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, in 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.
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.
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."