Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

NH Grad Playing Key Role at W&j

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

NH Grad Playing Key Role at W&j

Article excerpt

As a member of the offensive line for the Washington & Jefferson College football team, John Wanner doesn't play one of the glamour positions.

Wanner, a North Hills graduate, has started 21 of 22 games since becoming the Presidents starting center in 2012.

"John has gone under the radar since becoming a starter two years ago," Washington & Jefferson coach Mike Sirianni said. "We've had other linemen recognized over the years and John is every bit as good as them."

Wanner's fine play was recognized last year with an All- Presidents' Athletic Conference honorable mention selection.

"John is an overachiever," Sirianni said. "I'm expecting a big season from him."

Wanner, a 6-foot, 240-pound senior, chose to enroll at Washington & Jefferson shortly after visiting the campus.

"The football and the education brought me to W&J," Wanner said. "When I made my visit, I really felt welcomed. It seemed like the perfect fit for me, both athletically and academically."

The no-huddle offense used by Sirianni and the Presidents is significantly different than what he experienced at North Hills.

"It's a really fast-paced offense," Wanner said. "It's a real changeup from what we ran in high school. We huddled up after each play in high school.

"In this offense, we run a play then get back on the line, run a play then get back on the line, run a play then get back on the line. Almost all the plays are called from the line."

Washington & Jefferson has tied for the PAC title and qualified for the NCAA Division III playoffs twice with Wanner anchoring the middle of the Presidents offensive line.

"In our weight room, we have a wall that recognizes the school's past PAC titles, ECAC Bowl appearances, and NCAA playoff appearances," Wanner said. "It also has a spot for appearances in the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl [NCAA Division III's championship game], but that space is blank because we've never made it that far before. …

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