Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A look back at the football season

Four teams - Ringgold, Washington, South Fayette and Fort Cherry - advanced past the first round of the WPIAL football playoffs.

Considering the relative lack of postseason success - South Fayette's championship run last year withstanding - the past decade, four wins for local teams in the opening round is actually a respectable number.

None advanced past the second round.

All face differing landscapes for 2012.

Washington has the most reason to be excited for next year. If the Prexies remain in the Century Conference, they could be the preseason favorite with the returning talent.

Two of Washington's top players, Eric Ellis and Joe Phillips, will be playing college football next year, but a number of others return.

Shai McKenzie had a breakout sophomore season, and the tailback produced numbers reminiscent of Charleroi's Quentin Briggs second varsity season. If McKenzie remains healthy, he's on his way to an outstanding varsity career.

Expect Jaylin Kelly to put together a big-time senior season. Josh Wise returns at quarterback, and he made significant strides this year on the field and as a leader. Daron Whitaker, a nice change of pace back to offset the punishing styles of Kelly and McKenzie, normally gets a first down every time he carries the football.

The key for Washington will be finding replacements along the defensive line, where Ellis, Phillips were often dominant. Rikwon Moore returns, and his play could hold the key for Wash High's defense. Then again, a defensive backfield prone to allowing the occasional big play could be key.

Washington is young, but so is WPIAL champion Aliquippa. In the WPIAL quarterfinals, the Quips controlled play along the offensive and defensive lines in a dominating performance.

* Reason for optimisism also abounds at South Fayette.

The Lions proved they're more than a one-group program with a first-round win at Beaver Falls - with a freshman starting at quarterback - and a tough quarterfinal game against Seton-La Salle.

Zach Challingsworth is a talented two-way player. Brett Brumbaugh showed he had an accurate arm as the Lions went 2-1 with him as starting quarterback.

At some point, South Fayette will end up in Class AAA. Like Peters Township, it's a popular destination for relocating families.

* Not sure any team endured as many injuries along the offensive line as Ringgold. And considering that group primarily consisted of untested varsity players entering the season, the Rams' 8-3 record indicates strong performances by many.

It should be interesting to see what type of offense the Rams run in 2012.

The past two years, everything was geared toward the dynamic abilities of quarterback Quad Law. Could brother Nico Law take over and run a similar offense? Could talented Demetrius Louis move behind center in the shotgun formation and Ringgold run more of a wildcat-type offense? Could Chris Spahr run the offense and utilize some talented receivers, like Joey Wall?

No matter the offense, if Ringgold remains in the Keystone Conference, it should remain in playoff contention.

* Sticking with Class AAA for one second, it's my belief that Central Valley's Robert Foster is the top WPIAL prospect since Terrelle Pryor. I know, I know ... Rushel Shell is considered one of the top high school running backs to play in the WPIAL since Brian Davis.

But when I see Foster play, I see a player who could assimilate himself into a top-notch SEC program and contribute quickly.

* Of the four teams to win a playoff game, none will have a newer look than Fort Cherry.

Tanner Garry, Corey Garry and Ryan Babirad are seniors and accounted for a bulk of the offense and point production. Tanner Garry played so much quarterback the past few seasons, I'm not even sure who is primary backup was.

The up-and-down Rangers were always tough to predict, but they clearly played better once the run became a more prevalent part of the offense.

With Zak Dysert, Tyreke Brown and Koltan Kobrys, the Rangers still have talented pass catchers.

* If the Observer-Reporter Player of the Year were handled like the Heisman Trophy, the five finalists invited to the award presentation would be Peters Township's Andrew Erenberg, Law, Ellis, Garry and Beth-Center's Sal Faieta.

* Here's guessing that Erenberg and Waynesburg's Nick Zupper enjoyed the first week or two of the offseason.

Those tailbacks carried the offensive workloads for their respective teams unlike any other players in the area. Erenberg and Zupper each started on defense.

