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South Fayette football team distributes Steelers tickets to Carlynton, Wilkinsburg

Bill Hartlep
| Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, 10:24 p.m.

The Carlynton and Wilkinsburg football teams each went through their share of struggles this season.

Members of the South Fayette football program experienced nothing but success, not only this year but last year as well, as the Lions successfully defended their WPIAL and PIAA Class AA championships.

On Sunday, the Lions will be recognized for their latest titles by the Steelers during their game against the Chiefs at Heinz Field.

It is just one more honor for South Fayette in a season full of them. It is also an honor they passed along to a couple of nearby programs.

“The night before the state championship was our last staff meeting, and a couple of our guys were talking about the game and how blessed we were,” SF coach Joe Rossi said.

“We just sat back and realized how many good things have happened to us. We thought about how it would be nice to pay it forward to Carlynton with some of the tough things they've been through this year, as well as Wilkinsburg.”

So when South Fayette was offered tickets to Sunday's Steelers' game, Rossi asked that the tickets be passed on to players and coaches at Carlynton and Wilkinsburg, teams that combined for just one victory while dealing with short-handed rosters.

On top of that, Carlynton was forced to replace its coach three weeks into the season. Mauro Monz resigned, citing concerns for the players' safety.

“We get so much, just playing in the state championship and WPIAL championship and overnight at Hershey and some of the things we could do,” Rossi said.

“We just felt so blessed to say that after the last two years, it would be nice to give back.”

South Fayette wasn't the only organization in the giving mood this holiday season. After learning of South Fayette's gesture, the Steelers added to the sentiment by inviting all three teams to Sunday's game.

“Our kids have been through a lot this year, and (South Fayette) wanted the kids who stuck around through the hard times and the coaches to be able to experience that,” said Carlynton athletic director Nate Milsom, who estimated that 95 percent of the players have never been to a Steelers game.

“They're just so excited to be able to go, let alone be recognized for sticking out a tough season.”

Gary Horvath contributed. Bill Hartlep is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at bhartlep@tribweb.com or via Twitter @TribHSInsider.

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