Friday, December 31, 2010

PA Football News releases all-state teams

Pennsylvania Football News, a website dedicated to all things high school football within the borders of the Keystone State, recently released its 2010 all-state teams.

Peters Township senior linebacker Will McClure was a fourth-team selection in Class AAAA.

A pair of local players were honored in Class AAA. Ringgold senior defensive back Niko McPherson - a second-team selection by the sports writers - was chosen to the third team and Kyle McWreath of Trinity was a fourth-team pick at linebacker.

Would someone please explain to me how Trinity kicker Mike Cleveland was left off the sports writers' and PA Football News all-state teams? Anyone? Anyone? There is absolutely no way there were that many kicker in the classification better than him, let alone a kicker who intercepted six passes and caught five touchdowns. A ridiculous ommission.

Not surprisingly, South Fayette dominated the Class AA picks.

Quarterback Christian Brumbaugh, receiver Tyler Challingsworth and offensive lineman Nick Faraci - all seniors - were first-team selections. Jeff Davis was a third-team pick at running back. Lions senior linebacker Eric Myers, a first-team pick by the sports writers, was a third-team choice.

Washington's Austin Phillips - a 6-3, 290-pound senior - made third-team offensive line and teammate Julien Anderson was also a third-team pick. Anderson was selected at quarterback, which is interesting considering Josh Wise was the Prexies' starting quarterback the entire season. Oops!

California senior receiver Dakota Conway, who caught 15 touchdowns during the regular season, was selected to the Class A first team. Monessen's Nick Bolias, a lockdown corner and seldom-throw senior defensive back, made the first-team defense. Beth-Center placed two players on the second-team defense in defensive back Deshan Brown and linebacker Jake Sofran. Both players return next season. Teammate Jesse Vuono made fourth-team linebacker. From the Black Hills Conference, Fort Cherry junior Corey Garry was a third-team linebacker and Chartiers-Houston defensive lineman Nate Grandelis was selected to the fourth team.

For the entire PA Football News all-state teams, click

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Making a mark in 2010 (girls)

Kayla Briggs
Chartiers-Houston is loaded with top-notch female athletes, from tennis player Tanya Timko (who will attempt to win a WPIAL Boys Class AA championship in 2011) to volleyball player Lacey Levers.
As a freshman on the C-H softball team, Briggs made an immediate impact and her play catapulted the Bucs to previously unattained achievements.
Briggs, along with teammates Kiersten Conwell and Colby Miller made the Class A All-State first team in leading C-H to its first PIAA title. Briggs' batting average hovered around .500 for the majority of the season and she served as a late-innings pitcher in several key games.

Nicole Hilton
This fall, Hilton made her all-section soccer team for South Fayette AND she won a WPIAL Class AA cross country championship. At the state meet, Hilton finished fifth and 18 seconds ahead of any other WPIAL competitor.
Not bad for a first-year cross country runner.
That performance comes off a dominating spring track season, where the likely Division I runner also played multiple sports.
Hilton, who didn't take up running until her junior year, won WPIAL Class AA titles in the 1,600 and 3,200 runs. At states, she finished second in the 3,200 and seventh in the 1,600. Plus, Hilton plays softball.

Jessie Merckle
Thanks to the steady contributions of Merckle (pictured), Fort Cherry basketball is considered one of the top teams in WPIAL Class A this season. The Rangers are 6-1 after losing to Class AAA Mt. Pleasant in the finals of the Ambridge Holiday Tournament Thursday night. Only one of Fort Cherry's wins has come against a team in its own classification.
Meckle, a 5-5 junior guard and multi-year starter, made a major impact during the spring as one of the WPIAL's top performers in the javelin.
As a sophomore, Merckle consistently hit in the mid 140s in the javelin and her top throw of 147-7 ranked in the top 10 nationally for much of the track season. Merckle won the WPIAL Class AA championship in the event and will look to improve on her performance at the state meet this year.

Shelli Spamer
One of the most decorated soccer players (boys or girls) in Washington County history, Spamer left her playing days at Peters Township with the ultimate prize - the PIAA Class AAA team championship trophy.
The future midfielder at North Carolina State scored goals when needed, played defense with vigor and served as playmaker later in the Indians' season, which also included a WPIAL championship.
Spamer, one of the more colorful and quotable high school athletes I've come across, earned Player of the Year status from several local outlets, was all-section, all-WPIAL, all-state and earned a place on the NSCAA All-Region II team.

Five storylines from 2010

Ed Dalton and the Trinity Area School District
The ongoing story of Ed Dalton and the Trinity Area School District dates back to last December, when the school board opened all fall coaching positions, including Dalton's positions as football coach and athletic director.
In early January, following significant public backlash, the board unanimously rescinded its rulings, but another controversial decision was only months away.
By an 8-1 vote at June's board meeting, Dalton was transferred from athletic director to a teaching position and the search for a new athletic director – a position Dalton held for the previous 12 years – was under way with the school year rapidly approaching.
Former St. Francis (Pa.) men's basketball coach Bobby Jones was hired as athletic director in late July.
Dalton, who remained as the Hillers' football coach, took the next step when he filed a lawsuit against the school district, claiming a breach of an oral employment contract. Dalton claims damages in excess of $100,000.
"We went out of our way not to go this route," Dalton said.
Dalton coached Trinity during the 2010 season, his 12th with the Hillers. Trinity finished 6-4 and made the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs for the ninth time in Dalton's coaching tenure. The Hillers lost to West Allegheny in the first round of the playoffs.

Ringgold football
Once a pipeline to Division I, Ringgold football hit hard times the past decade as there were nearly as many coaching changes as victories.
That changed in 2010 as the Rams, led by first-year coach Matt Humbert and a roster equipped for a track meet, made history at the tradition-rich school.
Bolstered by a move to the Keystone Conference, Ringgold got off to a strong start and gained confidence with a come-from-behind win at Hollidaysburg in Week 3. A spread offense geared toward the run suited Derrick Fiore, Quad Law and blossoming playmakers Alfon Cook and Demetrius Louis.
The wins kept coming in a variety of ways and Ringgold won the conference, plus it finished the regular season 9-0 – its first undefeated regular season.
The season ended in the first round of the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs against Central Valley, which went on to win the WPIAL title.

Guy Montecalvo
Guy Montecalvo, the only high school football coach from Washington County to win a state championship, resigned in April after 30 seasons on the sidelines.
Montecalvo spent the first 23 seasons as a head coach at Washington and the last seven at Canon-McMillan, where he remains the school's athletic director. During his tenure, Montecalvo compiled a 225-107-2 record.
"The passion (for coaching) just isn't the same right now," said Montecalvo.
At 23, Montecalvo accepted his first post as head coach at Wash High. He guided the Prexies to WPIAL Class AA titles in 1993 and 2001. Washington won the 2001 state championship. The Prexies were also district runners-up in 1990, 1995, 1998 and 1999.
In 2004, Montecalvo guided C-M to a victory over Belle Vernon in the first round of the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs, the only postseason win in Canon-Mac history.
With an opening at Peters Township and the possibility of one at Trinity, Montecalvo's name is again making rounds as a candidate to coach in 2011.

The Peters Township School Board
In a situation with similar tones to the Ed Dalton and Trinity saga, Peters Township made waves when football coach Nick Milchovich had his job opened following a WPIAL Class AAAA playoff appearance.
Then, in another interesting move explained as a school policy that has rarely if ever been enforced, all fall sports coaching positions were opened. Given the success of girls soccer, boys soccer, boys golf, girls tennis and others at Peters Township, the move seemed strange.
Is it a cover-up to oust Milchovich?
Is it a case of a school policy being enforced?
Are sports programs unfairly being included with other student activities?
These questions, and others, could still be answered as further action is taken.

Ed Woods
Beth-Center's Ed Woods, the longest-tenured football coach in Washington County, guided the Bulldogs to another WPIAL Class A playoff appearance this season as the second-place team from the Tri-County South Conference.
Woods, however, was forced to coach Beth-Center's first-round victory over Cornell from the press box after a near-death experience.
On a Saturday in late October, Woods fell 20 feet off the roof of his house but remained alert enough to call Jefferson-Morgan football coach Jan Haiden for help. The Bulldogs and Rockets played later that week.
Woods missed that game while at Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh with several injuries, including broken ribs.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Top five moments of 2010

1. Tyler Henry putback seals South Fayette's state championship

South Fayette missed layups throughout its PIAA Class AA championship game against District 12's Strawberry Mansion. Despite the struggles from close range, the Lions clamped down on defense and kept the game close throughout.

With under a minute remaining in regulation in a tied game, Mike Lamberti drove the lane and his layup clanked off the rim.

Tyler Henry, recognizing that his team hadn't hit many layups, raced in from outside the three-point arc and grabbed the offensive rebound. His wide-open putback with 25 seconds remaining lifted South Fayette to a 49-47 victory.

It's the first PIAA team championship in South Fayette's history.

2. Dani Hume rebound lifts PT girls to first state title

The 2010 girls soccer season was one of firsts at Peters Township.

