Westinghouse’s Dayon Hayes: 2019 ‘Golden Player of the Year’

PITTSBURGH (GSM) — As the new year begins and sounds of “Auld Lang Syne” slowly fades away, we take a look back on 2019 at a player that has earned his spot in high school football’s elite.

Standing at 6′ 3,” 250 pounds, Dayon Hayes has been a dominating force in ways that set him apart from the pack.

Westinghouse Academy defensive end Dayon Hayes celebrates following defensive stop against Our Lady of Sacred Heart on August 24, 2019. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

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The Westinghouse Bulldogs’ standout defensive end has made a name for himself on the gridiron, raising the eyebrows of recruits across the nation. His stature, coupled with the ability to have an explosive break on the ball, has been second to none and his statistics show how dominating he has been throughout his high school career.

80 Tackles | 23 sacks | 14 Tackles for loss | 1 Interception | 2 Forced Fumbles | 2 Fumble Recoveries 

Hayes spoke exclusively to Golden Sky Media saying, “My Westinghouse experience is great and I wouldn’t want to be any other place than here, because the history is so great.”

Westinghouse Academy, which has a rich history of musicians, physicians, politicians, attorneys, scholars, members of the media and of course athletes, is a staple of not only Pittsburgh but has history that can rival institutions around the world.

Westinghouse Academy defensive end Dayon Hayes sacks Our Lady of Sacred Heart quarterback Jaymar Pearson. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

As far as football goes, Hayes told us that he is thrilled to be named among the giants that have donned the halls of the Blue and Gold. “It’s been a long time since there has been something good happening at Westinghouse — like a football championship — and I’m just glad I’m a part of turning Westinghouse’s program around.”

For the past 23 years, Westinghouse has been fighting for the chance to hoist the trophy and stand alone as the kings of the city. For the first time since 1996, they accomplished that goal with the help of Hayes.

Donta Green, head coach of the Westinghouse Bulldogs gives a pre-game speech prior to the City League Championship at George K. Cupples Stadium in Pittsburgh. October 26, 2019. Dayon Hayes is seated on far left. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

Bulldogs’ head coach Donta Green speaks on behalf of the entire coaching staff saying of Hayes, “He’s everything a coach wants in a player. He has amazing work ethic and is a  joy to be around!”

A mixture of alumni, friends, family and supporters of Westinghouse Academy (Westinghouse High School) during the 2019 City League Championship. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

Flanked by traditional chants by Westinghouse faithful, “There’s a House, up on a Hill, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go,” his team won the 2019 City League Championship over USO 12-2 at George K. Cupples Stadium on Pittsburgh’s Southside. Westinghouse had 36 active players on the roster and won its 36th championship in school history.

Players from Westinghouse Academy hoist the 2019 championship trophy after defeating USO 12-6 at George K. Cupples Stadium on October 29, 2019 in Pittsburgh. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

Green, a man that puts no one player above the team, took to social media after the win, praising his entire team’s performance in addition to their academic achievements, “These young people worked hard both in the classroom and the field to make this day happen! Coach loves you guys and I salute each and every one of you for your sacrifice and dedication.” –Donta Green, via Facebook.

Screenshot of DeWayne Brown taken from a documentary directed by Golden Sky Media’s Brian Cook about the training program he started titled 210ths. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

DeWayne Brown is the founder of 2/10ths Speed and Agility, which is an extreme workout regimen, that trains athletes from youth football to the professional ranks who have interest in gaining physical and mental awareness in their respective sports. He has worked with Hayes in the past in the area of positional drills to increasing footwork.

Brown has seen many athletes grow within his program and when it comes to Hayes, Brown said his technique and ability to excel is one of the best he’s seen. “Dayon is an elite athlete with an elite 1st step that will translate on all levels of football,” Brown said of Hayes. “Once he puts everything together mentality — with all his physical components — he will be one of those special players.”

William Pipkins (#7) pressured by Westinghouse’s Dayon Hayes (#50) during the 2019 City League Championship at George K. Cupples Stadium on October 29, 2019 in Pittsburgh. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

Brown, raving about Hayes’ ability says, if things line up the way they should, “He has all the tools to get to the NFL. He’s very teachable. You give him a directive and he’ll execute it. He’s also a fast learner.”

Hayes officially committed to the University of Pittsburgh and will be sure to find playing time with the Panthers. He will most likely see the field early in his college career. 

