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Guido: High school season kicks off with questions to tackle

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By George Guido
Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, 12:46 a.m.

The 115th year of Alle-Kiski Valley scholastic football is just two days away.

As the season approaches, the questions are plentiful.

Perhaps the biggest question: Will any local team last beyond the first round of the WPIAL playoffs?

All seven local playoff-bound teams were bounced in the first round Nov. 2.

It proved to be the earliest a local football season ended since 1910.

Here are more questions worth asking:

• Can Springdale sustain its streak of 11 straight WPIAL playoff berths?

• Can Plum end its school record 16-game losing streak? Plum had a non-victory streak of 20 games in the early 1970s. A 6-6 tie against Southmoreland in Week 2 of the 1971 season interrupted the losing streak.

• Can Freeport set a school record with a sixth consecutive WPIAL playoff berth?

• How far can Clairton extend its state-record winning streak of 63 games?

• When Highlands plays Hollidaysburg on Friday, Sam Albert will become the longest-serving Golden Rams head coach, surpassing Tim Karrs' nine-year regime. That's two football coaches in 19 seasons, coupled with just three boys basketball coaches in 21 years. It's fair to ask if Highlands, once considered a coaching graveyard, has become the model of stability?

• How long will it take Woodland Hills coach George Novak, in fifth place with 268 WPIAL career wins, to pass Pat Tarquinio (269 wins) and Chuck Wagner (270 wins)?

On the air

There's nothing like seeing a game in person, but for those who can't make it to their favorite venue, there will be plenty of high school football on radio, television and the Internet.

• Broadcast veteran Bob Tatrn will be starting his 50th season announcing high school football when Valley hosts Deer Lakes on Friday. Tatrn will do an assortment of Burrell and Valley home games on Friday, and four Saturday Riverview games on Comcast channel 190. The Friday night broadcasts will be replayed at 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays, and Riverview games, when applicable, at 7 p.m. Wednesdays. Tatrn started working games with his late partner, Joe Falsetti, in the 1964-65 school year. In those days, Tatrn would do a night game on audio tape, then WKPA, a daytime-only outlet at the time, would replay the broadcast the following morning. His career has included live radio, taped radio broadcasts, live cable TV, videotaped TV, webcasts and, now, TV games digitally recorded and emailed to a playback entity. Next week, Tatrn will broadcast the Burrell-Valley game for the 34th consecutive season.

• Our local version of Mike and Mike — Pavlik and Choma — will be carrying Highlands football for the 13th consecutive season. The Golden Rams games will be replayed Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m.

• Scott Briggs and Dave Bacon will again be carrying Knoch games live on Butler's WISR-AM. Briggs, Bacon or a combination of the two has been part of Knights football broadcasts for 32 seasons.

• Live games are available on or a variety of radio stations across Western Pennsylvania.

• The same goes for the Westmoreland Sports Network, as the outlet will have a series of games involving county teams such as Franklin Regional and Jeannette on the Internet.

• Comcast will videotape games each Friday night for On Demand replays beginning Saturday mornings. Veteran broadcaster Chris Shovlin will be behind the microphone.

George Guido is a Valley News Dispatch scholastic sports correspondent. His column appears Wednesdays.



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