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Former Steelers WR Derek Moye Hoping to Form Family with Co-op Western Beaver Squad



INDUSTRY, Pa. — It looks like word spread quickly about Western Beaver’s new football coach.

After practice on Tuesday, as the players and coaches filed back into the locker room, a blue No. 6 Penn State jersey and a few photos sat on the coaches’ table.

The jersey belonged to a friend of an assistant, but was originally worn by the Golden Beaver’s first-year head coach.

Derek Moye signed the memorabilia as a the group shared a few laughs about the opportunity to meet and interact with a man who holds Penn State records and even caught a touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger.

“I didn’t know who he was,” said senior Noah Gray. “I heard some kids on the team saying our coach is a (former) Steeler, so I was pretty excited.”

“Someone had to tell me. But as I was looking him up, I said ‘oh okay, he played for the Steelers’, so I was excited about him being my coach,” said senior linebacker Daquan Bradford. “At first it was my dad because he heard from the other coaches, but then other people started to tell me (about Moye) too.”

Leave it to high school kids to make a 31-year-old first-time head coach feel, well, old.

“This generation I’m coaching now, it sounds crazy, but I’m a little bit older for them,” said Moye with a smile.

As the kids became familiar with Moye and who he was, they also started to see his work ethic and the intensity he brought to all facets of the game.

Moye (and this probably isn’t a surprise for a first year coach) attended the offseason lifting programs and began to show the team the expectations he had for them.

“He focuses a lot on our team chemistry, and how we need to get along better,” said Bradford, who is one of the Lincoln Park co-op players. “He focuses on us being a family, especially at practice. We need to practice as a family. If someone gets hit, you pick them back up and keep practicing. It’s making a big difference.”

Bradford is one of 12 Lincoln Park players in the second year of a co-op between the schools. Last season, nine Leopards were on the roster, which is encouraging for both the players and coaches.

“It’s good, but it’s definitely a challenge,” said Moye. “We have kids that are from different areas. Some kids are from Industry, and having kids from Clairton, it’s different. But kids are kids. Once they get together and talk, they realize they have things in common, and I think they’re getting along.”

“It’s getting better each year,” said Gray. “We’re playing with the same guys and we know what we’re doing together.”

The relationships appeared strong on the field, and the Lincoln Park players appear to be enjoying the opportunity in year two.

“Coming from a school that mainly focuses on basketball (Lincoln Park) to a school that mainly focuses on football, so me doing this, it’s a new experience. I need to put in the work and show these people what I can do and show them I can play football as well,” said Bradford.

Not to mention the coach he’s looking to impress.

“He practiced with profession football players both in college and in the NFL. So, usually now we’re practicing NFL and college practices, so he’s preparing us for the future. If things get tough, push through it.”

One look at Moye’s previous coaches show it’s not a surprise he’s looking to be the mentor-type.

From Gene Matsook at Rochester, the Paternos at Penn State and Mike Tomlin in the NFL, it’s easy to see the type of coach that Moye is accustomed to.

Even in his one year as an assistant coach with Aliquippa, he was with one of the best.

“When you coach at high school, that’s bigger than football, to set them up for life,” said Moye. “Football, yes, but if football doesn’t work out being able to offer different avenues.

“Someone who taught me a lot about that was coach [Mike] Warfield. You could tell how much he cared about the kids. Guys came in to talk to the team weekly, just some of the things he was able to do as far as getting outside influences to come in and talk to the team, it’s huge. It shows how much he cared.”

While it’s great to build the chemistry now, the goal for the team appears to be pretty uniform: get to the playoffs.

Western Beaver’s last playoff win came in 2008 (Moye’s first year at Penn State) and have a record of 39-61 since 2008.

The Golden Beavers have lost in the first-round of the playoffs twice in 2013 and 2017 and were moved from Single A to Double A last season.

The Midwestern Conference appears to be up for grabs, and Western Beaver likes the position they’re in.

“We expect to make playoffs,” said Gray.

“Coach is a cool guy, he just wants us to succeed,” said Bradford. “We’re trying to make it to the playoffs, and try to go higher. At least make it to the WPIAL and win that. That’s what my hopes are, I hope that’s what everyone’s hopes are.”

This story originally appeared at our partner site, Pittsburgh Sports Now.


Steelers Defense First in 30 Years with Four Straight 50-Sack Seasons



PITTSBURGH — Stephon Tuitt’s third quarter sack of Philip Rivers gave the Steelers defensive unit at least 50 sacks in each of the last four seasons (2017-20). The Steelers are the first team in the NFL to record 50-plus sacks in four consecutive seasons since the New York Giants (1985-1988).

This marks yet another historic achievement for the Steelers defense. Earlier in the game, TJ Watt became the first player in the illustrious history of the Steelers franchise to record 14 or more sacks in multiple seasons while wearing black and gold.

Unlike the time period of the Steelers streak, the Giants were a consistent contender and won a Super Bowl during that span under Bill Parcells in the late 1980’s. After missing the playoffs in both 2018 and 2019, this Steelers team is assured a spot in the 2020 postseason. But just being in the playoffs is not enough on its won to secure receiving the respect of great defenses of the past.

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TJ Watt Becomes First Steelers Player with Multiple 14-Sack Seasons



PITTSBURGH — While the Steelers defense joined NFL history with its streak of consecutive games with a sack a couple weeks ago, linebacker TJ Watt’s sack of Philip Rivers early in the first quarter of his team’s game against the Colts gave him an historic achievement all to himself.

Watt became the first player in the illustrious history of the Steelers franchise to record 14 or more sacks in multiple seasons while wearing black and gold. The 26-year-old linebacker continues a season that has him firmly in the discussion to earn his first career Defensive Player of the Year Award.

Watt is also on pace to surpass his previous career high for solo tackles in a season. He entered the game with 40 with 50 being his best total from the 2018 season.

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Steelers to Announce 2020 Hall of Honor Class in Halftime Livestream



The Pittsburgh Steelers will announce their 2020 Hall of Honor class at halftime of the Week 16 meeting with the Indianapolis Colts in a livestream video presentation, the club announced Saturday night.

The event will be hosted by AT&T Sportsnet and ESPN Pittsburgh’s Stan Savran, and will provide fans a virtual tour of the new Hall of Honor display and include interviews from former Steelers players and coaches on the 2020 class.

As announced back in September, the safety Troy Polamalu, middle linebacker James Farrior, outside linebacker Greg Lloyd, safety Mike Wagner and defensive end Dwight White will be honored as the 2020 class.

Pittsburgh inducted 24 inaugural members when the Hall of Honor was created in 2017. The Steelers added five more inductees in 2018, while four new members were enshrined last year.

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