"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:



1. Central Catholic 3-0

2. Woodland Hills 3-0

3. St. Joseph's 1-2

4. Pennsbury 3-0

5. Parkland 3-0


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


1. South Fayette 3-0

2. Aliquippa 3-0

3. Southern Columbia 3-0

4. West Catholic 1-2

5. Seton-LaSalle 3-0


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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Bear in the bird seed

Written by John Hayes on .

Please don't feed the bears. That includes leaving bird seeds where bears can get to them.


for video of a black bear that found food in a backyard in Farmington, Fayette County.

Black bears can learn quickly that human habitation means easy-to-get food. That often leads to negative human-bear contact, and bears that learn to not fear humans are often killed by hunters.

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Sutter eager to play for Johnston - 09-15-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Considering he wasn't fired, traded or allowed to walk as a free agent, Brandon Sutter's offseason was pretty quiet.

Under any other circumstances, signing a two-year contract for a total of $6.6 million - as Sutter did in August - would be a somewhat significant event. But when weighed against the context of the Penguins' offseason as a franchise which saw immense turnover with management and the roster, the re-signing of Sutter seemed like a relatively ho-hum piece of news.

It's quite possible none of the holdovers on the Penguins' payroll got a bigger boost this summer than Sutter. After being saddled with an revolving door of linemates last season which seemed to vary on a game-to-game basis due to various reasons, Sutter appears set to have some better options to flank him on the team's third line in 2014-15. If nothing else, the additions of Nick Spaling, Steve Downie and Blake Comeau seem to represent an upgrade on paper.

Another change which could benefit Sutter is the hiring of Mike Johnston who has described the center position as "critical" with regards to how he wants to generate offense.

Recently, Sutter talked about his offseason, new linemates and Johnston:

You probably anticipated some changes with the organization but did you expect as much turnover as did take place with the Penguins this offseason?

"I don't think anybody did to be honest with you. We had a good year but we had a bad finish. That's the business. It's always tough to see guys go. I don't think anyone quite the overhaul that took place but that's the way it goes. I think they did a good job of bringing in some new guys, some new guys and a new coaching staff. It's a much different feel coming in. It's going to take a few weeks to get adjusted with some new systems."

What is it like to be reunited with general manager Jim Rutherford? He drafted and traded you while with the Hurricanes.

"It was pretty weird. Kind of a small world. It's funny. You never know, especially in this business when you're going to cross paths with someone you've worked with before. He's a good [general manager]. He knows what he's doing. He's been in the league for a long time. Hopefully it works here."

He talked about beefing up how the Penguins used advanced statistics. Do you recall how he used them with the Hurricanes?

"No. I don't really recall much. That's probably stuff that stays within the front office. I don't think many players know much about that stuff."

As a restricted free agent, you signed a two-year contract in August. Why only two years?

"I guess it was hard to lock in any longer. I think I want to see where we're at in two years time. Obviously with a new coaching staff and new everything, you don't want to jump into a one-year contract or necessarily a four-year contract. I think two years is the right number. It gives me a chances to see how things go the next few years and re-evaluate things then. I definitely didn't want to do the one-year deal so I'm glad we met in the middle on that."

Last season, the third line struggled to find any consistency, especially with so many players being used on the wings. How well do you think management addressed that issue this offseason?

"Last year with, first of all, the injuries. Just a lot of guys rotating around. We had a coach that loved to change things up all the time. I think that sometimes that is kind of tough to get used to. It's hard to find that chemistry with guys. Like I said, they did a good job of bringing in some new faces. Some guys that have played in the league for a while. Have some experience. Some gritty guys. Some skilled guys. It should be a nice mix in our bottom six forwards now. We want to contribute and pull our weight as much as everyone else is."

How much do you know about new head coach Mike Johnston? Your dad (Red Deer Rebels executive Brent Sutter) has coached against him quite a bit in the Western Hockey League.

"My dad knows him a bit but not much. I know a few guys who are familiar with him from the [WHL]. I don't know much about him as a coach. I'll probably be quizzing [Penguins defensive prospect Derrick Pouliot] about him a little bit. He's a good guy. Met him this summer. Hopefully he's a good fit."

(Note: Pouliot played for Johnston with the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL.)

Johnston has talked a lot about generating play through the center position...


