Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Coming attractions

Sunday's edition of the Observer-Reporter will feature our annual Athlete of the Year stories for boys and girls in addition to the Top 10 teams of the 2009-10 school year and a few other thoughts on what was certainly a news-filled campaign.

In addition to what runs in the pages of the O-R, The Varsity Letters will provide additional coverage. Check back for the Scholastic A-Z, which provides an alphabetical look at some of the top names, teams and moments from the past year, and some of the top photos.

We'll also take a look back at the all-star teams compiled, from the Elite 11 in football to the recently published All-District baseball and softball teams.

Monday, June 28, 2010

All-District baseball and softball thoughts

Jaci Timko of Chartiers-Houston was the first Observer-Reporter Softball Player of the Year in 2005 and the hitting phenom, who set a WPIAL record for career home runs, earned the distinction three times (2005, 2006 and 2008).

Before Kiersten Conwell, who pitched Chartiers-Houston to the PIAA Class A championship last Friday, earned POY honors for the 2010 season, the only other players to garner the distinction are Trinity's Ashley Morran (2009) and Peters Township's Shaylee Ianno (2007).

None of the previous winners had much competition in the selection process. Each put together noteworthy seasons for good teams.

Selecting this year's winner was a little more difficult and the main competition came from one of Conwell's teammates.

Freshman Kayla Briggs enjoyed the type of season that few first-year players do. To be precise, Briggs reminded me a lot of Timko and she played a critical role in Chartiers-Houston winning the champions. Were it not for Briggs in the first two rounds of the PIAA playoffs, the Bucs don't win their first state title.

What put Conwell ahead of Briggs was her pitching performances in the state semifinals and state championship. Against premier lineups, Conwell surrendered one run and four hits.

That's what MVPs do.

In baseball, the selection of Joe Havrilak was much easier though Wash High senior J Jay Paskert merited consideration.

Havrilak's 1.143 slugging percentage says it all. And that's with teams trying to pitch around Havrilak, who was one of three players considered in 2009.

Last year, Canon-McMillan's Matt Pierpont won over Havrilak and Carmichaels' Joby Lapkowicz in a difficult decision to make.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Girls Athlete of The Year Finalists

Each year, the Observer-Reporter sports staff selects a Girls Athlete of the Year and, unlike the boys honor, it's not always handed to an athlete who dominates the headlines.

The following is the list of past honorees since the award was first given in 2000.
2009-10 – ?????
2008-09 – Amanda Kennedy, Bentworth
2007-08 – Jenna Phillips, Washington
2006-07 – Paige McMenamin, Peters Township
2005-06 – Brianna Liebold, Chartiers-Houston
2004-05 – Ashley Young, Canon-McMillan
2003-04 – Samantha Slagle, Beth-Center
2002-03 – Stephanie Kuhn, Ringgold
2001-02 – Jessica Perry, Peters Township
2000-01 – Shellie Cotton, Charleroi
1999-2000 – Kristen Lancas, Ringgold

This year's list of finalists is unusual in that the majority of the athletes are one-sport standouts.

Jules Femiani, Peters Township
A Central Michigan field hockey recruit, Femiani scored the game-winning goal in overtime as PT beat Fox Chapel for its first WPIAL field hockey championship. Femiani also earned honorable mention All-American honors for lacrosse and was first-team All-WPIAL.

Ashley Morran, Trinity
Trinity's all-time home run hitter in softball, Morran won 2009 O-R Player of the Year honors. As a senior, she batted .430 despite constantly being pitched around. Morran was also the second-leading scorer on Trinity's basketball team.

Taylor Schram, Canon-McMillan
Committed to Penn State for soccer as a junior. Schram scored 52 goals as a senior in leading Canon-McMillan to the PIAA playoffs for the first time. She tallied 145 for her varsity career and Coaches’ All-State and All-American selection for second consecutive year. Schram also earned selection first-team All-American by ESPN Rise.

Sarah Shashura, California
From the tennis hotbed known as the Mon Valley, Shashura won the WPIAL boys singles title in the spring and qualified for the PIAA tournament. She lost in the first round at states but held a substantial lead in the match before tiring. A four-star recruit according to the Tennis Recruiting Network, Shashura is ranked No. 149 nationally.