First, the Indians rolled through the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs and won their first district title. The dominating efforts continued in the PIAA tournament as Peters Township advanced to the state title match for the second time in three years.

Peters Township faced District 1 power Archbishop Wood in the final, a team that had won 23 straight matches and was ranked fourth nationally by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.

The Indians dominated play but didn't score until Dani Hume collected a rebound from a Veronica Latsko shot and buried it. Peters Township won 1-0 for its first state championship.

3. Conwell simply striking for C-H softball

The postseason journey of Chartiers-Houston was a challenging one. The Bucs nearly lost to Brentwood in the WPIAL Class A quarterfinals and played a series of extra-innings games.

The bats of Kayla Briggs and Colby Miller helped carry the Bucs through the postseason despite a loss to Vincentian Academy in the WPIAL championship. Then, in the PIAA semifinals, pitcher Kiersten Conwell took over.

Conwell pitched a shutout in the semifinals. In the championship game against Montgomery, she got over a first-inning run to shut down the opponent's powerful lineup the rest of the way. Chartiers-Houston won, 4-1, for its first PIAA championship in six tries.

4. Jesse Scheirer's OT blast gives PT boys 7th WPIAL title

Peters Township shook off a loss against Canon-McMillan to end the regular season to land in a familiar spot - the WPIAL Class AAA championship. The 2010 championship marked the sixth time in eight years that the Indians played for the title.

Jesse Scheirer, a senior striker, was PT's leading scorer during the regular season but he made a bigger impact in the postseason with a series of clutch goals.

None was bigger than the one he scored in the WPIAL championship against Pittsburgh Central Catholic.

A scoreless match spilled into overtime when Scheirer, involved in a little scruff just moments before, made a dazzling run against the Vikings defense and blasted a low, line drive shot into the net for a 1-0 victory and the seventh WPIAL championship in the relatively short history of Peters Township boys soccer.

5. Brumbaugh turns PIAA semis and quarters into passing practice

South Fayette quarterback Christian Brumbaugh established new standards for WPIAL career passing yards, WPIAL career touchdown passes and WPIAL single-season passing yards but neither record may have been achieved were it not for two brilliant performances in the state playoffs.

After winning its first WPIAL Class AA title (South Fayette's third WPIAL championship overall), Brumbaugh passed for 376 yards (then a PIAA playoff record) with five touchdowns against Brockway. In a driving snow storm, Brumbaugh started the game 13-for-13.

In the semifinals against Forest Hills, he came the WPIAL's career passing leader by throwing for 362 yards and six touchdowns, which is a PIAA playoff record.

Brumbaugh threw for a PIAA single-season record 52 touchdowns on the year.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pennsylvania Class AA All-State Team

The Pennsylvania Sports Writers Class AA All-State Team for 2010.

—Christian Brumbaugh, South Fayette, Sr., 6-4, 200
—Derek Buganza, Brockway, Sr., 5-10, 185
—Brandon Hollomon, West Catholic, Sr., 5-11, 165
—Delrece Williams, Steel Valley, Sr., 5-11, 185
—Matt McCann, Keystone Oaks, Sr., 5-11, 190
—Cody Remaley, Northern Lehigh, Sr., 5-10, 185
—Mike Stutzcavage, Mount Carmel, Sr., 6-5, 215
—Jaelen Strong-Rankin West Catholic Sr. 6-4 190
—Mike Vervoort, Brockway, Sr., 5-9, 165
—Tyler Challingsworth, South Fayette, Sr., 6-0, 165
—Zach Hooks, Aliquippa, Sr., 6-6, 285
—Nick Faraci, South Fayette, Sr., 6-2, 285
—Bernie Sarra, Greensburg Central Catholic, Sr., 6-3, 305
—Tyler Laudeman, North Schuylkill, Sr., 6-2, 215
Sean Charest, Lewisburg, Sr., 6-2, 205
—Sam Dell, Boiling Springs, Sr., 6-1, 185

—Josh Stepoli, Greensburg Central Catholic, Jr., 6-6, 245
—Heleaince Gates, Delaware Valley Charter, Sr., 6-4, 220
—Jake Kern, Northern Lehigh, Sr., 5-10, 175
—Jim Lynch, West Catholic, Sr., 6-4, 225
—Jared Templeton, Tyrone, Sr., 6-4, 285
—Dane Dudick, GAR Memorial, Sr., 6-2, 285
—Devon Cook, Beaver Falls, Sr., 6-4, 230
—Eric Myers, South Fayette, Sr., 6-1, 205
—Jordan Kerner, Fairview, Sr., 6-5, 225
—Brandon Smith, Lewisburg, Soph., 6-1, 210
—Darius Walker, Aliquippa, Sr., 5-9, 180
—Matt Conroy, Wyncote Bishop McDevitt, Sr., 6-1, 185
—Larry Zimmerman, Pine Grove, Jr., 5-10, 165
—Darrell Crawford, GAR Memorial, Jr., 5-9, 165
—Lucas Runk, Martinsburg Central, Sr., 5-11, 180

—John Loughery, William Penn Charter, Sr., 6-5, 225
—Jeff Davis, South Fayette, Sr., 5-11, 180
—Gary Postell, Wyncote Bishop McDevitt, Sr., 5-9, 170
—Nick Dudukovich, Forest Hills, Sr., 6-0, 210
—Andrew Forgatch, Hanover Area, Sr., 6-1, 185
—Merle Moscaello, Lewisburg, Jr., 5-10, 210
—Haetaun Mathis, Aliquippa, Sr. 5-9, 166
—Mikeal Owens-Wright, Danville, Sr., 6-3, 215
—Steve Heffner, Kutztown, Sr., 6-2, 185
—Paul Pavlinich, Beaver Area, Sr., 6-1, 230
—Jesse James, South Allegheny, Sr., 6-7, 285
—Pat Mahoney, Greensburg Central Catholic, Sr., 6-1, 250
—Adam DiPietro, Lancaster Catholic, Jr., 6-5, 250
—Carl Sahlberg, Northern Lehigh, Sr., 6-2, 290
—Mason Jones, Troy Jr., 5-11, 170

—Nick Slonac, Camp Hill Trinity, Jr., 6-2, 210
—Ed Pavalko, North Schuylkill, Sr., 6-0, 235
—Scott Yagielniskie, North Schuylkill, Sr., 6-2, 230
—Julian Campenni, Wyoming Area, Sr., 6-1, 285
—Matt Boyarsky, Lakeland, Sr., 6-3, 280
—Joe McCallion, Haverford School, Sr., 5-10, 180
—Jack Miller, Camp Hill Trinity, Jr., 5-9, 175
—Mike Shinkus, North Schuylkill, Jr., 6-1, 215
—Mike Kinney, Loyalsock, Jr., 6-3, 220
—Alex Filarsky, Lakeland, Jr., 6-0, 160
—Kody Flail, North Schuylkill, Sr., 5-8, 185
—Cody Miller, Towanda, Jr., 6-1, 145
—Cody Butler, Hughesville, Sr., 6-1, 200
—Ryan Dinger, Blossburg North Penn, Sr., 5-11, 185

Pennsylvania Class AAAA All-State Team

The Pennsylvania Sports Writers Class AAAA All-State Team for 2010.

—Jalen Fitzpatrick, Harrisburg, Sr., 5-9, 170
—Lafayette Pitts, Woodland Hills, Sr., 6-0, 190
—Ryan Brumfeld, Owen J. Roberts, Sr., 5-10, 185
—Alex Papson, North Allegheny, Sr., 5-8, 180
—Jamal Abdur-Rahman, La Salle College High School, Sr., 5-10, 180
—Paul Lang, Mount Lebanon, Sr., 6-5, 240
—Anthony Nixon, Pittsburgh Central Catholic, Jr., 6-1, 195
—Quinton Sullivan, Harrisburg, Sr., 6-1, 180
—Tyler Artim, Whitehall, Sr., 5-11, 175
—Delvon Simmons, McKeesport, Sr., 6-5, 260
—Vinny Czerniewski, North Allegheny, Sr., 6-1, 280
—Ryan Geiger, La Salle College High School, Sr., 6-1, 260
—Artie Rowell, Central Dauphin, Sr., 6-3, 285
—Andrew Consevage, Cumberland Valley, Sr., 6-3, 265
—Taylor Bertolet, Exeter, Sr., 5-10 170

—Rob Kugler, North Allegheny, Sr., 6-4, 245
—Justin Haser, North Allegheny, Sr., 6-5, 245
—Shawn Oakman, Penn Wood, Sr., 6-9, 250
—Jack Gallagher, Roman Catholic, Sr., 6-3, 210
—Dante Holmes, Bethlehem Liberty, Sr., 6-3,210
—Mark Seeland, State College, Sr., 6-3,220
—Mike Caprara, Woodland Hills, Jr., 6-0, 210
—Dakota Conwell, Upper St. Clair, Jr., 6-1, 205
—Armstead Williams, Gateway, Sr., 6-3, 205
—Kevin Snyder, Cumberland Valley, Sr., 6-2, 210
—Luke Hagy, Mount Lebanon, Jr., 5-11, 185
—Kevin Forster, La Salle College High School, Sr., 6-2, 180
—Connor Mathias, West Lawn Wilson, Sr., 6-1, 195
—Jeremy DiPietro, Cumberland Valley, Jr., 5-8, 165
—Quint Miller, Manheim Twp., Sr., 6-2, 185
—Rob Kugler and Justin Haser, North Allegheny
—Art Walker, North Allegheny

