strong hands, runs good routes and most importantly he is great at catching the ball in traffic. He is also excellent at high pointing the football along and has outstanding ball skills. Defensively, as a defensive back they don’t get much better than Donald Barksdale on the high school level. This guy is a super physical player that can do everything you need him to do in the secondary. We know that he is a good tackler but these past two weeks he has shown a great ability to strap up and play in pass coverage. He is able to come out of the break extremely well and he takes great angles to the ball. Donald Barksdale in my opinion is one of the most complete players in the entire WPIAL 2025 class.
Stephon Malloy, my oh my has this young man been nothing but impressive through the first two weeks. He has shown that he has the speed and size to be a serious threat at the Varsity level. Offensively, he is a big body that can do whatever you need him to do. He is a running back that has incredible receiving abilities, and he has put that on full display at the Wolvarena. This guy has speed, power, and quickness which make him a super explosive player that teams will need to account for. Defensively, he plays the linebacker position and he is beginning to come into his own at the position. He is a player I am really excited to see in pads because I know this guy ready to lay the boom. For now, we get to see him in pass coverage and over time he is going become a good cover linebacker. He is very good at moving laterally and comes out of his breaks fast. This guy is always around the ball making plays defensively and he has a great motor. Stephon Malloy is an athlete you are gonna want to keep a close eye on this year!
PA Today’s Jon Magusiak was back on site for week two at the Wolvarena. Another week of the 210ths 7v7 passing league and there was plenty of action to go around. We saw the likes of some of the top WPIAL teams compete this past week. My week one power rankings are in absolute shambles, shout-out to you players! You guys paid attention to last weeks power rankings and used them as fuel. This week we were without a lot of athletes due to track and other spring sport commitments, but the teams were still competing hard. The energy in week two was some of the best it’s been thus far at the Wolvarena. Night one was a night filled with dream matchups. We got USO vs Bishop Canevin in which USO pulled off the victory in OT. Then we got the most anticipated 7v7 matchup of the year so far in Quip vs Farrell and it did not disappoint. Even without the majority of starters for Quip this matchup still felt important and the energy was there. Farrell prevailed in the matchup as they proved to have to much experience and fire power on the field for the Quips to handle with only their JV and a few Varsity players. Farrell has a lot of players out there who are varsity starters, and that has a to do with their early success. Although, do not allow that to take away what they have done up to this point. On night two we got the 7v7 GAME of the year when Woodland Hills and Johnstown went to battle. These two teams showed everyone Wednesday night that they are here for the crown. This game was worth much more than the gas it took to drive to the Wolvarena and much more. This was an absolute show and when the lights came on the stars shined bright as ever. Things started off as a shootout as both teams went back and fourth. Woodland Hills QB Cam Walter and Johnstown QB Julius Reed we’re making big throw after big throw. The game eventually went in to overtime and Johnstown got the ball at the 10-yard first per 210ths 7v7 rules. They scored and they attempted to go for two. This was when the Wolverines defense stepped up to the plate and made a pivotal stop to deny the Trojans the 2-point conversion. Woodland Hills ball on the 10-yard line, touchdown ties it, a successful 2-point conversion wins the game. That is all you had to tell Sophomore QB Cam Walter, I actually heard him say “it’s over” under his breath…Sure enough it was, Cam would throw a TD pass to Cymeon McCoy to tie the game and guaranteed at least a second overtime at the very least. For a player of Cam Walter’s stature, anything other than successfully converting the two-point conversion would of been considered a failure. When the game was up for grabs, he grabbed it and held on tight. Cam would throw a perfectly placed ball to running back Brandon Jones as he would come down in bounds making the back shoulder catch to win the ball game. This was one of the best 7v7 games I’ve ever witnessed live. I want give a shout out to both Johnstown and Woodland Hills for giving us this week’s PA Today Game of the Week! Now that I broke down some of the action let’s get into this week’s power rankings brought to you by PA Today Sports. Power rankings are based on who played the best that week. I know a lot of teams are without their starters, however I can’t worry about that. These were the five strongest teams in my opinion from week two! Always please take in consideration that I am one person and this is 7v7, these are the rankings based off of what I seen personally.
Week TwoPA TODAY 7v7 Power Rankings
Farrell most definitely earned the number one position this week, they are now a perfect 4 wins 0 losses in league play. There is no sign of them slowing down. Kabron Smith is just on another level right now compared to most the quarterbacks out at the Wolvarena. He has experience and he can tote that rock man. As I stated last week when you have dynamic playmakers like Simeir Wade, Juju Johnson, Juju Phillips, and Brandon Chambers you have to get them in open space and allow them to make plays. Farrell does just that, they allow Kabron to work the ball down field at his pace of play and it is really a beautiful thing to watch. The Farrell Steelers are here and they have showed they aren’t going away anytime soon. They have to be one of the favorites to win this whole thing.
#2 Woodland Hills
Woodland Hills was in the number five position last week, they jump up three spots as they were extremely impressive in their two victories Wednesday night. Cam Walter is only getting better and better as time goes on and this week he showed everyone exactly what he was made of. He had a great showing but so did all of his teammates! Brandon Jones is as dynamic as it gets offensively, he is a running back that has the ability to be a receiver. He will be a big impact player for them the rest of the summer and season. Scoop Smith is showing everyone exactly why he has division one offers, his speed is just too much for a-lot of high school defenders. He showed up after running a 10.78 in the WPIAL 3A 100 meter championships placing third. He only played the last game of the day by my goodness did he make an impact. Cam and Scoop have a special connection that they showed flashes of last season but heading into this season it’s gonna be a lot more than just flashes. Defensively, they are very good as well. I really like the way Prince Tarrant plays in the secondary, breaking on the football and make plays. He is going to be a player you want to keep an eye on heading into the season. Who I really want to talk about for Woody High this week is MLB George Hill. This passed week he showed he is an incredible leader and that he is the man to quarterback this defense to the promise land. He plays with great energy and passion in which his teammates feed off of. I believe he is gonna make the biggest impact defensively for the Wolverines this season. This team is only getting better and I expect them to be right there at the end contesting for a title.
Johnstown showed everyone the past two weeks that they are a hell of a football program and that they are not to be taken lightly. They have some of the best offensive and defensive schemes in the league right now and it shows. They are excellent at setting up the defense for the long ball when they least expect it. They have been led by class of 2027 QB Julius Reed who has been nothing short of impressive. He shows the ability to make key reads and throws. They depend on players like Kaleem Taylor and Gerald Vennie Jr to make big plays down field. Kaleem Taylor was one of the most impressive players on night two. He was making athletic play after play and it was a ball to watch. The Johnstown defense is also a tough group that has speed and plays physical. I have yet to be able to identify a-lot of their names but that is something I tend to work on over the next couple weeks.