Tanya Timko, Chartiers-Houston
Months after receiving publicity for winning the WPIAL doubles title with her sister Karli, Tanya played singles in the fall and won a WPIAL championship to give her district titles in everything but boys singles. Timko went on to finish second at the PIAA tournament. A three-star recruit by the previously mentioned network, Timko is ranked No. 202 nationally.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Boys Athlete of the Year Finalists

Since the 1999-2000 school year (my first at the Observer-Reporter), the sports staff has selected a boys and girls athlete of the year. The athlete is chosen from a list of finalists and, for this post, we're going to look at the finalists for the boys.

First, let's glance back at previous O-R boys athletes of the year.
1999-2000 – Michael Sutton, Washington
2000-01 – Lanfer Simpson, Waynesburg
2001-02 – Dan Mozes, Washington
2002-03 – Colby Giles, Carmichaels
2003-04 – Coleman Scott, Waynesburg
2004-05 – Jeff Weiss, McGuffey
2005-06 – Robert Heller, Ringgold
2006-07 – Andrew Sweat, Trinity
2007-08 – Dan Conley, Burgettstown
2009-09 – Nick Wilcox, Peters Township
2009-10 – ?????????

On to this year's finalists (in alphabetical order).
* Christian Brumbaugh, South Fayette
Brumbaugh passed for 2,183 yards and a WPIAL-best 29 touchdowns. He was the O-R Player of the Year and the Century Conference MVP. Brumbaugh was also a key contributor of South Fayette's state championship basketball team.

* J.T. Deschamps, McGuffey
Deschamps was an all-section defender in soccer but made more headlines during the spring track season. He won PIAA and WPIAL Class AA gold medals in the 300 intermediate hurdles and established a WPIAL record in the event.

* Austin Hancock, Peters Township
Hancock passed for 1,298 yards and 14 touchdowns as he earned a spot on the O-R Elite 11 and helped PT to its first winning record since 2003. He was invited to the U.S. Army Junior Skills Challenge. In baseball, Hancock batted .451 with 23 RBI.

* Joe Havrilak, Trinity
Havrilak was an all-conference selection as a receiver and defensive back for the Hillers, but his best sport is baseball. Despite teams doing their best to avoid Havrilak, he batted .510 with 16 extra-base hits, including five home runs (four at Consol Energy Park), and a knack for clutch plays.

* Mike Hull, Canon-McMillan
The Big Macs' Mr. Everything, Hull was a four-year starter in football and finished with 100-plus tackles each season. He started at middle linebacker in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and was the MVP for the U.S. vs. The World game. Hull also helped C-M to WPIAL team titles in wrestling and track.

* Bryan Thomas, Washington
Whether as a defensive end or a run-blocking tight end, Thomas was a destructive force for the Prexies, plus he produced the big play with frequency. An Elite 11 pick, Thomas recently played in the PFCA East-West Game. A first-year starter in basketball, Thomas nearly everaged a double-double and he also participated in track.

Interesting story on an overhyped high school athlete

Being a college basketball junkie, I check out what Gary Parrish of CBS Sportsline on a regular basis. Earlier this week, I came across his story on Taylor King, a backup for Villanova who recently decided to quit playing hoops. This comes after King transfered from Duke to Villanova and being named a McDonald's All-American in high school.;headlines

NCAA wants to prohibit early scholarship offers to high school athletes

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An NCAA committee wants to prohibit scholarship offers to recruits before July 1 of their junior season of high school.
Under the proposal, coaches would need to acquire five semesters or seven quarters of a high school transcript before making an offer.
It is the first recommendation to come out of the Recruiting and Athletics Personnel Issues Cabinet, which has been looking into recruiting conduct and would apply to all sports.
Committee chairwoman Petrina Long said Thursday that recruits and their families told the cabinet they felt pressured to make early decisions. Coaches also said they were under pressure to make the offers to “keep up” with competitors.
The Legislative Council will not vote on the proposal until at least January.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dalton out as AD at Trinity

Only two days ago, Ed Dalton believed a policy proposed by the Trinity School Board to ban all administrators from coaching could be the end of his 11 years as the Hillers' football coach.

Following Thursday's school board meeting, the chances Dalton will return as Trinity's football coach in 2010 increased. If he does, it will likely be as a social studies teacher after the board voted not to renew his contract as athletic director.

Dalton’s contract as athletic director ends June 30.

