Monday, December 16, 2013

South Fayette's boys basketball team plays the waiting game


South Fayette’s Class AA PIAA football championship came at a price.

While the Lions went on a lengthy playoff run on their way to the school’s first state football championship, South Fayette’s boys basketball team, led by head coach Rich Bonnaure, progressed through preseason practices and opened their season Dec. 6 with a 65-55 win over Fort Cherry.

Five of South Fayette’s players will not join the team until Monday, just one day after defeating Imhotep Charter in Hershey, 41-0. While the football team’s championship run caused the group of players to miss two games, they did not have basketball off of their minds. During the week leading up to South Fayette’s 34-28 victory over Aliquippa in the Class AA WPIAL football championship game, Lions junior quarterback and starting center Brett Brumbaugh was shooting around in the gym to prepare for the high school basketball season to begin.

“We call it a great problem to have, but to be honest, it’s really tough skill-wise,” Bonnaure said. “It shows the kind of kids that we have. We’ve got winners.”

Joining Brumbaugh in the South Fayette (2-0) starting lineup is his record-setting wide receiver, senior Justin Watson, who is the starting power forward for the Lions and a defensive force in the lane. The other three football players joining Bonnnaure’s squad are senior Ben Berkovitz, junior Matt O’Rourke and junior Jack Relihan.

Watson and Brumbaugh will start for South Fayette, along with Relihan, junior Nick McKee and the fifth starter has yet to be determined.

“Justin is the kind of kid that you could put on their best defender and we probably will,” Bonnaure said. “The nice part is he can take on a big kid or a guard. He can step out and guard the best guard if he has to. He’s a great rebounder. He sets a heck of a screen with that large frame that he has.

This is not the first time South Fayette’s boys basketball team had a late start to the season. When the Lions football team reached the Class AA championship game in 2010, a large contingent of players did not join the basketball team until mid-December. The results were unexpected but historic.

South Fayette used size and good guard play to win the Class AA WPIAL Tournament and advancing to the PIAA semifinals were they lost to Montour, 57-44 at Chartiers Valley High School.

The lack of players on the roster has caused South Fayette to postpone five games, including two Section 5-AAA bouts against South Park and Keystone Oaks. The Lions will not take the court again until Dec. 27 in the Peters Township Tournament against Allderdice.

The key contributor to South Fayette in the season’s first two games has been junior Nick McKee, who used experience gained off the bench last season to show polish on the outside as a guard.

With the five players returning to the court Monday, Bonnaure was nervous to throw the players in against Keystone Oaks, a section opponent. The late addition of key players caused the postponement of the game against the section opponent.

“I’m probably going to let them to come in slowly and see what happens,” Bonnaure said. “I’m sure some of them will be ready to roll on Monday. We have a lot of kids this year who are pretty nice players.”

 

The tournament that will not end

The only thing that has been able to get the best of the Avella girls basketball team this season is the weather.

Avella (3-0) is one of four remaining undefeated girls teams in the Washington and Greene area, but the Eagles 0-for-2 -- through no fault of their own -- when it comes to finishing their own tip-off tournament.

The Eagles were scheduled to open the season with the tournament Dec. 6 and 7, but a snow storm in the area caused the first night's action to be posponed. The opening round was pushed back to Dec. 7 with Winchester Thurston defeating Bentworth and Avella routing Mapletown. After some discussion, it was decided that the teams would return to Avella last Saturday night for the consolation and championship games. Winchester Thurston expressed doubt about it being able to play because the Bears' coach said she couldn't miss work on consecutive Saturdays to coach games. It was eventually agreed upon that Winchester Thurston would return Saturday to play the championship game.

With snow and freezing rain in the forecast, Avella athletic directior Jason Fogg contacted Winchester Thurston Saturday to make sure the Bears were still planning to make the trek to Washington County from Pittsburgh's North Hills.

"They said everything was OK," Avella coach Jim Matalik said Sunday. "They said the roads were only wet there."

Bentworth and Mapletown arrived and played the consolation game, with Bentworth winning 48-28. Winchester Thurston, however, was a no-show.


"Winchester Thurston decided not to come. It was actually the parents who decided. They wouldn't take the kids to the bus because the roads were getting bad," Matalik explained.

Will the championship game ever be played? Matalik said the athletic directors will try to reschedule the game so that both teams can play the maximum 22 games for the season. If it can't be rescheduled, Matalik said there is a possibility that Avella could play three games at the upcoming California tournament instead of the planned two games.

Monday, December 9, 2013

South Fayette foe making history

Here are links to two stories about Imhotep, South Fayette's opponent Saturday in the PIAA Class AA football championship. game. Imhotep, which is a charter school, is the first Philly public-school team to make the state football finals. The Panthers have a running back, Deandre Scott, who is a recruit of Arizona State coach Todd "High Octane" Graham.

http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/local/item/62690-imhotep-panthers-become-1st-philly-public-school-team-to-make-piaa-title-game

http://articles.philly.com/2013-12-08/sports/44946874_1_imhotep-aaron-ruff-nasir-bonner

Friday, August 30, 2013

I hate goodbyes

The last day of any job stinks.

It's awkward. Everybody saying their goodbyes, acting like you're going to some faraway place. People who haven't heard. As a responsible employee, you're still trying to -- using a baseball term -- play out the string.


My predecessor on this beat, Mike Kovak, recalled a funny story about scaling scaffolding to take away some of that awkwardness, but I'm having no such luck thinking of one.

Perhaps because I heeded Mike's advice. On many things.

In any case, Friday is officially my last night at the Observer-Reporter. Come Tuesday I will start a job at the Tribune-Review. The move, though it makes sense (to me anyway) from a professional standpoint, doesn't come without its difficulties.

I've met many great people here, and to the majority simply calling them "great" doesn't do it justice. A lot of great folks, a lot of great memories. Shoot, can't believe all of 'em have been crammed into a 13-month term.

And I truly appreciate you reading, e-mailing, subscribing, following and calling.

It's a slice of life that I know I won't soon forget.

The Observer-Reporter is in the process of hiring my replacement, and, knowing who's involved, I have no doubt they will hire a quality person and writer. Also someone who will keep this blog going.

I'll still be on Twitter (@mackey_jason). Can also e-mail me at jasonmmackey@gmail.com.

As my idol, Jerry Garcia, sung many years ago ...

And I bid you goodnight, goodnight, goodnight.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Special visitor for McKenzie

Washington running back Shai McKenzie will have some extra motivation Friday night against Greensburg Central Catholic ... then a conundrum come Monday.

McKenzie mother, Misty Nolder, will be visiting from Georgia, and she’ll get to watch her son as the Prexies open their season against GCC at 7 p.m.