—Justin Pacchioli, Easton, Sr., 6-2, 180
—Greg McGhee, Perry Traditional Academy, Sr., 6-2, 180
—Greg Garmon, McDowell, Jr., 6-2, 200
—Rashaad Williams, Central Bucks West, Sr., 5-8, 175
—Chuck Dibilio, Nazareth, Sr., 6-2, 200
—Dom Taggert, North Penn, Sr., 6-1, 210
—Quinton Jefferson, Woodland Hills, Sr., 6-4, 230
—DaQuan Cooper, George Washington, Sr., 5-10 160
—Jared Fagnano, Williamsport, Sr., 5-10, 185
—Jonathan Bisci, Easton, Sr., 6-2, 205
—Pat Restrepo, Downingtown East, Sr., 6-3, 250
—Tim Cwalina, Mount Lebanon, Sr., 6-7, 290
—Xavier Gates, Harrisburg, Sr., 6-2, 320
—Alex Vigilante, Manheim Twp., Sr., 6-0, 245
—Jonn-Thomas Essig, Governor Mifflin, Sr., 6-2, 270
—Garrett Nicholson, State College, Sr., 5-10, 160

—Branden Jackson, McKeesport, Sr., 6-5, 230
—Deion Barnes, Northeast Philadelphia, Sr., 6-4, 230
—Brandon Chudnoff, George Washington, Sr., 6-2, 230
—Matt Emilius, Council Rock South, Sr., 6-3, 245
—David Caldwell, Easton, Sr., 5-11, 245
—Andrew Zeller, Red Lion, Sr., 6-6, 290
—Ryan Katona, Neshaminy, Sr., 5-10, 298
—Ejaun Price, Woodland Hills, Sr., 6-0, 230
—Connor Daly, La Salle College High School, Sr., 6-0, 195
—Ben Kline, Dallastown, Sr. 6-3, 225
—Cody Simcox, West Lawn Wilson, Sr., 6-3, 230
—Taylor Schmidt, North Hills, Sr., 5-10, 185
—Dennis Regan, Roman Catholic, Sr., 6-0, 175
—Julian Boulware, Harrisburg, Sr., 6-1, 175
—Eugene Lewis, Wyoming Valley West, Jr., 6-2, 185
—Lance Geesey, Cumberland Valley, Jr., 5-9, 165

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Pennsylvania Class A all-state team

The Pennsylvania Sports Writers Class A All-State Team for 2010.
—Corey Talerico, Taylor Riverside, Sr., 5-11, 180
—Kevin Brodie, Farrell, Sr., 6-0, 180
—Aaron Horton, Mercyhurst Prep, Sr., 5-10, 185
—Alex Holland, Curwensville, Jr. 6-0, 175
—Ryan Woo, Bishop Carroll, Sr., 6-0, 160
—Skyler Lavage, Taylor Riverside, Sr., 6-0, 200
—Josh Page, Clairton, Sr., 5-11, 180
—Mike Burke, Columbia, Jr., 6-1, 190
—Jesse Battaglia, Rochester, Sr., 6-2, 240
—Marquis Norris, Clairton, Sr., 6-5, 325
—Robert Trudo , Farrell, Sr., 6-5, 265
—Todd Munchak, Curwensville, Jr., 5-10, 275
—Paul Gaughan, Dunmore, Sr., 6-6, 280
—Kenny Kysor, Port Allegany, Sr., 5-9, 145
— Corey Talerico, Taylor Riverside
—Tom Nola, Clairton

—Desimon Green, Clairton, Sr., 6-5, 230
—Jared Minori, Bellwood-Antis, Sr., 6-3, 195
—Alex Pucilowski, Taylor Riverside, Sr., 6-1, 235
—Ben Ancheff, Williams Valley, Sr., 6-2, 320
—Nick Tapia, Rochester, Sr., 6-0, 170
—Brandon Small, Clairton, Sr., 6-0, 220
—Josh Chumrik, Bishop Carroll, Sr., 6-1, 215
—Nick Rossi, Taylor Riverside, Sr., 6-1, 235
—Jason Adamson, Rochester, Sr., 6-0, 175
—Brian Murphy, Schuylkill Haven, Sr., 5-11, 185
—Freddy Caruso, Reading Holy Name, Sr., 5-10, 185
—Andrew Nortum, Johnsonburg, Sr., 6-1, 180

—Martin Long, North Catholic
—Tyler Jenny, Glendale, Sr., 6-1, 180
—Clayton McNair, Steelton-Highspire, Jr., 5-5, 170
—Joey Rys, Reading Central Catholic, Sr., 5-11, 185
—Tyrell Thomas, Southern Columbia, Jr., 6-0, 185
—Brock Mitchell, Panther Valley, Jr., 6-5, 245
—Dakota Conway, California, Sr., 5-10, 180
—Matt Cammilletti, Bangor Pius X, Jr., 6-0, 205
—Alex Karlovich, Line Mountain, Jr., 6-3, 285
—Dustin Jones, Schuylkill Haven, Jr., 6-2, 225
—Cain Lamper, Muncy, Sr., 6-4, 270
—D.J. Abbey, Sto-Rox
—Justin Deily, Springdale
—Taylor Skerpon, Sayre, Sr., 6-1, 190

—Erik Walker, Clairton, Jr., 6-2, 205
—Quinton Hixson, Northern Bedford, Jr., 6-3, 300
—Kyle High, Canton, Sr., 6-1, 195
—Laquan Jackson, Taylor Riverside, Jr., 5-7, 210
—Taylor Makin, Bishop Carroll, Sr., 5-11, 225
—Tyler Naus, Schuylkill Haven, Sr., 6-0, 200
—Dan Christian, Reading Holy Name, Sr., 5-10, 185
—Jamar Whitman, Farrell
—Ed Kurtz, Avonworth
—Nick Gildea, Juniata Valley, Sr., 6-2, 170
—Nick Bolias, Monessen, Sr., 6-0, 175

Pennsylvania Class AAA all-state team

The Pennsylvania Sports Writers Class AAA All-State Team for 2010.

—Matt Johnson, Harrisburg Bishop McDevitt, Sr., 6-0, 205
—Brendan Nosovitch, Allentown Central Catholic Jr., 6-3, 195
—Rushel Shell, Hopewell, Jr., 6-0, 210
—Jameel Poteat, Harrisburg Bishop McDevitt, Sr., 5-11, 210
—Julian Durden, Montour, Jr., 5-7, 175
— Desmon Peoples, Archbishop Wood, Jr., 5-8, 170
—Ben Koyack, Oil City, Sr., 6-5, 230
—Tom Grieves, Thomas Jefferson, Sr., 6-2, 180
—Brian Lemelle, Harrisburg Bishop McDevitt, Soph., 5-11, 170
—Kevin Gulyas, Allentown Central Catholic, Jr., 6-1, 180
—Chris Thearle, Thomas Jefferson
—Austin Heter, Montour, Sr., 6-5, 275
—Jake Geanous, Erie Cathedral Prep, Sr., 6-4, 245
—Tad McNeely, Allentown Central Catholic Jr., 6-4, 250
—Jared Pitts, Allentown Central Catholic, Sr., 5-9, 255
—Noah Ackerman, Erie Cathedral Prep, Sr., 5-11, 163

—Jack Shogan, Franklin Regional, Sr., 6-2, 220
—Noah Spence, Harrisburg Bishop McDevitt, Jr., 6-4, 240
—Morgan Craig, Abington Heights
—Denton Ensminger, Greencastle-Antrim, Sr., 6-2, 250
—Roy Dennis, Berwick, Sr., 6-3, 225
—Averee Robinson, Susquehanna Township, Jr., 6-2, 275
—Lukas Turley, Central Valley
—C.J. Revtai, West Allegheny
—Sean Barowski, Harrisburg Bishop McDevitt, Sr., 6-2, 240
—Mario Sanders, Erie Cathedral Prep, Sr., 6-1, 185
—Shane McNeely, Allentown Central Catholic, Sr., 6-3, 240
—Terrell Chestnut, Pottsgrove, Sr., 5-10, 180
—Aaron McKinney, West Allegheny, Sr., 5-10, 190
—Calvin Anderson, Greater Johnstown, Sr., 6-1, 165
—Matt Stapleford, Warren, Sr., 5-11, 180
—Brendan Nosovitch, Allentown Central Catholic
—Mike Mischler, Erie Cathedral Prep

