(Focus of that, of course, is getting past the race-fueled episode in February at a boys basketball game between the two schools. Bet you've heard of it.)
I called Andy Pacak and Kevin Kissel about this, expecting both to be annoyed that they have to talk about this whole thing ... but neither were. Talk about two engaging, interesting conversations.
Here's Pacak on the positives he took out of Monessen's 41-13 win over California in Week 1.
"It's hard to get past that question when you have a Chavas," Pacak said, referencing his West Virginia bound quarterback, Chavas Rawlins. "But aside from that, I'm extremely pleased with our offensive line play. They're coming off the ball and doing a great job. Those guys in the trenches deserve some praise; no matter who you have, if no one's blocking, it doesn't work."
So, then, here's the Monessen offensive line that Pacak was raving about. Only Tarka is starting for the first time; the others are returning:
55 LT Justice Tartt 6-2, 215 Jr.
66 LG Jonathan Kravets 5-11, 245 Jr.
50 C Pete Tarka 5-11, 225 Sr.
63 RG Shyheim Windom 5-10, 240 Jr.
64 RT Ray Dickerson 6-2, 197 Sr.
*57 Raealo Davis 6-0, 185 Jr. rotates in, pretty much as if he's a starter
I also asked Pacak whether he was happy with the improvements that Rawlins -- who completed 9 of 16 passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns -- has made throwing the ball. He wound up correcting me, saying that he wasn't the one looking for improvements.
"He was 9 of 16, and I think three of those incompletions were drops," Pacak said. "Remember, I'm perfectly happy with Chavas. Chavas was the one looking for more accuracy. He's a perfectionist, not me."
Pacak talked a lot about how kids today know each other better than they did when he was playing, without a doubt the product of Facebook or -- as Pacak called it -- "Tweeter." (Sorry Andy.)
Pacak said a big part of the healing process here was done through social media, with Rawlins and his younger brother, Justice, talking to a few of the team leaders from Brentwood.
Impressive stuff, for sure. Mature kids.
My story for Friday's paper talks a lot about how there's actually a football game to be played ... and a rather important one at that.
We know Clairton is the team to beat in the Class A Black Hills Conference, but beyond that there's a cluster of teams of vying to be next in line: Fort Cherry, Chartiers-Houston, Bishop Canevin, Monessen and Brentwood. A win here causes some separation.
I'll leave you with a quote from Kissel on this that I thought was pretty interesting.
"This is a giant game for us one way or another, none of that other stuff being taken into considerations," Kissel said. "If none of that other stuff would have ever happened, this is a giant game for us. Monessen is a really good team."