New WPIAL football conferences for next season

Written by Mike White on .

The new WPIAL football conferences for the 2014 season were approved by the league's Board of Control this afternoon.

The new conferences will be for the 2014 season only. The league will realign again (probably in just Class AA and AAA) for the 2015 season because Ford City and Kittanning are closing after the 2014-15 school year and merging into one school.

Here are the new conferences for the 2014 season:


By Mike White

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The landscape of WPIAL football will look a lot different next season.

The WPIAL realigns its football conferences every two years, and the league released its new conferences earlier today. A total of 26 teams will change either conferences or classifications, starting with the 2014 seasons. Changes in classifications are based on school enrollments.

This alignment is only for one season, though. The league will have to realign next year because Ford City and Kittanning will merge to one high school after the 2013-14 school.

Among the major changes in the realignment are:

*Gateway drops from Class AAAA to AAA and will play in the Greater Allegheny Conference against teams from the eastern and northern suburbs.

*Jeannette and Greensburg Central Catholic drop from Class AA to A and will play in the Eastern Conference. The WPIAL created an extremely strong conference by also moving Clairton into the Eastern. Monessen will also be in the conference.

*Highlands moves from Class AAA to AA.

*Plum moves from the Southeastern Conference to the Foothills in Class AAAA.

* West Shamokin, which made the WPIAL playoffs last year for the first time in school history, moves up from Class A to AA.

*Summit Academy, which also made the playoffs last year for the first time in school history, stays in Class AA but moves from the Allegheny Conference to the Midwestern.

Here are the new conferences for the next two seasons.


Northern Eight – Butler, Central Catholic, Fox Chapel, North Allegheny, North Hills, Pine-Richland, Seneca Valley, Shaler.

Southeastern – Baldwin, Bethel Park, Canon-McMillan, Mt. Lebanon, Penn Hills, Peters Township, Upper St. Clair, Woodland Hills.

Foothills – Altoona, Connellsville, Hempfield, Kiski Area, Latrobe, McKeesport, Norwin, Penn-Trafford, Plum.


 Big Nine – Albert Gallatin, Belle Vernon, Elizabeth Forward, Laurel Highlands, Ringgold, Thomas Jefferson, Trinity, Uniontown, West Mifflin.

Parkway – Ambridge, Blackhawk, Central Valley, Chartiers Valley, Hopewell, Montour, Moon, New Castle, West Allegheny.

Greater Allegheny – Franklin Regional, Gateway, Greensburg Salem, Hampton, Hollidaysburg, Indiana, Knoch, Mars, Yough.


Century – Carlynton, East Allegheny, Keystone Oaks, Quaker Valley, Seton-LaSalle, South Allegheny, South Fayette, South Park, Sto-Rox, Steel Valley.

Allegheny – Apollo-Ridge, Burrell, Deer Lakes, Ford City, Freeport, Highlands, Kittanning, Shady Side Academy, Valley, West Shamokin.

Midwestern – Aliquippa, Beaver, Beaver Falls, Ellwood City, Freedom, Laurel, Mohawk, New Brighton, Summit Academy.

Interstate – Brownsville, Burgettstown, Charleroi, Derry, McGuffey, Mount Pleasant, Southmoreland, Washington, Waynesburg.


Tri-County South – Avella, Bentworth, Beth-Center, California, Carmichaels, Frazier, Jefferson-Morgan, Mapletown, West Greene.

Eastern – Clairton, Greensburg Central Catholic, Jeannette, Leechburg, Monessen, Riverview, Serra, Springdale, Wilkinsburg.

Ohio Valley – Avonworth, Bishop Canevin, Brentwood, Chartiers-Houston, Fort Cherry, Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic, Northgate, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.

Big Seven – Neshannock, Riverside, Rochester, Shenango, South Side Beaver, Union, Vincentian, Western Beaver.


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The status of Mike McFadden and Desjuan Newton

Written by Craig Meyer on .

While Robert Morris has rejuvenated its season with a 4-0 start in NEC play, there has been a bit of instability surrounding the team during that time -- namely the status of senior forward/center Mike McFadden and junior guard Desjuan Newton.

McFadden has missed three of the Colonials' past five games. In the most recent of those contests -- a road win against Mount St. Mary's -- he was not with the team. Robert Morris radio broadcaster Chris Shovlin reported on air before the game against the Mountaineers that McFadden had left the team.

Newton, a junior-college transfer who is in his first season with the team, has not played in a game for the Colonials since a Dec. 22 loss at Oakland. He has not practiced with the team for the greater part of the past two weeks and he has missed the team's past two games altogether.

The way that Andy Toole described both of their cases was that they're both in a sort of purgatory -- that is, they're heavily weighing whether or not to stay on the team, but they haven't come to any kind of final decision yet. Though there's nothing official yet, the sense I've gotten from others around the program is that both of them will leave the team.

The reasons for the respective (and, again, not set in stone) departures are different. Since at least last season, McFadden has battled chronic knee pains and it would seem that it's simply become too much for him to play through. It's a tough and entirely understandable decision if that ends up being the case. It's worth noting that McFadden briefly quit the team last season, only to return. Still, with this being his senior season, it seems like there would be more finality with this decision.

With Newton, I've been told that it has more to do with him not really meshing with/buying into the team's system. The transition from the junior college ranks to Division I basketball can be a difficult and unpredictable one sometimes and while Newton hasn't left the team, he's still in limbo as to whether or not he wants to remain on it.

These are both situations that should be cleared up at some point soon -- I'd guess later this week -- so I'll make sure to post any information as it comes along.


Craig Meyer: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Twitter @CraigMeyerPG

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Video: Pat Eger donates hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths

Written by Stephen J. Nesbitt on .

