Gorman: Over the river, through the tunnels they will go
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Quad Central foes Mt. Lebanon and Woodland Hills are heading in opposite directions Friday, but both will break the unwritten rules of driving in and around Pittsburgh.
They will go over bridges and through tunnels, all in the same trip!
So long as their school buses don't try to make a Pittsburgh Left ...
Where Woodland Hills is exploring roundabout routes to get across the Mon in going from Turtle Creek to Peters Township amid rush-hour traffic, Mt. Lebanon will travel through the Fort Pitt and Squirrel Hill tunnels to play at Penn Hills.
“I teased Tim O'Malley,” Mt. Lebanon athletic director John Grogan said of the WPIAL executive director, “If we have to go through two tunnels to get to a game, we should automatically get three points.”
All joking aside, the conference realignment that placed schools from the East and South Hills together in the Quad Central has made transportation a challenge this fall.
Mt. Lebanon and Woodland Hills are planning to leave their stadiums three hours before kickoff, just in case the Parkway East turns into a parking lot.
“You need to be cognizant of the travel time,” Grogan said. “We have to leave earlier than normal, simply because you don't know what you'll get with the Squirrel Hill Tunnel on a Friday afternoon.”
The realignment also has increased competition. Penn Hills and Peters Township, tied for fifth place in the Quad Central, are fighting for the final playoff berth.
The final two weeks of the regular season will determine whether they make the playoffs or hold their breath hoping to qualify as the 16th team.
Grogan is among those who advocated going from four conferences to three, primarily because it reduced the number of nonconference games and made every week matter.
“The WPIAL has taken some hits on this,” Grogan said, “but the Quad-A group, it was at our request to go to three conferences.
“The way it was with four, half your games didn't matter. Legitimately, you could win two games and make the playoffs. We're playing eight games that truly matter now.”
Where perennial powers like North Allegheny, Gateway and Mt. Lebanon remain atop the standings, long time struggling teams like Fox Chapel, Latrobe and Plum are still struggling.
“There are so many arguments over geography, natural rivalries, competition between big and small schools,” Grogan said, “but I don't know if they could've come up with a perfect configuration.”
There's no perfect solution, but this is one that could have been avoided: The sixth-place team from the Quad East likely will have the most Gardner points, which is how the WPIAL will determine the wild-card qualifier.
Instead of rewarding the best team available, the WPIAL will pick one from the weakest conference.
That's when the sixth-place team from the Quad Central will wish that it really was getting three points for traveling through two tunnels.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates analyst Kent Tekulve recovering after heart transplant
- Steelers veteran defenders want young teammates to step up
- New approach on offense has Pirates in playoff contention this season
- Pitt football coach Chryst refutes analyst Wannstedt’s opinion
- Wheel separation incidents can prove deadly; NTSB doesn’t track them
- Man found shot dead in Penn Hills
- Woman killed in crash on Birmingham Bridge
- Steelers’ Brown combats disruptive defensive ploys
- Woman killed after car hits tree in Norvelt
- Police investigate Hempfield fight
- Fuel cell company leaves New York to operate plant in Mt. Pleasant Township