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Live Friday night blog - Apollo-Ridge rolling, 26-0

Written by Mike White on .

Live blog from tonight's Apollo-Ridge at Shady Side Academy game. For score updates, look to the right of this blog for @PGVarsityXtra's Twitter account. You can "tweet" score updates or photos to @PGVarsityXtra with #WPIAL.

7:49 Little better job defensively by Shady Side. Finally gets a stop. Forces A-R to punt. Less than two minutes left in half.

APOLLO-RIDGE 26, SHADY SIDE ACADEMY 7

Shady Side gets on the board. 57-yard drive in nine plays. Jackson Fitzgerald caps with 4-yd TD run. 26-7

Here we go again. Clairton leading Springdale, 32-0.

Seton-LaSalle leading Steel Valley, 7-0, in second.

APOLLO-RIDGE 26, SHADY SIDE 0

Fourth TD for Brown. This one for 31 yards.

APOLLO-RIDGE 19, SHADY SIDE 0

Duane Brown 1-yard TD run.

APOLLO-RIDGE 12, SHADY SIDE 0

Duane Brown scores 1-yard TD run after 54-yard game by him. And Apollo-Ridge recovers short kickoff.

7:12 Shady Side yet to get a first down after three possessions.

APOLLO-RIDGE 6, SHADY SIDE 0

Duane Brown moves to running back and goes 64 yards for TD

7:04 Both teams go three and out.

7:02 And same official goes down when A-R has the ball. Tough night for him. A-R with ball on 35.

7:00 Shady Side Academy receive. Start at 36. And A-R Tre Tipton makes his first hit on second play. And it's on an official. Accidentally levels an official.

PREGAME

And now I can make a first-time statement in 30 plus years of covering WPIAL football. Here goes: "I am covering Apollo-Ridge."

Hey, the Vikings are 3-0 and Shady Side Academy is 3-0. But when talking about Apollo-Ridge, what is grabbing everyone's attention is senior Tre Tipton, a Pitt recruit and Mr. Everything for Apollo-Ridge. He had been a receiver but now is playing mostly at quarterback. He still sees time at receiver, though.

From what I hear Shady Side Academy is a little banged up with injuries.

And now, the serene Shady Side Academy campus

Shady Side setting

Pink-out night

It's "pink-out night" at Shady Side for breast cancer awareness. Love the sign.

Shady Side sign

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A dozen predictions to go for Week 4

Written by Mike White on .

Program note: Tonight's live blog will come from Apollo-Ridge at Shady Side Academy. We'll see if the "Tre Tipton Show" has another terrific night. For score updates and notes, follow @PGVarsityXtra's Twitter account to the right of this blog. We appreciate any score updates if you could tweet them to @PGVarsityXtra and use #WPIAL. And tweet us any photos of student sections, cheerleading squads, etc.

Also, follow me @mwhiteburgh for updates on tonight's game. Follow @BREAL412 for updates from Seton-LaSalle at Steel Valley, and @CraigMeyerPG for updates from Mt. Lebanon at Penn Hills.

And just got back from Schorr's bakery in West View and got these dozen predictions to go. Last week: 8-4 for the third consecutive week. Season: 24-12.

WPIAL CLASS AAAA

Mt. Lebanon at Penn Hills - Mt. Lebanon's offense has been awfully impressive, but I get the feeling that Penn Hills might bounce back after last week's loss at Central Valley. If Penn Hills doesn't put the ball on the ground ... Winner: Penn Hills.

Seneca Valley at North Hills - I know Seneca Valley has been hit hard by some key injuries. But it's still hard to believe they are 0-3. Although North Hills hasn't defeated anyone of significance, Pat Carey has the Indians at 3-0. Key to the game is Seneca Valley's run defense, but North Hills QB Jake Bruder might be the "X" factor in this game. This one should be close. Winner: North Hills.

WPIAL CLASS AAA

Ringgold at West Mifflin - Ringgold has two decent wins after the shellacking by Thomas Jefferson in the season opener. But can the Rams win a big one on the road? Winner: West Mifflin.

Knoch at Gateway - Until Gateway wins one, it's hard to pick the Gators. Knoch's offense will be the difference. Winner: Knoch.

Indiana at Franklin Regional - This could be a big game in determining positioning in the Greater Allegheny. Watch Franklin Regional the second half of the season. Winner: Franklin Regional.

Mars at Greensburg Salem - Mars certainly isn't the same team without injured running back Josh Schultheis. But still good enough to win on the road in this one. Winner: Mars.

WPIAL CLASS AA

Seton-LaSalle at Steel Valley - This is our P-G Game of the Week. A correction from earlier in the week. We looked at some incorrect stats on Steel Valley RB DeWayne Murray. He is not over 2,000 yards yet. But close. He is 9 yards short. How well Seton-LaSalle's run defense does will determine the outcome of this one. Winner: Seton-LaSalle.