Dalton was hired as Trinity’s athletic director and football coach in March 1999 and his duties began on May 1 of that year. He was given a five-year contract –unusual at the time – for $60,500 as athletic director, $9,500 as football coach and weight lifting coordinator.

Read more on the front page of Friday's Observer-Reporter.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ringgold hires Humbert as football coach

The Ringgold School Board approved the hiring of Matt Humbert as the Rams' head varsity football coach. Humbert had been made interim coach in April following the departure of Lloyd Price, who was also the school's athletic director.

Humbert, who received a one-year deal, oversaw offseason workouts while serving as interim coach. He was an assistant in 2009 and actually went 2-0 as head coach when Price was suspended for the first two games of the season by the school district for unspecified reasons.

Ringgold's football position has been one of the least stabile in the WPIAL.

Humbert becomes the Rams' eighth head coach in 12 years. The others were Price, Jeff Petrucci, Jeff Matty, Steve Campos, Russ Moore, Scott Venick and Chuck Colborn. Of the group, Colborn is the only coach to have won a WPIAL playoff game.

School board member Donald Bartoe, who is also on the athletic committee, made a motion to hire Humbert at the June 2 meeting and the motion was seconded by board member Christopher Carroll. The board then went into executive session and did not take action.

At the next Trinity School Board meeting …

Trinity football coach Ed Dalton and baseball coach Levi Bristor guided their respective programs to heights not seen by either team in 60-plus years. Following Thursday's school board meeting, Dalton and Bristor could be gone from their positions.

Trinity Area School Board held a policy committee meeting Tuesday and among the topics of discussion was the status of Bristor. (For background on Bristor's situation, click

There is a proposed policy about preventing administrators from coaching sports at Trinity. Bristor is the district transportation director. He's also one of the more successful coaches in Trinity history, despite a short four-year tenure as baseball coach.

Trinity qualified for postseason play in each of Bristor’s four years, including three consecutive trips to the PIAA Class AAA playoffs from 2007-2009. In 2008, Trinity reached the state semifinals and the WPIAL championship game.

His career record is 63-27 (.700 win percentage) with 12 postseason victories.

With a sophomore and freshman as Trinity’s top two pitchers in 2010, the Hillers finished 12-6 and reached the WPIAL quarterfinals before losing to Elizabeth Forward, a PIAA semifinalist.

When the policy was first discussed, the positions of superintendent, assistant superintendent and athletic director were not included. The school board discussed adding those positions at the policy committee meeting.

Dalton is Trinity's athletic director but, as a football coach, he helped turn Trinity into a respectable program.

Trinity is 54-56 under Dalton and he is the second-winningest coach in the program’s history. The Hillers made the playoffs five consecutive years and he produced a string of Division I players, several who play in Bowl Championship series conferences.

The school board already went after Dalton's job as football coach in December when a controversial decision was made to open all fall coaching positions. Following public backlash, the board reconsidered and all fall coaches got their jobs back.

The policy is expected to be discussed at Thursday's meeting, which starts at 6:30 p.m. in the administrative offices.

No matter what happens Thursday, it is unlikely either could be removed before July's meeting. One possibility that could occur is Dalton's dismissal as athletic director. His contract expires June 30 and if it is not renewed, his contract guarantees a teaching position at the top of the pay scale.

It's understandable that the school board is seeking to install this policy. Many schools are trending away from having administrators coach.

Of the 21 high schools in the Observer-Reporter coverage area, eight had athletic directors who were head coaches during the 2009-10 school year. They are Burgettstown's Jon Vallina (golf, wrestling), California's Phil Pergola (boys basketball), Canon-McMillan's Guy Montecalvo (football), Charleroi's Bill Wiltz (boys basketball), Fort Cherry's Brent Fleissner (boys basketball), Ringgold's Lloyd Price (football) Dalton and West Greene's Bill Simms (softball). Montecalvo resigned as football coach in the spring and Price left Ringgold in the middle of the spring sports season.

In Trinity's case, removing Dalton and Bristor from their coaching positions is a mistake. A big mistake. And it sure looks like this proposed policy is nothing more than a veiled attempt to do something the school board wanted to do back in December – get rid of Dalton.

Here's something to ponder: if Dalton is removed as football coach with the start of practice less than two months away, who will Trinity find to fill the position?

Good luck with that one.

