High school notebook: Season will be remembered for running backs
Local football teams have taken heat for their early departure from the WPIAL playoffs, but some regular-season accomplishments — particularly those of running backs — won't soon be forgotten.
The area produced five 1,000-yard rushers — with the group providing a unique mix of running styles: Burrell's Cole Bush, Springdale's Sean Dugan, Freeport's Brendan Lynch, Valley's Demetrius Houser and Knoch's Ben Tackett.
All but Houser, a junior, will graduate. Lynch was the only quarterback in the group.
Bush and Dugan had record-breaking seasons. Bush shattered single-season records for rushing yards and touchdowns. He finished with 1,794 yards and 33 touchdowns.
Dugan became the A-K Valley's second all-time leading rusher, eclipsing the 4,000-yard mark while also shattering the school's career mark. He finished with 1,738 yards and 20 scores.
His 4,262 yards rank him 40th on the WPIAL's all-time rushing list. Riverview's Lucas Heakins holds the A-K record of 4,276 yards.
Valley's Brandon Williams is the only other local back in the WPIAL's 4,000-yard club (4,214 yards).
Running out of games
Local star rushers at least had a chance to compete in the playoffs.
Imagine how Eastern York senior running back Alex Cooley feels. Cooley rushed for 492 yards and 10 touchdowns in an 81-56 regular-season finale against York Tech.
Cooley finished with 2,830 yards and 38 touchdowns — 11.1 yards per carry — but his team finished 4-6 and missed the District 3 Class AAA playoffs.
Cooley broke the state single-game record with 500 yards rushing against Hanover in Week 5.
Last week was a whirlwind for the Fox Chapel field hockey team.
The Foxes (13-5) won their first WPIAL Class AAA championship since 1997 late Wednesday evening and had to be in State College at 2 p.m. Thursday for a PIAA play-in game against the host school.
The championship was moved from Tuesday because of the weather.
“It is what it is. There was no time to celebrate,” Fox Chapel coach Jen McCrady said. “The WPIAL did go to bat for us. (The championship game) was scheduled for Halloween night. When they moved the WPIAL finals, no one made any effort to move (the play-in) game.”
State College blanked the tired Foxes, 5-0.
Oakland Catholic's tennis doubles team of Nicole Cyterski and Megan Wasson finished second at the PIAA Class AAA championships last weekend in Hershey. Both girls are from Fox Chapel. ... Keep an eye on Knoch freshman hockey player Paul Maust. The forward has 13 goals in two games while playing for the school's ninth-grade team. ... Winter practice for WPIAL basketball, wrestling, swimming, rifle and gymnastics teams starts Nov. 16.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-224-2696 or firstname.lastname@example.org.