* If I had a vote for the Tri-County Athletic Directors' Association Football Coach of the Year, which I do, there are several candidates to consider.

Right now, I'd say my first-place vote goes to Washington's Mike Bosnic.

* Thought a couple of the area's better coaching jobs were done by Trinity's Ed Dalton and Waynesburg's Joe Kuhns.

Trinity suffered injuries to its top two running backs, implemented a new offense, then scraped it and faced the difficult task of coaching a Class AAA roster with barely enough coaches for a roster the size of Avella's. The Hillers didn't make the playoffs, but that shouldn't be the barometer for an outstanding coaching job at the high school level.

Kuhns always seems to get the most of his talent. At Waynesburg, there hasn't been a lot of talent on the football field in recent years, but the Raiders contended for a playoff spot until a Week 8 loss to Mt. Pleasant.

* WPIAL realignment will happen soon, but I expect more changes on the coaching front than in new conferences for local teams.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Picking the winners, WPIAL finals

Football teaches valuable life lessons.

One, don't take four sacks during the final minutes of a game like Tino Sunseri did during the 104th Backyard Brawl.

Two, stick to your guns.

When the WPIAL playoff pairings were released, this fearless prognosticator picked a WPIAL Class AAAA championship game of Upper St. Clair and North Allegheny. At the time, of course, USC quarterback/linebacker/Pitt recruit Dakota Conwell was healthy.

With Conwell's injury going into the semifinals against Pittsburgh Central Catholic, the pick changed. PCC was the choice. USC won, 28-14.

Not making the same mistake.

Upper St. Clair wins, 27-21.

Last week, I went 5-3 to make my overall mark 47-9.

Class AAA
Montour over Knoch

Class AA
Aliquippa over Jeannette

Class A
Clairton over Sto-Rox

Friday, November 25, 2011

Twitter Thanksgiving break edition

Topics ranging from the Backyard Brawl to Peters Township girls soccer - the first WPIAL soccer team to win consecutive PIAA girls championships.

Luke Snatchko, DJ extraordinaire/Burgettstown sports guru
Nov. 25
"Has the Backyard Brawl ever meant less to you. Used to wait all year to beat those toothless hicks. Now, not so much."

Corey Garry, Fort Cherry wrestling
Nov. 25
"9 AM wrestling practice. #ThingsIDontLike"

Ralph Cindrich, Avella proud sports agent
Nov. 25
"Someone should tell Suh to retain Sandusky's attorney or...just close it. It's there for all to see. Good morning."

Aaron Thomspon, Waynesburg U student
Nov. 23
"Some WVU fan just tried trash talking my mom but she turned it back on them. #love #tasteit #backyardbrawl"

Ed Dalton, Trinity football coach
Nov. 19
"Urban Meyer will do serious damage in the Big 10 with Braxton Miller write that down."
Followed one day later by ...
"Write this down Bob Stoops next Ohio State Coach"
Waiting for Dalton to tell followers to write down the return of Walt Harris as Ohio State's next football coach.

Tweets from Peters Township girls soccer
Megan Parker, PT goalie
Nov. 19
"STATE CHAMPIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! #twoinarow #hellyeaaahhh"

Taylor Daerr, unable to play senior season because of concussion
"What up gold medal!"

Peters Township High School Soccer
Nov. 20
"Let's see, Lady Indians become 1st WPIAL girls team to win states back-2-back, Sid is coming back & it's Thanksgiving week. Life is good!"

Pat Vereb, head coach
Nov. 24
"Peters girls soccer kick better than Suh. What a fool."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Jefferson-Morgan opens football coaching position

There have been a few consistents in WPIAL football the past two decades.

Aliquippa contends for the Class AA championship.

The Class AAAA team believed to have the most talent rarely wins the title.

Teams feel slighted after the playoffs pairings meeting.

Chuck Wagner coached at Springdale.

And, until Monday evening, Jan Haiden coached at Jefferson-Morgan High School.