So your ears perked up when you heard that?

"Yeah, definitely. I think there's definitely some things we can change from what we did before that's going to help us a lot with our speed and using the middle of the ice more and things like that. "

(Photo: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

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My 2014 AP ballot: Week 3

Written by Sam Werner on .

Each week, I'll go through my AP Top 25 ballot and give a few thoughts on how I voted and how it compares to the overall poll results.

Overall, this was a pretty weak slate of games this Saturday. We still got some shake ups, though, as South Carolina showed it's not dead yet beating Georgia, and Virginia Tech and USC both fell victim to let-down games following big wins. Here's a link to this week's poll, and here's my ballot...

  1. Florida State
  2. Oregon
  3. Alabama
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Auburn
  6. Baylor
  7. Texas A&M
  8. LSU
  9. Notre Dame
  10. Ole Miss
  11. Michigan State
  12. Georgia
  13. Wisconsin
  14. USC
  15. UCLA
  16. Arizona State
  17. Stanford
  18. Kansas State
  19. Virginia Tech
  20. Ohio State
  21. Clemson
  22. North Carolina
  23. Duke
  24. Mississippi State
  25. South Carolina

- No movement in the top five, but I did think once again about moving Oregon up to No. 1. I think Florida State is going to have to show me something against Clemson this week to prove that they deserve to be in that top spot. If they pull out a close game and Oregon cruises to a win against Washington State, expect to see the Ducks at No. 1 next week.

- Georgia drops down to No. 12 after losing at South Carolina. I didn't want to punish the Bulldogs too much, since they lost on the road against a South Carolina team that I think will bounce back from the Texas A&M loss this season.

- Let's talk about the Los Angeles teams. USC dropped from No. 10 to No. 14 on my ballot after their loss at Boston College. The loss was on the road, and USC's win against Stanford still carries water, so I didn't kill the Trojans too much, but you might notice that I kept them ahead of UCLA, who eked out another win against Texas. That's because, on the whole, USC has just looked much, much better than the Bruins this season. The loss to BC is not good, but USC still has a quality win, while UCLA just keeps churning out stinkers against mediocre teams.

- Virginia Tech drops from 15 to 19 after losing to ECU. I actually thought really hard about including the Pirates this week, who played South Carolina close last week and put together a nice win at Lane Stadium this week.

- South Carolina re-enters the top 25 after beating Georgia. It was a three-point win at home, so I don't want to go overboard on the praise, but I think the Gamecocks will move their way back up the polls as the season continues.

- Louisville drops out after losing at Virginia. I think the Cavaliers are much better than they were last year, but this is a game Louisville should win if they truly want to be one of the better teams in the ACC. Virginia might end up being one of Pitt's tougher games this season.

- I seem to be drawing the ire of Missouri fans for not including their team, but I'm still waiting for the Tigers to play anyone of consequence. That's not a knock on them, necessarily, just saying that wins over South Dakota State, Toledo and UCF aren't really moving the needle for me. But, like all complaints, I will remind everyone that we'll do another one of these next week. You might like that one better, and the only one that really matters isn't going to come until December.

- Finally, a word on Pitt. Once again, the Panthers was one of the teams right on the fringe that I thought about putting in the bottom rung of the ballot, but that first quarter against FIU was bad enough to keep them out. To me, that showed me that Pitt is still a team that's still learning how to win (not entirely surprising, given the last few seasons). If Pitt beats Iowa this weekend (especially if the running game continues to look as good as it has), I have to imagine the Panthers will be in next week's ballot (and probably the overall poll as well).

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Empty Netter Assists - 09-15-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


-Shootout goals by Jean-Sebastien Dea and Tom Kuhnhackl gave the Penguins a 5-4 win against the Blackhawks in their rookie tournament game in London, Ont.


-"It's a smaller rink, so you have to take your hits and make your hits a lot." - Penguins forward prospect Oskar Sundqvist, a native of Sweden, on adjusting to playing in North America.

Central Division

-The Stars unveiled a new mascot:

-EN Says: This looks like something one would spray with some weed killer.

Pacific Division

-Coyotes forward prospect Henrik Samuelsson, son of former Penguins defenseman Ulf Samuelsson, is hoping to make his team's NHL roster out of training camp.

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