Beaver Falls, Gateway take new paths

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One perennial WPIAL boys basketball power has decided to play “up” in classification while one strong football program has decided it has no problem with a drop in classification.

Beaver Falls informed the PIAA Tuesday that it will play “up” in Class AAA starting next season, even though the school’s enrollment would place the team in Class AA. Beaver Falls has won the past two WPIAL Class AA titles.

Meanwhile, Gateway, a perennial WPIAL football title contender, will drop to Class AAA next season after the school decided not to play “up” in AAAA. Gateway always has played in the WPIAL’s largest classification since it opened in the 1950s.

But Gateway’s boys enrollment put the football team in Class AAA, starting next season.

Schools that want to play “up” in classification had to inform the PIAA of their intentions by Tuesday. Gateway athletic director Randy Rovesti and principal Bill Short recommended the school not play “up,” and no one from the school board disagreed.

Beaver Falls boys basketball coach Doug Biega is the one who recommended the team play in Class AAA, and the school board supported him.

“He feels our program can compete at that level, and the board decided to support him in his request,” Beaver Falls athletic director Jim Carbone said. “It’s exciting for the school. With playing some Beaver County teams again such as Beaver, Central Valley, Hopewell, Ambridge and Blackhawk, the district is looking at it as a way of maybe rekindling some of those rivalries.”

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