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Valley, Kittanning move to Greater Allegheny

| Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010

There are some major comings and goings in local high school football.

The WPIAL released its conference realignment for the 2010 and '11 football seasons Tuesday, and none of the four conferences with local schools escaped change.

For instance, the changes in the Class AA Allegheny Conference were Kittanning and Valley leaving and moving to the AAA Greater Allegheny Conference where both schools played for several years. With only eight teams in the conference, it means schools will have two weeks worth of non-conference games, as opposed to jumping into league play on opening night.

"I like opening with non-section games," Kittanning coach Sam Panchik said. "Sometimes, you don't get enough out of the two scrimmages. We find ourselves moving people (to new positions) after the first game."

The Class A Eastern Conference will have nine teams. That means eight of the nine will have an opening night game, instead of the two nonconference games that schools have played in the past.

Brentwood and Carlynton have moved out of the conference while Northgate, Bishop Canevin and a first-year football program, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (OLSH), entered.

There will be four conference games each of the nine weeks, with a school getting an open date from conference play each week.

"At our conference banquet, all the coaches sat together and had a great time," Springdale coach Chuck Wagner said. "We were hoping they would keep us together, but we knew it would be tough."

Another major change took place in the Quad East. Altoona, which was a WPIAL member for football only from 1969-1974, returns and will join Kiski Area, Plum and Fox Chapel. Altoona played for the WPIAL title in 1969, losing to Gateway.

"I think they put Altoona in with us instead of the Quad South because the South did all the traveling with Erie McDowell the last two years," Plum coach Frank Sacco said. "You have to play with the cards you're dealt, but we'll sure have a good conference."

The biggest change in the Greater Allegheny Conference is Franklin Regional moving out after many years as a conference member. The Panthers, WPIAL champs in 2005, will be in the Keystone Conference that includes Hollidaysburg, another school that has WPIAL football-only membership.

"I don't mind seeing Franklin move out. It has 100 to 150 boys more than we do," Panchik said.

The WPIAL told schools in conferences with eight or fewer members to schedule their opening-night games. The WPIAL will schedule the remaining eight weeks.

Panchik hopes Kittanning and Ford City school officials schedule an opening night game to maintain that rivalry. Likewise, Valley and Burrell, the only local schools that have played each other over the past 30 seasons.

Making the move

The WPIAL Board of Control today approved realignments for 14 fall sports, including football and soccer. The following is the makeup of the football conferences for the this season.

Football

CLASS AAAA (27)

North: Erie McDowell (from District 10), Butler, North Allegheny, North Hills, Pine-Richland, Shaler, Seneca Valley

East: Kiski Area, Penn Hills, Plum, Fox Chapel, Catholic, Woodland Hills, Altoona (from District 6).

South: Gateway, Connellsville, Hempfield, Norwin, McKeesport, Latrobe, Penn-Trafford.

West: Mt. Lebanon, Upper St. Clair, Baldwin, Bethel Park, Peters Township, Canon-McMillan.

CLASS AAA (31)

Keystone: Greensburg Salem, Derry, Albert Gallatin, Uniontown, Laurel Highlands, Franklin Regional (from Class AAA Greater Allegheny), Hollidaysburg (from District 6) and Ringgold (from Class AAA Big Seven).

Big Seven: Belle Vernon, McGuffey (from Class AA Interstate), Thomas Jefferson, West Mifflin, Elizabeth Forward, Chartiers Valley, Trinity and South Park (from Class AA Century).

Parkway: Hopewell, Central Valley (merger of Class AA Center and Class A Monaca), Montour, Moon, Ambridge, New Castle, West Allegheny and Blackhawk.

Greater Allegheny: Hampton, Highlands, Mars, Knoch, Indiana, Valley (from Class AA Allegheny) and Kittanning (from Class AA Allegheny).

CLASS AA (34)

Interstate: Greensburg Central Catholic, Jeannette, Mt. Pleasant, Southmoreland (from Class AAA Keystone), Yough (from Class AAA Keystone), East Allegheny, Brownsville, Charleroi, Waynesburg.

Century: Washington (from Class AA Interstate), South Fayette, Burgettstown (from Class A Black Hills), Quaker Valley, Seton-La Salle, Steel Valley, Keystone Oaks and South Allegheny (from Class AA Interstate).

Midwestern: Aliquippa, Beaver Falls, Beaver, Ellwood City, Freedom, Laurel (from Class A Big 7), Mohawk, New Brighton and Riverside.

Allegheny: Apollo Ridge, Burrell, Deer Lakes, Ford City, Freeport, Shady Side Academy, Summit Academy and West Shamokin.

CLASS A (34)

Tri-County South: California, Geibel, Frazier (from Class A Black Hills), Beth-Center, Monessen, Mapletown, Jefferson-Morgan, Carmichaels and West Greene.

Black Hills: Fort Cherry, Brentwood (from Class A Eastern), Chartiers-Houston, Avella, Bentworth, Serra, Clairton and Carlynton (from Class A Eastern).

Big 7: Cornell (from Class AA Century), Neshannock, Rochester, Shenango, South Side Beaver, Sto-Rox (from Class AA Century), Union and Western Beaver.

