High school notebook: McDowell interested in rejoining WPIAL
McDowell's request to return to the WPIAL as a football-only associate member in the 2014-15 scheduling cycle was tabled Monday by the WPIAL Board of Control, which decided to delay making a decision until enrollment figures are released next fall.
McDowell played an exhibition schedule for two years, then spent four years as an associate member from 2008-11 before a District 10 directive forced the school to leave the WPIAL this year.
“I'm not sure that the board is opposed to them coming back in,” WPIAL executive director Tim O'Malley said, “but wants to wait to see the landscape, as it relates to number of teams in Quad A and whether their inclusion is advantageous or detrimental, before making a decision. If they had stayed in, we wouldn't have this discussion.”
USO in PIAA playoffs
The USO football team has bounced back nicely after falling to Perry, 9-6, in the City League championship game Nov. 3.
Led by quarterback Akil Young's passing efforts the past two weeks — he has thrown for more than 800 yards and 11 touchdowns — USO has knocked off Somerset, 47-38, and Clearfield, 36-22, in the PIAA Districts 5-6-8-9 subregional Class AAA playoffs.
Saturday, USO (7-3) will take its passing attack to Mansion Park Stadium in Altoona to face District 4 champion Selinsgrove (9-3) in the first round of the PIAA tournament.
Selinsgrove, which went 1-9 in 2011, is coming off a pair of shutout victories in the District 4 tournament. The Seals are led by a trio of running backs: freshman Juvon Batts (849 yards, 9 TDs), sophomore Zach Adams (622 yards, 4 TDs) and senior Mike Walter (410 yards, 9 TDs). Batts had 218 yards in last week's 31-0 win over Milton.
Sophomore quarterback Isaiah Rapp has completed 49 percent of his passes for 573 yards and six scores.
Football coach openings
Deer Lakes has opened its football head coaching position, although Todd Hazlett — the only coach to guide the Lancers to the WPIAL playoffs in their 44-year history — planned to return for a seventh season.
Hazlett said he was told during a meeting with athletic director Chuck Bellisario about a week ago that the district would advertise the job and accept applications. He will be able to reapply.
“There was no indication why,” Hazlett said. “I believe the comment was that they want the best candidate they can find.”
In 2010, Hazlett guided Deer Lakes to a 7-3 record and the first round of the WPIAL Class AA playoffs. Since then, the Lancers have stumbled to a 5-14 mark.
The Canon-McMillan position also opened Monday night, after the school board accepted Tim Sohyda's resignation. The Big Macs were 2-26 the past three years under Sohyda.
Four other WPIAL schools also are seeking football coaches. Laurel coach Jerry Holzhauser resigned after going 54-35 in nine seasons. Harvey Smith is no longer the coach at Imani Christian after leading the team to a 6-3 mark in its first year of WPIAL play. Shenango coach Ryan Mayo resigned after going 21-34 in six seasons. Chartiers Valley coach Chris Saluga resigned after posting a school-record 60 wins in his 12 years on the sidelines.
Mt. Lebanon senior quarterback-defensive back Tyler Roth issued a verbal commitment to Princeton of the Ivy League, he said Tuesday. Roth, who chose Princeton over Bucknell and Cornell, threw for 2,514 yards and 28 TDs this season for the Blue Devils (8-3).
Fresh off a third straight PIAA Class AAA championship, the Peters Township girls soccer team ended the season as the No. 1 ranked team in the country according to Maxpreps. The Indians finished 24-1 after defeating Cumberland Valley, 1-0, in the title game Saturday. Cumberland Valley was the only team to beat the Indians, in a nonsection match during the regular season.
Moon and Seneca Valley finished the season ranked fifth and 10th, respectively, in the national maxpreps poll.