College football kicked off tonight (currently watching Andrew Sweat and Ohio State beat Marshall) and the WPIAL season starts Friday. For some, that means the start of the conference season. For others, it means a non-challenging non-conference game. For Wash High, it means Clairton.
Clairton at Washington, Wash High Stadium, 7:30 p.m.
The most typed-about game at The Varsity Letters this week is also the best the area has to offer to kick off the 2010 season.
There's going to be athletes everywhere. Clairton's Desimon Green, a Pitt recruit, plays quarterback and defensive end with some of the same results Terrelle Pryor enjoyed at Jeannette. Carvan Thompson, Brandon Small and Josh Page are just a small handful of talented players at Clairton. Washington counters with Zach Barnes, Julien Anderson, Austin Phillips and Joe Phillips among others.
And, by the way, Clairton is 30-2 the past two years and are defending Class A state champs.
Trinity at Canon-McMillan, Memorial Stadium, 7:30 p.m.
This annual clash usually generates more hype but the absence of Big Ten Conference recruits on the field won't take away from the way these rivals look at each other.
Canon-McMillan, with alumnus Tim Sohyda in his first year as head coach, has just eight returning lettermen. One of them is receiver Alec Schram, who torched the Hillers a year ago. No matter how many new faces the Big Macs have, they always seem to play their best against Trinity.
Hillers head coach Ed Dalton found himself in the headlines throughout the offseason, now Dalton, in his 12th year at Trinity, hopes his players make their own. Some of those players did at the end of 2009 when Trinity rebounded from a 1-5 start to win its final three and make the playoffs.
Mt. Pleasant at Charleroi
These two teams concluded the 2009 regular season against each other and start this year's Interstate Conference slate this year.
There might be more familiarity if Mt. Pleasant had more than one returning starter. The lack of experience doesn't mean the Vikings won't be competitive. Most believe Mt. Pleasant, with its wing-T offense, will make a return to the WPIAL Class AA playoffs.
Charleroi just missed the postseason last year as it lost to Washington and Mt. Pleasant in consecutive weeks. Quarterback Tommy Thorpe, running backs Quentin Briggs and Cory Altemara along with the versatile Kyle Shannon give the Cougars are strong base to make its first playoff appearance since 2004.