In news less publicized than Wagner's retiring after 50 years of coaching football at Spirngdale, but a surprising move nonetheless, the Jefferson-Morgan School Board voted to open the varsity football coaching position during Monday's meeting. For the past 20 years, Haiden held that job. Haiden guided J-M to a 4-5 record in 2011, and a 4-4 mark in the Tri-County South Conference.
A Beth-Center graduate, Haiden's career record is 96-99-1.

Well-respected in the local coaching community, Haiden rarely had the most talent to work with in the Tri-County South, but his teams were always tough and competitive. In 2006, Jefferson-Morgan reached the WPIAL Class A semifinals, where it nearly upended Rochester. The Rockets beat Fort Cherry during that postseason run, and raised eyebrows when they defeated Duquesne in the quarterfinals. It was the final football game in Duquesne High School's history.

With the opening, Jefferson-Morgan is the second school in Greene County without a football coach. At Waynesburg, Joe Kuhns resigned last month.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Twitter Thursday on Friday afternoon

For Tyler Palko aficionados, Twitter provided some great #PalkoFacts the past week. Palko – the former West Allegheny and Pitt quarterback – will start for Kansas City this weekend against New England.

The following were a few of my favorite "Palko facts" on Twitter the past week.

"Kansas City had their hearts set on moving the #Pens there until they found out Tyler Palko was available."

"After Tyler Palko was born, he drove his mother home from the hospital."

"The Pirates announced a Tyler Palko bobblehead day."

"Joe Flacco didn't transfer to Delaware. That's where he landed when Tyler Palko threw him."

"Tyler Palko taught Attorney Edgar Snyder his pointing motion."

"Palko was playing for Long Beach State."

"BREAKING: Matt Cassell announces he intends to transfer."

"John Harbaugh once made Joe Flacco cry by threatening to sign Tyler Palko."

Now, on to some local tweets.

Andrew Erenberg, Peters Township football/Fordham recruit
Nov. 16
"Can rushel shell play basketball for Pitt too?"

Eric Ellis, Washington football
Nov. 11
"Ready for dem quips #letsbang"

Justice Rawlins, Monessen football
Nov. 17
"Basketball season for most but baseball season for this kid, well I'm gunna try"
Note: Rawlins suffered a season-ending knee injury during football season.

Joe Graziani, Canon-McMillan football
Nov. 15
"Peyton Hillis and Clay Mathews are the biggest white men I have ever seen."

Tanner Garry, Fort Cherry football
Nov. 13
"Next goal, Observer-Reporter player of the year. #ihope"

Trey Wingo, ESPN
Nov. 13
"Gene Steratore, just another hard working nose bleeding bicep building NFL referee"
Steratore is a Washington County resident

Tweet of the Week
Peters Township Soccer
Nov. 15
"Lady Indians must have a sweet tooth 'cause they're going back to Hershey! 1-0 PT! Terrific game, great win!"

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Picking the winner, WPIAL semifinals

After a strong first week, kept things rolling in the quarterfinals with a 14-2 record. That improves the overall mark to 42-6.

As Deuce Skurcenski, whom I spoke with on the phone this evening, would say, "Not too shabby."

Class AAAA
North Allegheny over Gateway
Pittsburgh Central Catholic over Upper St. Clair

Class AAA
Central Valley over Montour
Franklin Regional over Knoch

Class AA
Aliquippa over Greensburg Central Catholic
Seton-La Salle over Jeannette

Class A
Clairton over Rochester
Sto-Rox over Bishop Canevin

A few tweets have been compiled for Twitter Thursday, but scanning for a few more. Should be up tomorrow. My apologies.

Trinity tables motions

The Trinity Area School Board voted 5-4 to table motions to open head coaching positions for varsity football, softball and volleyball.

Ed Dalton is Trinity's football coach. Bill Loar is softball coach. Gretchen Mountain is volleyball coach.

All three coaches were told Tuesday by athletic director Bobby Jones that their positions would be opened during Thursday's school board meeting.