—Dillon Buechel, Montour, Jr., 6-4, 195
—Robert Foster, Central Valley, Soph., 6-2, 170
—Matt Craig, Springfield-Delco, Sr., 5-9, 180
—Austin Hartman, Cocalico, Sr., 5-11, 190
—Terrance Stafford, Dobbins Tech, Sr., 5-10, 220
—Colin McDermott, Allentown Central Catholic, Soph., 5-11, 180
—Matt Weiser, Conrad Weiser, Sr., 6-5, 225
—Devin Wilson, Montour, Soph., 6-3, 170
—T.J. Keefer, Hollidaysburg, Sr., 6-3, 180
—Paul Brace, Dallas, Sr., 6-1, 190
—Casey Strus, Cardinal O’Hara, Sr., 6-0, 245
—Dylan Bear, Mars, Sr., 6-2, 230
—Christian DeAngelo, Pottsville, Sr., 6-2, 205
—Kevin Reihner, Scranton Prep, Sr., 6-3, 280
—Jason Emerich, Blue Mountain, Jr., 6-5, 246
—Mike Oliveto, Conrad Weiser, Sr., 6-0, 180

—Matt Donaldson, Archbishop Carroll, Sr., 6-4, 235
—Frank Taylor, Archbishop Wood, Jr., 6-4, 275
—Zack McMenamin, Interboro, Sr., 5-9, 200
—Doug Gritz, Blue Mountain, Sr., 6-3, 300
—Tyler Havirlak, Valley View, Sr., 5-11, 260
—Wes Tillett, Shamokin, Sr., 6-5, 280
—Seth Geyer, Mars, Sr., 6-2, 225
—Luke Rhodes, Hollidaysburg, Sr., 6-3, 220
—Kyle McWreath, Washington Trinity, Sr., 6-1, 225
—Marcus Collins, Monsignor Bonner
—Brock Dean, Harrisburg Bishop McDevitt, Jr., 6-1, 210
—Curtis Frye, Clearfield, Jr. , 6-0, 168
—Niko McPherson, Ringgold, Sr., 6-0, 175
—Noah Robb, Allentown Central Catholic, Jr., 6-3, 185
—James Fruehan, Abington Heights, Sr., 5-9, 170
—Zach Robinson, Pottsgrove, Jr., 5-9, 159

Monday, December 20, 2010

Week in review, girls basketball (through Dec. 19)

Team of the Week – Charleroi
Charleroi rattled off five wins in eight days, and the Cougars won two games – against Career Connections and Carmichaels – on the same day.

Defensively, Charleroi got it done. Two opponents were held under 20 points and two more scored fewer than 30. In six games, all wins, Charleroi has not allowed more than 35 points.

Runner-up – Monessen
Monessen won its own tournament, including a win over Canon-McMillan in the final, and also beat Avella.

Starting five
Beka Bellhy, Fort Cherry (pictured, No. 5)
Morgan Berardi, Carmichaels
Emily Hansen, Canon-McMillan
Morgan Iacovino, Charleroi
Geena Shrader, Monessen
Off the bench
Amanda Temple, Avella

Dynamic duo – Section 3-A boasts a number of standout underclassmen and returning lettermen, which should make for some intriguing games. Two of the top young players in Section 3 are Carmichaels sophomores Anna Cree and Berardi.

The pair have helped the Mikes to a 4-2 start. The losses came against Charleroi and Fort Cherry, a pair of unbeaten teams.

"With Morgan and Anna, in some ways it's like having two point guards on the floor," Carmichaels coach Jim Lane said. "They've both picked up their scoring."

Don't call it the charity stripe – With its dribble-drive offense, Bentworth is benefiting from a renewed emphasis to call games "black and white", meaning if it's a foul call a foul. The Bearcats are getting to the line with frequency but are struggling shooting from the free-throw line. In Monday's win over Burgettstown, Bentworth made 17 of 36. In a three-point loss to Washington, Bentworth made just 12 of 32 attempts.

Week in Review, boys basketball (start of season through Dec. 18)

Team of the Week – South Fayette
No Christian Brumbaugh, no Josh Patterson, no Tanner Courtad and no Zach Challingsworth. No problem for the defending PIAA Class AA champions.

South Fayette is 3-0 with a trio of impressive wins over Fort Cherry, two-time defending WPIAL Class AA champion North Catholic and North County (Md.). The Lions, who made 18 three-pointers against North Catholic, are off until next Tuesday, when they play Rochester at the C.J. Betters Tournament in beaver County.

By that time, South Fayette should have its entire roster.

Runner-up – Monessen
The Greyhounds started the season 3-1 with the lone loss a 94-90 setback to Class AAAA Norwin.

Starting five
Nate Bellhy, Fort Cherry
Mike Lamberti, South Fayette
Jalen Madison, Monessen
Josh Valentic, Trinity
Pat Zedreck, South Fayette (pictured)
Sixth man
Josh Wise, Washington

1,000 points times three
– A trio of the area's top players each topped 1,000 career points already this season.

Last Monday, Bellhy and Zedreck each reached the milestone as the Lions rolled past the Rangers. Trinity's Valentic also hit the 1,000-point mark.

All three players are seniors.

Bits and pieces – Teams from Section 3-A are struggling to start the season. Preseason favorite Avella is 2-2 and the Eagles are the only team without a losing record. Bentworth has played five consecutive games against teams from Class AA and is 0-5. … Rodney Watkins, a 6-5 senior at Charleroi, made a rare start Friday night against Beth-Center and he dominated the game with 20 points as the Cougars won, 56-43. … At 3-0, Ringgold is off to one of its better starts in recent years. The Rams have beat West Allegheny, Yough and Belle Vernon, teams with a combined record of 2-11.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

PIAA championship thoughts

Pinpointing a reason or two for South Fayette's loss to West Catholic in Saturday's PIAA Class AA championship game isn't necessary as the Burrs did just about everything at a championship level.

Two areas where I thought West Catholic excelled were taking away South Fayette's primary playmakers - Tyler Challingsworth and Jeff Davis - and getting consistent pressure on quarterback Christian Brumbaugh.

Davis entered the game with an injured right knee and was not able to finish the game after starting. He played into the second quarter and, on every play Davis was on the field, West Catholic had at least one defender following him.

That defense all but eliminated the quick swing pass to Davis, a play that helped get South Fayette a WPIAL championship and to the state championship.

Challingsworth, one of the peskiest receivers I can remember, couldn't find the open seams that he did through the Lions' first 15 games. He burned defenses for 70-plus catches and 1,000-plus yards, a considerable feat given South Fayette's depth at the position.

Brumbaugh didn't complete a pass in the second half and rarely had time to throw when he did. West Catholic's front four delivered most of the heat on Brumbaugh, which allowed linebackers to help in pass coverage.

* Not sure what kind of impact Davis leaving the game had in the final outcome. West Catholic's two primary objectives were to limit him in the passing game and pressing Brumbaugh, at least that's what Burrs coach Brian Fluck said after the game.

With Davis out, the threat of screen and swing passes were gone from the offense. Fullback Trevor Fiorentini ran well in his limited touches but no Davis meant a lot of South Fayette's offense was on the sidelines.

* The loss was a difficult one for South Fayette's seniors, a group that went 3-6 as sophomores. That said, what they did for South Fayette football can't be underestimated despite the loss. It was a class move by the Lions' fans to stay after the game and give the players a standing ovation.

South Fayette may have not won the ultimate prize but the Lions won over their community.

* West Catholic sophomore David Williams is one of the better backs I've seen. He's big, strong, fast, shifty and hits the hole quick. A lot of the focus entering the game was on Burrs running back Brandon Hollomon but I was certainly more impressed with the sophomore as well as Hollomon played.

* Sometimes talent wins out. West Catholic was supremely talented.

* On Friday, I remembered around 3 p.m. that the Class A championship game was on, so I turned on PCN and saw that Riverside was leading Clairton, 24-0.


The Bears refused to fold and went on to win.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Live blog, PIAA Class AA football championship South Fayette vs. West Catholic

Final score: West Catholic 50, South Fayette 14.

I'll follow up with analysis tomorrow.

1:29 p.m. – Halftime score, West Catholic 36-16. Not sure how the Burrs only scored 21 points last week as they're doing whatever they want offensively.

Brumbaugh is 11 of 24 for 111 with two touchdowns. Davis only has six touches for 11 yards and Tyler Challingsworth just one catch and he fumbled.

Not looking good for the Lions. They've got to find a way to get some stops or this one could get real ugly.

1:15 p.m. – South Fayette can't stop West Catholic, who is mixing run and pass perfectly. WC, 28-14 with 1:07 left in first half.

1:08 p.m. – Brumbaugh to Challingsworth for a second time, this time on a pretty 20-yard pass. West Catholic 20-14.

Burrs can run.

12:57 p.m. – Really struggling with the wireless signal, much like South Fayette's defense is struggling.

West Catholic on a 20-point run and leads 20-7 with 5:30 left in 2nd.

12:52 p.m. – Tyler Challingsworth fumbles, recovered by Brandon Hollomon. Burrs back in business.

