The Fumbler: Steelers coach not the first to commit a sideline blunder

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The Fumbler shook his head and smiled while watching the Steelers-Ravens game with his family on Thanksgiving.

(By the way, his darn cousin -- The Dribbler -- didn't bring any pumpkin pies this year. Not cool.)

Anyway, you probably saw the play when Steelers coach Mike Tomlin shimmied onto the field during a Ravens kickoff return, causing returner Jacoby Jones to veer away from the sideline in an attempt to avoid running into Tomlin. Jones, who was promptly tackled, might have scored a touchdown otherwise.

The Fumbler was involved in a similar incident a few years ago, but on that play the runner tripped and fell. It was an accident. Honestly, it was.

Luckily for The Fumbler, it happened at his nephew's pee-wee game. While Tomlin was fined $100,000 for his actions, The Fumbler was simply told to "be more careful next time."

The Fumbler made amends with the 10 year old by buying him a bunch of candy from the concession stand, including what seemed like 10 pounds worth of chocolate.

That leads The Fumbler to this weekend's high school football games. Only 16 teams in Pennsylvania are still playing. After tomorrow, that number will be cut in half.

Next week, those winners will move on to Hershey -- aka Choco-latetown, USA -- for the PIAA championships.

The Fumbler will be there ... standing far away from the sidelines, of course.

The Fumbler went 3-1 last week, moving him to 533-120 (.816) on the season.

Here are his thoughts on this weekend's PIAA semifinal games.

Class AAAA

Central Catholic (14-0) vs. Lower Dauphin (13-1) at Mansion Park Stadium, Altoona, 1 p.m. Saturday -- Depending on which school wins this game, the transportation plans in getting to the title game will differ greatly. Lower Dauphin can literally walk the 4 miles it takes to get to Hersheypark Stadium. Central Catholic, meanwhile, would have a 200-plus mile drive in its future. Fill up the tank and warm up the buses. Winner: Central Catholic.

Other semifinal: Neshaminy (13-1) over St. Joseph's Prep (11-2)

Class AAA

Erie Cathedral Prep (13-0) over Bishop McDevitt (13-1); Archbishop Wood (11-2) over Berwick (14-0)

Class AA

South Fayette (14-0) vs. Hickory (12-1) at Slippery Rock University, 1 p.m. Saturday -- One of Hickory's most famous alumni is Rod White, an archery wiz who helped the United States win a gold medal at the 1996 Olympics. White was superb at hitting targets, but so is South Fayette quarterback Brett Brumbaugh. The difference is that Brumbaugh does it with moving targets, sometimes while he's on the run. Advantage: Brumbaugh. Winner: South Fayette.

Other semifinal: Imhotep Charter (12-1) over Berks Catholic (13-0)

Class A

Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic (14-0) vs. Clarion (14-0) at DuBois, 7 tonight -- The size difference between Class A and AAAA teams has always fascinated The Fumbler. For instance, Central Catholic has 17 players on its roster weighing at least 225 pounds. North Catholic has just four and Clarion five. But in this Class A game, size won't matter. It will come down to skill and execution. The Trojans will own the edge in both categories. Winner: North Catholic.

Other semifinal: Old Forge (13-1) over Steelton-Highspire (12-1)


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