High school notebook: WPIAL standouts ready for all-star appearances
The high school football season officially ended last week for Pennsylvania teams when four PIAA champions were crowned at Hersheypark Stadium.
For several WPIAL stars, however, it's not quite time to put the pads and cleats away. Some of Western Pennsylvania's best will take part in three national all-star games, while many of their classmates still are celebrating the holidays.
Belle Vernon offensive tackle and Pitt recruit Dorian Johnson, Central Valley wide receiver and Alabama recruit Robert Foster and North Allegheny offensive guard and Michigan recruit Pat Kugler will take part in the Under-Armour All-America Game at 5 p.m. Jan. 4 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The game will feature some of the top recruits in the country, including 68 who have issued verbal commitments to BCS schools.
Clairton running back/wide receiver Tyler Boyd will play for the East team at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 5 at San Antonio's Alamodome.
“Playing there, it's going to be the most memorable moment of my life,” Boyd said. “I've been looking forward to this day.”
And even more WPIAL players will head to The Chesapeake Bowl to be played at 2 p.m. Dec. 29 at Marvin F. Wilson Stadium in Landover, Md.
The North team, which will be coached by Bishop McDevitt's Jeff Weachter, includes Imani Christian wide receiver Brendan Edwards; McKeesport linebacker Hodari Christian; Gateway defensive back Todd Jeter, tight end Jaymar Parrish, defensive tackle Anthony Parente, offensive guard R.J. Hughes, tight end Mileak Ford and quarterback Thomas Woodson; Clairton defensive back Titus Howard; Aliquippa defensive back Malik Shegog; and Montour offensive guard Matt Barone and defensive tackle Tyler Haddock.
West Shamokin is looking for a new football coach after Josh Gilliland resigned Friday after four seasons with the Wolves, who went 3-7 this season and broke a 46-game losing streak.
“There were some different things I went through during and after the season, and I just felt that I didn't want to be a distraction in the offseason and things like that with some personal matters,” Gilliland said. “So I thought it'd be better for the program, for the team, for the school and for me to step down and walk away for right now.”
Shady Side Academy junior goalie Tucker Gillman recently made a verbal commitment to continue his lacrosse career at Georgetown.
Gillman helped the Indians to the WPIAL finals and PIAA quarterfinals last spring with a 5.7 goals-against average and a save percentage above 70 percent.
He also played for Team Ohio in the Brine National Lacrosse Classic this summer and was selected to the Blue Chip 225 Elite Showcase all-star game.
The Golden Dome on the campus of the Community College of Beaver County will be busier than the return counters at local retailers Thursday and Friday during the C.J. Betters RBA Holiday Classic.
There will be 12 games over two days, featuring some of the top boys and girls teams in the area. The boys draw includes Hopewell (2-4), Shaler (4-3), Central Valley (5-2) and Class A No. 1 Lincoln Park (3-3) in the Grey Division and Blackhawk (3-3), South Fayette (4-1), Aliquippa (2-1) and Class AAAA No. 1 New Castle (7-0) in the Blue Division.
The girls participants include Montour (1-5), New Brighton (2-4), Central Valley (5-0) and South Fayette (3-2).
Championship games will be Friday at 1:30 p.m. (girls), 7 p.m. (Grey boys) and 8:30 p.m. (Blue boys).
Nearly every WPIAL wrestling team will be in action this week at one of three local tournaments.
The Powerade Christmas Tournament will be Friday and Saturday at Canon-McMillan, with 46 teams scheduled to compete, including New Jersey power Blair Academy, the top-ranked team in the nation. Host Canon-McMillan is also expected to compete for the team title. Individually, eight defending champions return, and 19 individual state champions will participate.
Other top tournaments this week are the Southmoreland Holiday Classic, which will have 33 teams competing Friday and Saturday, and the Steve DeAugustino Holiday Classic at West Mifflin, where a field of 29 teams will wrestle Friday and Saturday.