Notebook: Root Sports switches football telecasts to Fridays

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WPIAL football games will be shown on Root Sports this season, but not on Thursday nights.

Root Sports (formerly FSN Pittsburgh) announced Wednesday it will move its package of high school games from Thursdays to Fridays this fall, and nearly all of them will be shown live.

The station will air games on seven of nine Friday nights in the regular season.

Also, Root Sports will use "flexible scheduling" in order to pick the best games.

The only two contests definitely scheduled are Thomas Jefferson at Woodland Hills (7 p.m. Sept. 2) and Central Valley at New Castle (6:30 p.m. Sept. 16).

Otherwise, Root Sports will announce its matchup 10 days before the game. Root Sports also will televise three WPIAL playoff games and all four WPIAL championships Nov. 26 at Heinz Field.

The only game that won't be live will be a Nov. 11 playoff game that will be shown after the Penguins-Dallas game.

Root Sports started televising Thursday night games live in 2005.

It wasn't unhappy with ratings, but, in the past few years, the station had to show many of the games on tape because of conflicts with Pirates and Penguins games. So, the station decided to televise games Friday nights, minimizing such conflicts.

Naming rights

What's in a school name? Well, in the City League this school year, it depends on the sport.

Obama, University Prep, and Science and Technology are three City League schools that will have a cooperative sponsorship for sports. In other words, students from those three schools will come together for one sports team. But the name of the team will be different, depending on the sport.

In football season, that team will be called University Prep. In all other sports, it will be Obama.

University Prep's nickname is the Panthers. Obama is the Eagles.

So, an athlete can be a Panther in football season, and an Eagle in all others.

Elsewhere

Devin Wilson, a junior, two-sport athlete at Montour, hasn't decided yet whether he wants to play football or basketball in college. But Wilson said he has scholarship offers in basketball from Duquesne, Akron and James Madison.

• Saturday is the first day teams can scrimmage an opponent, and most scrimmages are in the morning. A few interesting matchups are Central Catholic at McKeesport (10 a.m.), Gateway at Shaler (9 a.m.) and Blackhawk at Aliquippa (9 a.m.).

• Former McKeesport star defensive lineman Delvon Simmons has been practicing as a freshman at Texas Tech, but is still awaiting word from the NCAA Clearinghouse on whether he will be eligible to play.


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


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