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Joe Moore camp: OLinemen only, please ....... some coaching moves in WPIAL

Written by Mike White on .

Items that fell off my laptop

Imagine a football camp for high school kids who want to be offensive linemen. And imagine that camp being run by a Pro Football Hall of Fame lineman, and imagine the camp having a handful of offensive line coaches who are in the NFL right now.

Put all of that together and you have the Joe Moore O-Line Camp.

The camp is named after Joe Moore, the legendary offensive line coach who spent a number of years at Pitt and Notre Dame, among other places. Moore passed away 12 years ago, but his legend lives on through this camp.

The camp is Saturday and Sunday at West Allegheny High School and is still taking players. Those interested can register at West Allegheny Saturday morning from 8 to 8:45.

The director of the camp is Russ Grimm, former Pitt offensive linemen who is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Working the camp this year are line coaches Andy Heck of the Kansas City Chiefs, Pat Flaherty of the New York Giants, Juan Castillo of the Baltimore Ravens and Mike Munchak of the Steelers.

Tom Clements, associated head coach of the Green Bay Packers, also is part of the staff, as well as some former NFL linemen, including Bill Fralic. Thomas Jefferson High School coach Bill Cherpak and West Allegheny coach Bob Palko also are part of the staff.

Moore's son, James, helps run the camp administratively. For more information, call 412-818-2862 or 412-965-4842.

Coaching tidbits

***** I found it quite interesting that Joe Salvino was named Monessen's football coach Tuesday night. He alsoJoe Salvino has been the Greyhounds' basketball coach for 31 seasons and won five WPIAL titles and two PIAA championships. Good for Salvino (pictured to the right). He's 64 and feeling like he can still make a difference at his alma mater. If he thinks he can coach both sports, go for it. Hey, the guy has come back from a stroke 10 years ago and cancer two years ago. So don't underestimate him or sell him short.

But while Salvino added another coaching hat, I found it interesting that Dan Marshall has taken away one of his hats. Marshall has been the offensive coordinator of the perennial power West Allegheny football team. But he also has been West Allegheny's head boys basketball coach for one season.

Marshall has decided to give up football coaching.

Why? Just because he believes he needs to put all of his efforts in making the basketball program successful. He said the basketball program needs more of his team than he realized and he is the head coach. His assistant for basketball is Andy Barry. But "Dandy" Andy, a legendary defensive back at Westminster during his college days, also will continue to be an assistant in football. Mark Davis, who was at one time the offensive coordinator for West Allegheny football, will go back to his old position.

But while Marshall decides to stick with one sport, West Allegheny's football defensive coordinator is in the PIAA baseball quarterfinals today. Bryan Cornell has been highly successful as West Allegheny's baseball coach and the Indians play Donegal today in a Class AAA game. (Pictured, from left to right, are Cornell, Marshall and football head coach Bob Palko).

**** Also on the coaching front, Don Holl will be New Castle's offensive coordinator next season. Holl was Seneca Valley's head coach before resigning after last season. He did some impressive things on offense during some of his years at Seneca Valley and it will be interesting to see what he does at New Castle.

Speaking of New Castle football, I have never seen freshman Marcus Hooker play a football game. Just a few highlights. But after watching him play basketball twice in the past two weeks, there is no doubt he is a future Division I football prospect.

He's built so much like his oldest brother, Malik, who is a freshman defensive back at Ohio State. Great body on Marcus and impressive athleticism.

**** And lastly with coaching news, East Allegheny hired a new boys basketball coach who has two WPIAL titles to his credit. Pete Logan was recently named the Wildcats' coach. He previously coached at Brownsville, Clairton and Ringgold, and won WPIAL titles at Clairton and Brownsville.

Carter to prep school

Ambridge senior basketball player Daylon Carter, a member of the Post-Gazette Fabulous 5 this year, has decided to attend Cushing Academy, a prep school in Massachusetts.

Don't forget Sansone

Earlier this week, I mentioned some former WPIAL baseball players who will be in the NCAA Super Regionals this weekend. It's baseball version of the Sweet 16. I forgot about Florida State's John Sansone.

Sansone is former standout at Neshannock High School who starts at second base for Florida State. While his high school alma mater is trying to make it to the PIAA championship game (Neshannock plays in the quarterfinals today), Sansone will try to help the Seminoles make the College World Series.

Sansone, a junior, has started all 63 games that Florida State has played. He is batting .250 with 15 doubles, eight home runs and 38 RBIs.

McKay gets big award

One last item on former WPIAL players on the NCAA college baseball level. Former Blackhawk star Brendan McKay, now at the University of Louisville, got a big honor. He was named by Collegiate Baseball as the co-National Freshman of the Year.