PIAA softball game change

Chartiers-Houston's PIAA Class A softball championship versus Montgomery has been changed to Friday at 4 p.m. at Shippensburg University's Robb Field. The game was originally scheduled for 10 a.m. but the PIAA was forced to change game times because of a high school graduation for Class AAAA finalist Central Bucks South.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Much about Montgomery

Montgomery, Chartiers-Houston's opponent in Friday's PIAA Class A championship game, had never won a state playoff game before this year. Montgomery never won a league championship for that matter.

For more on the Red Raiders, click:

Is the sixth time the charm for Chartiers-Houston?

Chartiers-Houston advanced to the PIAA Class A softball championship with its 1-0 victory over Claysburg-Kimmel Monday at Shanksville-Stonycreek High School.

The win put the Bucs, winners of seven WPIAL titles (1985, 1987, 1988, 1999, 2005, 2006, 2007) in their rich history, into the title game for the sixth time.

No WPIAL team has appeared in six PIAA softball title games. Shaler has played in five and Sto-Rox in four.

Chartiers-Houston previously reached the finals in 1987, 1999, 2000, 2003 and 2005.

There are two common threads linking each of the five previous appearances: Chartiers-Houston has never won a PIAA title and the Bucs have yet to score a run.

1987 Minersville (District 11) 2, Chartiers-Houston 0
1999 Minersville 6, Chartiers-Houston 0
2000 Canton (District 4) 8, Chartiers-Houston 0
2003 South Williamsport (District 4) 11, Chartiers-Houston 0 (5 inn.)
2005 Minersville 4, Chartiers-Houston 0

The good news for the Bucs is they aren't playing Minersville. Chartiers-Houston (22-2) faces District 4 champion Montgomery, a 2-1 winner over Northeast Bradford in nine innings, Friday morning at Shippensburg University's Robb Field. The game starts at 10 a.m.

"We'll be the underdog, but we've been the underdog pretty much the entire time and we like that," said Bucs coach Tricia Alderson, who pitched in the 1987 championship game and coached in the 2005 contest.

In order to capture the elusive title, the Bucs must find a way to crack the scoreboard. Think about it, in five PIAA championship appearances there has not been one wild pitch, passed ball, walk or error that's led to a Chartiers-Houston run.


The guess here is this group of Bucs, an unlikely bunch to get this far considering only three players participate in softball outside the high school season, finally scores a run in the state championship. Whether it leads to a win is anybody's guess.

"We've never scored a run there so that's the first thing we want to do," Alderson said. "And, hopefully, we can get a win."

Keeping up with ...

Andrew DiDonato
One of the most prolific passers in WPIAL and Presidents' Athletic Conference history, Andrew DiDonato is eying a potential coaching career and the 2010 graduate of Grove City College is shown here coaching at the University of Buffalo's spring game.

DiDonato rewrote the record books at Grove City and South Fayette High School, where he followed older brothers Joe and David into athletics.

With the Wolverines, he passed for 7,509 yards and totaled 8,904 yards in his career – both Grove City records. In 2009, DiDonato passed for single-season records of 2,466 yards and 18 touchdowns.

As a senior, DiDonato placed basketball at Grove City and helped the Wolverines reach the NCAA Division III tournament. Despite the demands of being a two-sport athlete and standout student, DiDonato managed to catch South Fayette along its run to the 2009-10 PIAA Class AA boys basketball championship.

The second leading passer in WPIAL history, DiDonato was Grove City's Omicron Delta Kappa Sportsman of the Year and he graduate in May with a bachelor's degree in business management.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Taylor Schram video

Came across this video of Canon-McMillan's Taylor Schram, an incoming freshman on the Penn State women's soccer team and a serious candidate for the 2010-11 Observer-Reporter Girls Athlete of the Year. Never knew she was a ping pong ace.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Michigan recruit denied admission

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon says Florida prep football star Demar Dorsey has been informed he will not be admitted to the school.
Brandon told The Associated Press on Wednesday the decision was made by the university’s office of undergraduate admissions.
The highly touted defensive back was one of the top players coach Rich Rodriguez signed in February. Michigan’s secondary has struggled the past two years.
The 6-foot, 175-pound Dorsey was a star at Lauderdale Lakes High school.
Dorsey is a cousin of Wolverines quarterback Denard Robinson. Michigan lured him away from his verbal commitment to the University of Florida. Southern California and Florida State also recruited him.

