Normally, Sharon versus Sharpsville on the football field would be the quintessential Shenango Valley rivalry.
Friday night at James M. McCracken Field, it was Sharon versus Sharpsville ... sort of.
For the record, Sharpsville won the District 10 inter-region regular-season finale, 19-6 under the Pines on Sharpsville’s Senior Night.
Tyrin Peavy produced an 88-yard touchdown return on the game’s opening kickoff to stake Sharpsville to an early lead. Subsequently, Derrick Smith returned an interception 60 yards for Sharpsville’s 2nd score and Greg Popatak produced a 45-yard scoring sprint.
Those sandwiched Sharon’s lone score, Derrick Forrest’s 90-yard return of Peavy’s 2nd-period fumble.
With Sharpsville leading 19-6 at intermission and both programs proceeding toward the postseason, the coaches mutually agreed to allow the clock to continuously turn during the 2nd half.
Sharpsville skipper Paul Piccirilli and Tigers’ taskmaster Jim Wildman had slightly different philosophical takes on how the game was approached. While Sharpsville’s starter played for the better part of the 1st half. among those who did not take the field for Sharon were starting signal-caller Andrew Tomko and Tigers’ tailback Carnell Hawkins.
When asked to assess how his club played, Wildman rhetorically replied,
“You mean our junior varsity team? They played hard.”
Wildman was asked — in the lead-up to the game — if it was discussed by the coaches not to play at all.
“Oh, yeah ... but that wasn’t our choice. Neither one of us wanted to play,” Wildman responded. “The contract, I guess that was signed two years ago that, no matter what ... so they played it last year; we had to play it this year.
“We’ve talked on the phone all week long. What we did in the second half was mutually agreed upon,” Wildman added.
“The reason why, it was our ‘Senior Night,’” Piccirilli explained. “We owe it to all the members of our senior class that participate to be recognized, so that (not playing) wasn’t it.
“We did talk about a running clock from the first quarter on, but we weren’t allowed to do that,” Piccirilli continued. “But the referree said, ‘As soon as the third quarter starts, you guys can do whatever you want,’ so (he and Wildman) both agreed on that.
“Once again (Wildman) did a heckava job trying to get his team in the playoffs as healthy as could be, so I commend him for that. That’s why (Wildman) wins as many games as he does.”
Asked if he was glad the game was played, Wildman’s voice took a testy tone:
“It’s all about the program, Ed, you know? The young kids deserve a chance to play, when they’ve gotten beat up all week. Where’re you comin’ from? I’m not sure. Is that what you mean?”
“Of course, why wouldn’t I be?” Wildman continued in response to the question regarding being content that his younger players had the opportunity. “That was our decision going in. Yeah, I’m happy. That was our choice ... I don’t get it ...”
Ultimately, Wildman abruptly concluded the post-game interview by bidding good night and walking away.
In Wildman’s 1st season of his 2nd stint, Sharon (6-4) will return to the D-10 Class AA playoffs for the first time following a 2-year hiatus. Conversely, Piccirilli’s Blue Devils are the defending, 2-time Class A titlists.
“I’m very happy,” Piccirilli assessed. “Defensively, we’ve been that way all year. Hopefully, we can just continue picking up the pace on offense and move it a little bit forward.
“We’re playing the number one seed (Region 2 champion Eisenhower). They’ve gotta have something up there. Their quarterback is a heckava runner/thrower and (another back is a) heck of an athlete ... they have a big line. So if we don’t move the ball, somewhat on offense, we better shut ’em out or we’re not gonna advance.”
Piccirilli produced a sly smile when asked if, as the No. 4 seed, Sharpsville may be overlooked, even though it is the 2-time kingpin.
“I’m hopin’ they’re all looking beyond us. I hope we just sneak in the backdoor and somehow get in(to the PIAA playoffs). But I really don’t think anybody’s gonna look beyond us. They know how tough we play defensively, and anytime we can move the ball and can makes things happen offensively, I think we’re gonna be a force to be reckoned with.
“Nick Henwood pulled a muscle, but this is as healthy as we’ve been, going into the playoffs — I better knock on wood,” Piccirilli concluded.
SHARON 0 6 0 0 6
SHARPSVILLE 13 6 0 0 19
Sv — Peavy, 88 kickoff return (Lutz kick)
Sv — Smith, 60 interception return (kick failed)
Sh — Forrest, 90 fumble return (kick failed)
Sv — Poptatak, 45 run (kick failed)
4 First downs 11
41 Rushing yards 181
0 Passing yards 4
3-0-2 Att-comp-int 2-1-0
41 Total yards 185
1-0 Fumbles-lost 3-2
4-60 Penalties-yards lost 6-55
Rushing: SHARON — Thompson 9-19, Mosley 5-16, Norris 9-7, E.Hawkins 1-1, Williams 2-(-2); SHARPSVILLE — Poptatak 2-57, Keck 7-33, L.Henwood 3-30, Eckles 7-30, BuCher 5-26, Peavy 2-(-1), Rogan-Laird 1-(-3).
