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."

1 comment:

  1. I can understand coaches frustrations. I just find it ridiculous that Imani and the Petra Group waited until now to say they may not have a football team. Back in March the majority of their roster went the RCA, also owned by the Petra Group. That's the program that Harvey Smith and Coach Muzzy started up over the winter. Those same kids that went to RCA have now scattered to various WPIAL schools and out of state and RCA won't field a football team either. It's not fair to the Imani/RCA kids and ultimately the schools that Imani and RCA was supposed to play this year.