For more information, please read Friday's Observer-Reporter.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Trinity to open Dalton's position; Bentworth hires football coach

The Trinity Area School Board will open the head varsity football coaching position held by Ed Dalton.

Dalton, who has coached football at Trinity since 1999, was informed Tuesday by athletic director Bobby Jones of the action.

The Hillers went 5-4 this fall, and finished tied with Chartiers Valley and Belle Vernon for third place in the Big Eight Conference but missed the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs via head-to-head tiebreakers with both teams. It snapped a six-year playoff streak for Trinity.

For more information, please read Thursday's Observer-Reporter.

* Bentworth didn't wait long to fill its vacant football position.

Less than three weeks after Lou Rood resigned following three difficult seasons, the school district hired Bob Niziol as its varsity football coach. Niziol served as one of Rood's assistants and works in the school district.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesday notebook

Blogger's note: Final thoughts on the local 2011 football season are being formulated and will appear soon.

Two of the area's premier high school baseball players - Nick Riotto and Stephen McCaw - recently made commitments to college programs.

Riotto, a junior from Trinity, will play at Penn State. McCaw, a senior from Waynesburg, will play for Mercyhurst.

Riotto burst onto the high school scene as a freshman with a .500-plus batting average and big-time numbers. The lefty landed a spot on the Observer-Reporter All-District team that year. His batting average dipped during his sophomore season as Trinity missed the playoffs, but Riotto continued to play well in fall and summer leagues.

McCaw was the leading hitter for a Waynesburg team that reached the WPIAL Class AA championship last season, and a standout defensive catcher. He earned WPIAL Class AA Player of the Year honors.

* The Peters Township girls soccer team is one win from reaching the PIAA Class AAA championship for the third time in four years.

That's extraordinary.

Peters Township plays Upper St. Clair in tonight's semifinals. The two split a pair of games, with PT winning during the regular season and USC winning in the WPIAL championship match.

There's no doubt that Peters Township is the WPIAL's premier athletic power in what can be labeled as "non-revenue" sports.

What's the Indians' best fall program?

Over time, it's been boys soccer. Lately, girls soccer, girls tennis and boys golf has joined the conversation.

* Avella's difficulties filling a football roster with able bodies is well-documented. That wasn't always the case at the tiny school in the Western foothills of Washington County.

Avella will host Burgettstown Sunday in an Alumni Football USA event. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. and, with the Steelers on a bye week, a crowd of at least 1,000 is expected.

Players from the 1980s, 90s and 2000s will suit up for the Eagles, who have a roster of 45 players. That's about three times larger than the numbers of players head coach Ryan Cecchini, who will start at linebacker, had for the Eagles' regular season finale at Bentworth.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Observer-Reporter WPIAL football rankings

Class AAAA
1. Pittsburgh Central Catholic 11-0
2. North Allegheny 11-0
3. Upper St. Clair 10-1
4. Gateway 9-2

Class AAA
1. Central Valley 11-0
2. Franklin Regional 11-0
3. Knoch 11-0
4. Montour 9-2

Class AA
1. Aliquippa 11-0
2. Seton-La Salle 11-0
3. Jeannette 11-0
4. Greensburg Central Catholic 10-1

Class A
1. Clairton 11-0
2. Sto-Rox 11-0
3. Bishop Canevin 11-0
4. Rochester 10-1

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Twitter Thursday

Penn State football has dominated headlines. With all the local connections to the program, Twitter Thursday features tweets concerning the program.

Mike Yancich, Penn State linebacker/Trinity grad
Nov. 8
"In spite of all the recent events, my heart still swells with #pennstatepride. #WeStillAre Penn State."
Nov. 9
"So proud to say that I played for the best/winningest coach in college football history... #WeAre"
Nov. 9
"Watching Joe announce his retirement was pretty emotional..It's tough to see him go out like this.. #WeWillAlwaysBe Penn State."