These boys came to play! USO was most definitely the most fun team to watch this week. They had a great showing on Tuesday night. They are led by Senior QB Max Quereshi who I feel has a chance to be a very special quarterback this season and over the course of the last two weeks he has done nothing but improve. He has great size, athleticism and most importantly a strong arm. He has weapons like Marquis Glass-Jones and Daniel Cain, who are two very explosive wide receivers that can make plays. Cain is one of the best Slot receivers in the entire WPIAL/City in my opinion. His quick feet and his ability to get run good routes and come down with the ball in traffic is excellent. He is a big playmaker on both sides of the ball, Defensively, Xair Stevenson is the leader and the team feeds off of his energy. He is a ballhawking defensive back that is able to get out of his breaks and make plays on the football. This past week he showed the ability to clamp receivers and not allow them a second to breathe. The rest of the defense has good speed and they love to fly around and make plays. USO is a team that should be around to contend for a title at the end of season.
Baldwin was the most improved and biggest surprise of the week. They came out in game one with tons of energy and took down the previously #2 ranked Bishop Canevin Crusaders in a great matchup. John Kozar is the Senior QB that steers the ship for the Highlanders. He is a quarterback with experience and athleticism. I believe over the course of the summer he is going to develop into a solid starting varsity quarterback. They rely on guys like Keith Mincin and Andrew Sharp to make plays for them both offensively and defensively. Those two guys are going to be core pieces on this team and they are super important on both sides of the ball. They also have class of 2026 TE/LB in Vince Broccoli who will make a big splash for the fighting Highlanders this season. They ended the night with a victory as well to finish the day at 2-0. The energy that was coming from the players from that program was a great site to see, it’s been a while since they have had this great of a moment as a football team. As a football team the Fighting Highlanders players and coaches have completely bought in and I am so very excited what that means for the future of the Baldwin football. This team now has confidence and we all know that can be the most powerful tool especially in the game of football. Let’s now see if they can continue to build from this and make even more improvements heading into week three.
As the AAU Spring Season moves forward, here at PA Today we would like to take a look at some of the basketball talent on the rise in the Western Pennsylvania area. While these skilled hoopers play for a variety of teams throughout the WPIAL during their High School season, they come together to provide an excellent young squad for the Coast 2 Coast AAU Organization. If you get a chance this Spring/Summer go check out this group at a tournament.
Nahjir Harris, 6’3, wing forward, class of 2026
HS: Steel Valley, AAU: Coast 2 Coast
– HS 12ppg, 7rpg
– AAU 19ppg
– Slippery Rock Jam Fest 2023 Tournament MVP
– A slasher who can score in a variety of ways throughout a game
Julius Best, 6’0, point guard/shooting guard, class of 2026
HS: Chartiers Valley, AAU: Coast 2 Coast
– HS Outstanding JV Player
– AAU 10ppg
– This quick, shifty guard creates opportunities for his teammates
Landon Akins, 5’9, point guard/shooting guard, class of 2026
HS: Woodland Hills, AAU: Coast 2 Coast
– HS Varsity Letterman
– An overall skilled guard with strong leadership abilities
Amaree Gonzalez, 5’11, point guard, Class of 2026
HS: Kiski Area, AAU: Coast 2 Coast
– HS Varsity Letterman
– AAU Diamond N Ruff MVP
– This young man provides the type of play to will his team to victory consistently
Deaubre’ Lightfoot, 5’9, point guard, class of 2026
HS: Belle Vernon, AAU: Coast 2 Coast
– HS Varsity Letterman
– AAU 5apg
– A high-energy, team-oriented performer that excels in the open floor
Isaac Ellsworth, 6’0, combo guard, class of 2026
HS: Albert Gallatin, AAU: Coast 2 Coast
– HS Varsity Starter
– 14ppg, 44% 3pt
– AAU High Game 37pts
– This knockdown shooter can “light it up” from long range every game
Brandon Tuffs, 5-11, wing forward, class of 2026
HS: Hempfield, AAU: Coast 2 Coast
– HS Varsity Letterman
– AAU 7ppg
– An above-average defender with an excellent work ethic
Lamont Perkins, 6’4, small forward, Class of 2026,
PA Today’s Jon Magusiak was back on site for day one, week two at the Wolvarena for the 210ths 7v7 league. On Tuesday night we saw Franklin Regional, Baldwin, USO, Bishop Canevin, Imani, West Mifflin, Clairton, Farrell, Shady Side, Allderdice and Aliquippa all compete and it was a great overall night of 7v7 action. There was a lot of awesome action that took place on Tuesday, but Baldwin and Farrell stole the show in my opinion. Baldwin was the most improved team on the night, but Farrell improved a great deal as well, and ultimately looked like the best team out there Tuesday night. With that said, Baldwin was not far behind. In the article below I explain what I saw Tuesday night to make me feel this way!
Teams of the Night! Week 2 Day 1
Farrell was my number three ranked team heading into week two in the Power Rankings and they showed me why that was even too low of a spot for them. They want that number one spot and rightfully so, they deserve it after two weeks of pure domination. They have yet to suffer a defeat, they are 4-0 in league play so far. They are led by Senior QB Kabron Smith and I just can’t get enough of this guy. It is a pure joy to watch this young man throw the football, he has it all, from being able to make key reads to big time throws. Offensively, he has a great deal of weapons in Juju Johnson, Juju Phillips, Brandon Chambers and Simeir Wade. Simeir Wade has been quietly putting on a show out there. He is an explosive big play receiver that runs great routes and has extremely strong hands. He is also very good in one on one situations, and he is excellent at coming down with the ball in traffic. Juju Johnson has been the talk of the league at the Wolvarena so far. This kid is just a total playmaker on both sides of the ball. He has great speed out of his breaks and he is great at tracking the ball in the air. Defensively, Johnson and Phillips have been the leaders in the Steelers secondary and they have it on lockdown. The coaching of this team under Head Coach Anthony Pegues has been great thus far, they are a very disciplined football team. The play calling and schemes both offensively and defensively have been impressive these last two weeks. All credit to the players and coaches at Farrell, they have a great program and they are showing everyone in the WPIAL and City just that in this league. Tune in this weekend to find out if they did enough to secure that highly coveted PA Today #1 7v7 Power Ranking position.