12:50 p.m. – West Catholic's Anthony Reid hits 75-yard pass to Jaelen Strong-Rankin. Quran Kent's 2-point run gives Burrs a 14-7 lead with 8:35 in 2nd.

12:42 p.m. – Having wireless issues. South Fayette leads 7-6 at end of first quarter. West Catholic popped an 81-yard touchdown run.

12:31 p.m. – As predicted, SF goes deep to Challingsworth, who was bumped. Incomplete. Look for it again.

Lions to punt.

12:28 p.m. – West Catholic is a bit undisciplined. The Burrs are also playing press coverage. Could South Fayette look deep soon?

12:25 p.m. – Grant Fetchet intercepts Anthony Reid's first pass attempt.

12:24 p.m. – No Davis in the South Fayette secondary.

12:17 p.m. – Brumbaugh 5 of 7 on opening drive for 58 yards, including an 8-yard touchdown pass to Zach Challingsworth. Tyler Yee's extra point good, South Fayette up 7-0 with 7:37 1st.

Brumbaugh sets PIAA single season record with 51st touchdown pass.

12:06 p.m. – South Fayette set to receive. First team from the O-R coverage area in the state championships since 2001 (Washington) about to get started.

Noon – Both teams taking the field. South Fayette has a good turnout.

11:50 a.m. – The Faraci family is watching the game from the press box. Great to see. For those that don't know the story of Bill Faraci, father of South Fayette linemen Nick Faraci, should hit up Google.

11:38 a.m. – No snow on the ground in Hershey and not too cold. The wireless connection isn't the strongest (there's a few more people covering the event than the PIAA soccer championships). Hopefully, it stays with us.

11:36 a.m. – Feel the need to share that I just ate two of the heaviest chocolate chip cookies I've ever encountered.

11:30 a.m. – Checked out conditions on the field. Wind isn't too bad. West Catholic has some serious size and the majority of the people in the press box thinks the Burrs should win. I think most of those people are from the East.

Jeff Davis is wearing a brace on his right knee. Davis injured the knee during the semifinals against Forest Hills and, as of Thursday, Rossi considered him questionable.

Davis is making cuts and looks good during warmups. We'll see what happens when the hitting starts.

11:02 a.m. – Winds are picking up. Christian Brumbaugh can throw in snow, rain and cold. He's not a fan of windy conditions.

10:59 a.m. – I am looking live at Hersheypark Stadium. Both teams are on the field warming up for the noon kickoff.

There's a lot of noise on the field.

Friday, December 17, 2010

High-powered WPIAL offenses

PIAA Class A champion Clairton and Class AA finalist South Fayette - the Lions play West Catholic (District 12) Saturday - are two of the more prolific scoring teams in state and WPIAL history.

Here's a list of the top scoring teams in WPIAL history.

1. 2007 Jeannette (16 games) 860
2. 2010 Clairton (16 games) 746
3. 2007 Serra Catholic (16 games) 702
4. 2009 Clairton (16 games) 634
5. 2010 South Fayette (15 games) 631
6. 2005 McKeesport (16 games) 626
7. 2008 Thomas Jefferson (16 games) 616
8. 1927 Mt. Pleasant (11 games) 615
9. 2008 Clairton (16 games) 612
2007 Pittsburgh Central Catholic (16 games) 612
2001 Washington (15 games) 612
12. 1991 Rochester (15 games) 610
13. 2005 South Park (16 games) 600
14. 2007 Thomas Jefferson (16 games) 590
15. 1998 Rochester (15 games) 573
16. 1998 Shady Side Academy (15 games) 571
17. 1999 South Side Beaver (15 games) 568
18. 2004 Pittsburgh Central Catholic (16 games) 554
19. 2000 Washington (12 games) 553
20. 2003 Pine-Richland (15 games) 546

The 1927 Mt. Pleasant team averaged a whopping 55.91 points per game, a little more than two points more per game than the 2007 Jeannette team (53.75).

Two teams rank among the top 60 in PIAA history with only eight games played.

In 1918, Harrisburg Tech scored 573 points and averaged 71.63 per game. In 1922, Jersey Shore (not the reality show) scored 569 and averaged 71.13.

Barring a shutout against West Catholic, South Fayette should move into fourth on the WPIAL's all-time list.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Canon-McMillan hits ESPN "30 for 30" spotlight

ESPN's "30 for 30" documentary series is the occasional must-view, particularly when it aired programs on the day Reggie Miller beat the New York Knicks or a look inside the dynasty that Miami (Fla.) football.

The most recent installment "Pony Excess" aired Saturday night. It explored the rise and quick demise of Southern Methodist University football in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

As a young college football fan during the days of SMU's Pony Express, I viewed the backfield of Eric Dickerson and Craig James in much the same way I did Nikita Koloff and his deadly Russian Sickle. I was convinced Koloff would take over the world and, at the time, SMU was on top of the college football world. (In a wrestling sidenote, is it just me or does recently hired WVU "coach in waiting" Dana Holgorsen look like the long, lost member of the Midnight Express?)

The Mustangs looked unbeatable on the field. They sure ran a dirty program off it.

The beginnings of SMU's fall can be traced to Canon-McMillan High School. Back in 1983, Stopperich was considered one of the top recruits in college football - a muscle-bound, bullying offensive tackle, the type of player offenses are built behind.

At 6-3, 265, Stopperich was courted by college across the country and, as a senior, he earned a spot on the USA Today High School All-America Team. Thanks to some shady deals, SMU landed Stopperich, but, as "30 for 30" explains, he was damaged goods because of a severe knee injury suffered in wrestling season.

For more on the Stopperich case as SMU, click

It's an interesting read, and the Stopperich connection to SMU's downfall was one reason why I wanted to watch the documentary. Stopperich died in 1995 and I would have like if the documentary dug a little deeper into that aspect, but it did not.

Player slams referee

A high school basketball player from Florida took exception to being called for a technical, then did the unthinkable. He attacked the referee and slammed him to the floor.

For more,

Monday, December 13, 2010

Boys basketball AA-A team capsules

Class AA
The Trojans are one of the smaller teams playing in Class AA but that didn't stop them from qualifying for the postseason a year ago. California beat Apollo-Ridge in an entertaining, back-and-forth preliminary round game before being ousted by Greensburg Central Catholic.
Thanks to realignment, California and Greensburg Central Catholic are both in Section 4-AA. The Centurions are tabbed as preseason favorites to win the section and the WPIAL. California figures to be one of the teams GCC must contend with to win the section title.
Leading scorer John Tyler, a 6-0 shooting guard who suffered a season-ending foot injury before last postseason, returns.
So do sophomores Tanner Huffman and Brian Fisher.
Huffman was California's point guard and Fisher came off the bench to provide energy, rebounding and defense.

The Bulldogs have made three WPIAL playoff appearances during the 10-year coaching tenure of Barry Niemiec. If you know anything about the history of Beth-Center basketball, that's a successful run.
Making the playoffs from Section 4-AA, which includes preseason favorite Greensburg Central Catholic and Jeannette, won't be easy but Beth-Center returns three starters and eight lettermen, including Lucas Diethorn, to give Niemiec one of his more experienced teams.

The Cougars opened the season with a win at Belle Vernon. The Leopards played Ringgold earlier in the day after a scheduling mishap forced Elizabeth Forward to withdrawl from the Belle Vernon Tipoff Tournament.
Charleroi won't wow many in the point total but the Cougars play defense and rebound, plus have several key returning lettermen including Vinnie Scirotto.

Fort Cherry
Heading into tonight's non-section game at South Fayette, Fort Cherry senior Nate Bellhy needs 17 points to reach 1,000 for his varsity career. A 6-5 scoring a,d rebounding machine, Bellhy averaged nearly 29 points per game as a junior and he committed to Division II Seton Hill during the fall.
The Rangers will go as Bellhy goes and an improved defense could work wonder. Fort Cherry yielded 69.5 points per game. Only three WPIAL teams, one being Ringgold, allowed a higher average.

The Blue Devils are 0-2 after playing a pair of Class AAA schools in Washington and Trinity at the Canon-McMillan Tournament. Point guard Tyler Pavan was one of the top players in Section 5 last year, and that was with Washington in the league.

The Bucs return only two lettermen and no returning starters from last year's senior-filled lineup. First-year coach Eugene Briggs, the former head coach at Fort Cherry, will rely on Josh Counihan and Kevin Welsh and hope the sophomores and freshmen develop quickly.

The Greyhounds opted to remain in Class AA, they've been playing up for several cycles, but lost some natural rivalries when they were shipped to Section 3. Instead of playing Washington, Burgettstown or even teams from Section 4, Monessen draws Bishop Canevin, Seton-La Salle, Steel Valley and others.

It wasn't a popular move in Monessen, but it shouldn't keep the Greyhounds from contedning for a section title and a possible deep postseason run.

Monessen is 1-1 after playing in Franklin Regional's tipoff tournament and the loss was a 94-90 setback to Class AAA Norwin. With point guard Jalen Madison, athletic swingman Jaisen Irwin and big man Cam Johnson, the Greyhounds are on of Class AA's more talented teams.