Nick Riotto, Trinity baseball who recently committed to Penn State baseball
"#pennstate will be penn state in the end, one messed up guy cant ruin a place like #happyvalley"

Ryan Dupain, Burgettstown football
Nov. 8
"I can't find it in me to support Paterno. #IwishIcouldfindsomegoodinthis but there is none. It's absolutely ludicrous and disgusting."

Josh Wise, Washington football
Nov. 9
"Damn shame that penn state is losing the best thing to ever happen to the university! smh thank you joe pa for everything you've done!!!!"

Pat Zedreck, Clarion U basketball/South Fayette grad
Nov. 10
"I dont agree with all the allegations but after 61 years, don't u think the guy has earned at least 1 last home game to say goodbye?"

Doug Wilson, Canon-McMillan basketball
Nov. 10
"Don't feel bad for Joe paterno he's had his life, feel bad for the victims because they may never have one"

Follow me on Twitter @TheMikeKovak.

Picking the winners, WPIAL football quarterfinals

Put together a solid 28-4 record in the first round, including an 8-0 mark in Class AAA.

Class AAAA
North Allegheny over Seneca Valley
Gateway over Penn-Trafford
Pittsburgh Central Catholic over Mt. Lebanon
Upper St. Clair over Erie McDowell

Class AAA
Central Valley over Ringgold
Montour over West Mifflin
Franklin Regional over Hopewell
Knoch over Thomas Jefferson

Class AA
Washington over Aliquippa
Greensburg Central Catholic over Ellwood City
Jeannette over Shady Side Academy
Seton-La Salle over South Fayette

Class A
Clairton over Springdale
Rochester over Avonworth
Sto-Rox over Brentwood
Fort Cherry over Bishop Canevin

Follow me on Twitter @TheMikeKovak.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

State football rankings

Pennsylvania high school football rankings from The Patriot-News of Harrisburg for the week of Tuesday, Nov. 8, 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)-2010 PIAA champion.

Team Rec Pvs
1. Pittsburgh C.C. (7) 10-0 1
2. North Allegheny (P) (7) 10-0 2
3. LaSalle College HS (12) 9-1 3
4. Upper St. Clair (7) 9-1 4
5. North Penn (1) 8-2 5
6. Penn-Trafford (7) 10-0 6
7. Gateway (7) 8-2 7
8. Council Rock South (1) 9-1 9
9. Nazareth (11) 9-1 10
10. Central Dauphin (3) 9-1 NR
Teams to watch
Abington (1) 9-1, Bayard Rustin (1) 9-1, Cumberland Valley (3) 9-1, Downingtown East (1) 8-2, Parkland (11) 8-2, Plymouth-Whitemarsh (1) 8-1, West Chester Henderson (1) 8-2, Wilson (3) 9-1.

Team Rec Pvs
1. Archbishop Wood (12) 9-1 1
2. Central Valley (7) 10-0 2
3. Grove City (10) 9-0 3
4. Bishop McDevitt (3) 8-2 4
5. Montour (7) 8-2 5
6. Cathedral Prep (10) 8-2 6
7. Franklin Regional (7) 10-0 7
8. Hopewell (7) 7-3 8
9. Knoch (7) 10-0 9
10. Valley View (2) 9-1 10
Teams to watch
Clearfield (9) 9-1, Dallas (2) 9-1, Greater Johnstown (6) 9-1, Lampeter-Strasburg (3) 9-1, Thomas Jefferson (7) 7-3, West Mifflin (7) 9-1.

Team Rec Pvs
1. Aliquippa (7) 10-0 1
2. Lancaster Catholic (3) 10-0 2
3. West Catholic (P) (12) 7-3 3
4. North Schuylkill (11) 10-0 4
5. Seton-La Salle (7) 10-0 5
6. Mount Carmel (4) 9-1 6
7. Lewisburg (4) 8-2 7
8. Trinity (3) 8-2 8
9. Jeannette (7) 10-0 9
10. Greensburg C.C. (7) 9-1 10
Teams to watch
Forest Hills (6) 8-2, Hickory (10) 8-1, Northern Lehigh (11) 9-1, Pen Argyl (11) 10-0, Pine Grove (11) 9-1, Wilkes-Barre GAR (2) 9-1, Wilmington (10) 9-1.