 

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Former NA player Sell national player of year ..... WPIAL players in Super Regionals

Written by Mike White on .

Western Pennsylvania is home to the top NCAA Division II college baseball player in the country.

Nick Sell, a senior third baseman at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, has won the Tino Martinez Award, given annually to the top player in NCAA Division II. The award is named after Martinez, a former Major League Baseball player who was a standout at the University of Tampa, a Division II college in Florida. In fact, according to Seton Hill, Martinez called Sell to tell him he won the award.

Sell (pictured, courtesy of Seton Hill athletics) is a graduate of North Allegheny High School who had a tremendous career at Seton Hill. He had a monster senior season when he led the country (Division II) in RBIs with 92 and was second in home runs with 28. He batted .444 and added 18 doubles, four triples and 10 stolen bases. Sell set Seton Hill career records for hits, home runs, doubles and RBIs.

Sell also was named a first-team All-American by three organizations.

A natural question about Sell might be what is his status for the Major League Baseball draft? Well, it's hard to say. This may say something, though: Baseball America ranks the top 500 prospects, high school and college, for the draft. Sell is not one of them.

WPIAL and the Super Regionals

The NCAA Super Regionals are this weekend. It is Division I baseball's version of the Sweet 16, and there are at least three former WPIAL players in the regional. Two of them play prominent roles for their teams - Louisville's Brendan McKay (Blackhawk High School graduate) and Virginia Commonwealth's Daane Berezo (Pine-Richland). Both are freshman, although Berezo is a redshirt freshman.

McKay and Louisville will play host to Cal State Fullerton, while Berezo and VCU will play at Miami. The winners of the Brendan McKaybest-of-three series advance to the College World Series.

McKay has been one of the top freshmen - and overall players - in the country as a freshman. He has been named a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award, given to the top player overall. He also has been named one of 10 finalists for the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award. McKay is a pitcher and first baseman.

McKay pitched one game for Louisville in the NCAA regional last weekend. He worked 7 1/3 innings, but did not get a decision. For the season, he is 8-3 with a 1.71 ERA and 108 strikeouts in 89 2/3 innings. As a hitter, he has a .315 average with three home runs and 32 RBIs.

Daane BerezoBerezo has made an impact on a VCU team that has made it to the Super Regionals for the first time in school history. He has started 46 games at second base for VCU and in a game against Dallas Baptist at last weekend's regionals, Berezo was 3 for 5 with one RBI.

He did not have a hit the rest of the regional, but is still batting .292 with 15 RBIs.

Berezo's brother, Matt, also played at Pine-Richland and finished his college career last season at Duke.

But let's not forget one other WPIAL player at VCU. He was forgotten in earlier blog. Sean Thompson is a freshman from Indiana who was the winning pitcher in the final game in the regional, a 3-1 victory over Dallas Baptist. Thompson pitched 5 1/3 and gave up only one run and three hits. He has a 6-3 record.

Another former WPIAL player had a nice showing in a regional last weekend. It was sort of a surprise showing. Zack Bahm, a graduate of Mt. Lebanon, is a freshman at Columbia of the Ivy League. He hadn't pitched in a game since April 15, but came on against heralded Miami Sunday night and pitched three scoreless innings in a 3-0 Columbia victory. Bahm did not give up a hit in those three innings. Columbia's season ended the next day with a loss to Miami.

For the season, Bahm was 1-1 with a 4.61 ERA. He made eight appearances, pitching 13 2/3 innings.

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WPIAL AAA baseball final might start earlier

Written by Mike White on .

Anyone planning to go to the second game tonight of a WPIAL baseball championship doubleheader, get there earlier than planned.

The WPIAL had set game times tonight at Consol Energy Park of 5 p.m. for the Class AAAA championship (Norwin vs. Central Catholic) and 8 p.m. for the Class AAA game (West Allegheny vs. Knoch). But the WPIAL decided this morning that, because of the chance of thunderstorms later tonight, the second game will start a half hour after the conclusion of the medal ceremony for the first game.

This could mean the second game could start possibly by 7:30. The WPIAL had a championship doubleheader last night at the same times and the first game (Neshannock vs. Quaker Valley) was over by 6:20. After the awards ceremony, if there was a half hour wait, the second game could have started possibly around 7:15. But the WPIAL stayed with the 8 p.m. start.

"The weather is calling for some bad weather possibly after 10 o clock tonight," said WPIAL executive director Tim O'Malley. "So we thought why wait around. It might not be a major difference, depending on how the first game goes."

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Maverick Rowan might be coming back to Lincoln Park

Written by Mike White on .

