High school notebook: Hempfield set to defend WCCA title
Hempfield did not flaunt the trophy when it won the Westmoreland County Coaches Association 7-on-7 Football Tournament last summer.
The Spartans topped three-time defending champion Penn-Trafford, 21-16, in the finals but kept it all in perspective.
The seventh annual WCCA tournament will be Thursday at Latrobe's on-campus Rossi Field, and Hempfield will be back to defend its title — and continue to work on fundamentals as it builds toward larger goals for a new season.
“It's only seven-on-seven. We have to keep that in mind,” said Hempfield coach Rich Bowen, who returns all-conference quarterback Justin Sliwoski. “It's nice for the kids to compete and win, but you don't want to get too excited. It doesn't matter until you put pads on when the season starts.”
Coaches appreciate the competition the event brings after a number of tiresome conditioning workouts with the same faces in recent weeks.
Twelve teams are in the field with Norwin, Jeannette, Franklin Regional, Greensburg Salem, Yough and Latrobe in Bracket A, and Hempfield, Valley, Southmoreland, Mt. Pleasant, Derry and Penn-Trafford in Bracket B.
Competition begins at 9 a.m. with the championship slated for 2:15 p.m. between the two bracket winners.
Four “fields” will be used, with two games being played each hour at Rossi Field, and two others on the all-turf baseball and softball fields at connecting Graham-Sobota Field.
County teams look forward to the WCCA tournament, and some have made it a summer staple.
“The event has become popular because of the tournament's level of competitive play,” WCCA president Larry Sellitto said. “The players look forward to competing against other teams and players from the county that they don't see during the football season.”
Sellitto said the passing tournament helps build camaraderie among teams and coaching staffs and helps teams fill out skill positions before training camps open Aug. 14.
“We are excited about Latrobe being the host for this year's event at their new facility,” Sellitto said.
Brandon Stone expected to get more college attention during AAU basketball season, and the 6-foot-11 former Southmoreland basketball standout was right.
His stock has risen substantially this summer as he plays for Bridge City Basketball.
Stone, who transferred and will “reclassify” at The Christ School in Arden, N.C., grabbed offers from Bowling Green and Canisius, not long after his first Power-5 conference offer from Penn State.
• Penn-Trafford softball player Sammy Smith, a rising senior outfielder, committed to Mt. Aloysius. She had only four at-bats last season because of injury. She plays travel ball for the Pittsburgh Predators.
• Hempfield football player Braden Brose picked up a pair of Division II scholarship offers, from Slippery Rock and Seton Hill. Brose (6-foot-4, 235 pounds) was a first-team all-conference tight end as a junior. Brose caught 21 receptions for 306 yards and made 85 tackles last season.
Albert Gallatin is hosting a seven-on-seven tournament for the second year in a row Saturday in Uniontown.
The 11-team, 32-game event starts at 9 a.m. Each team gets four games in pool play before being seeded for a single-elimination tournament.
Teams are Albert Gallatin, Brownsville, Charleroi, Carmichaels, Clairton, Connellsville, Laurel Highlands, Serra Catholic, Uniontown, Waynesburg and Yough.
“This is a great event for our local schools in the area as we head towards heat acclimation and training camp within the next few weeks,” AG coach Shawn Liotta said.