Storm could impact Class AA, A playoff sites
TribLIVE Sports Videos
As expected, the weather attracted much of the attention at Monday night's WPIAL football playoff pairings meeting — namely, its potential impact on Friday night's first round.
“We will adjust if we need to,” WPIAL executive director Tim O'Malley said before a crowded ballroom of coaches, athletic directors and media at the DoubleTree Hotel in Green Tree.
The surging storm cell Sandy, which is wreaking havoc on the East Coast and inland to Pennsylvania, could impact game sites that have natural-grass playing surfaces.
Every Class AAAA and Class AAA game will be played on fields with artificial turf. But in Class A, seven games are scheduled for grass fields, along with five in Class AA.
The WPIAL gave those teams a deadline of 9 a.m. Thursday to decide if they want to move to a neighboring turf field.
The wheels already began turning for Allegheny Conference co-champs Freeport and Burrell, and Springdale, all of whom will host games on their grass fields.
Freeport (7-2), the A-K Valley's highest-seeded team at No. 7 in Class AA, will host No. 10 Beaver Falls (7-2).
Burrell (8-1), No. 8 in Class AA, will host No. 9 Mt. Pleasant (7-2).
Springdale (6-3), No. 8 in Class A, will host No. 9 Brentwood (6-3).
“Actually, our field's been great all season but we'll see how it goes the rest of the week,” Burrell coach Kevin Horwatt said. “We were in the gym (Monday) and we might have to see about getting a turg field for practice.”
In 2005, Burrell had a first-round game moved to Highlands due to poor field conditions, also related to heavy rain.
Highlands, Valley and Deer Lakes all have turf and offer alternative sites.
Several local teams practiced indoors Monday due to already soupy fields. With much more rain expected, fields could simply be unplayable by Friday.
“The most disturbing thing is they're going to make a declaration Thursday morning if we can use our field,” Springdale coach Dave Leasure said. “That's the hardest thing for me after we've earned home field.”
Game times also could change, should Friday still be impacted by inclement weather.
All opening-round games are set for 7:30 p.m. Friday. But O'Malley said games could be moved to Saturday afternoon.
Freeport will play a Beaver Falls team that upset Class-AAA contender Central Valley last week. It may be tough to slow down the Tigers on any surface.
“They're a very, very talented team, so we have to prepare as well as we possibly can,” Freeport coach John Gaillot said. “You're in the dance, so anything can happen. That's the way we have to approach it.”
Class-AA No. 12 Valley (6-3), back in the playoffs for the first time since 2008, will travel to No. 5 Beaver Area in the first round. Valley and Apollo-Ridge are two of 19 newcomers to the WPIAL postseason.
The pairings meeting was a new experience for four local rookie head coaches, including Leasure and Valley's Chad Walsh.
“We thought we get one of the (first-place teams),” Walsh said. “But Beaver still is a very good team.”
Other local first-round matchups:
• Returning runner-up Knoch (7-2) was given the No. 10 seed in Class AAA and will visit No. 7 West Mifflin (8-1). The game will feature two of the WPIAL's top running backs in Jimmy Wheeler of West Mifflin and Knoch's Ben Tackett.
• Class-A No. 12 Apollo-Ridge (6-3), which hasn't appeared in a playoff game since 2007, will be at No. 5 Monessen (8-1).
• Kiski Area (4-5), one of 10 teams in the playoffs with a sub-.500 record, will open the Class-AAAA tournament at No. 3 seed Upper St. Clair (8-1).
Notes: Quarterfinal and semifinal games will be at neutral sites. The WPIAL championships will be Nov. 23 at Heinz Field. ...Riverview will play at Leechburg at 6 p.m. Thursday night in a non-playoff, Week 10 game. The game will not involve senior players.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-224-2696 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Predators winger Neal caught ‘blindsided’ by trade from Penguins
- Red Wings rally, shock Penguins in overtime
- Rossi: Middling Steelers must make a statement
- Steelers free safety Mitchell is still settling into role on defense
- Steelers notebook: Young players provide big challenge for special teams coach
- Steelers’ Adams delivers in pinch against Texans
- Former Ligonier Township supervisor accused of costing residents thousands, viewing porn on the job
- Ex-judge in Philadelphia charged with bribery, conspiracy in sting case
- Living Water Church takes over Knights of Columbus building in Kittanning
- Report linking field surface to cancer elicits Mt. Lebanon protest
- Allegheny County health officials call on retirement homes to stay vigilant on Legionella prevention