Vendemia a Three-Sport Star

Prior to suiting up as a power forward against Brashear in the PIAA state basketball tournament tomorrow, Franklin Regional quarterback Anthony Vendemia attended Pitt's Junior Day this past weekend and liked what he saw.

One of the most notable athletes in the WPIAL this season has been Franklin Regional junior Anthony Vendemia.

As a quarterback, Vendemia led the 6-4 Panthers to the playoffs and threw for 1,364 yards, the 15th highest total in the WPIAL, despite playing missing two games and playing in three others with a broken thumb.

As a basketball power forward, he is a vocal leader who has become a prominent rebounder and scorer to lead Frankin Regional to the state finals.

Even as a baseball player during his pre-teen years he was known as a slugger who once hit three home runs during a sixth grade all-star tournament in Cooperstown.

As such, the 6-3, 205-pound signal caller with a 4.8 40-yard dash has attracted the attention of the University of Pittsburgh and attended their junior day this weekend.

"It was wonderful," Vendemia said. "It was so nice with the [basketball] game and the coaches were all great."

Specifically, Matt Cavanaugh impressed Vendemia.

"He's been through it all," Vendemia said. "The way he explained everything on what quarterbacks do was unbelievable. He seemed like he could really make you a better player and cares about his players.

"He broke down the entire schedule [Panthers players go through], week by week," the drop back passer continued. "The facilities are open for film study at any time."

Currently, Vendemia's work ethic has him watching film of his WPIAL opponents after his weight lifting sessions.

"It really helps a lot. After all, it works for Peyton Manning now. The more you know about your opponent, the better."

Vendemia says that he has received letters from other colleges but none have really stood out with the exception of a hand written note from Princeton offensive coordinator Dave Rackovan.

He previously went to a junior day at Maryland last year, but it was informal.

"My dad called up their athletic director and asked if we could look around. We basically just walked around."

Last football season was Vendemia's second as a starter as he split time with Lenny Gallo during the Panthers' 10-2 2006 season. Gallo had led Franklin Regional to the Class AAA state championship in 2005.

In 2007, Vendemia completed 74 of 144 passes, including 8 touchdowns and 5 interceptions.

For comparison's sake, his yardage total compared nicely with Pitt recruit Tino Sunseri of Central Catholic, who threw for 1,483 yards with 156 passes, and even Jeannette's Terrelle Pryor, who threw for 1,395 yards with 94 passes.

To achieve these totals with a broken thumb, suffered in Franklin Regional's season opener against Plum, the right-handed throwing Vendemia had to learn to use his left hand to take a snap.

"I had to flip my hand," he said. "I even tried to convince my coach to throw left handed. I can throw it 35 yards that way."

But Panthers head coach Greg Botta didn't go for it.

His patience was rewarded, however, when Vendemia hooked up with Lock Haven commit Jimmy Hart for a 96-yard touchdown pass- from his right arm- in a 35-7 victory against Hampton in the quarterback's first game back despite the injured thumb.

"Coach called for a slant pattern. It was a 10-12 yard route. I looked over to one side and I guess I led [Hart] the right amount. He got two blocks and went all the way."

Vendemia grew up a Pitt fan and even went to the Syracuse and South Florida games in 2007, despite the fact his sister Carly will be graduating from Penn State with a degree in marketing this spring.

He is leaning towards majoring in business.

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