On Monday, McKenzie will watch Pitt host Florida State at Heinz Field in a nationally televised game. Both schools are in McKenzie’s top five – and toward the top. Virginia Tech, Arkansas and Georgia Tech complete the list.

“My mom has a good connection with Florida State, and of course living in Georgia she likes Georgia Tech,” McKenzie explained. “On the other hand, my dad’s a Pitt guy, a Virginia Tech guy.

“I hope my mom doesn't go sit on the Florida State side.”

Should be an important moment in the recruiting process for McKenzie, who figures to be on the field for warm-ups, too.

“Last year I went to the game when they played Youngstown State, and we went on the field,” McKenzie said. “Just interacted with some players, talked to some coaches. Usually you’re with other athletes there.”

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Good news for Chartiers-Houston, California

The two football teams left after Fort Cherry finalized plans for a replacement game may still have hope to replace Imani Christian on their schedules.

Hours after the Rangers signed off on hosting Brockway at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 18, news broke tonight that Rockwood High School would not field a team in District 5.

That creates nine teams looking for games. Conemaugh Township (Sept. 20) and Ferndale (Oct. 4) will be without games the same weeks Chartiers-Houston and California were scheduled to play Imani Christian.


Monessen, the fourth local team in the Black Hills, had already scheduled a game: at Mountain Ridge High School in Frostburg, Md., at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 11.

Trinity's Dobich breaks ankle

The Trinity football team was already young, but it turns out the Hillers lost one of their few players with experience for an extended period of time.

Fullback/linebacker John Dobich missed half of training camp with a concussion, which had cleared up. But, before returning to practice Monday, Dobich broke his ankle over the weekend and will miss an additional six weeks.

Tough break for a team that will be breaking in new starters at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end and at several spots along the offensive and defensive lines.

If the six weeks holds true, Dobich could return for Oct. 11, at home, against Uniontown. Games at West Mifflin and home against Ringgold follow the next two Friday nights.

Monday, August 26, 2013

PT's Parker enjoying return

As someone who lost his junior football season to a back injury, I can identify with Peters Township goalkeeper Megan Parker, who's returning from a torn ACL injury that wiped out her junior soccer season.

"It feels awesome," Parker responded when I asked her yesterday afternoon what it felt like to be back. "Coming back with this team ... I love these girls so much."

Thinking back on my own experience, I asked Parker whether she tried to avoid taking the little things for granted, whether even a sprint -- in the past a gigantic pain -- became fun again. Parker smiled.

"You appreciate something when you can't do it," Parker said. "I would rather be running than not. It feels very good to be able to be running and doing those things again."

I have a story in Tuesday's paper about the young group that will carry Peters Township after several losses: nine seniors, including Olivia Roberson, now at Duquesne, and senior Veronica Latsko, who's out for the year with a torn ACL.

Parker figures to be one of those after she moves back into goal and Carly Johns, the keeper as Peters Township won its third consecutive PIAA Class AAA title, moves back to defend. Check out Katie Roupe's photo of Parker from Monday's practice.


Details Comcast On Demand games

Comcast’s XFINITY High School Sports Game of the Week will be available for the first time in high definition during the 2013 season as part of a 12-week WPIAL schedule that includes three playoff games and teams from every WPIAL classification.

All XFINITY TV subscribers with Digital Starter and above packages get free access to the XFINITY High School Sports Game of the Week through the “Get Local” and “Sports” folders on their On Demand menu beginning the day after the game is played.

The schedule starts Aug. 30 with the WPIAL Class AAAA game between Mt. Lebanon and North Allegheny.

Locally, Comcast will broadcast Yough at Washington on Sept. 20 and Seton-La Salle at South Fayette a week later.

Chris Shovlin will be the play-by-play voice, Ellis Cannon on color. Kati Lightholder will work the sidelines. Former Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch will join the broadcast team on the playoffs.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Duchi and Frey impress for McGuffey

With all tab responsibilities and Tuesday's sick day behind me, I stopped out at McGuffey tonight to watch the Highlanders scrimmage Uniontown.

The story: James Duchi and Patrick Frey combined to run for 251 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries, showing off the backfield of riches that McGuffey figures to have this season.

"It’s good," said Duchi, who ran eight times for 76 yards. "We have a good backfield."

I will examine the Highlanders' backfield situation for Sunday's paper, but here's the short version: Frey transfers from Trinity ... Duchi, who had 1,514 yards and and 13 touchdowns as THE MAN last season must share time ... neither have an issue.

OK, the very short version.

Though I have a tough time believing it, Duchi said he didn't feel threatened at all when Frey, who rushed for 940 yards and 10 touchdowns at Trinity, started taking classes at McGuffey.

I thought it was going to be good, because now we have two great running backs," Duchi told me after McGuffey trounced Uniontown. "If one of us goes down, we still have another one. It’s just better to have two running backs."

Frey, who rushed for 175 yards on eight carries, was a little more candid, offering this:

"I came in a little nervous, I’m not going to lie," said Frey, who transferred to enroll in McGuffey's vocational agriculture program. "He had more yards than me, but I knew they would find a spot for me, even at fullback or wherever it is."

Tonight that was at the Wildcat, the formation where Frey scored both of his touchdowns: a 21-yarder on McGuffey's second possession, a 60-yarder to finish off the third.

>>>Senior kicker Tyler Harris made a 46-yard field goal on McGuffey's third possession. And get this: Harris has never kicked a football -- at least not in a game -- before.

Sure, he scored around 30 goals for the soccer team. But a football player he's most certainly not.

"I don’t think he knows how many points you score on a touchdown," McGuffey coach Ed Dalton said. "He’s a soccer kid. But hopefully he’ll be an end zone kicker by next week. They've gone two and three practices a day, so I’m hoping his leg will bounce back by next week."

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Monessen schedules game in Maryland

So I asked Monessen football coach Andy Pacak on Aug. 8 what he planned to do if Imani Christian was not able to fulfill its 2013 schedule.

Nothing, Pacak said.


Probably couldn't find a game, and even if they could, the bye week would be preferable for the Greyhounds.

Here's the exact quote: “We’re going to plan like we have a game that day, until someone tells us that we don’t,” Pacak said. “Not going to West Virginia and Ohio at that point in the season – for us that’s the week before Chartiers-Houston – and having a week off (in Week 7) would not be the not the end of the world.

“If it was our first or second game, I might feel different.”


Asked Pacak again when it was final Imani was done. Same answer: “At this point, we’re not going to find a game,” Pacak said. “Even if we could, we’d rather use that time to rest up.”

So, naturally, Monessen went and found a game: Oct. 11, 7 p.m., at Mountain Ridge High School in Frostburg, Md.

I'll say this for Pacak: He only brought up West Virginia and Ohio; he didn't say anything about Maryland.

