Live Friday blog - Pine-Richland beats North Hills, 32-15

Written by Mike White on .

Live blog from tonight's Class AAAA showdown between North Hills and Pine-Richland. Follow score updates and notes from other games to the right on @PGVarsityXtra account. If you have a score update, tweet @PGVarsityXtra and use #wpial


Connor Slomka was big in the win. North Hills wanted to stop the pass, but Slomka rushed for 168 yards on 19 carries. QB Ben DiNucci was 10 of 20 for 172 yards. Mike Merhaut caught five passes for 80 yards.

For North Hills, Jake Bruder completed 8 of 22 for 116 yards. Brandon Wagner caught four passes for 74 yards.


Pine-Richland answers with scoring drive. Connor Slomka has 44-yard run and later scores on 8-yard run.


Maybe we will have a game after all. North Hills looks like different team offensively second half. No-huddle offense. Bruiser Bruder steps up in pocket, 46-yard TD pass to Brandon Wagner. Bruder hits Kindhal Taylor with two-point conversion and North Hills suddenly within 26-15.

9:28 Only 1:50 left in third and P-R still looking for its first first down of the second half.

Ben DiNucci dives into the end zone in the first half (photo by PG's Matt Freed)

Ben DiNucci vs. NH


I would've liked to have been a fly on the wall in the North Hills locker room at halftime. There might have been some choice words coming from the coaches.

North Hills shows something here in the second half. A little moxie. Drives for a TD on its first possession. Kindhal Taylor takes handoff on end around, keeps it and goes 24 yards for a touchdown. Jake Seiler kicks extra point.

9:09 Pine-Richland started slowly in the first half, but came on strong. Pine-Richland outgained North Hills, 321-51, in the first half. Ben DiNucci was 8 of 15 for 138 yards.



Officially a blowout. Mike Merhaut runs 15 yards for TD. Kick failed. Less than a minute left in the half. Ben DiNucci has started to heat up at QB.

Game getting bogged down some with number of personal foul penalties - on both sides. 


Connor Slomka scores on 5-yard TD run. Pine-Richland offense is rolling. Rams have overcome some penalties but keep on moving.

8:21 Instead of North Hills trailing only 13-7, that flipped momentum drastically. 

8:19 Pine-Richland comes up with a big defensive play. North Hills driving. Pine-Richland D'Ondre Gaston steps in front of a pass for Kindhal Tyalor. INT. Returns to the 20.

8:12 North Hills having trouble moving ball. Three and out.

Pine-Richland on second play, complete pass. Fumble. North Hills' Eddie McDonough recovers. North Hills now at P-R 41.


Pine-Richland has scored two consecutive possessions. This time Rams go 64 yards in 11 plays and QB Ben DiNucci caps with an 8-yard TD run.

North Hills is in trouble.


7:58 Mr. Accurate Ben DiNucci a little off tonight. But Pine-Richland running the ball with some success. DiNucci has had few scrambles, too.


Connor Slomka runs 9 yards for a touchdown to cap an 11-play, 81-yard drive. Ben DiNucci 2 of 7 so far.

7:42 North Hills turns ball over on downs at P-R 19 with 6:06 in first quarter. Incomplete passes third and fourth down.

7:40 Big penalty. Pine-Richland 15-yard facemask on third-down play. North Hills now at Pine 22.

7:35 Big play North Hills. Pine-Richland first possession Ben DiNucci underthrew a deep pass. Tipped and intercepted by Kindhal Taylor of North Hills.


7:24 Anxious to see big North Hills lineman Jacob Buccigrossi. Division I prospect for next year. 

Fairly big Class AAA game, Knoch and Hampton tied, 7-7, after the first.

7:21 Seton-LaSalle retired tonight the jersey No. 5 of Bruce Gradkowski, backup Steelers QB. Deservedly so. Was one of the first throwing quarterbacks in the WPIAL in modern era. 


I know Pine-Richland is good. But how good? I don't think the Rams have faced much competition yet. Yes, they beat North Allegheny, but this is not a great North Allegheny team.

North Hills would like to sustain some drives to keep the ball away from Pine-Richland, and a thing to watch is how well North Hills can match up with Pine-Richland receivers man to man.

And on the lighter side, is this guy wishy-washy or what? He's good no matter who wins, with Pine-Richland hat and North Hills coat. Mike is a former North Hills player and had three other brothers play at North Hills who are all here - John, Bob and Tom. The O'Rourkes had their own fearsome foursome of North Hills players. All were good.

But they have a nephew who plays for Pine-Richland - Joe Lieberman.

Mike ORourke

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.

Pittsburgh Fashion Week Shopping Edition: 5 cool vendors from Fashion Ave. market

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .


The fifth annual Pittsburgh Fashion Week not only has brought together a unique mix of designers but also fashion and beauty vendors.