Maverick Rowan scored more than 1,000 points in his freshman and sophomore years at Lincoln Park before leaving for a school in Florida last year. 

Next season, Rowan might be playing at Lincoln Park again.

Rowan is considering coming back to play his senior season at Lincoln Park, a charter school in Beaver County that plays in the WPIAL. He played this past season at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and helped Maverick Rowanthe team win a state championship. But it seems likely that Rowan will leave Cardinal Gibbons. (Rowan is pictured as a sophomore at Lincoln Park in the PIAA Class A championship game).

Rowan's father, Ron, said this morning that his son is considering three options: stay at Cardinal Gibbons his final year, come back to Lincoln Park or graduate early and go to college. He has a number of scholarship options from big-time programs and his father said colleges have said they would find a place for his son if he decided to graduate early. That would mean those schools would find a scholarship for him in the 2015-16 season.

Some of the schools that Rowan likes are Louisville, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Wisconsin, UCLA, Pitt and West Virginia. Rowan is a 6-foot-7 guard who is rated the No. 42 player in the country by Rivals.com. Louisville is recruiting him hard and would like Rowan to join the team for the 2015-16 season.

"Nothing is definite yet. We just have to make a decision," said Ron Rowan. "I found a place he can graduate from. He can take the two classes he needs. 

"If he decides he wants to go to college [this fall], then that's a decision that needs to be within the next 10 days, because he will have to start summer school right after school ends [at Cardinal Gibbons]. If he doesn't go to college, then there is a little bit of time to make a decision."

 

Ron Rowan moved his entire family to Florida when his son transferred to Cardinal Gibbons. But the family never sold their house. The Rowans lived in the Central Valley School District.

"We never sold the house and I just can't keep having two places," said Ron Rowan.

Ron Rowan said if the family moves back, Maverick would definitely attend Lincoln Park and not Central Valley. Ron Rowan said last fall one of the reasons his son transferred to Cardinal Gibbons was to get more competition. If the family moved back, why not go to Central Valley? Yes, Lincoln Park's program has had plenty of success and the Leopards do play a good non-section schedule. But Lincoln Park plays in Class AA. Central Valley plays in Class AAA. Central Valley's section has Beaver Falls and New Castle, who are both expected to be strong next year. Class AAA in the WPIAL is expected to be strong overall next year.

Rowan didn't indicate one way or another what Maverick might do. But if I were a betting man, I'd say he will be at Lincoln Park next season. That is just a hunch.

"Nothing definite has been decided," said Ron Rowan.

At Lincoln Park, Rowan scored 1,482 points as a freshman and sophomore and was named to the Post-Gazette Fabulous 5 as a sophomore. He averaged 26.3 points that year and helped Lincoln Park win WPIAL and PIAA Class A championships.

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PIAA to examine six classes further ..... East-West basketball brackets voted down

Written by Mike White on .

The PIAA board of directors met today and the news on the six classification idea for football is that there is no news.

The PIAA is considering changing football from four to six classifications. There were basically eight proposals to consider. The PIAA could have picked one of the proposals and passed it on a first reading basis today. The proposal would then have to pass two more readings before going into effect in 2016.

But the PIAA voted to pass all eight proposals on a first reading. Some PIAA board members apparently want more time to examine the proposals. Also, by passing all the proposals, it gives the 12 districts around the statea chance to go back to their schools and district committees to examine the proposals more.

The plan is now for the PIAA strategic planning committee to meet in July to decide on one proposal. That proposal would then be put to the PIAA board of directors to pass on a second reading.

The proposal that seems to have the most support is the "Super 700" proposal. This is where 6A would have only schools with 700 or more boys in the top three grades. The remaining five classes would then be split evenly.

Under the "Super 700" plan, only three WPIAL schools would be in 6A - North Allegheny, Seneca Valley and Butler.

The WPIAL is against a 6A proposal for football only. The league says it isn't right to make the change just for football.

Honestly, this 6A thing is a mess. Some districts like the idea and some don't. My guess is it will be tough to pass.

In one other noteworthy thing from the meeting today, the idea of the PIAA returning to true east-west brackets for basketball is dead.

The PIAA's own basketball steering committee met a few months ago and recommended to the PIAA board that it return to east-west brackets. But the PIAA board ignored its own steering committee recommendation and voted down the idea today.

So, you will still see teams driving five hours across the state for quarterfinal and semifinal games, and you will continue sometimes having two Philadelphia teams play for a state championship.

The PIAA made the decision despite attendance dropping considerably for the basketball championships the past six to seven years. Philadelphia Catholic and Public teams making the title games has hurt attendance drastically.

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