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Football: West Allegheny grad stands out in all-star game

Written by Joe Koch on .

Joe Koch profiles West Allegheny graduate Mike Caputo, who is now a standout football player at Wisconsin.

"It was the day before the 91st East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Fla., and Wisconsin safety Mike Caputo was visiting with a friend, West Allegheny football coach Bob Palko, for whom he played on the high school level.

"He came down to St. Petersburg to watch the game with my parents," recounted Caputo about the game he and his West teammates won, 29-9, Jan. 23 at Tropicana Field. "He told me the day before the game: 'You're going to win [defensive] MVP of this game. You are going to win the MVP.'"

Maybe someone should see if Palko has any stock tips. Or, maybe he knew more than just a little bit about the 6-1, 206-pound safety from Imperial who was a three-year starter on a Badgers' team that went 10-3 in 2015 and defeated the University of Southern California, 23-21, in the Holiday Bowl.

Caputo played on Palko's 2009 West Allegheny team that won the WPIAL Class AAA championship against Hopewell, 36-28, and advanced to the PIAA Class AAA semifinals before falling to Manheim Central, 45-27."

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Hockey: Indians still well-positioned despite recent slide

Written by Keith Barnes on .

Having a 12-day break probably couldn’t have come at a better time for West Allegheny.

 

Not only have the Indians had to deal with several injuries that have caused a severe shortening of the team’s bench, they have also had to overcome a recent spate where they lost two of three games and were pushed to the brink in a win over Franklin Regional.

 

Despite the quick slide, West Allegheny (14-2-0) is still only three points behind Montour (15-1-1) for first place in the Class A Western Conference with a game in hand on the Spartans and the two have a date to play each other on Feb. 11.

 

West Allegheny handed Montour its only loss of the season in their first meeting, a 4-3 overtime victory on Nov. 2, a game in which Sean Weber scored the game-winner with 57 seconds remaining in the extra frame.

 

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Hockey: Return of seniors spark West Allegheny

Written by Keith Barnes on .

Keith Barnes profiles the West Allegheny hockey team.

"West Allegheny forward Jess Ligas and Sean Weber made a difficult choice last season when they both opted to play solely on their amateur teams and eschew taking the ice their entire junior years for the Indians.

"It was terrible," Weber said. "I came to a few games and I just missed it so much."

This season, though, both opted to come back and play their senior season for West Allegheny and, with the two of them in the lineup, they have helped vault the Indians into contention for the PIHL Class A Penguins Cup title.

"Any time that I played amateur hockey, I think I missed playing for the high school and that's why I played freshman and sophomore year," Ligas said. "I had to take a break [from high school] because I thought I might be going somewhere with hockey and I tried to focus solely on that, but I always missed it and I always missed having the fans out there cheering us on and that's great.""

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Boys Basketball: Non-section games paying off for West Allegheny

Written by staff reports on .

The point of exhibition games – non-section games is the other name for them – is primarily to learn and improve. West Allegheny has done that better than any team in recent memory.

The Indians have played eight non-section games and come away with a win just once (69-58 at Shaler) but, more importantly, they have learned a lot. Of the eight games, six have come against Class AAAA competition with the other two being former WPIAL AAA champ Central Valley and Class AA Quaker Valley – there's no better way to learn fundamentals than watching a Mike Mastroianni-coached team, especially up close.

As a result of that experience, it has taken West Allegheny just seven games to match last year's section win total of six. The Indians sit comfortably atop Section 5-AAA with a 6-1 record and have now won four straight games. This week's schedule continues that challenging non-section schedule as the Indians play Keystone Oaks Tuesday and at South Park Friday before visiting Class AA power Our Lady of the Sacred Heart on Saturday.

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Girls Basketball: West Allegheny flirts with .500 record

Written by Joe Koch on .

At first glance, it would appear that West Allegheny is having a rough time on the basketball court this season. And, that's to be expected as the Indians have won just 1 of 8 games in Section 4-AAAA. But the Indians are giving themselves quite a bit of hope as they are 6-1 against non-section opponents and are 7-8 overall. Already, they've matched their overall victory total of a year ago when the Indians were 7-15.

West Allegheny began the year with three successive victories and tasted tournament success in the South Side Beaver Tournament with victories over Beaver, 48-47, and Quaker Valley, 52-38. The Indians followed that up with a non-section 46-41 victory over Montour.

The Indians have gone 4-8 since that solid start, but their most recent victory was a 68-45 triumph over Section 4-AAAA rival Moon.

With the second half under way, it could be tough sledding for the Indians. But with nine players returning from a 17-player roster, there could be reason for optimism. Their next section game is today against Canon-McMillan. In the first game, the Indians fell to the Big Macs 52-46 on Dec. 14 in Canonsburg.