Each day that festivities have taken place at Highmark Stadium there's been a Fashion Avenue market place featuring jewelry, clothing, makeup and more.

Stylebook has been scouting the scene throughout the week. Here's some of the top picks:

Vintage Valet handmade jewelry

VintageValet jewelry

Marissa Zimmerman, owner of the Vintage Valet fashion truck, recently added to her mobile boutique one-of-a-kind jewelry that she makes by hand with vintage beads and cameo pins. Her truck was parked outside Highmark Stadium earlier in the week with a table of the beaded beauties for sale. Find out where Vintage Valet will be driving to next on the PG Interactive Fashion Truck Tracker Map.



Got old pants? Why not repurpose them! ReBag refashions clothes into handbags and laptop cases. The startup is headed by Yi Wang, a recent transplant to Pittsburgh from Philadelphia. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  to learn more.

Creative rings from Facemadics


Jabari Mason is CEO/president of Facemadics and specializes in creative accessories made from semi-precious stones, glass beads and other natural elements. Information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Silpada Designs statement necklace


For fall direct sales jewelry brand Silpada Designs introduces the Blue Streak necklace. It has blue Swarovski crystals set atop tanned leather accents with a brassy finish. $159 at

Smudge-proof lip liners from Younique Makeup


While the brand is known for its lash-enhancing mascara, it also boasts an impressive lip liner line that does not smudge. (Seriously, just draw a streak across your hand and rub, rub, rub -- it does not smear.) $15 a piece at

Tonight's event is the final day for the Fashion Avenue market place. It's free and open to the public from 5:30-9 p.m. at Highmark Stadium. Information:


Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.

Behind enemy lines: Akron

Written by Sam Werner on .

This week, I enlisted the help of George Thomas, who covers Akron football for the Akron Beacon Journal to help preview this week's game between the Panthers and Zips. Here are George's responses to a couple of questions...

1. Akron's rushing offense has generally been pretty anemic so far this year, averaging just 91.3 yards per game on the ground. Has it really been that bad, and what have been the biggest problems? Has any running back seized the job?

The job belongs to Jawon Chisholm, a senior running back who has come close to 1,000 yards each of the previous three seasons. He was injured last week and the Zips' coaching staff has been guarding his status for this week. The past two years they've averaged around 150 yards per game. The running game – actually the entire offense – hasn't been able to kick it into gear since the Howard game. They continue to break in two new tackles and had their left guard go down recently. That is part of the problem.

2. Kyle Pohl, meanwhile, has taken over the starting quarterback job. He looked great in the season-opener against Howard, but has struggled against increased competition in the Zips' last two games. What are Pohl's strengths and weaknesses? Is he as much of a running threat as his numbers (he's the Zips' leading rusher) indicate?

Pohl's biggest strength is that he can make all the throws, but he needs to get more comfortable in the offense. Additionally, the offensive line issues affect him as well. If you're asking is he a dual threat quarterback, I'd have to say not really. He has a few designed running plays, but that's the limit of it. Are you asking if he can make plays with his legs, most definitely. If he sees an opening he will take it.

3. What about the defense? The Zips kept things tight against Penn State, but gave up 48 points to Rakeem Cato and Marshall last week. Akron appears to be stronger stopping the passing game than the run. Will they be able to slow down James Conner?

They're hoping that's an anomaly. That defense had been fairly good against the run. They played without their top linebacker Justin March last week and that had to have an effect. As for stopping James Conner, I guess the more relevant question is whether the Zips will see the Conner of the first half or the Conner of the second? If the Conner who I've heard runs east-west makes an appearance, they should be able to handle him. If it's the barrel ahead Conner, the middle of that defense will have to be stout.

4. Let's look at the big picture. Akron was one of the worst programs in FBS when Terry Bowden took over a few years ago, but he built the Zips up to win five games last year. Is this program generally on the right trajectory under Bowden? What are some realistic goals for this year?

They're undoubtedly on the right trajectory. It looked as if things were starting to come together toward the end of the season. What they are looking for right now is relevance with respect to playing Power 5 conferences. They came close last year against Michigan. They thought they could pick off one of these three games. As for what's realistic? It's too difficult at this point to paint a picture of who this team is as they relate to other MAC teams. I think they can contend for the MAC East title and be bowl eligible. We shall see.

Good stuff from George, and thanks again for helping us out this week. You can read George's work here, and follow him on Twitter @GeorgeThomasABJ.

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.

Grow Pittsburgh's Garden Resource Center opens Saturday

Written by Doug Oster on .


Grow Pittsburgh is pleased to announce the Grand Opening of its Garden Resource

Center Saturday, September 27 from 12:00-5:00 p.m. at 147 Putnam Street, Pittsburgh 15206.

Opening ceremonies will take place at 1:00 p.m.

The Garden Resource Center is a membership based tool lending library and supply

depot. Gardeners need not have worked with Grow Pittsburgh in the past to join.

