A look back at the eighth Friday night of the high school football season.
There were reports Friday night that Zane Dudek broke the WPIAL regular-season scoring record Friday night. Sorry, not true.
But Dudek should get it next week.
Now, let's try to explain. No publication kept statistical leaders for the entire WPIAL until the Post-Gazette started in 1979, under the direction of "The Hector" - Steve Hecht. I know because I used to help compile them for the P-G.
So, I have reported a few times that the most points in the regular season since 1979 is 204. But remember, that was only since 1979. Could there be anyone out there who scored more than 204 points before 1979? Well, with the way offenses are now compared to years ago, it would seem unlikely. But still possible.
It turns out two players did have more than 204 regular-season points - many, many, many years ago.
With the help of a reader, Bill Esposito, and through some extensive research, I was able to find out that in 1948, Blairsville running back Anthony "Pud" Constantino set a WPIAL scoring record with 218 points. He had 34 touchdowns and 14 extra points. Blairsville did not make the playoffs that year. Blairsville is not in the WPIAL these days, but was back then. In fact, when Constantino was a sophomore in 1947, Blairsville won a WPIAL title with a victory against Shaler.
Anyway, Constantino broke the previous WPIAL record of 211 points, set in 1945 by Francis Smutney of Mars.
So, the WPIAL regular-season scoring record appears to be 218 points. And Dudek has tied it. He is sitting at 218 right now, with 36 touchdowns and one two-point conversion. So he should break 218 next Friday.
Dudek also needs only 311 yards to reach the WPIAL single-season record for rushing yards. And that includes playoffs. But with games left against Connellsville and Kiski Area, Dudek might smash that record by the end of the regular season.
Injuries to top players
We'll have more updates later this weekend, but injuries have hit some top WPIAL players.
** West Mifflin's Howie Reid, the WPIAL's 11th-leading rusher entering Friday, left the Titans' game against Ringgold with an injury.
** Mapletown's Dylan Rush, the WPIAL's second-leading rusher, carried only three times against Fort Cherry because of a sprained ankle sustained in practice last week.
** Pine-Richland's Grant Carrigan, a Pitt tight end recruit, left Friday's game with a right leg injury and watched the rest of the contest on crutches on the sideline with his leg in a protective boot.
Thomas Jefferson has clinched a playoff spot for the 22nd season in a row, the longest streak in the WPIAL. Aliquippa has made it 21 consecutive years, but did you know there is a chance the Quips might not make it this year? There is a four-way tie for first in the Beaver Valley Conference between Beaver Falls, Central Valley, Aliquippa and Beaver. One of those four will not make the playoffs.
The Beaver Valley will sort itself out the next two weeks. Aliquippa plays Central Valley Friday. Beaver Falls plays Hopewell Friday and Beaver the following week.
And DYK? Woodland Hills has qualified for the playoffs for the 21st consecutive season.
*** Thomas Jefferson Devin Danielson is one of the best defensive linemen in the WPIAL I've seen the past few years.
*** What has happened to Monessen? The Greyhounds didn't make the playoffs the past two seasons. It was a long time since that happened. Now the Greyhounds are 1-7, will not make the playoffs again, and they lost to West Greene Friday? Wow. West Greene hasn't made the playoffs since 1993.
*** As a reporter, you are never supposed to root for a team. But it was nice to see Plum get a win after a rough season. Besides a load of injuries, Plum had to deal with the sudden death last week of popular assistant coach Lorenzo Freeman.
*** Is Thomas Jefferson that good or the rest of its opponents that bad? Probably a little of both, although I still think Belle Vernon is pretty good. I think everyone is pointing to a TJ-South Fayette WPIAL final, aren't they?
*** It's about time for a shoutout to Blackhawk coach Joe Lamenza. It was tough enough taking over for a legend, Joe Hamilton. But then the Cougars went 1-8 last year. Now Blackhawk is 5-2 and fighting for a playoff spot. This week's game against Montour will likely decide it.
Check out highlights from the Game of the Week - Belle Vernon at Thomas Jefferson. It includes comments from coaches and a few notes about other games around the WPIAL.
And if you want to see just how good this Steel Valley team is? Check out highlights of the Ironmen's 66-0 victory against East Allegheny