Pirates select Haviland in 48th round

The Pittsburgh Pirates run at high school pitchers continued late into the third day of the draft Wednesday when they selected South Fayette's Dillon Haviland in the 48th round.

Haviland, an often dominating lefty for the Lions, pitched South Fayette to the 2009 PIAA Class AA championship game and the top seed in this year's WPIAL playoffs. South Fayette was upset by Riverview in the first round of the playoffs. Haviland did not start that game but did pitch.

Considering Haviland was drafted in the later rounds, it is likely he will attended Duke University, where he received a baseball scholarship. Peters Township graduate Jim Gallagher played at Duke for three years before being drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the seventh round.

The WPIAL managed to draw a little attention Tuesday when Bishop Canevin catcher Patrick Leyland was drafted in the eighth round by the Detroit Tigers, who are managed by his father Jim Leyland.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Imposter student faces six felonies

A 20-something man who spent time pretending to be a high school basketball player is facing serious charges.

ODESSA, Texas (AP) — A 22-year-old man accused of posing as a high school basketball star in West Texas has been indicted on six felony charges, including sexual assault and tampering with government records.
Ector County District Attorney Bobby Bland said Tuesday the indictment also alleges Guerdwich Montimer, who used the name Jerry Joseph, committed identity theft. Bland declined to discuss details of the identity theft count or comment on the case.
Montimer, who was indicted Monday, played basketball last year at Odessa Permian High School, whose football team and backers inspired the book “Friday Night Lights.”
Montimer led the Panthers to the first round of the playoffs last season and was named the District 2-5A Newcomer of the Year. That honor was stripped in recent weeks, and the Panthers forfeited their 16 wins.
Mickey Gaines, speaking for Montimer’s court-appointed attorney, declined to comment.
Bland said the two counts of sexual assault pertain to alleged attacks on the same 15-year-old girl on one day August.
Jabari A. Caldwell, who enrolled Montimer at a junior high school two years ago using a fake birth certificate from Haiti and claimed to be Montimer’s half brother, faces four felonies.
Montimer and Caldwell each face three counts of tampering with government records and one count of fraudulent use of identifying information. If convicted on the tampering charge, each man faces up to 20 years in prison. The identity theft charge, a state jail felony, carries a maximum punishment of two years.
If convicted of sexual assault, Montimer faces up to 20 years.
The two men are scheduled to be arraigned June 16 in Odessa.
Montimer remained in the Ector County Detention Center on a $75,000 bond Tuesday. An arrest warrant will be issued for Caldwell, Bland said.
Suspicions were raised a few months ago after coaches at an amateur basketball tournament said they recognized Joseph as Montimer, a 2007 graduate of a Florida high school and a naturalized U.S. citizen from Haiti.
Montimer and Caldwell, 21, a former college player at Texas-Permian Basin in Odessa, were teammates at Dillard High School in Florida.
Because he was living with Odessa basketball coach Danny Wright and not a parent or guardian, Montimer had to apply to the University Interscholastic League in Austin to play high school basketball. A waiver was granted and he was the star of the team.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Trinity, South Fayette to participate in Gateway Gators 7-on-7

Trinity and South Fayette are two of 16 schools to participate in the Gateway Gators 7-on-7, a tournament that begins Sunday morning at Gateway High School.

Each team gets three pool play games before being slotted into a tournament. The championship game will be played at 3:10 p.m.

Trinity competes in Pool B with Pittsburgh Central Catholic, Clairton and Richland (District 6). The Hillers play Richland at 9:10 a.m., Clairton at 10:30 and Pittsburgh Central Catholic at 11:50 in pool play.

South Fayette, led by quarterback Christian Brumbaugh (pictured), competes in Pool A with Gateway, Friendly (Md.) and Pine-Richland. The Lions play Pine-Richland at 9:10 a.m., Gateway at 10:30 and Friendly at 11:50.

The winner of the Pennsylvania Passing League-West Tournament will play the winner of the PPL-East Tournament in an exhibition at Heinz Field during halftime of the Steelers preseason opener against Detroit on Aug. 14. In addition, the winner of the PPL-West event will advance to the 7-on-7 National Championships.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

PIAA Class AA/A softball brackets (Western region)

District and finish listed before school. Home team listed first. Sites and times to be determined.

