PIAA notebook: NA coach Walker refutes job offer speculation
North Allegheny coach Art Walker has heard speculation that he might be headed elsewhere before next season, maybe for a college coaching position.
That's news to him.
“I'm not going to another high school, I know that for sure,” said Walker, 42. “And I haven't talked to any college coaches at all. To me, that's always interesting that people assume that stuff has been going on. I can tell you that nothing has. I've had no offers at all.”
Kicker boots record FG
Wyomissing senior kicker Jonah Bowman's 52-yard field goal in third quarter of the Spartans' 17-14 victory over Aliquippa was a PIAA playoff and PIAA finals record but not the longest in state history.
“Good for him that he can make that,” Aliquippa coach Mike Zmijanac said. “It ended up being the difference. They took the wind in the third quarter and made a field goal.”
The previous PIAA finals field-goal record was 45 yards, set by Tony Lasiello of Bethlehem Catholic against Wilmington in the 1988 Class AA final. The previous PIAA playoffs record was 47 yards, set by Matt Domonkos of Johnstown's Bishop McCort in the 2001 quarterfinals.
Gerry McGroarty of Bishop Hoban in Scranton holds the state record for longest field goal, kicking a 64-yarder in a 52-0 victory over Bishop Hafey on Sept. 27, 2003.
Moment for fallen victims
The flag at Hersheypark Stadium was lowered to half-staff and a moment of silence was held before the championship games for the victims of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where 20 children and six adults were killed.
Irish recruit steps up
All eyes were on Wyomissing senior fullback-linebacker Alex Anzalone, a Notre Dame recruit who is regarded as the top player in the state by some recruiting services. Where the 6-foot-3, 235-pound Anzalone rushed for only 41 yards on 16 carries, he had a pair of pivotal catches (for 24 yards) and two first downs and tied teammate Brian Bamberger for the most tackles with 8.5 (seven solo), one tackle for a loss of 1 yard and a pass breakup. Celo Chavis led Aliquippa with eight stops (seven solo), while Malik Stewart had two tackles, two fumble recoveries and an interception.
Games draw top recruiters
Spotted on the sidelines at Hersheypark Stadium were Penn State coach Bill O'Brien, who posed for pictures with fans before the PIAA Class AA final. Nittany Lions quarterbacks coach Charlie Fisher joined O'Brien. Pitt had five assistant coaches at the games this weekend: quarterbacks coach Brooks Bollinger, receivers coach Bobby Engram, offensive line coach Jim Hueber, linebackers coach Chris Haering and secondary coach Matt House.