Team Rec Pvs
1. Clairton (P) (7) 10-0 1
2. Southern Columbia (4) 9-1 2
3. Sto-Rox (7) 10-0 3
4. Dunmore (2) 10-0 4
5. Rochester (7) 9-1 5
6. Bishop Canevin (7) 10-0 6
7. Pius X (11) 9-1 7
8. Line Mountain (4) 9-1 8
9. Sharpsville (10) 9-0 9
10. Avonworth (7) 9-1 10
Teams to watch
Bellwood-Antis (6) 8-1, Brentwood (7) 9-1, Fort Cherry (7) 7-3, Mercer (10) 7-2, Mercyhurst Prep (10) 9-1, Minersville (4) 9-1, Penns Manor (6) 8-1, Youngsville (10) 10-0.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sites set for WPIAL quarterfinals

A pair of teams from Washington County (Ringgold and Washington) face top seeds. Two schools with a McDonald mailing address (Fort Cherry and South Fayette) are No. 11 seeds that scored first-round victories.

All WPIAL quarterfinal games are Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Class AAA
No. 8 Ringgold (8-2) vs. No. 1 Central Valley (10-0) at West Allegheny

Class AA
No. 8 Washington (8-2) vs. No. 1 Aliquippa (10-0) at Chartiers Valley
No. 11 South Fayette (7-3) vs. No. 3 Seton-La Salle (10-0) at Peters Township

Class A
No. 11 Fort Cherry (7-3) vs. No. 3 Bishop Canevin (10-0) at Chartiers-Houston

For complete WPIAL football brackets, please click here.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A few thoughts from the first round

The cliche has a few variations, but it goes a little something like this, "Big-time players make big plays in big games."

Over the last two weeks, no player from the Observer-Reporter coverage area has made more plays than Fort Cherry senior Tanner Garry.

And there's been plenty of competition.

Garry has been the best football player on the field in Fort Cherry victories at Chartiers-Houston and at Beth-Center. The latter made Fort Cherry the third-place team in the Black Hills Conference, which represented itself well in the first round of the WPIAL Class A playoffs. The latter came in the first round.

Need big-time completions? Garry has thrown for 400 yards the past two games, and three touchdowns (all against Beth-Center).

Looking for a quarterback who can break the big run? Garry has rushed for more than 330 yards and five touchdowns against a pair of defenses that stuffed the run for most of the season.

He's even intercepted a couple passes.

Thanks, in part, to Garry's play, Fort Cherry (7-3) finds itself in the quarterfinals against Bishop Canevin (10-0), which rallied for a 10-point deficit in the second half to beat Chartiers-Houston.

Fort Cherry suddenly looks like a team capable of making a postseason run. Garry is playing the best football of his career, the Rangers run defense is punishing, as is the offensive line. And Garry has catapulted himself into the Player of the Year picture.

* There's little doubt that Aliquippa deserves the No. 1 ranking in WPIAL Class AA and the top seed in the playoffs.

After Beaver and Beaver Falls made an early exit from the playoffs, anyone else wondering if the Quips didn't face much competition during the regular season?

* Zach Challingsworth may be one of the more under-appreciated players in Class AA.

The South Fayette junior caught a pair of touchdowns in the Lions' first-round win at Beaver Falls and helped a defensive effort that forced five turnovers, which helped the 11th seed advance.

He's a consistent presence, and has been since the beginning of his sophomore season.

* If you're South Fayette head coach Joe Rossi, what do you do if senior quarterback John Lerda is healthy enough to play against Seton-La Salle in the quarterfinals?

Lerda was a 1,000-yard passer before missing the last two games. His replacement, freshman Brett Brumbaugh, is 2-0. He's completed 27 of 36 passes in those games, though Beaver Falls did force him into four interceptions.

* Washington senior Eric Ellis is having the type of season that lands a player on the all-state team.

