Alle-Kiski Valley high school notebook: One and done for area football teams
The Alle-Kiski Valley endured a shutout on the opening weekend of the WPIAL football playoffs.
With the losses of Fox Chapel to Penn-Trafford in Class 5A, Freeport to Seton LaSalle in Class 3A and Springdale to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in A, it meant no local team advanced past the first round.
The winless weekend came five years after the most recent time the A-K Valley didn't get a team to the second round: In 2012, Apollo-Ridge, Burrell, Freeport, Kiski Area and Springdale and Valley all dropped their opening-round contests.
Another instant classic
Fox Chapel pushed No. 1 Penn-Trafford to the brink in Friday's Class 5A playoff opener before falling 28-21. The Foxes came close to avenging a 20-year-old playoff loss to the Warriors.
The Foxes and Warriors met in the 1997 Class AAAA semifinals, with Fox Chapel the favorite after rolling through the regular season and routing North Allegheny in the quarterfinals. But Penn-Trafford pulled the upset, taking advantage of four turnovers and a blocked punt, returning two of those for a score, in a 21-19 victory.
Chad Killian scored a touchdown to cut Penn-Trafford's lead to two points in the final minute, but the 2-point try failed, giving Penn-Trafford the win despite getting massively outgained.
“(It was) definitely one of those things where when you look at it on paper, the lead would go to us for sure,” Killian said this week, reminiscing. “We had some good people, and it was one of those times where it was an interesting game but a bummer for sure.”
Fox Chapel nearly got its revenge this week against the title-hopeful Warriors, with the one-two punch of quarterback Nick Gizzo and running back Micah Morris denting Penn-Trafford's stingy defense. John Gay IV's touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter provided the winning score, and the Foxes turned it over on downs in Penn-Trafford territory in the final minute.
Former Riverview coach Joe Rossi, now the coach at South Fayette, has his eyes on another WPIAL championship after a 35-0 Lions victory over West Mifflin in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs.
Top-seeded South Fayette (11-0) has outscored opponents 480-115 behind a prolific passing game led by senior quarterback Drew Saxton.
Rossi, who coached Riverview from 2002-06 and compiled a 26-23 record, led South Fayette to WPIAL titles in 2010, ‘13 and ‘14 and to PIAA titles in the latter two years.
Soccer All-Star game
The Western Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches Association's annual boys soccer All-Star games are Nov. 25 at Highmark Stadium. Players will be released at a later date.
The games feature 80 players from around the WPIAL. Class A and Class AA All-Stars will play each other at 11 a.m., followed by Class AAA vs. Class AAAA All-Stars at 1 p.m.
On the trail
A pair of local athletes made their college decisions recently.
Fox Chapel senior Carson Cohen verbally committed to play basketball at Division III Tufts (Mass.). Cohen, a point guard, led the Foxes in scoring as a junior as they shared the Section 3-6A championship with Latrobe and Penn Hills.
Greensburg Central Catholic senior James Rice, a Leechburg native, committed to play baseball at Mount Aloysius. Rice, the son of former Apollo-Ridge baseball coach Joe Rice, was a starter on the 2017 GCC team that finished as WPIAL Class A runner-up and advanced to the PIAA semifinals.