High school football notebook: WPIAL's highest scoring offense to visit Aliquippa
The WPIAL's highest-scoring offense will occupy Aliquippa's stadium Friday night, but it won't be on the home sideline.
It's visiting New Brighton, which is averaging 52.7 points.
The Lions have started this season 3-0 behind an offense that's scoring points by the dozens. In comparison, Aliquippa, the top-ranked Class AA team, has averaged 46. Both are 3-0, but New Brighton's recent history makes its start more remarkable; the team hasn't won more than three games since 2007.
“The offense had been a work-in-progress for a couple years,” New Brighton coach Joe Greco said, “but this year it has been explosive and made for some interesting Friday nights.”
The team scored 42 points against Ellwood City, 64 against Beaver and 52 against South Allegheny. The offense is led by Greco's son, Gabe. The senior quarterback ranks third among WPIAL passers with 735 yards and has thrown seven TDs. Craig Thompson ranks third among receivers with 13 catches and 344 yards.
New Brighton also leads the WPIAL in yardage (1,477), with 742 rushing and 735 passing. The next highest-scoring teams are Central Catholic and Fort Cherry (48.3 points).
Extending their streak to four wins won't be easy. Aliquippa won last year's matchup, 66-0.
This is Greco's second stint as New Brighton's head coach. The Lions were 68-52 during his first 11 seasons from 1995-2006. In the three years that he was an assistant at Westminster College, the team went 6-21, including 0-9 in 2009. Greco returned in 2010.
“I felt like it was what I needed to do,” said Greco, a New Brighton native. “I've got a hardworking staff that's put a lot of time and effort into rebuilding this program. We're finally starting to reap the benefits.”
As a teacher in the district, watching the program lose was difficult. Since his return, the Lions were 2-7, 3-6 and 3-6, but Greco has seen progress.
“We want to get the program back to where we're competing in the playoffs almost every year,” he said. “We feel like we're on a run now where that's the case.”
The WPIAL had eligibility hearings Wednesday for Beaver Falls transfer Khalil Caracter and Central Valley's Tyler Beatrice. Decisions will be announced Thursday, said WPIAL executive director Tim O'Malley.
Caracter, a running back who transferred from Freedom, has not played for Beaver Falls (3-0). Beatrice, a lineman who transferred from Blackhawk, has played for Central Valley (3-0). The WPIAL previously ruled Beatrice eligible, but a second hearing was needed to consider new evidence.
Black Hills teams that miss the WPIAL Class A playoffs will not schedule a Week 10 game. The decision is connected to Imani Christian folding its program and forfeiting its games. The conference's schools chose to accept the forfeit and schedule a replacement for that week, giving each team 10 regular-season contests. The teams could have declined the forfeit but chose as a group to accept it.