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Former Cougar denied transfer

| Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Charleroi Zach Blystone photographed during practice on August 15, 2012 in Charleroi. Blystone has since transferred to Washington.
Charleroi's Zach Blystone (77) tackles Brownsville's Tre Durkin (10) on Friday, Oct. 26, 2012, at Charleroi Stadium. Jim Ference | The Valley Independent

Did former Charleroi Area lineman Zach Blystone transfer to Washington High School to play football for the Little Prexies?

Officials at Charleroi think so, so they took their case to the WPIAL, who agreed.

The 6-3, 265-pound lineman was ruled ineligible by the WPIAL after a hearing Monday morning.

“We were contesting that the transfer was made with athletic intent,” Charleroi Area Athletic Director Bill Wiltz said. “Obviously, we made our case and the WPIAL agreed.”

The Cougars finished 2-7 last year, Blystone's sophomore year, while Wash High is coming off a 12-1 campaign in which its only loss was to Aliquippa in the WPIAL Class AA Championship game. The Prexies feature one of the WPIAL's most dynamic players in running back Shai McKenzie.

Wiltz confirmed that Blystone withdrew from the district approximately two weeks ago and has enrolled at Wash High. He was unable to confirm that Blystone's family had moved into the Washington district.

“We'll say that he has a physical location there,” Wiltz said. “He was probably our best lineman last year. As of now, he was deemed ineligible so he will not be permitted to participate in any team activities.”

Wiltz said he expects that Wash High will appeal the decision to the PIAA.

“We're expecting them to appeal. The WPIAL will notify the state of their determination and Wash High has the ability to notify the state of their intentions, if they choose to appeal.”

Wiltz added that a hearing before the PIAA at the organization's headquarters could happen as early as next week.

“I'm not sure if it will happen next week, it could be even later than that,” Wiltz said.

WPIAL teams begin camps Monday.

When asked what the district's case against the transfer was, Wiltz would not comment.

“There could be pending litigation against us, so I can't comment,” he said. “Plus, I expect there to be an appeal.”

Without Blystone, the Cougars will head to camp at Slippery Rock University next week.

Jeremy Sellew is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jsellew@tribweb.com or 724-684-2667.

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