Baldwin Fighting Highlanders
Baldwin looked like a totally different football team last night in comparison to last week. They looked disciplined, fast and together. They played at a great pace all day and they made big plays in key moments. They started the night by knocking off #2 ranked Bishop Canevin and that is what caught my attention early in the night. They did it by moving the ball down field, taking what the defense was giving them and it was very impressive to see the improvements made by the coaches and players in just one week. They then knocked off a tough West Mifflin team who is tough as they come defensively. Baldwin was hype about the two wins, and they should be. This is a great building moment for the team and it will only bring those guys even closer. The team is led by Senior QB John Kuzor, he is a guy that is a good leader, has experience and knows what he is doing out there. He made some good throws on the night and as I said before I believe he is only gonna continue to develop as a QB. They will rely on guys like Andrew Sharp and Kieth Mincin to make big plays for them offensively this season as I project a great season for both of those guys. Defensively, I believe is where they improved most over the week. They were flying around playing freely, making plays on the ball. They had tons of energy and that is why in my opinion they were one of the best teams out there yesterday. They also have guys like Gavin Scheller and Vince Broccoli who will make a big impact as well for the Fighting Highlanders this season. This team has seemed to have found their identity under first year head coach Dana Brown Jr. He has showed very early on in this league that Baldwin made the right hire for the future of their program, and I am super excited to see what he does with this program. The program has a different vibe and energy right now, it’s much different from what it’s been in years past in my opinion. I believe they are building the program the right way and for the long haul. I have nothing but high hopes for the Baldwin football program moving forward under this leadership. Don’t worry Baldwin, better days are ahead for you. Football is back in Highlander country.
We’re back with another 210ths 7v7 article and it’s a good one. Yesterday, I released the player standout write-ups. Now, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty and talk about what we all were thinking this past week. It’s time for PA Today’s 7v7 “Power Rankings”. These five teams were the most impressive teams in week one at the 210ths 7v7 league in my opinion!
#1 Imani Saints
The Imani Saints were absolutely explosive this past Wednesday at the Wolvarena. Coach Laroi Johnson had a great scheme offensively and stuck to it all night. The Saints went 2-0 on the night and they looked as if they were ready to take on anyone. This team is filled with talented athletes and they have major speed. Offensively, the Saints are led by Stephen Vandiver at the quarterback position and this guy is absolutely electric throwing the rock. They have a talented class of 2026 running back in David Davis, who is one of the faster players in the entire 2026 WPIAL class. On the outside the Saints have Isaiah Arrington and Che’Von Allen. These two are as dynamic as it gets at the receiver position, and they both showed up and balled out Wednesday night. Defensively, they are fast, aggressive and they love to fly around making plays on the ball. They are led on defense by linebacker Dayshaun Burnett, he is a special talent that impacts the game defensively in many ways. The Saints have an extremely fast secondary as Arrington and Davis are both back there. They both have incredible closing speed and ball skills. This Imani Saints team is loaded with talent and I’m very excited to see if they can put it all together this year and make a run at the title.
#2 Bishop Canevin
If you were there Tuesday night to watch the Crusaders in action you would understand why this is a no brainer that they are a top 5 team in this weeks power rankings. They went 2-0 on the night, and they played some of the best ball of the week. Bishop Canevin has some of the best skill position players in the WPIAL regardless of classification. Typically, Kole Olszewski and Jason Cross Jr would be at QB sharing snaps but on Tuesday it was Damar Olds. He led the offense and looked excellent, showing the ability to stretch the field and make any throw necessary. Marquis Carter and Najeh Austin will make a great one-two punch as they both have different styles of play. Carter is more of the versatile running back who is also a very good receiver out of the backfield and then on the other hand, Austin is more of a north and south runner but don’t get me wrong he is able to make plays as a receiver out of the backfield as well. On the outside at receiver their two main targets were Jayden Lindsey and Jason Cross. Both of these guys are big time playmakers who are able to change the game with one play at anytime. Defensively, the Crusaders are very solid. They are led by Henry Barbisch and Daiveon Taylor at the linebacker positions. Both of these guys have great size and move extremely well laterally. Jason Cross anchors the secondary as the safety and he is able to cover a lot ground making plays sideline to sideline. It’s gonna be fun this summer watching the Crusaders grow as a ball club, don’t be surprised if they win this whole thing, they have the athletes and QBs to do it.
The Farrell Steelers showed on night one that they are the real deal and they are on the same level as some of Western Pennsylvania’s finest. They went 2-0 on the night and showed great schemes offensively. Kabron Smith leads the team at the Quarterback position and he does so extremely well. He has a great arm and is able to make key reads. They have tons of talent both offensively and defensively with guys like Juju Johnson, Juju Phillips, and Braylon Harrison. Those are just a few players that will make an impact for the Steelers this season. As I previously stated, Steelers have a great scheme offensively, and they have been running it for a long time and it shows. Defensively, they are a sound group that has a ton of speed. They play with a ton of physicality and they will not back down from anyone. They have tons of playmakers and I am super excited to see them all develop this summer. Expect Farrell to make a lot of noise this summer and even possibly win this whole thing.
#4 Steel Valley
The Steel Valley Ironmen showed everyone Wednesday night exactly why they are the defending 2A WPIAL champs. They had talented class of 2026 Da’Ron Barksdale playing the QB position, as he regularly would play the WR position. Steel Valley has good weapons and they will lean on Donald Barksdale for the big plays offensively. The brothers connected multiple times through the air on the day. The team is filled with talent defensively and I fully expect this team to look totally different once the pads come on. They have major talent in the secondary that makes passing the ball extremely hard for QBs in this setting. Steel Valley is a run heavy team but they showed that they can also pass the ball and be productive doing so. I believe this will be a team that will be around at the end and may even make a run at winning it all!
#5 Woodland Hills
Woodland Hills took a rough defeat to start off their day. They ultimately lost on a crazy deflection in the end zone that ended up in Da’Ron Barksdale’s possession which ended and won the game for Steel Valley. Other than that this team looked sharp, fast and disciplined out there Wednesday night at the Wolvarena. QB Cam Walter showed that he is ready to step up and lead this offense to the promise land. He looked calm, cool and collected and was in total command of the offense. He made some excellent throws on the day to many of his talented receivers. Offensively, they are extremely dangerous using guys like Zykir Moore, Amere Brown, Brandon Jones and Scoop Smith. That group is a bunch of playmakers and I expect them all to have a big summer in the league. Defensively, the Wolverines are strong, they have a good secondary and they have a new linebacker named George Hill who will make a big impact for them as well defensively. Woodland Hills has the talent, speed and QB to succeed in the 7v7 setting and I fully expect them to be there at the end competing towards the title.