Apollo-Ridge at Shady Side Academy - Tre Tipton is becoming one of the big storylines of the season. Don't forget his quarterback mate Duane Brown. The Vikings should go to 4-0 against a 3-0, but banged up Shady Side Academy team. Winner: Apollo-Ridge.

Highlands at Kittanning - Kittanning gave up 44 points last week to Apollo-Ridge, but Highlands doesn't have anyone like Tre Tipton. However, Highlands does have Elijah Jackson. Will Kittanning's defense rise to the occasion? Winner: Highlands.

WPIAL CLASS A

Brentwood at Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic - It's hard to find a Class A game this week with two top teams. CWNC is No. 1-ranked in Class A. Brentwood is 2-1, but about to become 2-2. Winner: North Catholic.

CITY LEAGUE

University Prep vs. Perry - Perry must slow down University Prep's offense to have a chance. Winner: University Prep.

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Clairton's surreal statistics ..... Montour baseball player Vietmeier rates

Written by Mike White on .

Items that fell off my laptop

Clairton's scoring has grabbed the attention of many in the WPIAL this year as the Bears have won their first three games by scores of 70-0, 86-0 and 74-0.

Never mind whether you believe the Bears are "running up" the score. We're not here to debate that. But if you think their scores are hard to believe, wait until you see some of Clairton's yardage statistics.

First off, get this: Clairton has gained 1,536 yards in three games. Its three opponents have gained 79. That's an average of 512-26.

Now for some of the individual statistics. Suffice it to say, Clairton is pretty good at big plays:

** Ramone Clifford has carried the ball five times and is averaging 28 yards a carry (140 yards).

** Harrison Dreher is averaging 32 yards on three receptions, and 16 yards on 23 rushing attempts.

Aaron Mathews** Aaron Mathews (pictured) has carried the ball four times and is averaging 19.5 yards a carry (he also has 10 catches for 166 yards). 

** Jamie Hines has seven catches and is averaging 22 yards per reception.

** Lamont Wade has carried the ball 13 times and is averaging 15.5 yards per attempt.

** Quarterback Ryan Williams has completed 29 of 44 passes for 615 yards, an average of 21.2 yards per completion.

Montour's Vietmeier rated among best

Montour's Trent Vietmeier is one of the top sophomore baseball players in the country. Says who? Perfect Game scouting organization.

Perfect Game recently released its national rankings for the class of 2017 and Vietmeier is ranked No. 27. Perfect Game, located in Georgia, puts on tournaments and showcases across the country. 

Vietmeier participated in four Perfect Game events this year, including the WWBA 15-and-under national championship, where Vietmeier's fastball was clocked at 91 m.p.h.

Vietmeier plays three sports at Montour. He is a 6-foot-3, 200-pound tight end on the football team and was a freshman on the Montour varsity last season. That's good size for a baseball player. He is certainly a player to watch for in the future.

Kiski Area gets grant for field from Steelers, NFL

Kiski Area has received a $200,000 grant for a synthetic field at the high school. The grant is from the Steelers through the NFL Foundation Grassroots Program and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). It is part of $2.5 million in refurbishment awards allocated this year. The new surface at Kiski Area will replace a worn natural turf field.

Kiski Area's football team, though, will continue to play at Davis Field away from the school campus. Davis Field has natural grass.

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Where are they now? McKeesport players make impact ....... WPIAL notes

Written by Mike White on .

An edition of Where Are They Now

A handful of former McKeesport High School football players are starting on Division I-A teams from the states of Michigan, Illinois, Texas and California.

Delvon Simmons, a junior, starts at defensive tackle for Southern California and had six tackles, including three solo, Delvon Simmonsin the loss to Boston College Saturday. He recovered a fumble in USC’s victory against Stanford the week before.

Simmons (pictured) played his first two seasons at Texas Tech before transferring to Southern California last year. He is a junior in terms of eligibility.

Branden Jackson is a senior at Texas Tech who starts at defensive end. In three games, Jackson has 12 tackles and one sack.TJ Neal

Sophomore T.J. Neal (pictured) starts at middle linebacker for Illionis and is fourth on the team in tackles with 24 in three games.

Kevin Johnson is a senior defensive back at Eastern Michigan who had seven tackles in a loss against Florida earlier this season. Johnson is the team’s third-leading tackler with 19 in three games.

WPIAL matters

Western Beaver and Lincoln Park wanted to enter a cooperative sponsorship in four different sports. The WPIAL approved the sponsorship in two sports, but denied it in two others. The WPIAL made the decision Monday.

A cooperative sponsorship is where two neighboring schools go together to form one team. For example, Cornell no longer has a football team, but Cornell students are permitted to play football at Quaker Valley.

The WPIAL approved cooperative sponsorships for Western Beaver and Lincoln Park in boys golf, starting next year, and boys track, starting this spring. The boys golf team will go under the name of Lincoln Park and the boys track team under Western Beaver.

But the WPIAL denied cooperative sponsorship for baseball and girls basketball. Baseball would have gone under the name of Western Beaver and girls basketball under Lincoln Park.