Ellis, a defensive end, has a single-season Prexies record 18 sacks . He had 3 1/2 against Mt. Pleasant. Ellis has also been in on a handful of turnovers, recovering fumbles throughout the season and even an interception against the Vikings.

* Unless you're Clairton or Aliquippa or Pittsburgh Central Catholic, winning in the postseason can be difficult.

It's particularly tough when you're a program without a postseason win since 1999.

But Ringgold broke a seven-game postseason skid with a 14-10 win against Highlands at Joe Montana Stadium. Highlands deserves credit for the defensive job it did against Ringgold's run game, but Quad Law made a couple big plays passing to help the Rams advance.

Learning how to win in the postseason is a big step.

Observer-Reporter WPIAL football rankings

Class AAAA
1. Pittsburgh C.C. 10-0
2. North Allegheny 10-0
3. Upper St. Clair 9-1
4. Penn-Trafford 10-0
5. Gateway 8-2
6. Erie McDowell 8-2
7. Seneca Valley 8-2
8. Mt. Lebanon 7-3

Class AAA
1. Central Valley 10-0
2. Franklin Regional 10-0
3. Knoch 10-0
4. Montour 8-2
5. West Mifflin 9-1
6. Hopewell 7-3
7. Ringgold 8-2
8. Thomas Jefferson 7-3

Class AA
1. Aliquippa 10-0
2. Seton-La Salle 10-0
3. Jeannette 10-0
4. Greensburg C.C. 9-1
5. Washington 8-2
6. South Fayette 7-3
7. Ellwood City 7-3
8. Shady Side Academy 8-2

Class A
1. Clairton 10-0
2. Sto-Rox 10-0
3. Bishop Canevin 10-0
4. Rochester 9-1
5. Avonworth 9-1
6. Brentwood 9-1
7. Fort Cherry 7-3
8. Springdale 8-2

Conference breakdown

The first round of the WPIAL playoffs proved the conferences believed to be superior are superior.

The won-loss records for conferences.

Class AAAA
Northern Seven 3-1
Greater Southern 2-2
Foothills 2-2
Big East 1-3

Class AAA
Parkway 3-1
Keystone 2-2
Big Eight 2-2
Greater Allegheny 1-3

Class AA
Century 3-1
Midwestern 2-2
Interstate 2-2
Allegheny 1-3

Class A
Black Hills 3-1
Eastern 3-1
Big Seven 2-2
Tri-County South 0-4

Friday, November 4, 2011

Picking the winners, WPIAL football playoffs

Class AAAA
North Allegheny over Fox Chapel, Seneca Valley over Penn Hills, Penn-Trafford over Bethel Park, Gateway over Shaler, Pittsburgh Central Catholic over Peters Township, Woodland Hills over Mt. Lebanon, Upper St. Clair over Connellsville, Erie McDowell over McKeesport

Class AAA
Central Valley over Laurel Highlands, Ringgold over Highlands, West Mifflin over Mars, Montour over Chartiers Valley, Franklin Regional over Belle Vernon, Hopewell over Indiana, Knoch over West Allegheny, Thomas Jefferson over Greensburg-Salem

Class AA
Aliquippa over Steel Valley, Washington over Mt. Pleasant, Ellwood City over Freeport, Greensburg Central Catholic over Ford City, Jeannette over Burrell, Beaver over Shady Side Academy, Seton-La Salle over East Allegheny, South Fayette over Beaver Falls

Class A
Clairton over Cornell, Springdale over Monessen, Rochester over Northgate, Avonworth over California, Sto-Rox over Frazier, Brentwood over Western Beaver, Bishop Canevin over Chartiers-Houston, Beth-Center over Fort Cherry

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Twitter Thursday

Thinking about renaming this "High school students say the darndest things."

