Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ford, Murray a Couple of Dynamic Ironmen

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ford, Murray a Couple of Dynamic Ironmen

Article excerpt

There were many things Steel Valley coach Rod Steele could have hoped for before this season began.

His team could have gotten a lot faster, improved its playmaking ability, developed a downfield passing game and become a scoring threat every time it touched the ball.

Then Paris Ford showed up on his doorstep and turned Steel Valley from 2A contender to a favorite to win the school's first WPIAL championship since capturing back-to-back crowns in 1988-89.

"What I've found in my years in the public school system is that you're going to have kids come and go all the time," Steele said. "You're going to get some and you've got some you're going to lose, but to get a kid like him, it's special and it's a blessing to have him be a part of our program."

After last season, Ford, a Pitt recruit, opted not to return to Seton-LaSalle for his senior season and instead went back home to play at Steel Valley. What the Ironmen got was a Division I-caliber player who is among the top prospects in the state, with the elusiveness to change a game on every play.

"It was a little difficult at first saying goodbye to all my friends and all because I knew all of those guys for so long," Ford said. "But it's an awesome feeling to be here now."

Last season with the Rebels, Ford caught 47 passes for 818 yards, ran the ball 16 times for another 113 and led the team with 23 touchdowns, while the rest of the team had only 28 combined. When he goes to Pitt, he could be used on both sides of the ball until the coaching staff determines where he best fits.

In the interim, Ford still has one more season of high school football remaining and helping Steel Valley win a championship is his top priority.

"I just think I bring physicality and leadership," Ford said. "I've always tried to have a voice in things."

One of the first things he has had to do is get in sync with senior quarterback Ryan Harper, who will take over under center in what will be a more diversified offense than the Ironmen ran in previous years. …

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