PA Today founder Jon Magusiak was invited down to Woodland Hills to cover the first week of the 210ths 7v7 circuit and he took full advantage of the invite and headed down to cover all of the action. While down at the Wolvarena, he was able to evaluate a ton of talent we have been wanting to see perform in person. This first week teams were still knocking off a lot of rust especially the quarterbacks but nonetheless there were some guys out there who were just on another level. With that said we have decided to do more in-depth write ups about the 5 players who in Jon’s opinion were playing the best this week, and then also all of the players who were just out there balling out! Unfortunately, he is only one person so he is unable to see every single thing that happens. He will do his best to cover as many athlete’s as he can when he is present. Moving into this week there a few teams he was unable to see last week, so with that said he will make sure to cover those teams this week. He will continue to attend this event weekly to bring you live on-site coverage and weekly write-ups with the week’s best performers! On behalf of PA Today, Jon Magusiak would like to thank the entire 210ths team for the invite and especially the hospitality they showed. It was a great environment and we plan to be there as much as possible this summer.
Week One Players of the Week
•All Evaluations By Jon Magusiak
*1/5 Offensive Player of the Week
**1/5 Defensive Player of the Week
**Jason CrossJr. – Bishop Canevin – 6’2” – 170 lbs – ATH/DB – Class of 2024
This young man is as advertised, he is fast, athletic and my goodness does he come out of his break fast. Jason Cross plays WR, QB and DB for the Bishop Canevin Crusaders. He is one of the best players in the state and is being recruited by some of the biggest power 5 programs in college football. On Tuesday night he showed everyone exactly why he is the man with all the offers. We will start on defense, which I felt is where he was most impressive. He is a tall lengthy defensive back who has the speed to cover the entire field from his safety position. He has great ball skills as well as a great ability to read the quarterbacks eyes. What was most impressive in my opinion was his ability to come out of the break. His closing speed is what makes him so impactful defensively. He had multiple interceptions on the day, I witnessed two of them personally. Offensively, he plays QB but on Tuesday night he was a full-time wide receiver. In my opinion, he has the ability to be one of the best receivers in the WPIAL if that is what him and the coaches choose to do. He has strong hands and he runs good crisp routes. His speed is what sets him apart at the high school level as a receiver. He looked very good out there at receiver and I hope to see more from him at the position in the future. Jason Cross showed everybody on day 1 exactly why he is the highly touted division one recruit that he is.
Woodland Hills QB Cam Walter had a lot to do with me coming back for day 2 and he did not disappoint. The class of 2026 QB was really spinning it well out there Wednesday night at the Wolvarena. He is an excellent pocket passing quarterback that understands the position at a young age. He understands reads, coverages and where to go with the ball. He has a very strong arm that is able to make all of the necessary throws. He makes key reads and is great at looking off defensive backs. Cam Walter is also a lot more athletic than people give him credit for. Watching him move around this past week I was very impressed with his overall athleticism. It was week one, so he is still knocking some rust off by the beginning of June, I fully expect him to be in game form. Cam is a true quarterback, when I speak with him we are always talking about football and ways for him to improve and get better. That is exactly what I want in a quarterback, he knows the job is never finished. Cam Walter is a guy that I believe is gonna absolutely blow us away with the stats he puts up in his sophomore year with all of the talent around him. Cam Walter showed everyone why he is our #1 pocket passing QB in the WPIAL’s 2026 class.
This kid had everyone at the Wolvarena talking Tuesday night and rightfully so. Juju Johnson is a defensive back for the Farrell Steelers football team. He was one of the guys Tuesday defensively who was flying around most. His ability to cover the entire field is extremely impressive. He is a playmaker who is always around the ball. His closing speed out of his breaks is next level stuff for his age. He is a player that is able to see the entire field, and he also has terrific football instincts. His ball skills and ability to track the ball down is what sets him apart in my opinion. He has excellent range as well as he covers a ton of ground out of his break. He is also great at reading the quarterbacks eyes and also baiting QBs into making bad throws. I know this isn’t nothing new to Farrell, but y’all got a dog in Juju Johnson and I am super excited to cover him this season.
*Stephen Vandiver – Imani Christian – 6’2” – 170 lbs – QB – 2025
Stephen Vandiver is a quarterback who plays for the Imani Christian Saints and he is the player that surprised me most in week one. From the moment I seen him throw that first deep ball I knew the kid was gonna put on a show, and that he did. He has terrific athletes around him and he uses them to his advantage. He is the type of quarterback that stands tall in the pocket and makes reads. He is has a very strong arm and can make all of the necessary throws. He is an extremely accurate quarterback as well, he is able to put balls into windows that most players cannot. His ability to change the velocity of throws and his ball placement is one of his best attributes as a QB. Imani has a ton of athletes at their disposal and they now have the perfect guy in Stephen Vandiver to put all of those guys to use.
Damondtae Stevenson was the young man who was my week one co-defensive player of the week. He is an absolute ball hawk out there and he is the big playmaker in that Rebels secondary. He has good speed out of his breaks and is able make plays on balls all over the entire field. I personally witnessed two of his interceptions from this past week and he made two great plays on those balls. His speed is really what allows him to make those type of plays. He is a defensive back that is able to see the entire field, and he also has excellent football instincts. When we talk about WPIAL players that have a great ability to get out of the break and make plays on the ball, Damondtae Stevenson needs to be in that conversation. I am very excited to watch him and his Seton LaSalle teammates go to work at the Wolvarena all summer.
Amere Brown is a special talent that is able to break on balls and make plays defensively in the secondary. He is also a very dynamic receiver that has great big play capabilities. He was one of the players to record and interception and touchdown reception in week one. He is a player who I can tell is going to be featured a lot this summer after watching him play in week one.
Scoop Smith is a dynamic playmaker that has elite speed. He runs great routes, has good hands and when he gets that edge you are not catching him. He is the type of WR that has the ability to take an underneath route to the house at any time. He is as explosive as it gets at the high school level and he showed everyone why he is a division one football recruit.