Class A
The Eagles haven't won a section championship since 1970 and there are only two in team history. According to coaches in Section 3, Avella could add to that number this year.
Head coach Joseph Hough has four starters back and a nice mix of height and experience.
Junior guard Joe Yamber averaged 15 points per game last year and he'll be complemented by 6-7 senior Neil Gossett and 6-5 senior Damon Cupp.
Avella, already 2-0 on the year, returns nine of its top 10 from a year ago, including Cameron Geresti and Jed Fernbaugh.

The Mikes lost leading scorer Bill Musgrove but returned the other four starters and six lettermen, which makes them a contender in Section 3 for head coach Don Williams, who has won 415 games in 35 years with the team.
Jon Krall, Seth Krall and Jordan Kennedy are three of the top returnees in a lineup that will rely on speed and defense to win games.

The Rockets will be guided by first-year head coach Chris Niemiec, brother of Beth-Center coach Barry Niemiec. Jefferson-Morgan will be one of the younger teams in Class A with no seniors and only six juniors.

The Bearcats' non-section schedule isn't made with ready-made victories in mind. It's designed by veteran head coach Joe Kennedy (pictured) to prepare Bentworth for the playoffs. That's why there's always games against the likes of Clairton, Burgettstown and OLSH.
The defending Section 3 champs return all-district guard John Barker (14.9 ppg) and forward Gannon Walls-Mitchell (12.1) and they should anchor a lineup that is expected to contend for another title.
Bentworth returns eight lettermen.

Junior Marcus Cumpston could be one of th top players in Section 3 for a Mapletown team that qualified for the postseason last year despite numbers problems. Head coach Bo Garnek has a few more bodies on the bench this year as Mapletown fields an 11-player roster.

West Greene
The Pioneers won only one game and ranked last in the WPIAL in offense at 23.9 points per game last year. Curtis Jones is West Greene's top returning player.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A few notes and thoughts

There's only one way to say this, so let's get it out there.

South Fayette has the most precise offense I've ever seen at the high school level.

What will that mean when the 15-0 Lions play West Philadelphia Catholic in Saturday's PIAA Class AA championship? Not sure, but the District 12 champs would be wise not to take South Fayette lightly.

From what I'm hearing, that may not be the case. WC didn't send anyone to scout the South Fayette-Forest Hills semifinal game and had asked Lions head coach Joe Rossi to send tapes with his scout to exchange.

Anyone remember what happened when South Fayette played a District 12 team in the PIAA Class AA basketball championship?

Right now, it sure is difficult to imagine any team capable of slowing South Fayette's offense. Prolific quarterback Christian Brumbaugh sets a new record every week. In fact, he's setting so many it's getting tough to keep track. About two hours after the Lions dispatched Forest Hills 49-12 in another amazing offensive display, I got a call from Mike White of the Post-Gazette. Each paper had Brumbaugh passing for 44 touchdowns entering the semifinal. With six against Forest Hills, that gives him 50 on the season and that tied a PIAA record.

Brumbaugh's numbers are difficult to fathom but it sure is fun to watch. He's accurate. His receivers run great routes. Someone at Saturday's semifinal likened South Fayette to Boise State.

* Brumbaugh recently accepted an offer from Division I-AA William & Mary, which has been his top choice for months, even before W&M offered. If I'm a college coach within 5-7 hours from here and have a scholarship to fill, I'm jumping on the Brumbaugh bandwagon.

His 40-yard dash time may not be the best, but why big schools shied away from Brumbaugh remains a mystery to me. He's the best passer at this level I've seen. Period.

* Speaking of underrated, if there is a more underrated running back than Jeff Davis, I want to see the guy. Davis is a vital link to an offense that is climbing the all-time ranks in terms of points scored.

His running in the first quarter softened the Forest Hills defense and set up the passing game.

Davis spent part of the fourth quarter on the training table and had his right knee wrapped after the game. He said it was just a bruise and that he'll be fine for the state championship. No doubt the Lions chances of winning are much better with Davis.

* Another aspect that makes this offense so potent is the speed of South Fayette's receivers. Tyler Challingsworth is always one of the fastest players on the field.

* With the recent happenings at Peters Township, it's nice to see a school board get something right.

That's exactly what Ringgold's school board did a couple months ago when it approved a four-year contract for football coach Matt Humbert.

Ringgold rolled through the regular season with a 9-0 record, but were eliminated in the first round of the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs by eventual WPIAL champion Central Valley. Ringgold arguably gave Central Valley its most competitive game of the postseason before CV was eliminated in the PIAA playoffs by Erie Cathedral Prep.

Ringgold's 9-1 record was one of the best in school history and Humbert, counting two wins he picked up as interim head coach in 2009, has an 11-1 career record.

Success isn't the only reason this move was the right one. It put an hopeful end the the carousel that's been Ringgold's head football position. Stability at the top could prove vital to the Rams' continued success.

When the Tri-County Athletic Directors Association holds its annual banquet, you can book Humbert (as well as South Fayette's Joe Rossi) as one of three finalists for Football Coach of the Year.

* Clairton takes some heat on this blog, much of it inflicted by occasionally ridiculous claims made by its fans, but the Bears are one win from one of the great runs in PIAA history.

With Friday night's 48-8 smashing of Farrell, Clairton's third straight semifinals victory over the Steelers in the state semifinals, the Bears are in the state finals, again.

Sure, it's the same old story, but looking back at some numbers. It's quite impressive.

Clairton has won three straight WPIAL Class A titles. The Bears are in the state championship a third consecutive year. Here's the one I find most impressive, Clairton hasn't lost since the opening game of the 2009 season. That's 30 consecutive victories.

* The Observer-Reporter's All-District football team, complete with the Elite 11 and Player of the Year will be out probably one week after the conclusion of the season.

If you haven't figured out who the POY is, you must not be paying attention. I'd like to hear some solicitations for the Elite 11.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Boys basketball Class AAAA-AAA team capsules

Class AAAA
An up-and-down season still landed Canon-McMillan a spot in the 2010 WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs out of rugged Section 4, which has produced a string of strong teams in Bethel Park, Mt. Lebanon, Peters Township and Upper St. Clair.
Three starters return for the Big Macs, led by senior guard Kionte Davis, a contributor since his freshman season and, at times, a threat to score 25-plus points. With point guard Justin Robinson, another four-year contributor, and 6-8 Dylan Berger, C-M has the nucleus for another postseason appearance.
Head coach Rick Bell, in his 10th year at Canon-McMillan, continues his work in building a program and, with contributions from junior Kenyadda Brown and sophomore Brett Haney, the Big Macs could be a surprise team in Class AAAA.

Peters Township
Two years before Peters Township won the 2009 WPIAL Class AAAA championship, the Indians fielded a team few people knew much about. Head coach Gary Goga, pictured after winning a playoff game against Butler last year, helped mold that roster into a good one.
This year, all key contributors from the title run are gone with the exception of the coaching staff and Peters Township will be looking for a scorer to replace the departed Craig Wolcott.
Ross Wickstrom is the lone returning starter from last year, but a strong group of sophomores should help. Eric Lewis, Dakota Norton and Trent McPherson all earned valuable minutes as freshmen.

Class AAA
As a junior, Josh Valentic put together a Player of the Year-caliber season. A relentess worker on the offensive end, Valentic hustled his way to a 22.3 scoring average and his play almost got Trinity past Bradford in the first round of the PIAA Class AAA playoffs.
Valentic returns for his senior season and needs a little more than 300 points to become the Hillers' all-time leading scorer. He'll get help from Charlie McCaffrey, Brad Martin and Mike Cleveland.
Trinity's new-look section, however, figures to be one of the best in the WPIAL. Defending PIAA Class AA champion South Fayette moved up along with perennial power and cross-town rival Washington. Then there's Montour, which advanced to the PIAA Class AAA quarterfinals last year.

South Fayette
Should the defending Class AA state champions start slow in its inaugural season in Class AAA, it's understandable. At least two starters, and four of the top eight players are one win away from playing for a PIAA football championship.
So, while the basketball team waits for rebounder Christian Brumbaugh, defensive specialist Josh Patterson, promising sophomore Zach Challingsworth and big man Tanner Courtad, seniors Mike Lamberti and Pat Zedreck will mostly direct a group of underclassmen on the court.
Head coach Rich Bonnaure, who preached team defense en route to the state title, is preaching patience for now. South Fayette faces a challenging non-section schedule, which includes two games against top opponents in Maryland before the football players return.

The Prexies move into Class AAA looking to replace the bulk of last year's scoring in Troy Wilson, Marquis Brown and Bryan Thomas. It's a lot to replace but these Prexies should be game for the challenge.
Senior Zach Barnes, last year's leading rebounder, is back along with three-point specialist Ethan Gordon. The play of senior swingman Julien Anderson, who put together a few big games in the scoring department, could determine is Wash High challenges for a section title in head coach Mark Gaither's senior year.
One thing is certain, Wash High always has promising young players. In sophomores Josh Wise and Jaylin Kelly, the trend continues.