COURTESY: PITT LIVEWIRE

Sean McCaskill is founder of Dream Chaser 5 (DC5) which develops middle and high school athletes dreaming about becoming the next 5-star defensive back. McCaskill trains those who aspire to become successful in the secondary but has “…never had the pleasure of working” with Hayes. However, as an ardent scout of talent, he has watched Hayes develop and shared favorable remarks about his character. 

Sean McCaskill during a weekly workout of high school defensive backs at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on January 2, 2020 in Pittsburgh. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

“So many athletes love the lifestyle, but [Hayes] learned to embrace the process to becoming great,” McCaskill said. “It’s extremely difficult to bet against a player like him, because he’s willing to do those things that everyone is not willing to do. He’s about to be coached by arguably the best D-Line coach in college football, Coach Charlie Partridge at Pitt.”

Hayes was “thrilled and pleasantly surprised” about becoming the 2019 Golden Sky Media “Golden Player of the Year,” saying, “I’m very happy about it! This is something new and I’m glad to be apart of this and happy to be the player of the year.”

Prior to the 2019 Pittsburgh City League Championship Westinghouse Academy defensive end Dayon Hayes gets into character before taking the field. October 26, 2019 at George K. Cupples Stadium on Pittsburgh’s southside. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

Not making this accolade about himself, he has advice for younger players who are watching him and coming through the ranks themselves, “You can do anything you put your mind to. It doesn’t matter where you go to school because everyone told me I couldn’t do what I’m doing now,” Hayes said. “I just got on my grind and accomplished some of my goals and that was getting scholarships to schools and my favorite one [Pitt], too.”

Hayes is an honor-roll student first, a blue-chip player second and now the recipient of the inaugural “Golden Player of the Year” award, granted by Golden Sky Media.


BRIAN COOK IS AN EMMY-NOMINATED INTERNATIONAL JOURNALIST WHO HAS BEEN COVERING THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE SINCE 2005. HE CAN BE REACHED AT BCOOK@GOLDENSKYMEDIA.COM.
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Steelers Fall to the Bills After Committing Overabundance of Turnovers

The line of scrimmage in the game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Buffalo Bills on December 15, 2019 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

PITTSBURGH (GSM) — The last game of the 2019 NFL season at Heinz Field is an “L”. 

The Steelers lost to the Buffalo Bills Sunday in a game that could have solidified their spot in the postseason. Final score 17-10. Quarterback Devlin “Duck” Hodges completed 23 for 28 passes and one touchdown.
 
Devlin Hodges drops back to pass on December 15, 2019 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. The Steelers fell to the Buffalo Bills 17-10. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

The statistic that stand out the most however, is that he gave up the ball 4-times by way of interceptions. Hodges had this to say about his performance, “It’s disappointing right now obviously. You hate to lose, but I think after the first loss, how you respond is going to define who I am. Hodges said. “I mean, yeah, I’m disappointed right now, but in a couple days I’m still going to be who I am. I’m still going to be confident, still going to know that I can get the job done.”

 
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin gazes at the scoreboard as the final seconds tick away in the loss against the Buffalo Bills. The Steelers fell to Buffalo 17-10 at Heinz Field on December 15, 2019. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin when asked about his team’s performance, gave more credit to how the Bills executed in all three phases also saying his men will learn from this matchup.
 
“They are a rough and tumble outfit. We have to tip our caps to those guys and congratulate them, not only on winning the game, but not blinking and making the significant plays in the significant moments. That is something that we pride ourselves in. We didn’t make those plays today.” – Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin on the Buffalo Bills
 
Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner carries the ball against the Buffalo Bills on December 15, 2019 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)
Running back James Conner saw action after returning from a shoulder injury that left him sidelined since week 11. In his eyes, the determining factor to the loss was a result of poor, “…execution and making routine plays.” Conner, rushed for 8 for 42 yards and scored the Steelers’ only touchdown on a reception from Hodges. Despite the score Conner said, “We couldn’t get into a good rhythm where we could be marching up the field and putting up points.” 
 
On a lack-luster showing when attempting to stop Buffalo’s rushing attack, defensive end Cam Heyward — who is usually a dominating force — said about the inability to thwart the Bills’ offensive attack,”Too many times our tackling was very poor in this game. You can’t just bottom down we have to fully wrap and rally,” Heyward said. “They kept the ball moving, got chunk plays and then they hit us for that critical touchdown at the end.”
 