Class AA
First round
Monday, June 7
7-1 Valley (21-0) vs. 5-1 Chestnut Ridge
10-1 Wilmington (21-1) vs. 7-4 Sto-Rox (14-5)
9-1 St. Marys vs. 7-2 Burrell (17-3)
6-1 Phillipsburg-Osceola vs. 7-3 Waynesburg (16-4)

Class A
First round
Monday, June 7
7-1 Vincentian Academy (17-2) vs. 10-2 Sharpsville (15-7)
5-1 Fannett-Metal vs. 6-2 Claysburg-Kimmel
10-1 Conneaut Valley (16-2) vs. 7-2 Chartiers-Houston (18-2)
9-1 Elk County Catholic vs. 7-3 Bentworth (16-4)

PIAA Class A Baseball Bracket (Western Region)

District and finish listed before school. Home team listed first. Sites and times to be determined.

First round
Monday, June 7
7-1 Serra Catholic (21-1) vs. 6-2 Bishop Guilfoyle
10-1 Mercyhurst Prep (19-2) vs. 9-2 A-C Valley (11-7)
9-1 Elk County Catholic (13-7) vs. 7-3 California (21-3)
6-1 Homer-Center vs. 7-2 Neshannock (17-5)

C-M hires Sohyda as football coach

Tim Sohyda, a former player and assistant coach at Canon-McMillan, was unanimously hired as the Big Macs head football coach Thursday afternoon during a special meeting of the Canon-McMillan School Board.

The 35-year-old Sohyda, a 1992 Canon-McMillan graduate and honorable mention All-American center at Clarion University, replaces Guy Montecalvo, the school's athletic director. Montecalvo spent seven years as C-M's football coach following a 23-year stay at Washington.

When Montecalvo was hired in 1993, Sohyda was the only assistant coach retained. He was an assistant at C-M under Dan Pallante for four years.

Sohyda also worked as an assistant coach at Ringgold and he spent the past three years at West Mifflin.

Canon-McMillan finished 3-6 in 2009 and must overcome the loss of Division I recruits Chad Hagan (Ohio State) and Mike Hull (Penn State).

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

California wins a weird, wild one

California took a five-run lead in the bottom of the first inning Wednesday afternoon against Vincentian Academy by hitting one pitch out of the infield.

Five, well-placed infield singles, a bases-loaded walk to T.D. Conway and a two-run double from Mike Britton gave the Trojans a 5-0 lead, a lead that should have been 6-0 were it not for a completely blown call by the home plate umpire. On the play, Tommy Sparrow tagged up from third base on a Adam Miller pop-up to shortstop and raced home. The ump ruled Sparrow left third too early.

Bad call.

As peculiar as the first inning went, the sixth inning was quite unusual.

Conway and Zac Edmiston combined to pitch five shutout innings on three hits as the Trojans took the same 5-0 lead into the sixth in a game where the winner goes to the PIAA Class A playoffs and the loser starts playing American Legion.

In the sixth, Sparrow took the mound and only registered one out. California then called upon catcher Sam Luketich to pitch. Like Sparrow, Luketich recorded one out.

With two outs, two runners on base and the score 5-4, Conway took the mound a second time.

The sophomore finished with the win and the save as California, which made four pitching changes, advanced to states with a 5-4 win.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Third place can be a great place

Bentworth softball never advanced to the WPIAL semifinals before this year, when the sixth-seeded Bearcats outslugged Avonworth and Carmichaels to get there.

Chartiers-Houston ended Bentworth's hopes of a WPIAL championship with a 2-1 victory in nine innings in the semifinals but Bentworth could still make its first PIAA playoff appearance with a win over perennial power Leechburg in the third-place consolation game Tuesday afternoon at Fairhaven Park.

With a 7-1 victory, Bentworth will advance to the state tournament and play the District 9 champion next week.

Being the third seed from the WPIAL can be an advantage as that team often avoids other WPIAL competition until later in the bracket. Chartiers-Houston won third-place games in 2002, 2003 and 2004. The Bucs advanced to the PIAA quarterfinals twice and the state championship in 2003.

Chartiers-Houston also advanced to the PIAA Class A title game in 2000 after winning the third-place game.

It's a fact not lost on first-year Bentworth coach Jack Cramer.

"We feel we have an outstanding chance to make a deep run and that's what I told the girls," Cramer said after the semifinals loss to Chartiers-Houston. "You don't know what anybody else out there has and that can be a good position to be in."