A drop in classification should help the Rams, who have been overmatched the past several years at the Quad-A level. Then again, Section 5-AAA looks awfully strong heading into the schedule.

Greg Papson's building project continues at what has traditionally been one of the tougher places to win in Class AAA. The Highlanders have just two seniors in Tyler Briggs and Justin Moore, but juniors such as 6-4 Ryan Schilinski should receive ample playing time.

The Raiders won 10 games last year under the director of first-year head coach Dave Sarra, who once led Waynesburg to the 2000 WPIAL Class AA football championship game. Derek Lohr and Ryan Hurd were significant contributors to that improvement.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Girls basketball team capsules

Class AAAA
Section 4 is widely regarded as the best in the WPIAL, and possibly the state, for several years and section favorite Mt. Lebanon is a two-time defending state champion. Canon-McMillan finished at the other end of the standings and the Big Macs won one section game the past two years.
Frank Zebrasky - the C-M baseball coach - takes over for Mike Brodnick and he's no stranger to the program having been Brodnick's assistant for years. C-M returns several lettermen but success hinges on getting increased scoring from others than senior guard Emily Hansen.

Peters Township
The Indians surprised some by reaching the WPIAL semifinals, which was comprised entirely of Section 4 teams. Junior guard Merissa Morgan displayed a knack for the big play in PT's playoff run, which ended in the first round of the PIAA playoffs.

Class AAA
The hard-luck Rams couldn't stay healthy last year for head coach Nick Mandich as top players Alina Selby and Alana Resanovich each suffered season ending injuries. It derailed what looked to be a promising season.
Ringgold competed in Section 4-AAAA and the Rams should find dropping to Section 4-AAA to their liking. A total of seven players are 5-9 or taller, including 5-10 combo guard/forward Jamie Melzer and 6-4 center Emily Schmidt.

The only holdover from the previous Section, McGuffey is coming off a second consecutive playoff appearance despite winning seven games. The Highlanders have more natural rivals in Trinity and South Fayette in the new layout and return junior guard Jocelyn Lucsko, who averaged 12 points and improved as the season progressed.

South Fayette
Following two straight successful runs in the WPIAL Class AA playoffs, South Fayette advanced to the PIAA quarterfinals a year ago. This year, the Lions are moving up just like the boys team. Also like the boys, the girls figure to contend for a playoff berth. Senior Lizzy King is a key holdover from both of those playoff teams, along with junior Erika Ford.

After years of competing for WPIAL Class AAAA playoff berths and even reaching the state playoffs, Trinity struggled the past two cycles in the state's highest classification so this move comes at a good time for the Hillers. With six home games to start the season, senior Brianna Hollick will be counted on to lead a balanced group of contributors.

Class AA
Something unusual happened last year. The Prexies failed to win their section for the first time in nine years. This year, Washington figures to contend in Section 4 thanks to strong play of senior Aujuwa Moore, who can play in the post or run the offense if needed.

The Bearcats finished at the bottom of the section last year and lost three starters but, with nine returning letterwinners, improved play is the expectation. Several members of Bentworth's PIAA -qualifying softball team are on the roster, including Jessica Dorazio, who scored 11.5 ppg last year.

The Bulldogs lost O-R Player of the Year Megan Sowers to graduation and several key members from a team that won Section 5. Sharp-shooting guard Anna Shashura provides reliable scoring but is part of a group of five players who are seniors or juniors.

The Blue Devils missed out on their first WPIAL playoff appearance since 1998 by one game a year ago. With only two returning lettermen, Burgettstown fields the section's least experienced team but Melissa Phillis (10.5 ppg) and Sarah Bielecki are solid building blocks.

The Cougars finished third in Section 5 last year and return a pair of solid seniors in post player Morgan Iacovino and point guard Chaniece Tarpley. When Charleroi plays well, junior Shannon Flament usually has a good game.

The Raiders didn't win a game in Class AAA last year and have been in a down cycle for several years. A move to Class AA and first-year head coach John Van Meter could provide spark.

Class A
Fort Cherry
The youthful Rangers may have been a year ahead of schedule in 2010, as they claimed the team's first section title since 2005. That previous team made a run to the PIAA Class AA playoffs. These Rangers hope to do the same in Class A.
Led by junior forward Beka Bellhy (pictured) and WPIAL javelin champion Jessie Merckle, Fort Cherry brings back the majority of its talent from last year for veteran head coach Bob Miles. The Rangers are favored to win Section 3, which is loaded with young, competitive teams.
The Eagles finished 13-7 last year and qualified for the WPIAL playoffs for the ninth time in head coach Jim Matalik's 10 years. Year 11 could be a good one with 10 returning lettermen and four returning starters, including Amanda Temple (15.5 ppg) and Olivia English.

The Mikes have become a fixture in the WPIAL Class A playoffs, as they made their sixth consecutive appearance last year. With four starters back, making a run is this year's goal. Sophomores Morgan Berardi and Anna Cree are two of Section 3's top players.

Head coach Veronica Sansom engineered one of the area's better turnarounds in 2010 as she molded a youthful team, one with only one senior, into a group that made the Bucs' first playoff appearance since 2004. With athletes like sophomore guard Tori Foster, C-H has its eyes on a section championship.
Wendy Dickerson, the second leading scorer in Greene County last year, returns for her senior season and her presence could help the Maples improve on last year's two wins.

The Rockets made significant progress last year under first-year head coach Ellen Hildebrand. J-M won six games and return several key contributors, including Mariah Hildebrand.
West Greene
Jim Romanus returns for his 27h year as a head coach and his third season with the West Greene girls. All five starters return for the Pioneers, led by Cathy Mason - the team's lone senior.

Kristina Wagner and Morgan Moluski were a dynamic one-two punch for the Trojans but both graduated, leaving this WPIAL playoff qualifier in the capable hands of sophomore point guard Courtnee McMasters.

Last year, Monessen fielded an inexperienced roster and a new head coach in Gina Naccarato, though the former Greyhounds standout was hardly a stranger to the team as one of Major Corely's assistant coaches.
Monessen didn't miss a beat as the Greyhounds won Section 4 behind the strong play of Geena Schrader and Mariah Ward, who are both back and among the top players in Class A. The Greyhounds return all five starters from last year, a group that reached the WPIAL semifinals.

Boys basketball preseason watch list

Preseason Player of the Year
Mike Lamberti, South Fayette, Sr., F

Preseason all-stars
John Barker, Bentworth, Sr., G
Zach Barnes, Washington, Sr., F
Nate Bellhy, Fort Cherry, Sr., F
Kiontae Davis, Canon-McMillan, Sr., G
Tanner Huffman, California, Soph., G
Jaisen Irwin, Monessen, Jr., F
Tyler Pavan, Burgettstown, Sr., G
Pat Zedreck, South Fayette, Sr., G
Josh Valentic, Trinity, Sr., G
Joe Yamber, Avella, Jr., G/F

Watch out for
Brian Fisher, California, Soph., F
Brett Haney, Canon-McMillan, Soph., G
Josh Wise, Washington, Soph., F

Did you know?
Fort Cherry's Bellhy averaged 28.9 ppg as a junior, which ranked second in the WPIAL. Bellhy made a commitment to Division II Seton Hill this fall. ... Valentic, who averaged 22.3 last year, has 958 career points. Trinity's career scoring leader is Mike Deegan with 1,296 points. ... South Fayette, the reigning PIAA Class AA champions, can't defend the title because the Lions, along with Wash High, moved up to Section 5-AAA. ... Washington reached the PIAA Class AA quarterfinals (2010) and semifinals (2009) the past two seasons. ... Avella returns seven of its top eight players from last year.

Girls basketball preseason watch list

Preseason Player of the Year
Emily Hansen, Canon-McMillan, Sr., G

Preseason all-stars
Beka Bellhy, Fort Cherry, Jr., F
Morgan Berardi, Carmichaels, Soph., G
Morgan Iacovino, Charleroi, Sr., F
Lizzy King, South Fayette, Sr., G
Aujuwa Moore, Washington, Sr., F
Merissa Morgan, Peters Township, Jr., G
Anna Shashura, Beth-Center, Sr., G
Geena Shrader, Monessen, Sr., G
Amanda Temple, Avella, Sr., G/F
Mariah Ward, Monessen, Soph., G/F

Watch out for
Olivia English, Avella, Soph., G
Tori Foster, Chartiers-Houston, Soph., G
Breanna Hollick, Trinity, Sr., G
Jessie Merckle, Fort Cherry, Jr., G
Melissa Phillis, Burgettstown, Jr., G

Did you know?
Hansen, one of the top scorers in Class AAAA the past two seasons, is being recruited by Division II schools, including members of the WVIAC. ... Washington had its nine-year reign as champions of Section 5-AA snapped last year by Beth-Center. Section coaches believe the Prexies will again challenge for section supremacy but be pushed by Brownsville. ... Fort Cherry and Monessen played last year in the WPIAL Class A quarterfinals, a game won by the Greyhounds. Both teams return the majority of those rosters making the Rangers the favorite to win Section 3 and Monessen the pick in Section 4. ... Fort Cherry and Monessen should be strong, but so should several other Class A teams. Carmichaels returns four starters. So does Chartiers-Houston and Avella.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Patriot-News Pennsylvania football rankings

Pennsylvania high school football rankings from The Patriot-News of Harrisburg for the week of Tuesday, Dec. 7, with school’s district in parentheses, followed by the school’s record and last week’s ranking. NR means not ranked. Honorable mention teams listed alphabetically. (P-PIAA champion.)

