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Penalties take toll on Raiders

| Saturday, Nov. 10, 2001

O'HARA: Riverview hit a new high Friday night.

Or low, depending on point of view.

The Raiders were flagged 14 times for 122 yards in lost field position - both season highs - in their WPIAL Class A quarterfinal loss to Monaca at Fox Chapel High School.

Monaca was flagged once for 5 yards.

Riverview was edged by Monaca, 31-30, on a last-minute touchdown and two-point conversion.

The debate over the disparity in penalties is expected to last long into the winter around Oakmont and Verona.

After the dramatic struggle, Riverview coach Jake Cappa vented his anger over the disparity in yellow flags tossed at each team.

"Just add up the penalties," an irate Cappa said to a group of approaching reporters outside the Riverview locker room.

"If this team (Monaca) wins the WPIAL title, I'm getting duplicate plaques for our team.

"One penalty they had, one penalty."

Cappa - obviously disappointed after the near-upset of top-seeded Monaca - waved away the five reporters and twice declined further comment.

Cappa also told reporters not to talk to his players.

Monaca coach Shawn McCreary said, "We expect our kids to be disciplined. We make sure to tell them that we can't afford even a small number of mistakes."

Riverview was flagged nine times for 67 yards in the first half and five times for 55 yards in the second half.

A majority of the Raiders' flags came in 5-yard clips for illegal procedure.

However, the Raiders' last three penalties were for 15 yards apiece. None came on Monaca's game-winning drive.

Monaca's lone flag was for a facemask and came on the first play of the fourth quarter. With the score tied 15-15, the Raiders had a first-and-10 at the Monaca 12. Fullback Tom Sprajcar took a handoff and was dragged down illegally by his facemask after a 1-yard gain.

Two plays later, the Raiders grabbed a 21-15 lead.

Through its first 10 contests, Riverview averaged 8.2 penalties for 60.6 yards per game.

The Raiders' previous high for number of penalty flags was 11, which they reached three times.

Their previous high for penalty yards was 105 in a Week 2 victory over Fort Cherry.

Riverview seemed to get its penalty problem under control at the end of the regular season. The Raiders took five penalties in each of their final three Eastern Conference outings and never topped 57 penalty yards.

However, in the first round of the playoffs against Mapletown, Riverview took 11 flags for 55 yards. Many of the flags were thrown in key offensive situations.

Riverview completed its season with an 8-3 record.

Monaca (11-0) will play Fort Cherry (9-2) in the Class A semifinals next week.

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