Week 2 scrimmage schedule

Here's a list of the Week 2 scrimmage schedule for area high school football teams:

Avella at Serra Catholic, 6 p.m.
Bentworth at California, 6 p.m.
Bishop Canevin at South Fayette, 6 p.m.
Brownsville at Beth-Center, 7 p.m.
Canon-McMillan at Fox Chapel, 6 p.m.
Carlynton at Burgettstown, 6:30 p.m.
Carmichaels at Waynesburg, 7 p.m.
Fort Cherry at Avonworth, 7 p.m.
Jefferson-Morgan at Southmoreland, 6 p.m.
Monessen at Charleroi, 7 p.m.
Ringgold at South Park, 6 p.m.
Steel Valley at Trinity, 6 p.m.
Thomas Jefferson at Peters Township, 6 p.m.
Uniontown at McGuffey, 6 p.m.
Washington at Albert Gallatin, 6 p.m.
West Greene vs. Sto-Rox vs. Chartiers-Houston at Chartiers-Houston, 6 p.m.
Wilkinsburg vs. Geibel vs. Mapletown at Mapletown, 7 p.m.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Camp notes: Ringgold

They bickered like an old, married couple.

"Make sure that goes on the record," Ringgold football coach Matt Humbert shouted at practice this morning. "It's the first time Nico admitted he was wrong."

Junior quarterback Nico Law disagreed, insisting he had been wrong before — and admitted it.

This was only one small instance, and not negative at all, but it gave me a look into the world of Humbert and Law, who operate pretty much like two brothers: coach chides player, player throws it back to coach, so on and so forth.

"We're close," Law explained. "He's an older brother; I wouldn't say he's like another father figure. He's like an older brother because he's a young coach."

That relationship has extended to Sunday diagram sessions, to lifting and conditioning and even a post-practice meeting Friday in Humbert's office. They talk a lot. Humbert, an ex-quarterback himself, wouldn't have it any other way.

"I know Nico might consider me his older brother, and I think the reason is that we're together constantly," Humbert said. "Since January, we've been around each other around four days a week. He's a kid who has all the tools. He can throw the ball well. He can run the ball well. He has a great football IQ."

I didn't get to see a whole heck of a lot down at Ringgold today, mostly just a bunch of walk-through stuff, but Law certainly impressed. After being thrust into a starting role last year, he has bulked up quite a bit and has become more of a leader.

>>Humbert raved about the quality of this camp, pegging it to the amount of competition at several positions. Pretty much every one, save for Law's spot, is up for grabs.

"There are a lot of kids competing for positions, so they're less likely to screw around," Humbert said. "I don't have to allocate 15 minutes of practice every day to punish the kids and run 'em because five kids can't control themselves."

>>Wide receiver/linebacker Dayshore Majors returns and steps into Joey Wall's role. Wall did a little bit of everything last year: four rushing touchdowns, two receiving, two picks, three fumble recoveries and 55 tackles. Look for big things out of Majors.

>>Sophomore Chacar Berry is a first-year varsity player after starting at running back on the JV squad last season. He could lead a talented four-man group taking over for Demetrius Louis.

>>Linebacker Matt Kirby returns after making 62 tackles. Connor Gary is also back inside.

>>Alan Pritchett, who had 50 tackles and two sacks at cornerback last year, moves to safety. He'll split time with Jake Gerard at the outside receiver spot opposite Majors on offense.

>>Majors said this year's camp has been better than any in recent memory, and there's been an interesting reason for the about-face.


"A lot of hitting," Majors told me. "Last year, we didn't hit at all. This year we hit, and I think that's going to make us a better defensive team."

Geibel gone, too?

Heard a rumor -- at least from a reliable source -- that Geibel had to pull out of its three-way scrimmage with Our Lady of Sacred Heart and Serra Catholic Saturday because its team only had nine players on it.

If that's true, and Geibel cannot field a team long term, the coaches in the WPIAL Class A Black Hills Conference probably wouldn't be all that upset. That would be mean they'd have ready-made crossover games against the Tri-County, should they choose to play them.

Here's a hypothetical look at who could be playing whom:

Fort Cherry vs. West Greene, Week 4
*Both had/have home games

Monessen vs. Bentworth, Week 7
*Bentworth was/is supposed to be at home

California vs. Carmichaels, Week 6
*Both had/have home games

Chartiers-Houston vs. Mapletown, Week 4
*Both had/have home games

Other cross-over matchups

Beth-Center vs. Serra Catholic
*Both had/have home games

Jefferson-Morgan vs. Clairton
*Both had/have away games

For those asking, we'll know for sure on Imani come Monday. I'm not aware of any deadline that Geibel faces.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Camp notes: Chartiers-Houston

Chartiers-Houston: the land of no names and coaches who participate in practice.

I spent the early part of the afternoon at Chartiers-Houston and had a great time 
— despite the fact that players don't have numbers on their practice jerseys, which makes it a little tough to know who's who. First, though, let's start with a story.

Defense day, seven-on-seven work. I'm standing near the linemen and notice someone lofting a beautiful ball on a 30-yard, backside post.

It's Bucs head coach Terry Fetsko.

And he's throwing a kid's football.

"You stole that out of your kid's toy bin," senior Miles Williamson accuses Fetsko.

"Yep, he's probably crying right now because he can't find it," Fetsko jokes.


A few seconds later, Fetsko pretends he's hitting Santonio Holmes in the corner of the end zone to win a Super Bowl.

"Big Ben's in trouble," someone shouts. Fetsko plays along.

Williamson tried to bet that he could throw the ball 80 yards — and if so the Bucs would get out of conditioning for the day. It traveled 73, though it did roll to 81.

Fetsko even participated in running sprints. Cracks me up. He said it's something he does every year, even though his players usually make fun of him. Gotta love that.

Oh, wait, what? Serious stuff? Fine.


OFFENSE

Kaleb Susko returns at quarterback, Williamson at receiver — he's 6-4, 192, big and athletic … look for a Recruit Watch thingy — but not much in the way of running backs; Jevone Hairston, David Kincaid and Grant Foster (transfer to Central Catholic), the Bucs' best three from last year, are all gone.

Senior Derek Hull has the lead on the competition, but the simple fact, all agreed, is that Susko and Williamson will have to do more.

"We need to take a look at some things," Fetsko said. "We lost our three leading rushers; you put all of their yards together, they had about 1,500. We had a nice corps of running backs. When you lose all three it makes it difficult.

"We need Kaleb to step up, to be a leader, and we have to have him get the ball in the hands of our skill people. We're getting on him to do a lot more."

Joining Williamson out wide will be senior Doug DiNardo and three juniors: Thomas Wormsley, Wyatt Kincaid and Josh Gray — among others.