Eastern: Avonworth, Bishop Canevin (from Class AA Century), Leechburg, North Catholic, Northgate (from Class AA Century), Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (new program), Riverview, Springdale and Wilkinsburg.

Soccer

Boys

Class AAA

Section 1: Connellsville, Hempfield, Kiski Area, Latrobe, Norwin, Penn-Trafford.

Section 2: Butler, North Allegheny, North Hills, Pine-Richland, Seneca Valley, Shaler.

Section 3: Fox Chapel, Franklin Regional, Gateway, Penn Hills, Pittsburgh Central Catholic, Plum, Woodland Hills.

Section 4: Albert Gallatin, Baldwin, Bethel Park, Laurel Highlands, McKeesport, Mount Lebanon.

Section 5: Canon-McMillan, Chartiers Valley (from AA Section 5), Moon, Peters Township, Trinity, Upper St. Clair.

Class AA

Section 1: Burrell, Derry, East Allegheny, Greensburg-Salem, Indiana, Mount Pleasant, Valley.

Section 2: Deer Lakes, Freeport, Hampton, Highlands, Kittanning, Knoch, Mars, Shady Side Academy (from A Section 2).

Section 3: South Allegheny (from A Section 1), South Park, Southmoreland, Steel Valley, Thomas Jefferson, West Mifflin (from AAA Section 4), Yough.

Section 4: Ambridge, Beaver, Blackhawk, Central Valley (New School), Ellwood City, Hopewell, New Brighton (from A Section 5).

Section 5: Keystone Oaks, Montour, Quaker Valley (from A Section 5), South Fayette, Washington, West Allegheny.

Class A

Section 1: Aquinas Academy (from A Section 2), Brentwood (from A Section 4), Greensburg Central Catholic, Serra Catholic, Trinity Christian, Winchester Thurston.

Section 2: Elderton, Riverview, Springdale, St. Joseph, Vincentian (from A Section 3), West Shamokin.

Section 3: Avonworth, Bishop Canevin, Carlynton (from A Section 4), North Catholic, OLSH, Seton-LaSalle, Sewickley Academy.

Section 4: Bentworth, Beth-Center, Brownsville (from A Section 1), California (from A Section 1), Chartiers-Houston, Geibel (from A Section 1), Monessen.

Section 5: Beaver County Christian, Freedom, Mohawk (from AA Section 4), Neshannock, Quigley, Riverside (from AA Section 4), South Side Beaver.

Girls

Class AAA

Section 1: Albert Gallatin (from AAA Section 6), Connellsville (from AAA Section 6, Hempfield, Latrobe, Laurel Highlands (from AAA Section 6), Norwin, Penn-Trafford.

Section 2: Butler, Hampton (from AAA Section 3), North Allegheny, North Hills, Pine-Richland, Seneca Valley, Shaler.

Section 3: Fox Chapel, Franklin Regional (from AAA Section 1), Gateway, Kiski Area, Penn Hills, Plum, Woodland Hills.

Section 4: Baldwin, Bethel Park, Mount Lebanon (from AAA Section 5), Oakland Catholic, Peters Township, Ringgold (from AAA Section 5), West Mifflin (from AA Section 5).

Section 5: Canon-McMillan, Chartiers Valley (from AAA Section 7), Montour (from AAA Section 7), Moon (from AAA Section 7), Trinity, Upper St. Clair, West Allegheny (from AAA Section 7).

Class AA

Section 1: Derry (from AAA Section 1), Greensburg-Salem (from AAA Section 1), McGuffey, Mount Pleasant (from AA Section 6), Southmoreland (from AAA Section 6), Uniontown (from AAA Section 6), Waynesburg (from AAA Section 6), Yough (from AAA Section 6).

Section 2: Burrell (from AA Section 3), Deer Lakes (from AA Section 3), Freeport (from AA Section 3), Highlands (from AA Section 3), Indiana (from AAA Section 1), Knoch (from AAA Section 2), Mars (from AAA Section 2), Valley (from AA Section 3).

Section 3: Ambridge (from AAA Section 7), Beaver (from AA Section 5), Blackhawk (from AAA Section 7), Central Valley (New School), Ellwood City (from AA Section 2), Hopewell (from AAA Section 7), Mohawk (from AA Section 5), Quaker Valley (from AA Section 2).

Section 4: Belle Vernon (from AAA Section 6), East Allegheny (from AA Section 6), Elizabeth Forward (from AAA Section 5), Keystone Oaks (from AAA Section 4), South Fayette (from AA Section 1), South Park (from AA Section 1), Steel Valley, Thomas Jefferson (from AAA Section 4).

Class A

Section 1: Freedom, Neshannock, New Brighton, OLSH, Quigley, Riverside, Sewickley Academy.

Section 2: Bentworth, Beth-Center, Charleroi, Chartiers-Houston, Monessen, Serra Catholic, South Allegheny.

Section 3: Avonworth, Bishop Canevin, Carlynton, Ellis School, Seton-LaSalle, Vincentian.

Section 4: Geibel, Greensburg Central Catholic, Jeannette, Riverview, Shady Side Academy, Springdale, St. Joseph.

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