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High school notebook: Records tumble during PIAA football title games

| Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Pine-Richland quarterback Ben DiNucci scrambles for a first down past St. Joseph's Prep's Benny Walls during the second quarter of the PIAA Class AAAA championship game Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014, at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Pine-Richland quarterback Ben DiNucci scrambles for a first down past St. Joseph's Prep's Benny Walls during the second quarter of the PIAA Class AAAA championship game Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014, at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey.

It was a record-setting weekend in Hershey.

Keepers of PIAA and WPIAL record books were busy updating their standards of excellence thanks to several outstanding individual and team accomplishments during the PIAA championship football games at Hersheypark Stadium.

Among the most notable, Pine-Richland quarterback Ben DiNucci became the first Pennsylvania player to throw for more than 4,000 yards, setting a PIAA record for single-season passing with 4,269.

Port Allegany graduate Matt Bodamer (3,951) had set the state's single-season yardage record in 2012.

“It's awesome to be breaking records and setting all kinds of different marks along the way,” DiNucci said. “To break that record is definitely awesome. I love knowing that I'm the only quarterback in the WPIAL to throw for 4,000 yards.”

DiNucci was 32 of 46 for 383 yards and four touchdowns in a 49-41 loss to St. Joseph's Prep in the Class AAAA title game Saturday night.

DiNucci also set a PIAA playoff record with his 32 completions and a championship game record with 383 yards passing.

His four touchdown passes tied Berwick's Ron Powlus (1992) for the most in a championship game.

Some other highlights:

• The combined 44 first downs (Pine-Richland 25, St. Joseph's Prep 19) was a Class AAAA title game and all-time championship game record.

• The combined 1,147 yards in the Class AAAA final was an all-time PIAA championship game and Class AAAA playoff record. It was not a PIAA playoff record, though. That record is 1,274, set by Southern Columbia and Pius X in the 2004 Class A quarterfinals.

• Pine-Richland's 594 offensive yards was a Class AAAA title game record.

• Pine-Richland wide receiver Mike Merhaut's 14 catches were an all-time PIAA single-game playoff record.

• Pine-Richland receiver D'ondre Gastion's two touchdown receptions set a PIAA Class AAAA championship game record.

• South Fayette's Hunter Hayes was 90 yards short of setting a PIAA Class AA title game record for rushing yards. He ran for 263 on 27 carries. The record is 353, held by R.C. Lagamarsino of Lansdale Catholic in 2004. Hayes broke a championship record for the longest run with his 95-yard touchdown jaunt in a 28-16 win over Dunmore on Saturday.

• South Fayette became the first Class AA school to win consecutive PIAA titles.

• In Class AAA, Archbishop Wood set a championship game record with 364 rushing yards. RB Jarrett McClenton's 230 yards were 8 yards short of the championship game record he set last year. Archbishop Wood defeated Central Valley, 33-14, on Friday.

• Clairton (22) and Bishop Guilfoyle (17) combined for the most first downs (39) in a Class A championship game. They also combined for the most penalties (20) in a Class A championship. Clairton's 14 penalties and 142 penalty yards were records. Bishop Guilfoyle defeated Clairton, 19-18, on Friday.

More milestones

• South Fayette quarterback Brett Brumbaugh, the state's career passing leader, surpassed 11,000 yards. He completed 8 of 18 passes for 120 yards. The Duquesne recruit finished his career with 11,084 yards.

• Clairton senior Ryan Williams set a school record and became just the seventh quarterback in WPIAL history to surpass 3,000 yards in a season, finishing with 3,037.

• Clairton running back Lamont Wade became the WPIAL single-season rushing leader, finishing his sophomore season with 2,765 yards. It broke Clairton's school record set by Tyler Boyd in 2012 (2,567) and also the WPIAL record set by Rushel Shell in 2009 (2,740). Wade ran for 215 yards on 35 carries in the title game.

• Clairton wide receiver Jamie Hines set a school record for receiving yards in a season with 966.

• The Bears also finished the season with 968 points, which is second all-time nationally to Aledo, Texas, which scored 1,023 last season.

WPIAL four-pack

The WPIAL had four teams qualify for the PIAA football championships for the eighth time, and they went 1-3. There has never been a WPIAL sweep. Teams went 3-1 in 2001, ‘05 and ‘07; 2-2 in 1993; and 1-3 in 1990, ‘98, ‘02 and ‘14.


The two-day PIAA football championships drew 10,714 to Hersheypark Stadium, including 3,224 to the Class AAAA title game Saturday night.

Backing off

Clairton football coach Wayne Wade wants his players to know how much he loves them, no matter how frustrated they were Friday afternoon during a 19-18 loss to Bishop Guilfoyle in the PIAA Class A championship game.

Wade indeed was disappointed with several of them for scuffling with Bishop Guilfoyle (16-0) during the final minute at Hersheypark Stadium, but he understands their frustration.

“My guys have been great this year,” Wade said a day after referring to several of them as “clowns” and “idiots” for their part in the incident. “Why would I want to say that about any of my guys, even if they did act as such? I don't want any of them or their families to think otherwise.

“What happened was wrong, but I still love them like my own.”

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