Senior Walt Lober, and juniors Tyler Stegenga and Noah Deep return along the offensive and defensive lines.


DEFENSE

The three running backs also played linebacker, and Garrett Vulcano, an all-state player now at West Liberty, is also gone.

Hull figures to take Vulcano's spot at middle linebacker, but there's plenty of competition for the other spots, a competition led by sophomore Dylan Briggs.

Defensive backs will be Williamson, Susko, Wyatt, Kincaid and Wormsley.
Safety/wide receiver/punter Alec Ferrari is out at least until early in the regular season, Fetsko said, with "blood clots," giving the Bucs another loss to address.

Good day. Got Ringgold tomorrow morning, then some tab writing in the afternoon and evening.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Camp notes: South Fayette

I spent Wednesday afternoon at South Fayette, checking out the WPIAL Class AA semifinalists from 2012. Plenty is back for coach Joe Rossi's team, and it looks like the Lions have a pretty strong plan in place to address the team's biggest loss: wide receiver Zach Challingsworth.

Where to start with these guys?

Eh, probably where I start with every other team: quarterback.

South Fayette, of course, is loaded at quarterback, with junior Brett Brumbaugh. Brumbaugh threw for 2,823 yards and 37 yards as a sophomore last season, and he only figures to get better. Looked great today, in what little I saw on defense day.

His favorite target -- Challingsworth -- is gone, now at Pitt, but check out this list of returners:

WR Justin Watson, Sr. (28-592-8TD)
WR Conner Beck, Sr. (29-457-4TD)
WR Roman Denson, Jr. (transfer from Gateway)
TE Logan Sharp, Jr. ("This kid could be the most special tight end we've had here," Rossi said.)
WR Hayden Orler, Sr.

And these are just the guys catching passes for Brumbaugh. Four of five linemen return, as well as running back Grant Fetchet, who had 932 yards and 10 touchdowns last fall. No doubt the Lions are gonna be in the Aliquippa-Washington-best-teams-in-Class AA conversation. And deservedly so.

Couple notes from today's afternoon session, which was mostly defense:

>>Former Canon-McMillan coach Tim Sohyda is now at South Fayette as a defensive line coach. Don't think he recognized me as I stood outside the weight room, either.

>>Rossi will take over the defense after Darren Schoppe left to become the head coach at Bishop Canevin. This will be the first time in Rossi's tenure where he didn't call the plays.

>>First play of full team drills, Watson in coverage, jumps and tips the ball to himself, later returning it for a touchdown.

>>Rossi was very impressed with Denson and press-coverage, saying this was something -- picked up at Gateway -- where you could tell he was coached extremely well.

>>Interesting end to practice. Five plays, third and four, five drops to the loser. Turned out 3-1-1 for the starting defense:

1. Brumbaugh, running scout team, offense completes a slant for the first down.
2. Watson pass breakup.
3. Run stopped for two yards.
4. Run for loss of one.
5. Brumbaugh rolling left, would've been sacked in a game, called it a wash.

>>Recruiting stuff: Brumbaugh has offers from Akron and Temple, but Penn State and Virginia Tech has shown an increasing amount of interest. Expecting this to be the beginning of some BCS-level Division I attention.

Watson has been fielding interest from Ivy League, Patriot League and MAC schools. He said he hoped to pick between his top two -- Cornell and Penn -- before the season starts.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Camp notes: Trinity

Was out at Trinity earlier today to talk to Ryan Coyle and check on the Hillers, a team that must replace quite a bit of talent.

First impression: They're going to be just fine.

Trinity's practice -- special teams, then an uptempo, offensive walkthrough -- had a great pace to it, and I saw about a half-dozen guys capable of replacing running back Patrick Frey (now at McGuffey), quarterbacks Jason Vankirk and Don McWreath, tight end Jared Deep and wide receiver Corey Hunsberger.

Not booking Trinity for a trip to Heinz quite yet, but if you think the Hillers were destined for a 2-7 disaster, think again.

Start with quarterback, where junior Forrest Cullings takes over. Cullings looked sharp today. Very sharp. He's young, so I don't think Coyle's going to turn him into Brett Brumbaugh or anything, but he made several nice throws and actually worked through some progressions.

Even hit senior Brandon McGavitt on a post route to highlight some of the deeper passing plays.

Behind Cullings will be running back Robert West, the team's top returner with 81 yards and four touchdowns, as well as Colton Jordan and Rylee Yocca. Gaage Marry will play fullback. McGavitt figures to take on some of Hunsberger's responsibility as a playmaker.

"I think we're going to surprise some people with our offense," Marry said. "Not too many people think we're going to be able to move the ball this year."

>>If you've ever been around Trinity for an extended period of time, you've probably been scared of Coyle. OK, maybe not. But the guy's intense. Practice is broken into tiny segments, and there's never a question who's in charge.

I asked some of the players I talked to today whether they've grown more comfortable with Coyle over the past year.

"Practices are a lot smoother," Marry said. "We know the tempo now."

"You have to take him in small doses," McGavitt joked.
"His bark is worse than his bite," McGavitt added, drawing a laugh from yours truly.

>>Also very impressed with the weight room Trinity created for itself using an old storage space at the middle school, where the Hillers hold camp. New machines. Re-done floors and walls. Just a gorgeous place. And they're apparently the only ones who use it. The school matched the money the team raised, and it shows. Just a top-notch facility.

>>Trinity will very much be defined by its offensive line. The Hillers were hit hard by graduation up front, the top returner being senior Steven Iams. The size, as I saw today, was there. But Coyle -- a former lineman himself, even though he doesn't look the part -- has his work cut out for him in this department, developing some of these big bodies.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Camp notes: Washington

Spent the afternoon at Wash High today, watching the Prexies prep some offense. Here are a few things I noticed from the defending Interstate Conference champions and last year's WPIAL Class AA runner-up.

>>A big story for Washington this season will be replacing Josh Wise's leadership and the stability he gave the Prexies at quarterback. No, Wise wasn't South Fayette's Brett Brumbaugh. Nobody needed him to be. But he gave his team a reliable second source of offense behind running back Shai McKenzie.

Senior Chase Caldwell was supposed to fill that void, but a torn ligament in his right elbow, an injury that occurred during track season, forced Caldwell to move to wide receiver.

Saw a few different players take snaps today, but it looks like the competition will come down to junior Jonathan Spina and senior Quorteze Levy.

>>Funny moment: Caldwell chiding junior DeQuay Isbell for dropping a pass, only to let the next attempt slip through his fingers. "That's not me," Caldwell told me after practice. Ten pushups for both.

>>Encouraging No. 1: While doing skeleton passing drills, Shai McKenzie hauled in one in the flat with one hand. No doubt McKenzie's contributions as a pass-catcher will be warmly welcomed with Spina or Levy under center.

