High school notebook: No football for Imani Christian this season

Chris Harlan
| Monday, Aug. 19, 2013, 9:51 p.m.

Imani Christian Academy will not field a football team this season, leaving would-be opponents with a last-minute hole in their schedule.

The small private school in East Hills notified the WPIAL it does not have enough players for a team, school administrator Enos Scott said, noting that no more than four students took part in summer workouts.

The school had until Monday to decide.

“It's very disappointing,” Scott said. “We were looking forward to continuing our success from last year, but it became a difficult situation. We're basically starting all over.”

The nine other Class A teams in the Black Hills Conference could try to locate an out-of-district opponent to fill the void, but that could prove difficult. Many could be left with just eight games.

“We've now put nine teams in a bind without a game,” WPIAL executive director Tim O'Malley said of Bishop Canevin, Brentwood, California, Carlynton, Chartiers-Houston, Clairton, Fort Cherry, Monessen and Serra Catholic. “That's unfortunate. (Imani administrators) didn't do anything purposefully. That wasn't their intent, but it's a sad situation.”

Imani will not receive a WPIAL football schedule when the new two-year alignments are released for 2014-15 and 2015-16. The earliest it could resume WPIAL play likely would be fall 2016.

“Whenever we are ready to reestablish a football program, there will be some type of probationary period until we can prove that we can be consistent,” Scott said.

Last season was Imani's first in the WPIAL and the Saints went 6-3. But the football program lost a number of its athletes to fledgling Renaissance Christian Academy, led by former coach Harvey Smith.

The school's basketball team will fulfill its WPIAL schedule, Scott said.

Geibel, another Class A school with roster issues, will field a team this season despite indications that it wouldn't.

“I was told they have a solid 17, and they're playing,” O'Malley said.

Baseball stays put

The WPIAL baseball championship games will remain at Consol Energy Park through at least 2017, the league decided at Monday's board of control meeting. The board accepted a proposed three-year extension to remain at the home of the Washington Wild Things.

Eligibility decisions

A lengthy list of transfers who switched schools this summer were deemed eligible Monday, including the sons of two former Steelers.

Barry Foster's son, Damon, transferred from Chartiers-Houston to Central Catholic. Mel Blount's son, Khalid, transferred to Washington from Linsly School in Wheeling, W.Va. Both are sophomores.

Also among those the WPIAL declared eligible was former Sto-Rox student Aimee Miller, who enrolled at Montour. Because Sto-Rox disbanded its softball program over fiscal concerns, PIAA rules allowed affected students to transfer for athletic reasons. This could be the first of several leaving Sto-Rox, O'Malley said, since the school also recently ended its baseball program.

Canon-Mac hires Cardillo

Canon-McMillan hired Jason Cardillo as its wrestling coach to replace Chris Mary, who resigned after the season. Cardillo, 30, is a former Canon-McMillan wrestler and assistant coach. The Big Macs are two-time returning PIAA Class AAA champions. Cardillo attended South Fayette but wrestled for Chartiers Valley as part of a co-operative agreement.

Jeannette hires coaches

Jeannette hired three coaches at Monday's school board meeting: Adam Knaresborough (girls basketball) of North Huntingdon, Mitchell Steele (boys soccer) of Jeannette and Zachary Karas (softball) of Jeannette.

Paul Schofield contributed. Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

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