Fresh off an appearance in the Medal of Honor Bowl, former West Virginia center Pat Eger had his hair chopped and donated to Pantene Beautiful Lengths this past weekend, a decision he talked through on our Exit Interview last week.

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Beaver Falls' Cottrill might be done for season with knee injury

Written by Mike White on .

The Beaver Falls boys basketball team had a legitimate chance to become the first team in two decades to win three consecutive WPIAL Class AA titles. But Beaver Falls' championship hopes have taken a serious hit because of an injury to the team's top player.

Senior point guard Elijah Cottrill, a member of the Post-Gazette Fabulous 5 a year ago, sustained a left knee injury in last Tuesday's game against Aliquippa, the same night he scored his 1,00th career point. Cottrill's status won't be known until later in the week but Beaver Falls coach Doug Biega said it's likely that Cottrill is done for the season.

Elijah CottrillCottrill (pictured in last year's state championship game) injured the same knee that he had surgery on this summer for a meniscus tear. He missed most of the football season after the surgery.

"He did it in the first quarter of the Aliquippa game," Biega said. "Our trainer thought it just might have been some scar tissue so he taped it up and played the rest of the game, although he definitely labored. The next day, he was saying how much it hurt."

Cottrill did not play the next two games against Shenango or Hopewell.

"Most likely, he's done for the year," Biega said.

Beaver Falls defeated Shenango, 69-43, and Hopewell, 72-48, without Cottrill. They are somewhat used to playing without him. Cottrill missed six games earlier this year when he was suspended from school for an incident in the school cafeteria.

Beaver Falls is 12-3 and in first place in Class AA Section 2 with a 7-1 record.

"We're not in the NFL where that slogan 'next man up' works. That works for professionals," Biega said. "This is definitely a hit to us. But we'll play out the season.

"We're not as good without him. I'd be foolish to say we are. But that doesn't mean we won't compete at a really high level without him."

Cottrill's status after high school also is up in the air. In the summer, he made a verbal commitment to Akron for football, although he said he would still wait to see what would happen in basketball recruiting. Creighton had offered him a scholarship last spring for basketball and a few other Division I colleges were showing interest.

But Biega said Cottrill has backed out of the verbal commitment to Akron for football. Cottrill likely will attend a prep school or a junior college.



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Empty Netter Assists - 01-21-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


-Dave Molinari's recap from last night's game. "It was a real slap in the face. We got out-competed everywhere on the ice. They came in here and beat us in every aspect of the game." - Chris Kunitz.

-The Miami Herald's recap. “We wanted to treat this game as a playoff game. We wanted to make a statement to ourselves. We knew they would come hard. It feels good to get a win.” - Panthers forward Drew Shore.

-The South Florida Sun Sentinel's recap. The Panthers won in Pittsburgh for the first time since Jan. 3, 2009.

-The Associated Press' recap. ''We were just awful. Bad execution. Bad work ethic. We just weren't hungry enough to win the loose puck battle and they just beat the [stuffing] out of us.'' - Matt Niskanen.

-Highlights (so to speak):

-James Neal roamed the neutral zone:

-Paul Martin and Brooks Orpik just hanging out on the bench:

-Kris Letang gave Shore a ride into the bench:

-Kunitz got some air here against Florida's Scott Clemmensen:

-Crosby resorted to panhandling at some point during the game:

-We think.

-Pumped times for Shore:

-Matt Niskanen speaks:

-Dan Bylsma speaks:

-“He has no weakness. He’s a very good skater. He has a very good shot, very good vision. He’s a very good passer. Everything you would like to have.” - Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov on Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta. Each player is a rookie and will play for Team Finland in the upcoming Olympics.

-‘‘He produces every night. He’s fun to watch. Even on nights where he maybe doesn’t have his best game, he still comes out of there with two assists or a goal and an assist. Then there are games where it seems like he’s determined, and he’s the best player in the world and just dominates the game. You’re like, ‘Wow, this guy is amazing.’ I think he’s the best player in the league, for sure.’’ - Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane on Sidney Crosby.

-According to TSN, Senators owner Eugene Melnyk and general manager Bryan Murray met with NHL officials in New York to present forensic evidence related to defenseman Erik Karlsson suffering a sliced Achilles tendon following a hit by former Penguins forward Matt Cooke last season.

-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins defenseman Philip Samuelsson was named the AHL's player of the week.

-Mike Condon made 31 saves for the Wheeling Nailers in a 2-0 shutout of the Gwinnett Gladiators. Cody Sylvester scored both of Wheeling's goals.

-Happy 33rd birthday to former Penguins forward Michal Sivek (right). Acquired along with Kris Beech and Ross Lupaschuk from the Capitals in exchange for Jaromir Jagr and Frantisek Kucera in the 2001 offseason, Sivek's NHL's career amounted to 38 games and six points with the Penguins in 2002-03. During the 2004 offseason, he joined HC Sparta Praha of the Czech Extraliga.

-Happy 53rd birthday to former Penguins defenseman Moe Mantha, Jr. Acquired in the 1984 offseason in a deal which sent Randy Carlyle to the Winnipeg Jets, Mantha spent parts of four seasons with the Penguins. In 1984-85, Mantha appeared in 71 games and recorded 51 points. He followed that up in 1985-86 by setting career highs in games (78) and point (67). During 1986-87, Mantha appared in 62 games and netted 40 points. After 21 games and 10 points in 1987-88, Mantha was traded along with Craig Simpson, Dave Hannan and Chris Joseph in exchange for Paul Coffey, Dave Hunter and Wayne Van Dorp. In 232 regular season games with the Penguins, Mantha scored 168 points, 45th-most in franchise history.

-After the Jump: John Tortorella will have some free time.

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