>>Encouraging sign No. 2: First play of team drills. Spina finds tight end Nate Swart running a deep corner route and lofts a beauty. That connection would go a long way toward opening up some running room for McKenzie.

>>Shai McKenzie … the linebacker. McKenzie's supposed to play strong side outside linebacker this season and at one point tried to get reps with a few other starters, as the offensive reserves worked. He was quickly removed from the defensive huddle.

"It was something more for younger guys," McKenzie explained. "I think we're going defensive practice next, so I'll probably be in that series."

McKenzie said he has not played offense and defense in the same game since his freshman year.

>>Levy on replacing Wise, who was the team's vocal leader: "We don't really have that kind of guy anymore, but we're doing well without him. We really can't replace Josh and what he said; he always had something to say."

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Recruit watch: Justice Rawlins, Monessen

Fair or not, when many people thought of the Monessen football team last season, the first name that came to mind was quarterback/defensive back Chavas Rawlins — not his younger brother, Justice, a running back and linebacker.

With Chavas Rawlins now at Duquesne, it's the younger Rawlins' time to shine.

And he knows it.

"He was by far the leader of the team last year," Justice Rawlins said of his older brother. "I think this year everybody looks at me to be that type of person. Of course I'm always ready to step up to the plate."

Few question Justice Rawlins' ability as a linebacker. He was a U.S. Air Force Freshman All-American after finishing with 99 tackles, five interceptions and two touchdowns in 2010, helping Monessen go 9-2 and win the WPIAL Class A Tri-County South.

After a torn ACL wiped out his sophomore season, Rawlins' proved he was every bit the player he was with a fantastic junior year, and NCAA Division I college coaches have taken notice.

Just maybe not enough of 'em: Despite having reportedly been offered by such schools as Pitt, Rutgers and Akron, Rawlins (who's highlight video can be seen here) has seen some of those offers disappear because of other commitments — though you'd have to think if Pitt's Todd Thomas doesn't return, that could free up a scholarship.

Rawlins is taking the up-and-down nature of recruiting in stride, insisting it's on him to solidify his status as a BCS-level player.

"I'm out to prove a lot this year," Rawlins said. "I'm out to prove that I can play at any conference in college football and stand out."

Rawlins said he spent six weeks this summer working with a personal trainer in Minnesota, upping his weight to around 245 pounds and dropping his 40-yard dash time to 4.5 seconds — a deadly combination for someone in his position.

Just a few things he did:

***Pushups where he would have to lift his entire body off the ground, others where he'd have to catch himself and continue through.

***Pushups where he would have to rotate 180 degrees while pushing himself off the ground, other exercises where he would hang from a bar and have to flip himself back over it.

***Running-wise he would run a series of 400-meter sprints, twice each lap around the track, 24 reps completed within an hour.

"He's strapping," Monessen coach Andy Pacak said. "And I think that he wants to really show people that, 'OK, here I am.' It's going to be a very interesting season for him.

"Watching him right now, I know he's 110 percent recovered from his knee injury as a sophomore. He made such a commitment to be in shape that I'm actually looking forward to the season, more than I usually do because you get close to kids over a period of time, and I'm in his corner rooting for him to show people that, 'Hey, you made a mistake.' "

Rawlins right now could be a Division I player, but he's using this year to force himself into onto a BCS school's radar for the Class of 2014.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Recruit watch: Zak Dysert, Fort Cherry

Welcome to a new Varsity Letters feature I'll be starting for football camp and the foreseeable future.

Recruit watch will be a random blog feature examining -- you guessed it -- some of the area's top recruits, linking their recruiting videos, talking about what schools have shown interest, etc.

First up is Fort Cherry senior Zak Dysert, a 6-3, 220-pound tight end/linebacker.

TAKE A LOOK: Here's a link to Dysert's offensive highlight film, and here's one to the defensive version -- where he has a sack after fighting through a blocker and a tackle in pursuit at Brentwood, two very nice highlights against my alma mater.

HE'S VERSATILE: Dysert's not just a football guy; he averaged 13.4 points per game for the hoops team and missed medaling in discus at the PIAA Class AA Track and Field Championships by a mere two inches.

NO, NOT THAT GUY: Google Dysert's name, and you'll come across Zac Dysert, who was a quarterback at Miami (OH) and was drafted in the seventh round (No. 234 overall) by the Denver Broncos.

THE SKINNY: I talked to Fort Cherry coach Jim Shiel about Dysert Thursday, and he said Dysert visited Dartmouth and Delaware this summer. He's also been down to Pitt a handful of times.

One interesting note, besides the fact that Dysert has the grades to go pretty much anywhere, is his intended major; Shiel said he wants to study environmental education and maybe one day become a game warden or a parks and recreation officer.

Football-wise, Dysert hauled in 16 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns for a Fort Cherry team that went 3-6 in the WPIAL Class A Black Hills Conference. The Rangers bring back plenty of talent, however, and should fare much better this season, especially in the passing game.

Watch those highlight films and you'll see Dysert's ability to rush the passer; whether he's listed as a linebacker or defensive end, he's going to be coming off the edge, his hand rarely on the ground.

Shiel told me the Ivy League would be a perfect fit for Dysert, but a strong senior season -- especially the beginning of it -- could change all that.

If you think you have someone for Recruit Watch, e-mail me at jmackey@observer-reporter.com.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

More on potential loss of Imani Christian

Chalk this up to something a few area football coaches and athletic directors would rather not worry about just a handful of days before the start of summer camp.

Sure you heard by now, but there's a very real possibility that Imani Christian, a small, private school in Pittsburgh's East Hills, could not field a football team this fall.

This presents a problem because it would result in an open date on the schedule for the remaining nine teams in the WPIAL Class A Black Hills Conference — locally we're talking about California, Chartiers-Houston, Fort Cherry and Monessen.

I spent the morning calling those four coaches, and here's a sampling of what they had to say. I'll have a more substantial story in Friday's Observer-Reporter.

Chartiers-Houston coach Terry Fetsko: "According to the schedules, everybody is booked. This is the worst time. If it was back in early June, then maybe. But everybody who I checked in Class A, they all have games. I don't know what's going to happen here."

Fetsko also cautioned that nobody wants to play any powerhouses in Class AA or Class AAA, provided that's who they're able to find in West Virginia, Ohio or lower New York.

"The win or loss isn't that big of a deal, but you don't want to finish the season hurt in our rugged conference," Fetsko said. "It's not just getting a team. You have to get someone who's comparable to your size and ability; you don't want to go too far, and I'm sure the other coaches feel the same way."