Team Rec Pvs
1. La Salle College HS(P) (12) 12-1 1
2. North Allegheny (7) 13-1 2
3. North Penn (1) 13-1 3
4. Cumberland Valley (3) 12-2 4
5. Pittsburgh C.C. (7) 11-1 8
6. Woodland Hills (7) 9-4 7
7. Easton (11) 12-3 5
8. Council Rock South (1) 11-2 9
9. North Hills (7) 10-2 10
10. Neshaminy (7) 12-2 6
Honorable mention
Bayard Rustin (1) 11-2, Central Dauphin (3) 10-3, Harrisburg (3) 9-3, Mount Lebanon (7) 10-1, Ridley (1) 10-1, Whitehall (11), 10-3, Wilson (3) 11-1.

Team Rec Pvs
1. Allentown C.C. (11) 14-0 1
2. Archbishop Wood (12) 13-0 2
3. Bishop McDevitt (3) 12-2 3
4. Cardinal O’Hara (12) 9-2 5
5. Cathedral Prep (10) 9-4 7
6. Central Valley (7) 10-4 4
7. Strath Haven (1) 12-2 8
8. Montour (7) 12-1 9
9. Grove City (10) 11-1 10
10. Clearfield (9) 13-1 6
Honorable mention
Abington Heights (2) 12-1, Cocalico (3) 8-6, Lampeter-Strasburg (3) 11-2, Mars (7) 10-2, Pottsgrove (1) 10-3, Shikellamy (4) 9-4, Thomas Jefferson (7) 10-2.

Team Rec Pvs
1. South Fayette (7) 14-0 1
2. West Catholic (12) 11-2 2
3. Forest Hills (6) 13-1 4
4. Lewisburg (4) 14-0 7
5. Aliquippa (7) 12-1 5
6. Sharon (10) 11-3 8
7. Northern Lehigh (11) 13-1 3
8. Trinity (3) 12-2 6
9. Danville (4) 12-1 10
10. Brockway (9) 12-1 9
Honorable mention
Beaver Falls (7) 10-2, Ford City (7) 11-1, Lancaster Catholic(P) (3) 11-1, North Schuylkill (11) 11-1, Tyrone (6) 12-1, Wyomissing (3) 9-4.

Team Rec Pvs
1. Clairton(P) (7) 14-0 1
2. Riverside (2) 13-1 3
3. Farrell (10) 13-1 2
4. Rochester (7) 12-1 5
5. Bishop Carroll (6) 11-2 6
6. Mercyhurst Prep (10) 12-1 8
7. Schuylkill Haven (11) 11-3 4
8. Southern Columbia (4) 10-3 10
9. Dunmore (2) 7-5 NR
10. Holy Name (3) 11-2 7
Honorable mention
Bellwood-Antis (6) 8-2, Bishop McCort (6) 8-5, Curwensville (9) 11-2, Line Mountain (4) 10-2, North Star (5) 9-4, Sharpsville (10) 10-2, Springdale (7) 10-2.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Brumbaugh close to breaking two more WPIAL records

As South Fayette piles up points and advances through the postseason, quarterback Christian Brumbaugh is making WPIAL history.

In the Lions' 62-28 victory over Brockway - SF has scored 117 in two playoff games at West Allegheny - in the PIAA Class AA quarterfinals, Brumbaugh set a new WPIAL standard for career touchdown passes. Entering the semifinals against Forest Hills (District 6), Brumbaugh has 80 touchdown passes.

Adam DiMichele threw 76 touchdown passes at Sto-Rox from 200-03.

The 80 TDs rank eighth in PIAA history behind Kyle Smith of Lancaster Catholic (118), Derek Buganza of Brockway (95) - Brumbaugh's quarterback counterpart Friday night, current Pitt quarterback Pat Bostick of Manheim Township (94), Evan Kraky of Lakeland (93), Dan Kendra of Bethlehem Catholic (91), Tyler Smith of Wilson Area (87) and Brett Gordon of La Salle (84).

With his 380 passing yards during a ridiculous 22 of 26 performance in a snowstorm against Brockway, Brumbaugh only needs 51 yards to eclipse DiMichele's WPIAL career passing mark of 6,741 yards. The 380 passing yards is a single-game PIAA playoff record and his five touchdowns tied the single-game record.

Brumbaugh has 6,691 career yards, second in WPIAL history - a place formerly occupied by South Fayette quarterback Andrew DiDonato, who threw for 6,573 yards from 2002-05. His 3,253 yards this season is just 57 shy of former Seton-La Salle quarterback Bill Stull, who passed for 3,310 in 2004.

Brumbaugh ranks 14th in PIAA history in passing yards. Should South Fayette reach the PIAA championship and Brumbaugh gets two more starts, he could climb well into the top 10.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Peters Township opens all fall positions

In a baffling move, Peters Township has opened all fall sports varsity coaching positions.

Every Peters Township fall sports program qualified for the WPIAL playoffs, from cross country to girls volleyball. Several teams added to the school's already overflowing trophy case. The extraordinary success of Peters Township's sports teams has made it one of the state's top athletic programs.

Girls soccer won WPIAL and PIAA titles. Head coach Pat Vereb transformed the team from one that had sparkling regular season records but little postseason success into an annual title contender.

Boys soccer won its seventh WPIAL title. Head coach Bob Dyer, a former standout player at Peters Township, has had an incredibly successful second stint as head coach. The Indians have won one PIAA title, played in two state championships, won two WPIAL titles and played for three more. In only one year since Dyer returned has PT not played for a WPIAL championship.

Boys golf won the WPIAL for the third time and finished second in the state. Head coach David Kuhn has turned the team from an afterthought to one that sends golfers to Division I teams and is always considered among the best in Western Pennsylvania.

In recent years, girls tennis won two state championships, the last coming in 2009 and a string of WPIAL and PIAA medals under head coach Brandt Bowman. He's also helped several players land at Division I programs and even had the distinction of coaching a rising pro player (Alison Riske) for one year.

Read the Observer-Reporter for updates on this developing story.

McMurray PA 15317



Cross Country Head Coach
Field Hockey Head Coach
Football Head Coach
Golf Boys Head Coach
Golf Girls Head Coach
Soccer Boys Head Coach
Soccer Girls Head Coach
Tennis Girls Head Coach
Volleyball Girls Head Coach

The opening of the head coaching positions automatically opens all 7-12 coaching positions. These positions will be posted in January and filled based upon the head coach’s recommendation, along with the recommendation of the Director of Sport Programs & Activities and Building Principal.



Any interested staff member may submit his/her qualifications for fair consideration to fill the above vacancies. Submission of qualifications must be directed in writing to the Director of Sports Programs & Activities and Building Principal.

December 3, 2010 January 4, 2011


HIGH SCHOOL _____________ BGT/MAINTENACE ____________
MIDDLE SCHOOL___________ DAO_________________________

MCMURRAY _______________ UNION REPRESENTIVE ________


Peters Township is an equal opportunity education institute and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex and handicap in its activities, programs, or employment practices as required by Title VI, Title IX, and Section 504.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Coach portrayed in "The Blind Side" lands college job

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) — Hugh Freeze, the high school coach portrayed in the blockbuster movie “The Blind Side,” has been elevated to top job at Arkansas State.
Freeze replaces Steve Roberts, who announced his resignation on Monday. Freeze served as Arkansas State’s offensive coordinator for one season before becoming the head coach.
A longtime preps coach in Memphis, Tenn., Freeze gained notoriety when the book and movie “The Blind Side” came out, chronicling Michael Oher’s rise from poverty to first-round draft pick by the Baltimore Ravens. Freeze coached the offensive tackle in high school.
Thursday’s announcement gives Freeze his first head coaching job on the FBS level. He was an assistant at Ole Miss and was head coach for two years at NAIA Lambuth (Tenn.) College.

Peters Township opens football position

Peters Township qualified for the WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs for the first time this fall, which happened to be the Indians' first postseason appearance since 2003.

Apparently, that wasn't enough for head coach Nick Milchovich to hold on to his position. The Observer-Reporter has learned that Milchovich was informed Thursday that the job would be opened externally.

That means Peters Township will look for coaching candidates outside the school district.

A graduate of Charleroi High School, Milchovich led Peters Township to a 5-5 record and a first-round loss to WPIAL champion North Allegheny. He coached Peters Township for four years and replaced Keith Hartbauer. Milchovich was also a head coach at California and Charleroi.