Name: Naman Alemada
School: South Fayette
Alemada’s week: The 6-5, 200-pound quarterback threw five touchdowns to lead the South Fayette Lions to an important, 37-21, victory over New Castle in a Northwest Eight Conference game.
Alemada hit four different receivers each for one score and Joey Audia for two touchdowns.
Alemada found Ryan McGuire from 18 yards to begin the scoring and Nolan Lutz from the three-yard line to end it. In between, Alemada connected with Audia from 46 and 12 yards and Luke Pschirer from 11.
“I think I have the best (connection) with Charley Rossi and Joey Audia,” said Alemada. “They’re really the same player. They both have strengths and weaknesses. They are like two identical people playing the position on each side of me. I work with them a lot.
“We have eight to nine really talented receivers who could step in at any time without missing a beat. Charley and Joey have the most experience so I always am aware of them if I am in trouble.”
Alemada completed 22 of 28 passes for 277 yards with no interceptions against New Castle. He has thrown for 818 yards, which ranks him third among WPIAL quarterbacks. It puts him on pace to possibly reach 3,000 this season. Not bad for a converted tight end who weighed just 130 pounds as a freshman.
Alemada’s performance has skyrocketed since a 27-13 Week Zero loss to Upper St. Clair, in which he tossed four interceptions. Over the next two weeks, Alemada has thrown for 457 yards, seven touchdowns and no interceptions.
“After the game against Upper St. Clair, I knew I had to fix some things,” said Alemada. “I feel I did but I’m nowhere near where I want to be. I’m excited.”
Steadfast support: After the breakdowns in the Upper St. Clair game, Alemada braced for criticism from fans not used to losing and silent stares from teammates and coaches.
He found none of that.
He was amazed and relieved at how much support he received.
“Week Zero against USC happened all so fast,” he said. “I took it pretty hard. After Week Zero, I was pretty mad. But people I didn’t know about, people I never talked to, came up to me and told me to keep my head up. That meant a lot to me and gives me something to play for on Friday nights.”
If he didn’t realize it before, the 16-year-old athlete, who was born in India and whose family moved more than a dozen times when he was a child because of his father’s job, has found a home and his extended family wears green and white.
Compiled by Joe Tuscano