Varsity Notes: City to use a different style of 'replay'

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Some City League football teams are looking at their schedules this season with double vision.

In what is an unusual case of scheduling in Western Pennsylvania football, some City League teams will play an opponent twice in the regular season. Usually, teams in the City League and WPIAL play only once in the regular season.

Strange? Sure, but City League athletic director Mike Gavlik prefers to look at it another way.

"It's sort of like division scheduling in the NFL," Gavlik said. "It is a little bit different, but we're cautiously optimistic that teams will like it."

There are two main reasons some City League teams are playing an opponent twice. First, the City League has only six teams. Heck, 30 years ago the City League had 11 teams and the league still had eight teams as recently as three years ago.

The other reason some City teams are meeting twice is because teams have trouble finding games outside the City League. In years past, many City League teams would schedule a WPIAL team in the season opener because WPIAL teams did not play conference games in their season openers and were free to choose an opponent.

But a few years ago. the WPIAL started scheduling all games for teams, including the opener, and conference play now starts opening night. That put City League teams in a bind to find an opening-night opponent.

"The WPIAL filling up schedules is a factor, but travel is a factor as well," said Gavlik. "Schools are trying to reduce travel and are saying, 'How far do we want to travel outside the WPIAL?'"

Another strange twist to this new City League schedule is one of the games between teams that meet twice will not count in the City League standings. The Carrick-Brashear game tonight, the Perry-Allderdice game next week and the Perry-Brashear game in the final week of the season will not count in the league standings. Those teams will play each other twice this season.

"We'll find out after they play each other if teams like this," Gavlik said. "Right now on paper, everyone seems happy."

Of course, there is a possibility for a third meeting in the City League playoffs.

A matter of principals

The Post-Gazette game of the week has North Allegheny playing at Seneca Valley tonight. This game makes for an interesting week of work for two middle school principals.

Bob Ceh is in his first year as the middle school principal at Seneca Valley. Larry Wandereusz is the school's assistant principal. Ceh is the defensive line coach at North Allegheny and Wandereusz is the defensive coordinator at Seneca Valley.

"It's not like we have a gag order and can't talk this week," Ceh said, laughing. "It would be kind of hard in this office if we weren't talking. We have a little bit of fun with it here and there, but there is no tension or anything like that. I think we both understand it's just a high school game, and the stakes aren't incredibly high.

"I've told people if there are problems in the stands and they need a principal [to settle matters], come see me if we are on offense, and go see Larry if Seneca is on offense."

Around the state

Who are the best teams in the state? If you go by preseason rankings, the WPIAL has the best in the smaller classifications, while the east has the best in the larger classes.

South Fayette is the No. 1-ranked Class AA team in the Post-Gazette, Pennlive.com and Pennsylvania Football News rankings. North Catholic is ranked No. 1 in Class A by the PG and Pennlive while PFN has Clairton No. 1.

But all three rankings have Philadelphia Catholic League schools on top in Class AAA and AAAA. Archbishop Wood is No. 1 in Class AAA and St. Joseph's Prep No. 1 in AAAA.

Comcast to televise games

Comcast cable television will once again show a WPIAL game of the week on its "On Demand" menu. The games will be available one day after they are played.

This is the 12th year of the Xfinity Game of the Week and Chris Shovlin and Ellis Cannon will once again be the announcers. Comcast said high school games have been viewed more than 55,000 times in the past three seasons alone. You can access the games by going to "On Demand" and then the "Get Local" and "Sports" folders.

The season starts with a big Class AAA game tonight with Ringgold playing at Thomas Jefferson.

Check this out

* Quaker Valley standout quarterback/defensive back Dane Jackson, a Pitt recruit, is expected to miss at least four or five games with a torn meniscus in his left knee.

* Tonight's Upper St. Clair at Penn Hills game has been selected as part of the Great American Rivals Series, sponsored by the U.S. Marine Corps. This year's Rivals Series will spotlight 100 games across the country. The winning team will receive a trophy from the Marines as part of the festivities.

Funny, though. Upper St. Clair's main rival is Mt. Lebanon while Penn Hills' top rival is Woodland Hills.

* Two of Carrick's returning starters are twins Taylor and Tyler Thornton. It's safe to say they aren't identical. Taylor is a 6-foot, 220-pound receiver/defensive back. Tyler is a 6-foot, 260-pound lineman.

* Tonight is the first night of high school football games in Pennsylvania, but soccer also starts today. TopDrawerSoccer.com does a preseason All-American watch list for boys and girls soccer players around the country and four district boys and three girls are on the lists, which include 250 boys and 250 girls.

The local boys players on the watch list are Doug Hapeman and Robbie Mertz of Upper St. Clair, Abe Kouyate of Obama and Brandon Walbert of South Park. The girls are Abby Losco of Hopewell, Kyra Murphy of Canon-McMillan and Jessica Neill of Seneca Valley.


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