The Indians have qualified for the WPIAL playoffs 15 of the past 16 years under coach Bob Palko. West Allegheny finished in a three-way tie for first place in the Parkway Conference last season, then went on to win the WPIAL Class AAA title. The Indians finished with a 12-2 record after a loss in the PIAA quarterfinals to eventual champion Erie Cathedral Prep.
"This conference is once again the strongest of the Class AAA conferences," Palko said. "Our hope at the end of the journey is to get invited to the playoffs. Once you get there, anything can happen. We proved that last year."
West Allegheny has five starters back on offense, and they are all skill players. Andrew Koester (6-4, 190, Jr.) is back at quarterback after completing 56 of 119 passes for 907 yards.
The Indians top three rushers are also back. Chayse Dillon (5-11, 190, Sr., RB/LB) led West Allegheny with 952 yards on 125 carries. Armand Dellovade (5-11, 195, Jr., RB/LB) accumulated 778 yards on 106 carries. Tory Delmonico (6-1, 202, Sr., RB/LB) added 726 yards on 111 carries.
"It's great to have such a talented group of running backs," Palko said. "We have a senior and two juniors. Each has his own strength. They all bring something different to the table."
The other returnee on offense is two-way starter Nic Daigle (5-9, 175, Sr., WR/FS), who caught eight passes. Dellovade is also back on defense, along with Jake Johnson (5-8, 175, Sr., CB) and Sean Orsini (6-2, 215, Jr., TE/LB).
"Our biggest concern on both sides of the ball is the line," Palko said. "We're young and inexperienced on both lines. Our success will depend on how quickly our lines mature."