Lots of things to get to, so let's get started.
Going to touch on last night's Clairton victory at Fort Cherry a few times here in Thoughts. We're going to get started with what I saw during the pre-game.
As one poster already stated, the officials were instructed to bring Clairton down the side of the stadium, as is practice at Fort Cherry. In speaking with one FC school administrator after the game, he said Clairton was specifically told to come down the side and wasn't sure if the game officials opted to escort them down the path Fort Cherry takes instead.
Regardless, after Clairton did its pregame huddle in the end zone, the majority of players ran to the sideline. Three or four stragglers walked VERY SLOWLY and continued to look back for Fort Cherry. Once the Rangers arrived, those players turned and began talking.
Can't really blame Fort Cherry for trying to protect their home field before the game and refusing to be intimidated. Some blame can be placed on the refs for not recognizing a situation that people could see develop from a distance.
To me, the majority of the blame goes to Clairton's coaching staff for not commanding the authority to get their players to the sidelines.
* My eight-month-old daughter woke me up early this morning so I watched the On Demand broadcast of the Trinity at Chartiers Valley game, which the Colts won, 30-12.
Several things continued to creep into my head during the game.
1. As I've said before, Trinity is not a bad football team. As writers from other papers have told me this year, Trinity is not a bad football team. The Hillers are, however, plagued by penalties and turnovers at critical moments. In the first quarter, Trinity starts near its own goal-line and marches toward midfield. A holding penalty kills that drive. Miscues like those happened to Trinity too many times to beat Chartiers Valley.
2. Only saw Ken Wilkins play two defensive series in the game but he was in there for nearly every offensive snap.
3. CV sophomore quarterback Wayne Capers was injured during the game but Trinity did a nice job containing him, particularly as a runner.
4. If Trinity can limit those mistakes, the Hillers can win the remainder of their schedule and qualify for the postseason.
** Those who've never watched Charleroi play don't know much about sophomore running back Quentin Briggs, who came into last night's game against Jeannette with more than 1,500 career rushing yards.
It's time to take notice as Briggs gashed the Jayhawks defense for 193 yards and two touchdowns as Charleroi notched a 26-20 win, probably the Cougars' biggest win in 10 years.
At 4-1, Charleroi is tied with Jeannette and McGuffey for second place in the Interstate Conference. Mt. Pleasant (5-0) is first.
*** Charleroi hosts McGuffey on Oct. 16. The winner finds itself in great position to host a home playoff game and possibly win the conference. The Cougars close the regular season by hosting Mt. Pleasant.
**** Back to Clairton 45, Fort Cherry 6.
Clairton is so good, the Bears can commit a bunch of penalties/mistakes and still blow out a good team. Fort Cherry, despite the score, remains a good team. Clairton has the makings of a great team. Size, speed, strength and the Bears love to hit.
***** Monessen's one-point victory over Beth-Center gives the Greyhounds the inside track to the Tri-County South Conference championship. For the Bulldogs, both of their losses have been by one point.
California (3-0, 4-1) is tied with Monessen atop the conference standings. Thanks to multi-purpose quarterback D.J. Martinak, in the midst of a statistically ridiculous season, the Trojans have scored 40-plus points in three straight. They play at Beth-Center in two weeks and at Monessen in the regular season finale.
****** Have to agree with what Fort Cherry coach Tim Garry said after last night's game. Clairton is the team to beat in WPIAL Class A.
******* Little surprised that a newspaper referred to Baldwin's win over Peters Township as a "surprising upset."
Granted Baldwin was winless and Peters Township was unbeaten but the Highlanders had played Shaler, Gateway, Seneca Valley and North Hills. The Indians had played Ringgold, Kiski Area, Knoch and Indiana.
******** Finally, the post-game scene at Jim Garry Stadium was unfortunate.
From my on-field perspective, the ceremonial handshake went to script. After that, things quickly eroded between Clairton and Fort Cherry.
For whatever reason(s) the Clairton players have, the Bears enjoy dropping down and doing push-ups following the hand shake as a way of showing up their opponent. Plus, at least one Clairton player made a point of hovering and taunting as Fort Cherry tried to huddle up.
Saw Clairton do those push-ups last year at Chartiers-Houston. Thought it was an incredibly juvenile display of poor sportsmanship then. Think it's even worse that they to do them now. Why can't a 45-6 victory stand for itself?
At Chartiers-Houston, the Bucs players refused to overreact but when the coaching staff asked Clairton's coaches to get their kids away from C-H's post-game talk, two Bears assistants came charging over and said, "Who's got the ring? How many you got?"
Nice. Great example.
Still, there's no excusing the over-reaction of several Fort Cherry players. Coming off a humbling loss, the Rangers weren't in the mood to be taunted and became enraged at the site of Clairton showing them up. Curse words flew. Threats were made. One FC assistant and one Clairton assistant had to separated.
Then, as Clairton head coach Tom Nola was speaking to me, a pair of Rangers got into an on-field skirmish. One of the players involved did not play in the game but took umbrage with Clairton's actions. The other FC player told him to quiet down. It escalated from there though I did not see any punches thrown.
Sad to see a high school sporting event turn into needless drama.
The question is, as Clairton continues to win games, pile up points and do post-game push-ups, what happens when one opponent has enough and pulls what Oregon's LaGarrette Blount did to Boise State's Byron Hout after Hout taunted Blount following a loss early in this college football season?
Could see it happening. Sure hope it doesn't. I'd rather remember Clairton as a possible WPIAL and PIAA champion than a bunch of guys would rather do push-ups.