Chartiers-Houston and California stand to have their home schedules decreased from four home dates to three, a sizable dent in gate and concession monies. Fort Cherry had Imani Christian scheduled for homecoming.

"It's kind of a nightmare that it's happened," Fort Cherry coach Jim Shiel said. "Everybody kind of saw it coming, though."

First-year California coach Bo Teets brought up an interesting point: If Geibel or Vincentian were to also fold, that would create a group of teams within the WPIAL also looking to fill dates.

Monessen coach Andy Pacak said the Greyhounds wouldn't bother trying to replace Imani. Having back-to-back games against Clairton and Bishop Canevin two weeks prior and Chartiers-Houston the week after Imani, they'd be just fine with a little break, especially with it coming in Week 7.

"If you're on a nice roll, you don't want to interrupt that," Pacak said. "Even if we could find a game with someone two weeks before the playoffs, do you want to get in a battle with someone who doesn't count?

"I would probably just shy away from it."

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Wash High's Kelly doing well at Youngstown State

Not that anyone who's seen him play had any doubts, but I found this story on former Wash High linebacker Jaylin Kelly rather interesting.

Apparently, according to the Youngstown Vindicator, Kelly has rocketed his way up the depth chart at Youngstown State, climbing all the way to second team in just five days of practice.

Kelly left a little early for YSU -- June 30 -- and it looks like it's been paying off.

>>Reminder that our football tab will publish Tuesday, Aug. 27. Many teams start heat acclimatization activities this week, then camp full bore on Monday. I'll be making my usual rounds, Tweeting, posting plenty of video, blogging, etc. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

So, I'm back

Pardon the inactivity here. One, it's summer. Pretty boring couple of weeks anyway. But I was also on vacation. (Didn't do much. Pretty much used it to move.)

>>Anyway, we're starting to mobilize for the high school football tab, which is more than a bit scary; camp, believe it or not, starts Aug. 12.

That's in two weeks.

Golf starts Aug. 15, and tennis a week after football camp on Aug. 19.

Just crazy to think that it's already here.

>>The J. Budd Grebb Memorial Summer Basketball League wraps up this week, with semifinals Tuesday and the championship game Thursday.

Here's a look at the end-of-the-regular-season numbers:

Scoring Leaders
1. Noah Brown, Farmers Insurance 9-198-22.0
2. Charlie Scharbo, Campy’s Pizza 7-146-20.9
3. Elijah Minnie, BeeGraphix 8-161-20.1
4. Jalen French, Union Cleaners 9-175-19.4
5. Dayshore Majors, BeeGraphix 7-126-18.0
T-6. Cole Novotney, Northwood Realty 10-170-17.0
T-6. George Prota, Campy’s Pizza 8-136-17.0
8. Lavelle Rush, Farmers Insurance 7-110-15.7
9. Clintell Gillaspie, Dairy Queen 9-138-15.3
10. Matt Bernadowski, Farmers Insurance 10-142-14.2
11. Demetri Clements, Campy’s Pizza 10-128-12.8
12. Luke Doptis, BeeGraphix 10-126-12.6
13. Brandon Lawless, Northwood Realty 7-87-12.4
14. Matt Indorante, Dairy Queen 9-110-12.2
15. Tray Matthews, Union Cleaners 8-97-12.1
16. Noah Rullo, BeeGraphix 9-106-11.8
17. Kass Taylor, Northwood Realty 10-112-11.2
18. Ryan Novotney, Dairy Queen 9-99-11.0
19. John Arnold, Union Cleaners 6-63-10.5

Standings 
                            PF      Avg.      PA        Avg.
BeeGraphix                8-2     746      74.6       609       60.9
Campy’s Pizza            7-3     755       75.5       622       62.2
Farmers Insurance   6-4     745       74.5       714        71.4
Northwood Realty    5-5      705       70.5      779        77.9
Dairy Queen              4-6      617        61.7      666       66.6
Union Cleaners         0-10   569        56.9      744       74.4


Playoff Schedule
Tuesday, July 30

Semifinals
Farmers Insurance vs. Campy's Pizza, 7:30 p.m.
Northwood Realty vs. BeeGraphix, 9 p.m.
Finals
Farmers Insurance-Campy's Pizza winner vs. Northwood Realty-BeeGraphix winner, 8 p.m.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Budd Grebb extras

Have a story in Saturday's paper about what's been going on with the Budd Grebb league so far.

Here's what didn't make the paper, plus scoring leaders/standings:

Bob Kennedy had a rule to follow at the annual draft for the J. Budd Grebb Memorial Summer Basketball League.

"When I went to the draft this year, they told me right off the bat, 'You get no Monessen (kids),' " Kennedy explained.

That's because Kennedy, who coached BeeGraphix, already has three of them on his roster — or one over the league limit.

Elijah Minnie, Luke Doptis and Noah Rullo have been with Kennedy, who coaches high school basketball at Bentworth, since they started in the league, and back then there were too many interested players to stick to the rule of two per team.

"I can't pick another Monessen kid until I graduate these kids," Kennedy explained. "You can only have two from each school."

Minnie, Doptis and Rullo not only have been loyal — they could've re-entered the change, but chose to stay with BeeGraphix — but good; last year BeeGraphix went 12-0 to win the Budd Grebb title, and this year the three rank among the league's scoring leaders.

Minnie, who transferred to Lincoln Park amid plenty of controversy, is averaging 19.0 points through five games, tying him with Charlie Scharbo of Campy's Pizza for second in the league. Doptis is 10th at 14.3 points per game, and Rullo is 21st at 10.5.

Dayshore Majors (Ringgold) is averaging 15.8 points per game, good enough for seventh in the league.

BeeGraphix recently had its 17-game winning snapped with a 73-58 loss to Farmers Insurance Thursday night, as both teams are now 5-1. Campy's Pizza, which is in fourth place at 4-2, plays both BeeGraphix and Farmers Insurance next week and could shake up the standings.