George Hill is a linebacker who has great size and athleticism. He is a guy who will mainly be a run stopper but this past week he showed the ability to also drop into coverage. He moves very good laterally for his size as well, this will be a player you hear more about when the pads come on.
Brandon Jones is a running back who is a great receiver out of the backfield for the Wolverines. He has good hands and is a great weapon to have out of the backfield in the pass game. He caught Cam Walter’s first touchdown pass of the day and got things started for Woody High. I expect a big time season for this guy on the ground when the pads come on and we get into the season.
**Dayshaun Burnett is a linebacker that showed great ability to move laterally this past week at the Wolvarena. I knew he was a guy that could stop the run but in this setting I was able to see him in pass coverage and he did not disappoint. At his size moving the way he does is a scary site for offensive players. He had a great interception that I witnessed personally. He had a great overall showing for playing the linebacker position in a 7v7 setting. This guy is without a doubt a power five college athlete.
David Davis is a running back and defensive back who is super versatile. He is great on both sides of the ball for the Saints but defensively is where I believe he is levels above. He has serious division one level speed and he comes out of his breaks terrific. His closing speed to the ball and angles is what makes him such a dynamic player defensively. After watching him this past week, I have no doubt he is a power five college athlete.
Isaiah Arrington is a WR/DB for the Saints and he showed that he can be effective on both sides of the ball. He was one of the players on the day to record a touchdown offensively and an interception defensively. He is a very dynamic playmaker in the secondary that has a great ability to break on the ball. He has good ball skills and is excellent at high pointing the football. Offensively, he is going to be a deep threat for the Saints because of his speed and ability to track the football. I really like what I seen out of this kid this past Wednesday and I fully expect him to continue to improve weekly.
Henry Barbisch showed that he is able to play his physical style in pass coverage and be effective doing so. He is a guy that is gonna put hands on you and be in your face for 48 minutes. He showed great ability to run with running backs and receivers in coverage. He has great size and seems to have really grown into his body. This is a player who is gonna dominate single A this season in my opinion.
Damar Olds is a quarterback that was making what I call big boy throws. He wasn’t checking down and only throwing underneath routes just to play it safe. He was working the ball downfield and over the top without any fear. In doing so he made some throws that were very impressive. He had several touchdown passes and a few from deep. This is a guy who impressed me a ton, definitely keep an eye on him the rest of the summer.
*Jayden Lindsey is a super dynamic receiver who showed a great ability to go up and high point the football. Now that Nelson has graduated and is off to Waynesburg, I believe Lindsey becomes the #1 target. He is much bigger in person when you see him and he seems to have filled out over the winter. I really like what I seen out of him and expect him to be a guy I will write a lot about this summer at the Wolvarena.
*Kabron “KB” Smith was throwing the nicest football day one of the week. He understands the power of getting your bottom half involved. This is a quarterback who is a great example to show younger quarterbacks trying to learn how to generate power using their bottom half. He uses his hips and legs to generate more power to take away the stress on his arm. He is a special passer, when the ball comes out of his hand it is unlike any player that was out there on night one. He makes good reads and always knows where he is going with the ball. He proved to everyone that he is one of the top QBs in the entire 210ths 7v7 circuit.
Julius “Juju” Phillips was ultra impressive as a defensive back on day one. He showed a great ability to break on the football Tuesday night. Defensively, this guy straps guys up and is a major problem for offenses. He is an extremely athletic player that is able to make a lot of plays most cannot because of that athleticism he naturally has. He is one of the better defenders out at the Wolvarena right now in my opinion.
Simeir Wade is a wide receiver that is headed into his first year at Farrell and I believe it is a match made in heaven. He showed the ability to run good routes along with strong hands. He also showed that he can make a play for the Steelers in one on one situations as he cooked a cornerback deep for a TD in one of those situations this past week. Wade has breakaway speed which is something that allows him to make some of the plays he makes. He is a super dangerous runner after the catch and he can take it to the crib at any time. I believe Simeir Wade is gonna wake a lot of people up this summer because he is a dynamic playmaker and has already showed major flashes of the just after week one.
Marquis Council Jr.was one of the quarterbacks on the week whom I was most impressed with. This young man showed up ready to play this past week at the Wolvarena. He stood tall in the pocket made key reads, allowed plays to develop and most importantly made big throws. He has a strong arm and great football IQ. You could see the comfort level and confidence increasing with each throw. This is gonna be a special player in years to come but for now I’m excited to watch him play all summer.
Larry Moon III. is a class of 2027 defensive back for the Quips. He is super athletic and he is one of the best in his class at coming out of the break. He showed that he is a fast and physical defensive back that is gonna give receivers fits all summer. He can run with any receiver and he is a player that has the ability to play man coverage. He is one of the most physically gifted kids in his class and he impresses me more and more every-time I watch him work.
Sa’Nir Brooks is a RB/DB/LB for the Aliquippa Quips football team. He is a super versatile player that can play either safety or linebacker defensively. He has great speed to the ball, and also takes very good angles. Just like Moon, Brooks is a kid that is physically gifted and a lot of these things come naturally to him. He also showed that he has the speed to become a very good player offensively as well for the Quips this season.
Camden Lewis is a TE/RB/LB who plays for the South Allegheny football team. He has great size at 6’4” 240 lbs but that’s not all, the kid can move. He showed the ability to be a big play receiver and go up and get the ball. Defensively, he is a linebacker that can drop back into coverage and make plays on the ball. As soon as I saw this kid, I said who the hell is that? My man introduced him to me and now I am fully aware of him and will be on the lookout for him all summer.
Ryan Cortes is a quarterback who plays for South Allegheny. He is a guy who showed the ability to make key reads and throws. He was able to get the ball to where it needs be and on time. He will be a guy that improves weekly this summer out at the Wolvarena. I’m excited to watch that progression and see what he develops into for South Allegheny.
Richie Fix is an ATH that can make plays on both sides of the ball and he showed that ability Tuesday night. Fix had two interceptions on the night showing a great ability to break on the football. He has incredible football instincts that place him in the right area at the right time. He played QB for the Gladiators and made some key throws Tuesday night. He had two touchdowns passes on the night against some talented secondaries. Richie Fix is an athlete who can do it all and I’m excited to watch him work this summer at the Wolvarena.
