High school football notebook: Valley QB Matthews set to return
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Ty Matthews stayed a little longer at the doctor's office Tuesday. And it wasn't to read an old Sports Illustrated in the waiting room.
“I wasn't leaving until he said I was cleared to play,” the Valley quarterback said, smiling.
Matthews got his wish, receiving the medical go-ahead to return to action Friday night when No. 13 seed Valley (6-3) travels to play No. 4 Mt. Pleasant (9-0) in a Class AA first-round playoff game.
The senior, who also plays outside linebacker, has missed the past two-and-a-half games with a dislocated left shoulder.
He throws right-handed, but doctors didn't want to risk further damage and had him sit as a precaution. Matthews will wear extra padding on the shoulder.
“It was nice to get mental reps,” Matthews said of the time off, much of which he spent rehabbing. “Sometimes (an injury) can buy you a break that you need.”
With Matthews back, Valley can better utilize skill players such as Adrian Morris, Matthews' backup, who could be more valuable at receiver or as a rusher.
Senior Devin Houser can contribute out of the backfield and sophomores D'Aundre Johnson and Tyson Hill also can get more involved.
“We can go back to four-receiver sets,” Valley coach Chad Walsh said. “We can get D'Aundre and Tyson on the field at the same time. It's good to have Ty's leadership back. He's a hard worker and the other guys see that.
Senior running back Demetrius Houser is questionable for this week's game for personal reasons.
Kittanning (9-0) plays host to Yough (5-4) on Friday in another first-round game in Class AA. Wildcats coach Frank Fabian will see a familiar face on the Yough coaching staff.
Longtime A-K Valley assistant Clay Kunselman is Yough's offensive coordinator.
Kunselman, who has coached at several places, including Kiski Area and Hempfield, was Ford City's junior high coach when Fabian played there on the varsity.
“He's a spread guy,” Fabian said. “Similar to us.”
Apollo-Ridge has faced some good quarterbacks this season, but not one with the roster specs of Beth-Center's Gino Faieta.
The senior stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 255 pounds.
“He's one big boy,” Apollo-Ridge coach John Skiba said.
Beth-Center has scored the most points in Class A, averaging 44.6 points per game.
The Class AA Allegheny Conference has not fared well in the postseason in recent years, but this year's qualifiers — Kittanning, Shady Side Academy, Valley and Summit Academy — are looking to change that.
The conference is 1-7 in the playoffs the past two years. Its last win was Shady Side Academy over Beaver, 35-21, in 2011.
“We haven't done anything really. It would be great for our community to get another win. I don't think we've shown our best yet.” — Apollo-Ridge coach John Skiba, whose team has one playoff win (2007).
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