Mike Hull has been to four Penn State games this season. On Saturday, Hull informed Penn State coach Joe Paterno that in two years he'd like to do more than watch Penn State games.
He would like to play in them.
Hull, who plays at Canon-McMillan High School, made a verbal commitment to Penn State two days ago, telling Paterno before the Nittany Lions defeated Michigan State. Hull is a 6-foot-1, 215-pound junior who plays linebacker and running back. He is considered one of the top junior prospects in the WPIAL and was recruited by Penn State to play either linebacker or strong safety.
Hull also had scholarship offers from Pitt, West Virginia and Michigan. He can't sign a binding letter of intent until February of 2010.
"I have a great connection with the coaches and players [at Penn State]," Hull said. "I have a lot of friends who go up there and I just thought I'd start the class of 2010 off and rolling. Hopefully, I can get some more recruits for Penn State."
Hull's commitment is no surprise. He has been a lifelong Penn State fan. His father, Tom, is a former standout Uniontown player who played linebacker at Penn State in the early 1970s and also spent two years in the NFL.
"My dad never pushed me, but I could tell he was excited when I told him I was going to Penn State," Hull said.
Hull has been a starter at Canon-McMillan since his freshman season. He missed some time this season because of injuries to his back and leg. He also is a standout wrestler, but has decided to not wrestle this year because he wants to rehabilitate his back.
Hull said Paterno told him "he'd be there for a while." Hull was recruited by defensive coordinator Tom Bradley.
"I think coach Bradley should be named the successor right now," Hull said. "He's definitely one of the best defensive coordinators in college football. He'd be a great coach."
The Pennsylvania career rushing record was broken Friday night, and the state record for single-season rushing could fall this weekend.
Jeremiah Young of Steelton-Highspire near Harrisburg rushed for 138 yards on 24 carries in a 49-16 victory against Camp Hill. Young has 8,506 yards and broke the record of 8,432, set by 1996 East Stroudsburg graduate James Mungro.
Meanwhile, Schuylkill Haven running back Zach Barket rushed for 255 yards in a 43-0 victory against Communications Tech. Barket now has 3,806 yards rushing this season and needs only 41 to break the state record of 3,846, set by Parkland's Austin Scott in 2002.
Both Steelton-Highspire and Schuylkill Haven will be in the PIAA Class A quarterfinals this weekend. Steelton-Highspire plays Bishop McCort, and Schuylkill Haven plays Taylor Riverside.
Aliquippa coach Mike Zmijanac won his third WPIAL title Saturday with an 8-6 victory against Beaver Falls in the Class AA final, but he refused the traditional "Gatorade shower" after the contest, pushing away a player who tried to douse him.
"They've lost their mind trying to throw Gatorade on me. I told the kid trying to do it that I'd punch him right in the mouth," the 65-year-old Zmijanac said, laughing. "Are you crazy, trying to throw stuff on an old man?"
Jodie Thomas, the mother of Beaver Falls star Todd Thomas, said she had her reasons for going onto the field after the Class AA championship and getting into a confrontation with coach Ryan Matsook behind the Beaver Falls bench.
Thomas said security didn't stop her from going onto the field and she also saw Matsook's wife, mother and father on the field.
"Why are they allowed on the field and not me?" Thomas said.
Thomas said she also wanted to question Matsook about why he didn't kick a field goal at one point in the game and also about his play calling.
The incident turned ugly when Thomas was yelling at Matsook. Thomas said she didn't bump Matsook, but acknowledged the two may have inadvertently made contact.
"Was I in his face? Yes I was. I'm a brutally honest person, but I think he got upset that I did it in front of everyone," Thomas said.
"I didn't push him. Maybe I could've told him in a little bit of a nicer way. Basically what I said was on everyone's mind."
Mike White can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1975. First Published November 24, 2008 5:00 AM