WPIAL champions wall unveiled at Heinz Field
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North Catholic football coach Bob Ravenstahl and a former North Catholic player flanked a commemorative Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic jersey in the West main concourse of Heinz Field.
Nearly 63 years separated the graduation of Steelers chairman Dan Rooney, a star quarterback for the Trojans in the late 1940s and the school's first WPIAL Class A title, but the football tradition has held true.
On Thursday, WPIAL and Steelers officials formally unveiled the WPIAL Champions at Heinz Field wall, with staff from the class of 2013 title schools — North Catholic, South Fayette, West Allegheny and Central Catholic—and Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson in attendance.
“I want to say that there's no truth to the rumor that we waited until North Catholic won a championship before we unveiled this, but certain people are very happy that that happened,” said Steelers president and co-owner Art Rooney II, looking over to his father.
The wall includes framed jerseys, rosters, and team pictures from each of the four WPIAL title winning schools and will be replaced when new champions are crowned in November.
Above each of these small shrines is a chronological list of each WPIAL champion since 2001, when Heinz Field opened and the WPIAL championship games found their current home. The wall currently has enough space to list champions through 2030.
WPIAL executive drector Tim O'Malley thanked the Rooney family, adding that he believes the opportunity the Steelers organization has afforded to Western Pennsylvania football players each November is unrivaled in high school athletics.
“I can guarantee you that every young person who put the equipment on Aug. 11 had one goal in mind, and that was to arrive here at Heinz Field,” O'Malley said. “That's the goal that every kid has. That's the goal that young people have when they're playing midget football or youth football.”
— Andrew Erickson
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