Chartiers-Houston played at Fort Cherry in the 2008 regular season finale for both WPIAL playoff-bound Class A football teams. Bad weather, a plethora of incomplete passes and a running back who continually ran out of bounds protecting the lead were key contributors to the game running late.
It's 9:30 p.m. with no end in sight; 9:45, 10, 10:10. Finally, the game ended near 10:30 p.m. Following a couple brief post-game interviews, this reporter headed back toward any area where wireless Internet may be available.
Then came the next snag.
A wreck between Fort Cherry High School and Hickory forced traffic to be re-routed. Suddenly, it's nearing 11 p.m. and I'm driving through McDonald. Getting my story filed and sent by 11:25 or 11:30 was not looking good.
That's just one of the many, many reasons media outlets covering high school football throughout Western Pennsylvania are praising the decision made the Class AAA Big Seven Conference and a few other WPIAL teams to push games up 30 minutes, from 7:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Ringgold and Trinity are among the schools experimenting with the early start. Kudos to both, and not because it helps the media make deadline on a hectic Friday night. (Though it's greatly appreciated.)
Other positives include:
1. The 11 p.m. deadline on junior licenses;
2. Saturday morning college boards;
3. Saturday morning junior varsity games;
4. Time for adults who attend games to hit their favorite post-game place before the kitchen closes.
As Trinity coach Ed Dalton said, "We honestly had trouble coming up with any disadvantage."
Ringgold coach Lloyd Price also offered a few other positives including missing traffic delays en route to away games.
"We also feel this will give us more exposure," said Price. "We didn't want to use that as a driving force but it was a factor."