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Guido: 3 A-K Valley football teams remain in hunt for playoff spots

| Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016, 9:21 p.m.
Valley's Chase Balla scores on a run of 30 yards against Apollo-Ridge in the WPIAL Class 3A game Friday, Oct. 21, 2016, at Valley Memorial Stadium. Apollo-Ridge won 35-12.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Valley's Chase Balla scores on a run of 30 yards against Apollo-Ridge in the WPIAL Class 3A game Friday, Oct. 21, 2016, at Valley Memorial Stadium. Apollo-Ridge won 35-12.

Apollo-Ridge was the first Alle-Kiski Valley football team to clinch a WPIAL playoff berth Friday with its 35-12 victory at Valley.

The Vikings are in the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season, the best current mark in the area.

What also is remarkable is Apollo-Ridge is playing up in classification. It is playing Class 3A with a Class 2A enrollment.

The question is, however, will Apollo-Ridge have any local company when the playoffs begin Nov. 4?

At least two teams in the Valley News Dispatch coverage area have made the playoffs each year starting in 1974 when Freeport was the only A-K school to qualify for the playoffs.

In those days, only conference winners were assured of playoff berths.

Valley, Kiski Area and Springdale remain in 2016 playoff contention.

• Valley (4-2 in the conference) has to defeat Freeport on Friday to remain alive as one of two third-place teams from Class 3A to make the playoffs as wild cards. The first two teams get in automatically.

The third-place team from the Beaver Valley Conference will be one of the two. But, barring upsets, if South Park defeats Yough, Valley and South Park would have 5-2 records and 110 Gardner Points, gleaned from 10 points for each win by a team that Valley or South Park has defeated.

That brings in the point-differential criteria, with plus or minus points up to 10 for wins and losses. Valley is at plus-8 and South Park plus-16, meaning Valley must defeat Freeport by 10 or more and hope South Park defeats Yough by one point.

Or, if Valley and Yough win, the Vikings are in.

• Kiski Area (4-3) needs to upset Armstrong and have Franklin Regional lose to Gateway and Penn-Trafford to lose to McKeesport in order to get in.

• If Springdale (2-5) wins at Greensburg Central Catholic (2-5), the Dynamos are in. If Springdale loses, the Dynamos remain alive for the one Class A wild card if no team from the Tri-County South or Big 7 attains three victories.

Buffone dies

We were sorry to learn of the death of New Kensington native Sam Buffone last week in Tampa. He was 98.

Besides being a businessman and a member of the first Lower Burrell City Council in 1960, he was the general manager for New Kensington's Westmoreland cable TV Channel 3 for many years.

I remain grateful to Mr. Buffone for hiring me to cover high school sports and other events on cable TV in 1971 while I was still in high school.

The cable industry was in its infancy, and we all had to have initiative and imagination in those days.

Mr. Buffone had the foresight to put a live broadcast line from Valley High School to the studios on Constitution Boulevard that later enabled us to bring live events such as basketball games when Valley was a WPIAL powerhouse.

People were happy to have channels 2-13 on the dial occupied by programming, compared to several hundred channels now.

If you want to win a bet with friends, can you name the first municipality in the Alle-Kiski Valley to get cable TV?

It was East Deer Township in 1964, located below the master antenna on Bouquet Hill.

Fox Chapel crew

Four members of the Fox Chapel crew team recently were named to the 2016-17 USRowing Scholastic Honor Roll. The students are seniors Sarah Hamilton, William Marsh, Alan McIvor and Elizabeth Woodwell. They are among 36 students from across the nation to earn spots on the honor roll.

The students were chosen from 120 nominations received from athletes representing 64 clubs and school programs nationwide. Applicants are selected based on GPAs and test scores, as well as their rowing accomplishments.

The USRowing Scholastic Honor Roll recognizes high school seniors who have excelled in academics and rowing. Applicants must be USRowing members, have rowed or coxed at least one year and successfully competed at or above the league or regional level.

Rowing is a club-level sport in Pennsylvania. Teams are independent of a high school's formal athletic programs but use the school's name and mascot.

George Guido is a Valley News Dispatch scholastic sports correspondent. His column appears Wednesdays.

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