Mike Beveridge, Ringgold football
Oct. 28
"Time flies. My three years of varsity football is about to be over. Time to make the most of what's left.... #seniornight"

Casey Guernsey, Char-Houston volleyball
Nov. 2
"someone tweet something funny so i can put you in the school newspaper"

Jason Van Kirk, Trinity football
Nov. 2
"Bobby Jones sighting before 12? What's going on!"

Andrew Sweat, Ohio State linebacker/Trinity grad
Nov. 2
"Just saw a rat under my car #scared"

Chavas Rawlins, Monessen football
Nov. 3
"Pumped for the game tomorrow, super pumped for my visit on Saturday. #playoffs #hailtopitt"

Quad Law, Ringgold football
Nov. 3
"@C_DoesitAll_3 yes it is!! My ankle feels soo good!!!!"

Tweet of the Week
Matt Venanzi, Peters Township soccer
Nov. 1
"Imma hit up this night like its my last"
Venanzi later scored a game-tying goal with 1.1 seconds remaining in the Indians' WPIAL Class AAA semifinal against Pittsburgh Central Catholic. PT went on to win in a shootout, 2-1. Venanzi scored in that too.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Two area football coaches resign

Waynesburg High School and Bentworth will begin searches for new head football coaches following the resignations of Joe Kuhns and Lou Rood.

Kuhns confirmed Wednesday via email that he resigned as the football coach at Waynesburg following a 3-6 season. The Raiders remaining in WPIAL Class AA playoff contention until a loss at Mt. Pleasant in Week 8 of the regular season.

Rood adopted the task of rebuilding Bentworth football. The Bearcats struggled but broke a 20-game losing streak with a win against Avella Friday night.

Check Thursday's Observer-Reporter for more details.

* In other coaching news, Peters Township athletic director Brian Geyer said the district plans to hire a softball coach at its November meeting.

WPIAL Class A playoffs preview

Top seeds: 1. Clairton (9-0), 2. Sto-Rox (9-0), 3. Bishop Canevin (9-0), 4. Rochester (8-1)
Defending champion: Clairton
Best first-round game: No. 11 Fort Cherry at No. 6 Beth-Center
Sleeper: Winner of Fort Cherry/Beth-Center game
Players to watch: Sal Faieta (Beth-Center) pictured, Jake Sofran (Beth-Center), Tanner Garry (Fort Cherry), Ryan Babirad (Fort Cherry), Daniel Lis (Chartiers-Houston), Javone Hairston (Chartiers-Houston), Chavas Rawlins (Monessen), Jalen Madison (Monessen), T.D. Conway (California), Skyler Dickinson (California), Jon Girvin (Northgate), Rock Vargo (Frazier), Lenny Williams (Sto-Rox), Deaysean Rippy (Sto-Rox), Mike Giampole (Avonworth), Capri Thompson (Clairton), Tyler Boyd (Clairton), DeAndre Moon (Rochester)
Noteworthy: Strange as it sounds, the Fort Cherry at Beth-Center game would be better served played on turf. Both teams run multiple formations on offense and an artificial surface would suit the skill players. B-C coach Ed Woods said there was no chance of getting a change in venue.
Fort Cherry debuted a single-wing formation against Chartiers-Houston, and it worked to near perfection. The Rangers really found ways to include Koltan Kobrys in the offense.
Beth-Center features an advantageous defense, but the Bulldogs score points in bunches. Their 412 points tops all local teams.
California enters the playoffs with a 7-2 record and four-straight wins. The Trojans have allowed 14 points the past four games and notched back-to-back shutouts of Jefferson-Morgan and Frazier.
Chartiers-Houston and Monessen each enter the playoffs with identical 6-3 records and look to shake off disappointing performances to end the regular season. The Bucs were stymied at home by Fort Cherry, while the Greyhounds lost at Frazier.
Quotable: "There's a lot of similarities with us and Fort Cherry. We know each other pretty well, especially with us being in the Black Hills Conference before," B-C coach Ed Woods said. "Tim (Garry) and I know each other well and this game is great for both schools. We're looking forward to Fort Cherry coming to our place."
Championship: Clairton over Sto-Rox