A few thoughts from yesterday's WPIAL Class AA championship game at Heinz Field:
***Aliquippa is good. Like really good. Yes, I know 34-7 doesn't exactly constitute a nail-biter -- unless you're me -- but this is a team that might win a Class AAAA title. Seriously. Numbers-wise, it's all there. First downs: 26-5. Yards: 543-114. Rushing yards: 505-91.
Aliquippa, which won its 15th WPIAL title, came in averaging 39.8 yards per game on the ground, 36.8 through the air. We think Wash High, which had run for a WPIAL-best 4,249 yards in 12 games (354.1 per) coming in, got shut down. But the Prexies actually more than doubled what the Quips typically allow and still got beat by 27.
***Booze. I was amazing at the amount of alcohol present at Heinz Field yesterday. Saddened, really. Beer cans strewn all over the parking lot. Bottles of liquor. I get tailgating for college/pro games. And not trying to get on a soap box/high horse. But this is high school football. Is alcohol really necessary? What kind of example are you setting? And don't tell me it's the kids; I'm not naive enough to think that sort of thing doesn't happen, but I have a tough time seeing high school kids doing it so flagrantly.
***Speaking of things that were unsightly yesterday, did anyone notice the bands that took the field? Probably not, considering they weren't allowed. High school marching bands had to play their halftime shows from the sideline. This kills me.
Coming from someone who was in the band -- though not during football, as our high school allowed both -- why take this opportunity away from these kids? They go to band camp. They practice, in many cases, every day. They learn routines and often memorize music. They give up Friday nights as fans, in this case 13 of 'em, to indulge this hobby. Let 'em do their thing.
Is it because we're afraid it might damage the playing surface? Have you looked at that thing lately? Right. Easily a tuba player away from having the best surface in the NFL or NCAA. Just imagine, if a few trumpet players stepped on the 40-yard line, there'd no doubt be a five-foot hole that someone could fall into.
***Here are some links to the O-R's coverage from yesterday's game: My game story; Chris Dugan's column, applauding Wash High for the great run; and the notebook, which touches on Shai McKenzie's pursuit of the WPIAL single-season record, some weather issues and a funny quote from Aliquippa coach Mike Zmijanac.