SCORING LEADERS
Through Game 6
Player, Team Games Points Average
1. Jalen French, Union Cleaners 5 104 20.8
T-2. Charlie Scharbo, Campy’s Pizza 3 57 19.0
T-2. Elijah Minnie, BeeGraphix 5 95 19.0
4. Noah Brown, Farmers Insurance 6 112 18.7
5. George Prota, Campy’s Pizza 5 90 18.0
6. Cole Novotney, Northwood Realty 6 97 16.2
7. Dayshore Majors, BeeGraphix 5 79 15.8
8. Lavelle Rush, Farmers Insurance 5 78 15.6
9. Clintell Gillespie, Dairy Queen 5 77 15.4
10. Luke Doptis, BeeGraphix 6 86 14.3
11. Tray Matthews, Union Cleaners 4 55 13.8
T-12. Matt Indorante, Dairy Queen 5 64 12.8
T-12. John Arnold, Union Cleaners 4 51 12.8
14. Brandon Lawless, Northwood Realty 4 50 12.5
15. Matt Bernadowski, Farmers Insurance 6 72 12.0
16. Kass Taylor, Northwood Realty 6 69 11.5
17. Cameron Sarber, Farmers Insurance 6 67 11.2
18. Demetri Clements, Campy’s Pizza 6 66 11.0
T-19. Robert Chaney Jr., Northwood Realty 4 43 10.8
T-19. Jake Sweitzer, Northwood Realty 4 43 10.8
21. Noah Rullo, BeeGraphix 6 63 10.5

STANDINGS
Team                         Rec.     PF     Avg.    PA     Avg.
Farmers Insurance     5-1     437     72.8     385     64.2 
BeeGraphix               5-1     444     74.0     362     60.3 
Campy’s Pizza          4-2     408     68.0     374     62.3 
Northwood Realty     2-4     426     71.0     469     78.2 
Dairy Queen             2-4     339     56.5     379     63.2 
Union Cleaners         0-6     351     58.5     436     72.7

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Wednesday/Thursday Budd Grebb results

Here, folks, are the Budd Grebb Results I just took over the phone and filed for Friday's paper.

Many thanks for Mel and Naz for calling these in and keeping this thing going.

J. Budd Grebb Memorial Summer League Basketball

WEDNESDAY'S GIRLS RESULTS


Tommy Thomas State Farm 46, Lagerheads 45

T: Mia Woytovich 15; L: Cassidy Stollar 12

Fredericktown Butcher Shop 39, Bitonti’s Barristers 23
F: Kaitlyn Slagus 20; B: Meaghan Murphy 9

THURSDAY'S BOYS RESULTS

Farmers Insurance 73, BeeGraphix 58
F: Lavelle Rush 18, Joey Martin 14, Cameron Sarber 12; B: Luke Doptis 32, Noah Rullo 16

Campy’s Pizza 71, Dairy Queen 54
C: Demetri Clements 18, Charlie Scharbo 17, Carl DellaPenna 12, Austin Matta 12; D: Matt Indorante 14, Rece Henneman 14

Northwood Realty 90, Union Cleaners 67
N: Cole Novotney 26, Brandon Lawless 19, Jake Sweitzer 13; U: Jaylen French 21, John Arnold 18, Marcellous Grooms 15

Boys Standings

Farmers Insurance 5-1
BeeGraphix 5-1
Campy’s Pizza 4-2
Northwood Realty 2-4
Dairy Queen 2-4
Union Cleaners 0-6

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Go ahead, blame me

Some luck, huh?

So a few days ago I wrote about Peters Township graduate Mike Bittel, who's pitching in the New York Collegate Wooden Bat League.

Bittel, by virtue of his excellent first half, was selected to the All-Star Game -- where he gave up four runs, two earned, on four hits with one strikeout in his only inning of work.

Oh well. It's baseball. This stuff happens. But definitely bad timing.

One bright spot: Washington & Jefferson College's Kyle McClain, a third baseman who's been closing games up there, struck out the only batter he faced in the All-Star Game.

This season McClain has a 1-0 record for the Olean Oilers with five saves in 13 innings. He's given up 13 hits, three runs, one earned, with 15 strikeouts against one walk.


Now watch those numbers take a hit -- hopefully a tiny one. Sorry guys.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Char-Houston's Spossey leaves state

When it comes to Chartiers-Houston softball, apparently Toni Spossey isn't the heir apparent to Kayla Briggs.

As I learned within the past few days, and confirmed tonight, sophomore catcher/pitcher Toni Spossey has moved, along with her family, to North Carolina.

Spossey, who transferred from Trinity back in January, was ruled ineligible for half the year, appealed and won, gaining eligibility for the Bucs' playoff run to the WPIAL Class AA semifinals and the PIAA first round.

Spossey started out as a catcher but moved into the pitching circle when Briggs was lost late in the season with a minor shoulder injury.

She wound up hitting .475 in 40 at-bats with 10 RBI and 13 runs. Spossey was clearly a talented pitcher and had no trouble competing on the season's biggest stage, hence the All-District selection.

Guess we'll never know how she would have stacked up given an entire season. I'm told the move was very much family-related and family-motivated.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

PT's Nettles with a hole-in-one

Happy Fourth of July, y'all. Slow night here at the office, though not when it comes to chips, veggie trays or cookie cakes. Those things have very much been in play.

Been cranking out Athlete of the Year copy, so look for that in Sunday's edition.

In the meantime, this is interesting. Just caught a hole-in-one fax on the printer. The subject? Tom Nettles, Peters Township Class of 2013, incoming freshman at NCAA Division I Campbell University.

Apparently Nettles aced the 197-yard par-3 14th hole at Rolling Hills Country Club today, using a 5-iron to do so. His playing partners were Sean Byers, Jim Gordon and Bernie Matlak.

Not a bad way to start the holiday.


Nettles finished second each of the past two years at the PIAA Class AAA individual championships, firing a 74-70-144 last fall at Heritage Hills Golf Resort in York.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Alayna Astuto: Observer-Reporter's Softball Player of the Year

Brian Fisher: Observer-Reporter's Baseball Player of the Year

Odds and ends

>>Reminder, y'all, that All-District stuff for baseball and softball will be in tomorrow's paper.

Got some great shots from of our photographer, Katie Roupe, from Consol Energy Park -- with yours truly catching, I might add.

Will have stories on the baseball and softball players of the year, as well as a column and first and second teams for both. Five components in all.

>>This week starts Athlete of the Year stuff, which will take up a whole lot of the Sunday, July 7 edition. Two stories, another column, photos, a bunch of cool lists and other design elements.

>>Here are the results from Day 2 of the J. Budd Grebb Summer Basketball League. Got this early Friday morning, and I was off yesterday:

Farmers Insurance 73, Campy's Pizza 69 OT

FI: Noah Brown 31; Lavelle Rush 18
CP: George Prota 29; Charlie Scharbo 19; Demetri Clements 12

BeeGraphix 72 Union Cleaners 48

BG: Dayshore Majors 19; Elijah Minnie 17; Luke Doptis 13; Darrell Briggs, Jr. 10
UC: Jalen French 18

Dairy Queen 72 Northwood Realty 66

DQ: Clintell Gillespie 21; Rece Henneman 15; Ryan Novotney 13; Matt Indorante 13
NR: Jake Sweitzer 16; Cole Novotney 11; Brandon Lawless 11; Kass Taylor 10

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Budd Grebb Results: Day 1

Storm, what storm? The Budd Grebb Summer League opened Tuesday night, despite the awful weather. (Some games, of course, were moved inside.

