Mike White | 11:15 a.m. Friday, October 17
Apparently you can't believe Shaler coach Neil Gordon. He's a faker.
We're not talking about Gordon's character, though. We're talking about punts. Gordon loves to fake them.
Here's a hard-to-believe one: In last Saturday's game against Seneca Valley, Gordon's tean ran a fake punt three times - and it worked every time for a first down.
"That's probably the seventh or eighth successful fake punt we've had this year," Gordon said.
Against Seneca Valley, Gordon called for a fake punt on his own 25-yard line late in the game. At the time, Shaler was leading by only 35-32 with a few minutes left. The fake punt worked as Jesse Della Valle ran for a first down. Shaler then ran out the clock.
"I've always been a punt faker," said Gordon, who is in his first year at Shaler after 21 seasons at Penn Hills. "I think the more the other team is convinced, 'Ahhhhh, they couldn't do it here.' That's when you want to do it."
Against Seneca Valley, Della Valle, one of the "up backs" in front of the punter, converted all three fake punts.
"I remember one time when I was at Penn Hills, we were playing Canon-McMillain in the first round of the playoffs," Gordon said. "We had fourth-and-5 on our own 6-yard line and David Harvey, who was also a receiver, was our punter. He told me, 'Coach the fake is there. There is no one there.' I said, 'David, we're on our own 6.'
"He said, 'I know, but it's there.'"
"So I told him to go ahead with it and he ran 94 yards for a touchdown."
Shaler plays host to North Hills tonight.
Freedom's Summers resigns
J.C. Summers resigned as Freedom's football coach Wednesday for health reasons.
Summers is in his first year as coach and the Bulldogs have a 1-6 record. But the record had nothing to do with Summers' decision.
Summers, 37, has Barrett's esophagus, a disorder partly caused by stomach acid reflux. He also had a heart attack last year. "I had the same symptoms last week that I had when I had my heart attack. But my heart is fine," Summers said. "They found the problem with my esophagus.
"None of the doctors will clear me to coach. They say a lot of this problem has to do with stress. I was begging them to just let me continue to do this for the last two weeks of the season. But they felt I didn't need the pressure right now."
Assistant Frank Hernandez will coach Freedom the rest of the season.
Question of the Week
This week's Varsity Xtra Question of the Week is what team has been the biggest surprise in the WPIAL this season - Avonworth, Highlands, Mars, South Allegheny or Fox Chapel. To vote, here is the link:
Then go to "Question of the Week" on the right-hand side.