High school notebook: Sto-Rox 'counted out' of the Class A ranks

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When the WPIAL releases its football realignment Tuesday, Sto-Rox will be in Class AA thanks to a mistake in counting student enrollment.

Sto-Rox should be in Class A, but has to play “up” the next two seasons because the Sto-Rox administration gave the PIAA the wrong enrollment numbers. The school also missed a PIAA deadline to fix incorrect enrollment figures.

So instead of trying to make it to the WPIAL Class A title game for the fourth year in a row next season, Sto-Rox will have to battle Class AA teams.

“There are things you can control and things you can’t,” said Sto-Rox football coach Dan Bradley. “Unfortunately, we lost control of the situation we should’ve been able to control.”

The PIAA determines classifications every two years based on school enrollments for students in grades 9 through 11. The WPIAL follows PIAA classifications.

In October, all schools in the state had to report their enrollments to the PIAA. If a school made a mistake in counting its enrollment numbers, there was a deadline about a month later to fix the mistake.

Once the PIAA releases classification enrollment cutoffs in December, schools can’t change enrollment numbers. Why? Because schools could “fudge” their enrollment figures slightly if they don’t like their classification.

Bradley said he is not sure where the mistake was made by Sto-Rox administration. Sto-Rox athletic director Howard Bullard said he is not sure how the mistake was made, either, although he said the school might have mistakenly counted eighth-grade or 12th-grade students.

Sto-Rox principal Tim Beck did not return phone messages.

But the Sto-Rox administration also missed the deadline to fix the mistake.

“We’re just going to practice and prepare like we would for any Class A games,” Bradley said. “Whether we win will be based on how we play. I don’t want to say there is not any difference playing Class A, personnel-wise, because there is a big difference.”

But Bradley is trying to be positive.

“We have three offensive linemen coming back, a running back who started a couple games and three returning receivers, so we have a good nucleus,” Bradley said. “We lose a lot of size and big-play people, but defensively we return a few starters on the line, a linebacker and three secondary people. We have some voids, but we have some leaders who can lead us in the right direction.”

Canceled because of Twitter?

Could this be a first in Western Pennsylvania sports? A contest is canceled because of Twitter.

As strange as that may sound, it is a fact. Kiski School, a prep school in Saltsburg, canceled its game Wednesday at Indiana because of a series of inappropriate tweets between players and students from both schools. Kiski School administrators made the decision to cancel the game. Indiana coach Greg Lezanic said Indiana officials understood why Kiski did it.

Kiski School player Dante Lombardi used to play at Indiana before transferring. Also, Lezanic said four players who would have been freshmen at Indiana this school year transferred to Kiski School.

“This was not because of some security issue,” Lezanic said. “There were just some tweets between not just players, but students as well.”

Kiski School prepared a statement about the cancellation that read: “Our school does not condone unsportsmanlike conduct on or off the field. We have high standards and expect our athletes to demonstrate leadership, character and good judgment. There are potential dangers with social media and this is a teaching moment to our students.”

Athletic director Chris Spohn said Kiski School parents and coaches were supportive of the decision.

Spohn said he and Indiana athletic director Pat Snyder were made aware of some of the inappropriate tweets.

“We’ve kind of been trying to tell the kids and everyone else that times like this show the potential dangers of social media and what can happen when you engage in this sort of [inappropriate] conversation,” Spohn said.

Spohn said the school doesn’t monitor students’ Twitter accounts, but said, “We have so many alums and friends on Twitter that it’s pretty easy to ascertain when things are going on.”

Moon reunion

Ten years ago, Moon was on top of the state in Class AAA boys basketball. Now, the school will honor the 10-year anniversary of that team.

The 2004 Moon Tigers won WPIAL and PIAA titles and will be honored before Friday’s home game against Canon-McMillan. Many of the players from the team, coached by Jeff Ackermann, will attend the ceremonies. Afterward, players and friends are heading to Montour Heights Country Club to watch highlights from that season.

Moon was 29-3 in 2003-04 and had a future NFL player at center. A.Q. Shipley, who now plays for the Baltimore Ravens, is expected to attend Friday’s ceremonies.

Derek Gallagher, Duane Compo, Dom Manno, Ryan Helfrich and M.J. Knight were a few other players on the 2004 team that defeated previously undefeated Holy Ghost Prep, 52-50, in the PIAA title game.

Questions about the event can be e-mailed to moonbball@gmail.com.

Transfer issue

The PIAA Board of Control has meetings Wednesday and Thursday and representatives of the WPIAL will ask the PIAA to examine what is taking place in the Philadelphia area with the large number of athletes transferring schools and playing sports, particularly basketball.

For more on high school sports, go to “Varsity Blog” at www.post-gazette.com/varsityblog. Mike White: mwhite@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1975 and Twitter @mwhiteburgh.

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