Here's what happened:

Northwood Realty 83, Union Cleaners 74

Northwood Realty: Robert Chaney, Jr., Ringgold 20; Brandon Lawless, Carmichaels and Cole Novotney, Brownsville 13; Jake Sweitzer 12

Union Cleaners: Tray Matthews, California 19; John Arnold, Charleroi 17; Jalen French, Elizabeth Forward 15; John Frederic, Belle Vernon 10


Campy’s Pizza 53, Dairy Queen 49

Campy’s Pizza: George Prota, Elizabeth Forward 19; Nick Despot, Brownsville 10

Dairy Queen: Matt Indorante, Charleroi 18; Clintell Gillespie, Monessen 12


BeeGraphix 78, Farmers’ Insurance 69

BeeGraphix: Elijah Minnie, Lincoln Park 30; Dayshore Majors, Ringgold 14; Luke Doptis, Monessen 12; Timmy Pritchett, Ringgold 11

Farmers Insurance: Cameron Sarber, Thomas Jefferson 18; Matt Bernadowski, Elizabeth Forward 14; Lavelle Rush, Monessen 13

Misspellings, gripes, additional info or want to talk about the weather? Shoot me an e-mail at jmackey@observer-reporter.com.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Girls athlete of the year finalists

Last week I posted the nominees for Boys Athlete of the Year. Here, now with those on the girls side. Also previous winners below.

Keep in mind that this stuff will run Sunday, July 7. Our All-District baseball and softball stuff will run Sunday, June 30.

Morgan Berardi, Carmichaels, basketball/softball
A 1,000-point scorer in basketball, also the school’s all-time assists leader, too. She’s one of the softball team’s leaders and a member of a senior class that posted a 75-10 record, without a loss at home.

Olivia Lorusso, Canon-McMillan, volleyball/basketball/softball
First-team All-District in hoops after averaging a double-double with 14.2 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. Helped softball team to a second consecutive WPIAL title and first-ever state crown while ranked at or near the top in every offensive category. Named team defensive MVP.

Alyssa Wise, Washington, track and field
Won a pair of state titles in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, this after finishing third in both events a season ago. Navigated a cold at Shippensburg to win and wound up torching the competition in the finals. Also only a junior. 

Jenna Lucas, Fort Cherry, golf/basketball/track and field
Medaled twice at states, one of them in discus, which she only started seriously throwing this year. Won WPIAL and PIAA titles in javelin, her preferred event. Arguably the best golfer at Fort Cherry – male or female. Put up 15.6 points per game. Kills it in slowpitch softball, too.

Veronica Latsko, Peters Township, girls soccer

Sure, a knee injury will likely prevent Latsko from playing her senior year, but the resume is already stacked: 107 goals, three PIAA Class AAA titles, a scholarship to the University of Virginia. Scored 36 goals and added 11 assists this season for the Indians, who finished 24-1.

Sammie Weiss, McGuffey, basketball/softball

Weiss reached 1,000 points this season – as a sophomore. She led all boys and girls scorers this winter with an average of 26.7 points per game. She helped McGuffey reach the PIAA playoffs for the first time in school history, and the Highlanders won their first section title since 1990.

Kayla Briggs, Chartiers-Houston, softball

Will be a four-time All-State player: first baseman, right fielder, pitcher and somewhere as a senior. Won two WPIAL titles and one PIAA title. Hit .429/.525/.714 with 16 RBI and 32 runs. Pitching-wise was 17-1 with 172 strikeouts in 103 innings, .155 average against, 1.22 ERA.

Previous winners
2000 – Kristen Lancas, Ringgold

2001 – Shellie Cotton, Charleroi
2002 – Jessica Perry, Peters Township
2003 – Stephanie Kuhn, Ringgold
2004 – Samantha Slagle, Beth-Center
2005 – Ashley Young, Canon-McMillan
2006 – Brianna Liebold, Chartiers-Houston
2007 – Paige McMenamin, Peters Township
2008 – Jenna Phillips, Washington
2009 – Amanda Kennedy, Bentworth
2010 – Taylor Schram, Canon-McMillan
2011 – Shelli Spamer, Peters Township
2012 – Jessie Merckle, Fort Cherry

Monday, June 24, 2013

Budd Grebb boys schedule

The J. Budd Grebb Memorial Summer League starts Tuesday night. Here's the regular season and playoffs schedule:

Tuesday, June 25
Union Cleaners vs. Northwood Realty, 7 p.m.
Dairy Queen vs. Campy’s Pizza, 8 p.m.
BeeGraphix vs. Farmers Insurance, 9 p.m.

Thursday, June 27
Campy’s Pizza vs. Farmers Insurance, 7 p.m.
BeeGraphix vs. Union Cleaners, 8 p.m.
Northwood Realty vs. Dairy Queen, 9 .m.

Monday, July 1
Union Cleaners vs. Dairy Queen, 7 p.m.
Farmers Insurance vs. Northwood Realty, 8 p.m.
BeeGraphix vs. Campy’s Pizza, 9 p.m.

Tuesday, July 2
Campy’s Pizza vs. Northwood Realty, 7 p.m.
BeeGraphix vs. Dairy Queen, 8 p.m.
Union Cleaners vs. Farmers Insurance, 9 p.m.

Tuesday, July 9
Farmers Insurance vs. Dairy Queen, 7 p.m.
Campy’s Pizza vs. Union Cleaners, 8 p.m.
Northwood Realty vs. BeeGraphix, 9 p.m.

Thursday, July 11
Farmers Insurance vs. BeeGraphix , 7 p.m.
Campy’s Pizza vs. Dairy Queen, 8 p.m.
Northwood Realty vs. Union Cleaners, 9 p.m.

Tuesday, July 16
Dairy Queen vs. Northwood Realty, 7 p.m.
Union Cleaners vs. BeeGraphix, 8 p.m.
Farmers Insurance vs. Campy’s Pizza, 9 p.m.

Thursday, July 18
Campy’s Pizza vs. BeeGraphix, 7 p.m.
Northwood Realty vs. Farmers Insurance, 8 p.m.
Dairy Queen vs. Union Cleaners, 9 p.m.

Tuesday, July 23
Farmers Insurance vs. Cleaners Rentals, 7 p.m.
Dairy Queen vs. BeeGraphix, 8 p.m.
Northwood Realty vs. Campy’s Pizza, 9 p.m.

Thursday, July 25
BeeGraphix vs. Northwood Realty, 7 p.m.
Union Cleaners vs. Campy’s Pizza, 8 p.m.
Dairy Queen vs. Farmers Insurance, 9 p.m.

Tuesday, July 30
Second Place vs. Third Place, 7:30 p.m.
First Place vs. Fourth Place, 9 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 1

Championship, 8 p.m.