David Fleming is one of the most underrated defensive backs in the entire WPIAL and he showed us why Tuesday night. This guy is a player who likes to fly around and cause mayhem. He was breaking up passes and breaking on balls all night. Fleming is a player that is gonna shine extremely bright when the pads come on, because he is really about that action. He is a safety who loves to hit players and that’s my kind of guy. I’m super excited to see this guy put the pads on for West Mifflin this season and lay the boom the way Dave Fleming does. Super impressive showing for the young man from West Mifflin.
Julian “JuJu” Walker is a running back that showed his versatility Wednesday night at the Wolvarena. He showed that he can be a threat out of the backfield when needed. He is a great check down option and he runs the ball with great effort with every touch. JuJu Walker works extremely hard and will only continue to improve this summer.
Taymir Smalls is a wide receiver and defensive back that is extremely athletic with good speed. He runs good routes and gets to his spots as a receiver. Defensively, he has good speed and is able to come out of his breaks and make plays on the ball. Taymir Smalls is a player that can make big plays on both sides of the ball and I can only see him improving this summer.
Stephon Malloy might of just been the biggest surprise of the day. He is a freak athlete with incredible size for his age. One of his strengths is high pointing the football and coming down with it in traffic. He showed a great ability to make big plays when the team needs it most on Wednesday night. He is another guy I can’t wait to see in pads, he plays physical on both sides of the ball and makes plays. This is a guy who is gonna make a lot of noise this summer and fall. He is next up out of the City-League and he made that pretty clear.
Keyjuan Johnson runs good routes and is very athletic. He has good body control and showed the ability run away from defensive backs covering him. He is a guy who depends a lot on his athletic ability right now but as his technique improves, you will see him grow and develop even more as a player.
Julius Reed is a class of 2027 quarterback that can make all of the necessary throws. The young man was making key reads and throws with great anticipation. He has a good deep ball and he changes the velocity of his throws extremely well. He is very accurate and has confidence in his ability as he should. Julius Reed was one of the most impressive quarterbacks this week. I look forward to watching him making throws this summer at the Wolvarena.
Gerald Veney Jr is a WR/DB that has great speed. He runs good routes and has strong hands. He is a playmaker that is super dangerous in the open field. He is great at making defenders miss as well as coming down with the ball in traffic. He also showed the ability to make big plays after the catch. This was a player that caught my eye Wednesday at the Wolvarena.
Khalim Taylor was an absolute force for the Johnstown football team Wednesday night. He made big plays as a receiver and ran good routes. He has great hands and is excellent at going up and high pointing the football. He has really good size and he uses that to his advantage extremely well. He is going to continue to grow this summer and I’m excited to watch him develop.
Xair Stevenson is a player that I’ve been wanting to watch perform live and I got my wish Tuesday night at the Wolvarena. He is a long, lengthy athlete who is excellent out of the break. He has great ball skills and football IQ, he flows with the play and has natural football instincts. He is a player that I believe has division one talent at the defensive back position. He is only headed into his junior season this season, and I believe he is going to grow into a special talent over the next year.
Max Qureshi is a quarterback who showed he has a great arm and is able to make every necessary throw. He made a lot of deep throws that were incompletions this week but they were what I call “good incompletions”. He was throwing the ball well and was accurate in doing so. He has good ball placement and touch which allows him to avoid interceptions. He has a good deep ball that he puts only where his receiver or no one is able to get to it. I’m excited to watch this guy grow this summer, and this circuit is the perfect place for him to do that.
Marquis Glass-Jones is an explosive receiver that has one on one playmaking capabilities at the receiver position. He showed the ability to run good routes along with good foot work. He is really good at getting off the line and has a great release. This is a player who is gonna continue to grow all summer.
*Donald Barskdale was one of my offensive players of the week as he scored the majority of his teams touchdowns on the night. He is a running back and defensive back and on Wednesday night he showed the ability to become an effective receiver out of the backfield, slot or even split out wide. He made one of the best catches on the night as he head topped a defender to come down with a pass from little brother Da’Ron Barksdale.Donald Barksdale defensively is as solid as they come. He has great speed out of his breaks as well as good balls skills. He is one of the most complete 2-way players in this entire 7v7 circuit in my opinion. He is a player who made a big impact for the Ironmen last year and I expect and even bigger one this year.
**Da’Ron Barksdale is typically a WR on offense but on Wednesday night he was playing the quarterback position. He is very raw at the position but his athleticism allowed him to make throws. He started to find his groove behind center as the day went on. Just like I said about his brother Donald, he is one of the most solid 2-way players out there in my opinion. Defensively, he is a special talent with great closing speed and ball skills. He played corner last year but is now transitioning to safety. I believe it’s a great move, use his speed to cover and make plays all over the field. He was one of my five top defensive players on the week and I don’t believe that will be the last time this summer. He is a special talent and I can’t wait to see more of him this summer.
John Kozar is a quarterback who is starting to come into his own. He looked calm, cool and collected running the offense for Baldwin. For his first showing of the year it was not a bad one at all. I expect this guy to have a few great outings this summer. He showed the ability to stretch the field as well as make key reads. I look forward to watching him develop this summer.
Mike Pastirik was playing quarterback Wednesday for the Rebels and he looked sharp. He showed the ability to make key reads and big throws. He has a strong arm and can make every throw necessary. He makes excellent decisions and he has an ability to stretch the field and work the ball over the top. He had 4 touchdowns, 3 extra points and zero interceptions on the night. He did all of this on 5 drives. The Rebels have a good one in Mike Pastirik.
Rj Miller is the other QB who is competing for the Rebels starting quarterback position. He showed the ability to make reads and throws. He is a guy with a good arm and he is a terrific athlete. The Rebels have a good QB battle on their hands for the 2023 season and it will only bring out the best in both quarterbacks. I’m excited to see him compete the rest of the summer!
*I was unable to see much of the following teams so it wouldn’t make sense to do write-ups on those players from those teams. However, the following teams listed will be my coverage priority this week . Franklin Regional, Clairton, Sto-Rox, Allderdice, Chartiers Valley, Monessen, Brashear, Penn Hills and Shady Side. Those teams will be my main focus heading into this week!
Larry Moon III is a class of 2027 Aliquippa WR/DB and he is a very explosive athlete. He is a cornerback defensively for the Quips and he is a very physical one at that. He loves to press receivers at the line of scrimmage and get his hands on them. He has the ability to do that because of his speed, he is able to run with any receiver he goes up against. In my opinion what makes him most special defensively is his closing speed to the ball. His ability to put his foot in the ground and get up field is incredible. I can’t wait to see what this guy does in pads on the defensive side of the ball. Offensively, he is a receiver who runs great routes and has strong hands. He is an explosive playmaker that has the ability to score at anytime. He is a player you can do a lot with offensively, you can use him in the slot, split out wide or even in the backfield. In my opinion, Larry Moon is one of the best class of 2027 prospects in the entire state. Be on the lookout for this guy, he is a guy that will see the varsity starting roster very early in his career.
