High school notebook: Root Sports to broadcast Friday night games this season

| Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014, 9:09 a.m.

Root Sports has decided to change its broadcast plans for high school football this fall. Instead of televising a game each Thursday night during the regular season, Root will broadcast games Friday nights on a flex schedule.

Starting with a Week 2 matchup between Pine-Richland and North Allegheny at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 5, Root will televise 14 games. The matchups will be announced one week prior to each contest.

“Western Pennsylvania is home to the best high school football programs in our country,” said Shawn McClintock, senior vice president and general manager of Root Sports. “With such a large pool of talent and so many great matchups to choose from every year, we're looking forward to utilizing a flex schedule this season to enable us to bring more schools, more rivalries and more of that high school football experience and excitement to our viewers.”

This will be the 18th season of Root Sports' McDonald's High School Football presented by Trib Total Media. The schedule includes seven regular-season broadcasts, three Friday night playoff games and four WPIAL championship games Nov. 21 from Heinz Field.

PIAA denies Redman

The PIAA on Tuesday denied an appeal by Central Catholic running back Riley Redman for an extra year of eligibility, upholding a WPIAL ruling.

The PIAA age-waiver rule prevents players who turn 19 before July 1 from playing. Redman, who rushed for 1,192 yards and 16 touchdowns last season for the WPIAL Class AAAA champions, turned 19 on June 26 but was born two months premature.

“If ever there was a situation for (a waiver), this should have been one,” Central Catholic coach Terry Totten said.

Other PIAA notes

The PIAA board of directors decided last month that the spring championship sites will remain the same for the next four years: track and field at Shippensburg University; boys tennis at Hershey Racquet Club; baseball, softball and boys volleyball at Penn State; and lacrosse at Hersheypark Stadium.

• The PIAA also approved member school applications to Holy Family Academy, Propel Andrew Street High School and Aquinas Academy, a junior high school in Greensburg.

Quips staying home

After years going away for football camp, Aliquippa will stay home.

The Quips plan to practice at the high school rather than travel to Cal (Pa.).

“We'll give it a try,” coach Mike Zmijanac said. “We're going to run camp at home just the way we did away.”

Students won't stay overnight at the school, but other aspects will remain similar, he said. The move might save money, but financial benefits weren't the deciding factor.

“We could have raised the money if we had to, but we'll see how this works,” Zmijanac said. “There aren't that many schools that go away anymore, for whatever reason.”

WPIAL camps open Monday.

Thompkins to Toledo

Woodland Hills senior Art Thompkins committed to Toledo on Tuesday, said Wolverines coach George Novak. Thompkins, a 5-foot-9, 170-pound multipurpose back and standout kick returner, rushed for 454 yards and caught 20 passes for 269 yards last season. He also started at safety for the WPIAL Class AAAA runner-up.

Backfield teammate, junior Miles Sanders, committed to Penn State last month.

More commitments

A pair of WPIAL players plan to continue their careers in the Ivy League. Pine-Richland's Ben DiNucci made a verbal commitment to Penn on Tuesday, and Central Catholic defensive lineman Richie Ryan committed to Harvard on Sunday.

West Allegheny senior quarterback Andrew Koester also will be playing Division I FCS football after committing to St. Francis (Pa.) last week.

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