Allegheny travels to Waynesburg in season opener

Sep. 2—The Allegheny Gators football team and first-year head coach Braden Layer will open the 2023 season at Waynesburg today at 1 p.m.

The Gators finished 3-7 overall and 2-6 in Presidents' Athletic Conference games a year ago, the program's first season in the PAC since 1983. One of the team's two conference wins last year was a 31-15 home win against Waynesburg, but Layer is quick to say this is a very different team.

The 2022 Waynesburg Yellow Jackets allowed 230.9 rushing yards per game. This season, the team will look to several transfers to help shore up the defense.

"What makes this game really interesting to me is they have four transfer portal players projected as starters on their defense. No matter how much film preparation you wanna do or how much background you think you can gain on what they did last year, you just can't see those four guys in a Waynesburg uniform," Layer said. "It's the classic first game of the season dilemma of how much do you plan for specific things knowing it could be a bit different, especially for them. They have some guys from the FCS level, the Division 2 level, now playing and it will be interesting to see what that looks like for sure."

Even with the transfer students, Layer will hope to get running back Tre Worship rolling early. Worship ran for 773 yards last season, which was sixth-best in the conference. He totaled seven rushing touchdowns and had a longest rush of 99 yards. He is back for his graduate year and has a bevy of college football experience with 310 rush attempts in his Allegheny career.

On the other side of the ball, Waynesburg returns all-conference running back Justin Flack for his graduate year. Flack ran for 811 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. Layer is concerned about slowing down Flack, and backup Hunter Cameron.

"I think their backup running back, he is a junior now, he is a load and is extremely talented as well. It's not like you can gear up solely to stop one guy," Layer said. "They kinda have a two-headed monster there that is capable of making a dent in the run game."

Cameron ran for 623 yards and five touchdowns on 92 attempts in 2022.

Today will be the PAC's first look at a Layer-led Allegheny football team. What should that look like? According to Layer, toughness.

"I want us to be an extremely tough football team. I want us, no matter how many guys we end up truly playing on offense, defense or special teams to be tough. If it's 11 guys we have 11 of the toughest dudes in the conference. If it ends up being 14 guys on defense, we want 14 guys we feel are really willing to go toe-to-toe with any opponent for four quarters," Layer said. "I really hope that no matter what the outcome is Saturday, and we are certainly preparing for a victory, but I do hope that when we leave the field everybody in attendance feels like we gave our best physical effort."

Alex Topor can be reached at (814) 724-6370 or by email at