The WPIAL had reason for their decisions. Under cooperative sponsorships, student enrollment from both schools must be counted to determine classifications. In boys golf and boys track, a cooperative sponsorship between Western Beaver and Lincoln Park would not change the classifications of the current teams.

However, a cooperative sponsorship in baseball and girls basketball would change a team's classification. The Western Beaver baseball team would go from Class A to Class AA. Western Beaver played last season in WPIAL Class A girls basketball, but would be in Class AAA with a cooperative sponsorship with Lincoln Park. The Western Beaver girls basketball team was 0-22 last season..

The PIAA and WPIAL realign classifications based on enrollment every two years. This is the first year of a two-year cycle.

"It is in the PIAA by-laws, that if a cooperative sponsorship alters classifications, it can't be approved until the next two-year cycle," said WPIAL executive director Tim O'Malley. "That's why we denied two of the requests. With the other two sports, classifications won't be altered."

 

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"Picture" Jordan Whitehead's athletic ability ....... Schifino to Steel Valley?

Written by Mike White on .

Central Valley running back-defensive back Jordan Whitehead is one of the most heavily recruited players in Western Pennsylvania. He is an excellent all-around player with way above-average athletic ability.

Want evidence of his athletic ability? Look at the great photo below taken by the Post-Gazette's Rebecca Droke during Friday's game against Penn Hills.

Whitehead actually got penalized on the play for, in a way, being too athletic. He was running the football and literally hurdled over a defender as the defender was starting to make a tackle attempt on Whitehead. Whitehead actually jumped over the Penn Hills player's head. It was quite a sight to see.

But under high school rules, Whitehead was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct. In high school, a player can't hurdle a defender, unless the defender is on the ground, or at least kneeling.

Anyway, below is the photo, and Whitehead is actually on his way "down" in this play. Just call it "JORDAN'S JUMP"

Jordan Whitehead leap

Whitehead, by the way, did not visit anywhere this past weekend after going to Pitt and Ohio State the first two weekends. He will go to West Virginia and Penn State the next two weekends.

Schifino to Steel Valley?

Steel Valley reportedly will hire a boys basketball coach Tuesday night and sources said it most likely will be Drew Schifino, former star at Penn Hills High School. Schifino was Waynesburg's coach this past season and had a 6-16 record.

Shawn McCallister is Steel Valley's athletic director and boys coach. He said this summer, the school board opened all coaching positions for winter sports and spring sports. He would not comment any further, except to say he has interviewed for his job as boys coach and he believes the school will hire someone Tuesday.

Carlynton coach quits

Mauro Monz lasted only three games as Carlynton's coach. Monz handed in his letter of resignation today, which came as a shock to Carlynton officials.

Monz was in his first season and Carlynton was 0-3 since moving up from Class A. Monz said his team has fewer than 25 players because of injuries and he also said his team can't compete in Class AA after six seasons playing in Class A.

Monz claims Carlynton should've done something about moving up to Class AA because they are only three boys over the Class A cutoff. But classifications are determined by the PIAA based on school enrollment. Schools have no idea what classification they will be placed in or what classification cutoffs will be when they hand in enrollment figures every two years. They can't change their enrollment figures after classification cutoffs come out from the PIAA.

"For me, it's an ethical issue," Monz said. "I didn't realize until this Saturday when I was informed by our athletic director [Nathan Milsom] that we were only three boys over. We only have 22 or 23 players, which would be functional for Class A. We've had some major, devastating injuries. The game are hard to watch. I just think something should have been done, whatever was needed, to stay in Class A.

"Parents are complaining. Everyone is complaining. I didn't put us in this league, so I'm falling on the sword, I guess."

More in tomorrow's Post-Gazette.

Canon-McMillan hires Vulcano

It's good to see Frank Vulcano wasn't out of an athletic director's job very long.

Chartiers Valley didn't renew Vulcano's contract, despite him doing some excellent things as the school's AD. But Vulcano was hired tonight as Canon-McMillan's AD. He takes over for Guy Montecalvo, who retired.

State rankings

In case you missed it, here are this week's Post-Gazette state rankings:

 

CLASS AAAA

1. Central Catholic 3-0

2. Woodland Hills 3-0

3. St. Joseph's 1-2

4. Pennsbury 3-0

5. Parkland 3-0

CLASS AAA

1. Archbishop Wood 3-0

2. Bishop McDevitt 3-0

3. West Allegheny 3-0

4. Erie Cathedral Prep 3-0

5. Thomas Jefferson 3-0

CLASS AA

1. South Fayette 3-0

2. Aliquippa 3-0

3. Southern Columbia 3-0

4. West Catholic 1-2

5. Seton-LaSalle 3-0

CLASS A

1. Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic 3-0

2. Clairton 3-0

3. Wellsboro 3-0

4. Jeannette 3-0

5. Sharpsville 3-0

 

 

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