The Steelers (8-6) will play their last two games of the regular season on the road, starting with the New York Jets (5-9) who are coming off of a loss to the Baltimore Ravens 42-21.

BRIAN COOK IS AN EMMY-NOMINATED INTERNATIONAL JOURNALIST WHO HAS BEEN COVERING THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE SINCE 2005. HE CAN BE REACHED AT BCOOK@GOLDENSKYMEDIA.COM.
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Tomlin ‘Smiles in the Face of Adversity’ as Steelers Tackle Myriad of Injuries

Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin during the matchup against the Cleveland Browns. October 28, 2018 (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media, FILE)

PITTSBURGH (GSM) — Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin acknowledged that injuries are a part of the game. The realization of adjusting for the sudden — and always unexpected — changes in personnel can throw off team chemistry. However, Coach Tomlin has preached the, “next man up” approach on the journey to success as his team continues to heal.

Since the beginning of the 2019 season, the Steelers lost starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for the season due to an elbow injury on his throwing arm which required surgery. Starting defensive end Stephon Tuitt is out for the year with a pectoral tear, free safety Sean Davis was put on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, fullback Roosevelt Nix is also on IR with a knee ailment and kick returner/WR Ryan Switzer’s back will keep him from seeing action. Running back James Conner has missed significant time on the field as well when he re-aggravated his shoulder. Most recently, wide receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson in addition to linebacker Ola Adeniyi succumbed to concussions in the game against the Browns last Thursday night, just to name a few. Quite a few, actually.

While the team has seen its fair share of fallen players, Tomlin said in his weekly press conference Tuesday, “I don’t spend a lot of time crying over who’s available or who’s not available. It’s as much a part of the game as blocking or tackling,” Tomlin said. “If you are a competitor — like we as coaches are competitors — that fires you up. You want to smile in the face of adversity.” 

The Steelers will play on the road Sunday Nov. 24 against the winless Cincinnati Bengals (0-10), a team that would love to get a win against the Pittsburgh. The Steelers (5-5) are still mathematically alive in the playoff hunt and in 2nd place in the AFC North division.


BRIAN COOK IS AN EMMY-NOMINATED INTERNATIONAL JOURNALIST WHO HAS BEEN COVERING THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE SINCE 2005. HE CAN BE REACHED AT BCOOK@GOLDENSKYMEDIA.COM.
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The Commoner, Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank Visit OG Cooking Show

PITTSBURGH – In this episode of the “OGCooking Show” you will learn more about one of Pittsburgh’s premiere restaurants, The Commoner and find out how the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank continues to help those in need during the holiday season.

Credits:

Olga George, Host/Producer

Brian Cook, Photographer/Editor

Guests: Scott Hilty, general manager of The Commoner, and Melissa Murray, communications and public relations specialist at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank

 


BRIAN COOK IS AN EMMY-NOMINATED INTERNATIONAL JOURNALIST WHO HAS BEEN COVERING THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE SINCE 2005. HE CAN BE REACHED AT BCOOK@GOLDENSKYMEDIA.COM.
FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER  

 

 

VIDEO: Steelers’ Devin Bush on Who Inspires Him; Has Message for Kids

Steelers linebacker Devin Bush during practice. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

PITTSBURGH (GSM) — Devin Bush is a rookie but is playing like he’s been there for years. The middle linebacker, drafted in the 1st round of the 2019 NFL Draft from Michigan, is making a name for himself for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Early in his pro career to the present, he has always remained positive on his way to NFL stardom. Bush mentioned fellow teammates he’s looked up to, “Vince [Williams] is someone I’ve looked up to.” Bush said. “Ryan [Shazier] could easily be somewhere else doing completely something different. He’s invested in the team as a guy who loves football. He wants his team to excel as well as his teammates.”

(FILE)

This week, Bush was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week after his performance against the Los Angeles Chargers. He was responsible for two takeaways in the game. 1 interception and 1 fumble recovery for a touchdown.

The following are from the Pittsburgh Steelers‘ official Twitter page:

 


BRIAN COOK IS AN EMMY-NOMINATED INTERNATIONAL JOURNALIST WHO HAS BEEN COVERING THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE SINCE 2005. HE CAN BE REACHED AT BCOOK@GOLDENSKYMEDIA.COM.
FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER