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High School Sports

PIAA is expected to revisit classifications

| Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010

When the movie "Jaws II" was released in 1978, the trailer slogan was "just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water..."

For high school football fans, just when you thought you were safe from the PIAA expanding the number of football classifications, another proposal is on its way.

The PIAA Football Steering Committee is expected to soon hear another idea from the Pennsylvania State Football Coaches Association (PSFCA) on expanding the enrollment classifications.

It's been 32 years since "Jaws II" was released, and about 32 weeks since the PIAA narrowly voted down a third reading to expand the classes from four to six. "Jaws II" wasn't that bad, as sequels go, but it remains to be seen how the expanded-class sequel goes for football.

Actually, the proposal was originally scheduled for disclosure last month. But the death of PSFCA secretary Jack Bailey, the former coach at Philipsburg-Osceola, delayed the presentation until a later date.

Many agree that the length of the football season should be examined. Having PIAA title games the weekend before Christmas is troubling. PIAA Class A champ Clairton didn't play its first basketball game until last night.

But further dividing classes to break up long-standing rivalries is not the way to go.

Armstrong County trivia

Can you name the first Armstrong County athlete to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated?

Finally, some hardwood

As mentioned earlier, Clairton played its first basketball game this season last night at St. Joseph.

The Bears played in the PIAA football finals Dec. 18, then cancelled the rest of its December basketball schedule. Clairton had games scheduled last Friday and Saturday, but those were called off because of inclement weather.

It's believed to be the latest a Western Pennsylvania high school has started hoops since the City League in 1976. Because of a Pittsburgh Public Schools teachers' strike, the schedule didn't start until the last week of January.

Fifth Avenue won the PIAA title that season with a 12-0 record with the likes of Sam Clancy, David "Puffy" Kennedy and the late Warner Macklin.

That's certainly the least amount of victories imaginable for a PIAA champ.

Fifth Avenue also closed its doors for good several months later when it was part of the consolidation to form Brashear High School.

Trivia answer

Shannock Valley graduate Bob Pelligrini was a cover feature during the 1955 season, one year after SI began publication.

Pelligrini, who played for the University of Maryland at the time, was touted as one of the nation's best centers. He went on to play 10 seasons in the NFL, playing in 107 games for the Eagles and the Redskins.

The Armstrong County Sports Hall of Fame inducted Pelligrini as part of its first class in 1972.

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