The Larry Moon Interview!
Q: What gives you such a great ability to make plays on the ball offensively?
A: “My route running and also me being a DB helps a lot because I know what they are gonna do a lot of the times before they even do it.”
Q: Same question but defensively.
A: “My technique and athletic ability.”
Q: What is your most valuable skill on the football field defensively?
A: “My football IQ and understanding the game .”
Q: Heading into this season, what is one thing you are really looking to improve on?
A: “Attacking the ball in the air along with my patience.”
Q: Do you consider yourself more as a WR or DB?
A: “Defensive back because of my physicality.”
Q: What are your plans for the summer?
A: My camp schedule looks like this for June! USC, UCLA, Michigan, Ohio St. (The Bus Tour)
Q: I know you can play both, do you consider yourself more a corner or safety?
A. “A cornerback because I am very physical at the line and good with my hands.”
A: What is your favorite thing about playing DB and then also WR?
Q: “Making plays on the ball defensively and offensively scoring touchdowns and doing whatever to help my team win.”
Q: What do you want to pursuit as a career after a football?
A: “Law Enforcement.”
Q: Besides yourself, who are the top five players in the 2027 WPIAL class?
A: “Sa’Nir Brooks, Roman Thompson, Khalil Taylor, Jance Henry and Nelson Coleman.”
Favorite Coach Ever? My dad
Most yards, interceptions, tackles and TDS? 4 Touchdowns, 225 yards, 2 interceptions and 16 tackles.
Favorite thing about football? All of it
Dream College? Penn State and Pitt
What NFL player would you say your game resembles the most? Darelle Revis, Ty Law and Tommy Campbell
Favorite NBA Team? Memphis Grizzlies
Favorite NFL Team? Carolina Panthers
Favorite Food? Eggs
Favorite Drink? Gatorade
Favorite Rapper/Artist? Lil Baby
Hype song? Anything Tee Grizzley
Favorite hobby outside of Football? Hanging out with friends
These four WPIAL basketball players shine on the hardwood locally all winter, but once the spring AAU season arrives, they take their talents on the road. As these standouts travel across the country to participate in top tournaments, these young men continued to gather Division 1 scholarship offers. Two of them committed to college programs in recent months, while the other two hoopers continue to contemplate their future college home. If you haven’t had the opportunity to watch these skilled performers, you must check them out very soon. Western Pennsylvania has been developing basketball talent in recent years and it will continue to be a “hotbed” of talent.
Brandin Cummings, 6’3 Combo Guard, Class of 2024
HS: Lincoln Park, AAU: All Ohio Red
A Pittsburgh Panther commit who had a multitude of Division 1 scholarship offers. He was offered from the following: Akron, Bryant, Creighton, Duquesne, Lafayette, South Carolina, and Youngstown St. Brandin has the ability to score in a variety of ways with penetration to the basket, accurate mid-range jumpers, highly consistent made deep three-pointers, and in the transition game. A homegrown talent from Midland, PA made his community proud bringing home the gold in both the WPIAL and State Championships this winter.
Prediction: Watch for Brandin and his D1 partner Meleek Thomas to repeat not only as WPIAL Champs but as State Champions next HS season.
Alier Maluk, 6’10 Power Forward, Class of 2025
HS: Imani Christian, AAU: Team Durant
This young man has a variety of scholarship offers from D1 high-level college programs. He has been offered by Auburn, LSU, NC State, Ohio St, Oregon, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall, Texas A&M, and West Virginia with plenty more teams showing interest. Alier has developed a consistent perimeter game to complement other aspects of his offensive skill set while continuing to be a force in the paint on the defensive end of the floor. After winning the WPIAL and State Championships this past season, this talented player is primed for a repeat performance for the 2023/2024 campaign.
Prediction: Look for Alier and his backcourt duo of Dame Givner/RJ Sledge to take Imani Christian back-to-back in both the WPIAL and State Finals.
Royce Parham, 6’8 Power Forward, Class of 2024
HS: North Hills, AAU: Team Durant
A Marquette commit with many scholarships offered at the Division 1 level.Also received offers from Duquesne, George Mason, Maryland, Notre Dame, Penn St, Pittsburgh, Robert Morris, Rutgers, TCU, VCU, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Xavier. Royce dominates the post on offense with solid moves to score the ball which shows a truly balanced all-around game due to his strong rebounding and shot-blocking ability on defense. He has continued to help grow the North Hills basketball program into one of the top teams in Western PA and will look to have a huge senior season.
Prediction: Check out another deep playoff run next season for Royce and rising talent Eric James Jr. which could end in a title for North Hills.
Meleek Thomas, 6’4 Combo Guard, Class of 2025
HS: Lincoln Park, AAU: New Heights Lightning NYC
He has scholarship offers from many of the prominent D1 basketball powers in the country. This young man has been offered by Bryant, UConn, Duke, Indiana, Kansas St, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan, Missouri, Penn St, Pittsburgh, St. John’s, Tennessee, Villanova, and Xavier.Meleek is an extremely confident and smooth player that always wants the ball in his hands during critical moments while providing the leadership necessary for his team’s success. Also, his skills have taken him to the USA Basketball Mini-Camps with other top players in the country, while adding a WPIAL and State Championship to his resume.
Prediction: Watch for Meleek and Brandin Cummings as stated above, to win both the WPIAL and State Championships again next winter for Lincoln Park.
In the 8th episode of the PA Today Football Film Study series, the team takes a look at three WPIAL football prospects and one District 10 prospect. The players featured today are Central Catholic DL Ty Yuhas, Cathedral Prep ATH/DB Rayfes Robert Jr, Aliquippa LB Cam Lindsey, and Woodland Hills Scoop Smith. Please comment to @PAToday_Sports which player should be featured in the next edition of the “PA Today Football Film Study” series. Also, lineman don’t forget to send your film to @7Twice “Coach Byron” for the PA Today OL/DL Rankings list! All other positions can continue to send film to the PA Today account!