The Resource Center will be open to any individual or group in Allegheny County

working in tandem with Grow Pittsburgh’s belief that access to locally grown,

chemical free fruits and vegetables is a right, not a privilege.

“Our ultimate goal of this project is to make food gardening more accessible to

gardeners throughout Pittsburgh and Allegheny County,” said Jessica McNally,

Community Garden Coordinator at Grow Pittsburgh.

The Grand Opening event will provide gardeners the opportunity to register for

2015 memberships at a discounted price. That membership will provide access to

the Garden Resource Center for the remaining months of 2014 as well. The event

will also feature an Ask A Gardener booth for those pesky garden questions and

garden tool repair as well as food, music and games. This is a free, family friendly


For more information on the Garden Resource Center, contact McNally or visit the Grow Pittsburgh site.

Grow Pittsburgh grows food in the city and brings fresh produce to communities

that may otherwise go without. We do this through education, community

gardens, and our own urban farms. Our educational programming spans all ages,

with Edible Schoolyard programs at 6 elementary schools. We offer workshops

for home gardeners and professionals alike. City Growers provides

neighborhoods support and technical assistance for community gardens. Our

production sites at the Frick, Shiloh Farms and Braddock Farms provide produce

for the surrounding communities.

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.

Ehrhoff happy to be a Penguin 'again' - 09-26-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

This will be Christian Ehrhoff's second go-around with the Penguins.

Well... not these Penguins.

Ehrhoff, a native of Moers Germany, spent his youth and early professional career playing with the Krefeld Pinguine (German for "Penguins") organization which is part of Germany's DEL (Deutsche Eishockey Liga).

A fourth-round selection of the Sharks in 2001, Ehrhoff has played in the NHL since 2003-04 with the Sharks, Canucks and Sabres.

(During the 2012 lockout, he played for Krefeld once again.)

After signing a 10-year, $40 million contract with Buffalo in 2011, he was bought out by the Sabres this past summer a few days before the start of free agency on July 1.

That's when he joined that other Penguins team.

The first major signing of new general manager Jim Rutherford, Ehrhoff inked a one-year contract worth $4 million.

A puck-moving defenseman who can shoot the puck, he will be expected to be one of the team's top four blueliners this season.

Earlier today, he talked about joining these Penguins, playing with superstar teammates and the science of shooting the puck.

This isn't the first time you've played for a Penguins' team.

"It’s pretty awesome. Growing up, I started playing with Krefield when I was six years old and I turned pro at 17. Joined their pro team and was pretty successful there. It’s definitely nice to be a Penguin again."

In a span of roughly 72 hours, you had your contract bought out by the Sabres and the joined the Penguins. What was that couple of days like?

"First of all, it was surprising that I was bought out by Buffalo. Then, I started together with my agent to put some thought into where I would like to play. Obviously Pittsburgh was one of those few teams. They called right away to my agent and said they would have interest. Then the next day, it all went pretty quick."

What did you know about the Penguins before joining them?

"I knew what everybody from the outside knew. It’s a really good organization. They’ve got really talented players here. They’re always one of the teams that when you talk about teams that have a chance to win the [Stanley] Cup, the Penguins are always in that mix. That was my main goal. Being on a team that has a chance to compete. The next day, I talked to [Penguins center Marcel] Goc and asked him a few questions. He only had good things to say about the organization. That was it."

You're on a team with three German players on the roster with Goc and goaltender Thomas Greiss. There were only five Germans in the NHL all of last season.

"It is a little weird with the number thing but we played all together in San Jose. It’s very nice. Obviously,0 at the time, it didn’t play a role in to my decision as those two guys hadn’t signed yet. But it’s definitely nice to have some familiar faces here."

The three of you played in San Jose with Marco Sturm, another Germany. What was it about the Sharks having success with German players?

"I think Marco Sturm kind of paved the way for us. They really had good success with him drafting him in the first round (in 1996) and he came right to the NHL. Maybe they took an extra look at the German market. There was just at time… I don’t know… it just turned out that way."

You've played with some elite MVP-caliber players before in Vancouver with Daniel and Henrik Sedin. How similar are they to Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin?

"Yeah. They’re all in a special class. They see the game different. They see it a lot faster. They can make plays a lot of other guys can’t make."

Is it simply a matter of getting the puck to players of that caliber.

"Definitely. When you’re on the ice with them, you want to get the puck in their hands as quick as possible. And try to get open for them. Be an option for them. Let them do their thing and try to fit in."

You're a shooter. Is it just a matter of blasting the puck or are you trying to find seams or lanes to shoot through when you have it at the point?

"I’m definitely trying to look for sticks but my main goal is to get it by the first guy. Often, there are two or three or sometimes more layers you have to get the puck through. The priority is trying to get it through finding a lane but oftentimes you aim for a stick or even the end boards to get a bounce back in front of the net when all your lanes are clogged up."

(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.