Ty Yuhas – Central Catholic – 6’3” – 260 lbs- DL – C/O 2024
Pitt Commit Ty Yuhas has already proven he’s one of the best Pittsburgh has to offer by being one of the few lineman in the WPIAL to even receive an offer from the hometown university. When you turn on the tape it’s no wonder why they wanted to get their hands on the 6’4 260 lb defensive end out of Pittsburgh Central Catholic. Believe it or not Ty wasn’t always a lineman, he originally came in as a backer in a really talented Vikings linebacker room. Ty would find his traits more beneficial for the team with his hands in the dirt on the edge. My opinion, it was the best move he could have made for himself and the team. I think he had the ability to be a pretty good linebacker, but when you really break down his traits you see he’s an awesome defensive end. Ty has the strength to be able to honker down in the trenches 1 on 1 with a tackle, but the pursuit ability to keep outside contain and chase the ball sideline to sideline. I even think he has the strength to play 3-tech for the Panthers in the future depending on how he continues to grow. He has a couple plays where he stone walls double teams to stuff gaps and even makes the play for himself. I’m sure his versatility on the field had a lot to do with his offer.
I asked Ty to speak on his transition from linebacker to defensive line. “Moving from linebacker to the defensive line was probably the hardest transition for me. The hardest part of the transition for me was getting used to the technique. One thing that helped the transition was at linebacker you learn how to use your leverage against people that helped a lot. Moving from linebacker to the d-line was the best decision I could have made.“
If high school football was the video game “Madden”, Ty’s superstar abilities would be reach elite and tackle supreme, when it comes to keeping outside contain he’s one of the best in the WPIAL if not the state. Not only is he awesome at keeping contain as the end man on the LOS but he can even shoot the B or C gap and get himself back out to the sideline to hunt down a play for a TFL. You can see a lot of linebacker qualities in him when it comes to pursuit, there’s times where he’s on the backside on the play and closes down on the running back before he cant hit the hole. When he gets to ball carriers he absolutely crushes them, one of those players with the tendency to always fall forward upon contact. What will blow you away is his athleticism mixed with strength, a kid who can bench about to 400 lbs and can jump through the roof (literally for those that know). Clocking in at a 4.8 forty at the Pitt camp last year it’s not hard to imagine why teams struggle to get to the edge around this kid.
I’m excited to see what the Vikings do with Ty this year. I feel like he’s a kid who will be able to play everywhere on the defensive LOS and could probably be a load of help blocking in the run game. For a kid who already has his future picked out as far college recruiting goes it’ll be awesome to watch him play this next season for the love of the game. With a talented roster down in Oakland I expect to see Ty Yuhas leading the Vikings to successful season.
Rayfes Robert Jr. – Cathedral Prep – 5’10” – 176 lbs – ATH – Class of 2024
Rayfes Robert Jr. is a two-way talent for the Cathedral Prep football team who plays in district 10. Defensively, he is a defensive back that is able to break on balls and use his ball skills to make plays on the ball in the air. He is excellent in pass coverage, and he has good closing speed to the ball as well. He is a good tackler in space and can also come up an make tackles at the line of scrimmage. Offensively, he is a super versatile athlete that can play multiple positions. You will see him line up in the slot, split out wide and also in the backfield. He can do it all, he is a good ball carrier in jet sweep situations in the slot and he can also carry the ball out of the backfield as well. He runs very good routes and has excellent hands. He has great ball skills as I previously stated and he is excellent at high pointing the football. He is super dangerous in the open field, and he has a great ability to make defenders miss. This is a player from district 10 that I am super excited about watching and covering this season. Rayfes Robert Jr. is definitely a player you are gonna wanna lookout for this season!
Scoop Smith – Woodland Hills – QB – 5’5” – 135 lbs – Class of 2026
Scoop Smith is a class of 2026 wide receiver from Woodland Hills, and he already has a Power 5 offer. When I watch his film, it is very clear, he has elite speed. Offensively, he is a great threat to have. Anytime you can get this guy the ball, you do it. He is the type of player that can turn a play into a touchdown when it looks like he is gonna for sure lose yards. He is one of the most creative, shifty and slippery runners after the catch in the entire WPIAL if you ask me. His vision and speed sets him apart in my opinion, he is able to read lanes and openings before they even become available. He does not need much room to burst through that opening. He runs excellent routes and has very strong hands. He is very effective from the slot position as he can do anything from there. He is excellent at taking handoffs on the jet sweep’s and his speed allows him to beat defenders to the sideline and turn it up field. The speed is what makes Scoop Smith the most special in my opinion. As a freshman last season, he was absolutely electric and made some plays that showed the entire WPIAL why he was as talked about as he was coming in as a freshman. In my opinion, Scoop Smith is a top receiver in the WPIAL regardless of class. I am very excited to watch and cover this young man for the next three seasons, the future is very bright for Woodland Hill’s Scoop Smith.
Cameron Lindsey – Aliquippa – 6’2” – 205 lbs- LB – Class of 2024
Cameron Lindsey is a linebacker who plays for the Aliquippa football team that plays in the 4A WPIAL Parkway Conference. He is a nationally ranked prospect and you don’t have to look very hard to see why. Cam has been a full-time starting linebacker for the Quips since his sophomore season. He is a linebacker who has great speed and is able to make plays sideline to sideline. He is an excellent tackler who takes some of the best angles to the ball I’ve seen at the high school level. Yes, he makes big hits but if you watch closely, you see a player that understands the linebacker position and the game of football. He also is able to drop back into coverage and make plays as well. He has very good footwork along with excellent ball skills. His football instincts and IQ are off the charts. He is a player who is able to recognize where the play is going a lot of times before the snap of the ball. What seems to get overlooked at times is his ability to carry the football. Cameron Lindsey is an excellent ball carrier as he runs the ball with great effort and power. He is excellent carrying the ball between the tackles and he also has good speed which allows him to gain the edge and bounce it outside. He is a back who can catch the ball out of the backfield or even line up in the slot and make plays as a receiver. He is a really good pass blocker who is able to pick up rushing linebackers and defensive ends. He is also a great run blocker, he is who you want to have in front of you if you are carrying the ball. He is able to clear players out of the way and take on any position in order to clear a path for his teammates carrying the ball. Cam Lindsey is the most electrifying player defensively in the entire WPIAL in my opinion. I’ve had the chance to interview him and he is one of the nicest and most humble athletes I’ve talked to.
Question: You refer to yourself as the hardest hitter in PA. What makes you take so much pride in that?
Answer: “My confidence and my swagger. I go out there and show why I am the high level recruit with the offers I have.”