Passing: SHARON — Mosley 3-0-2; SHARPSVILLE — L.Henwood 2-1-0, 4.
Receiving: SHARPSVILLE — Szugye 1-4.
Normally, Sharon versus Sharpsville on the football field would be the quintessential Shenango Valley rivalry.
NFL NOTEBOOK: Ex-Sharon star Austin hopes to spark Lions' defense
THE TALENTED — albeit underachieving — Detroit Lions commence camp July 27 in Allen Park, Mich. as the National Football League prepares for the 2014 season.
Racing to fight cancer
Former Hickory High athlete Amanda Budzowski is on the run — the run to raise money to fight cancer.
Budzowski is part of Team in Training, an organization that has raised more than $1.4 billion for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society since forming in 1988. Her division is known as IRONTEAM and she is currently training for the 140.6-mile Ironman triathlon in Mont Tremblant, Canada, in August.
SPORTVIEW: Pirates, Indians need fast start after All-Star break
SO FAR, so good. I’m referring to the start of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cleveland Indians after the All-Star break on Friday night.
Both teams rallied to win. The Buccos beat the Colorado Joints — err, I mean Rockies — by coming from behind in the 8th inning. Since they legalized marijuana sales in that state, it gave new meaning to John Denver’s song “Rocky Mountain High.”
Rutters earn spot in national motocross event
The brother-sister racing duo of Elijah and Dannah Rutter of Mercer are set to travel to Hurricane Mills, Tenn., to compete soon in the prestigious 33rd annual Rocky Mountain ATV/MC AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships presented by AMSOIL at Loretta Lynn Ranch.
Elijah, 18, and Dannah, 16, earned a ticket to the event with their performances at qualifiers and then regionals and are among the top 5 percent of riders in the U.S. Overall, 20,000 hopefuls from across the U.S. competed and there are only 1,446 qualifying spots at nationals.
Notebook: Sharon football greats meet, reunite at inaugural golf scramble
Mid-July, with the temperature 80-plus degrees at Avalon at Buhl Country Club; however, it felt like a fall, football Friday.
The inaugural Sharon Football Boosters 4-man golf scramble took place recently, and served as a Who’s Who in the Tigers’ triumphant tradition.
SPORTVIEW: All is right with the world - LeBron has come home!
HAPPY DAYS are here again. The prodigal child has returned!
The announcement that “King James” is returning to Cleveland has created a level of euphoria not seen since the Browns won the city’s last major sport championship a couple of years ago.
What’s that? Oh, yeah — make that 50 years ago (1964).
Full text of LeBron's essay in SI
LeBron James announced his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday in an essay that he wrote for Sports Illustrated. The following is the full text of that essay.
Snyder, Gordon, Popatak named to All-State team
Grove City High’s David Gordon, Sharpsville’s Greg Popatak and Lakeview’s Logan Snyder recently were named to the Pennsylvania High School Baseball Coaches Association all-state team.
Synder was selected 1st-Team in Class A as a designated-hitter, while Gordon was honorably-mentioned in Class AAA and Popatak similarly was honored in AA. Gordon gained his laurels as a pitcher; Popatak as a 3rd baseman.
Oprah lands first interview with Jerry Sandusky's adopted son, Matthew
Matthew Sandusky, the adopted son of former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, is breaking his silence for the first time since his father's 2012 conviction on 45 counts of child sexual abuse, sitting down with Oprah to tell his story.
Little League Tournaments
Sharon won the District 2 Major Division (12-year-olds) Championship, while Greenville 9-10 and West Middlesex 11 teams notched tournament victories in recent action.
Hermitage Brennan Chiropractic won the Mercer County 14-under championship recently.
Following are game reports:
The First Tee of Sharon celebrates 15th anniversary
Professional golf star John Cook has received many honors and awards in his illustrious career, but probably none mean as much as those similar to the one he received Monday afternoon at The First Tee of Sharon.
During a special ceremony to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the local program, a permanent plaque was unveiled in his honor describing the contributions he has made to junior golf.
SPORTVIEW: John Cook here Monday for First Tee; other celebs on July 11
THE RETURN of Tiger Woods to a PGA event sparked a lot of interest this past week. The return of John Cook to Buhl Farm Golf Course Monday will do the same locally.
Cook, a standout on the Champions Tour and outstanding TV golf analyst, will conduct a clinic at 11 a.m. Monday at the course to help celebrate the 15th anniversary of The First Tee of Sharon program.
It is open to the public at no charge.
Hickory honors Tri-Athletes
Hickory High honored its 2013-14 tri-athletes in a recent ceremony, the latest installment in a program that began in 2003-04.
Fifty student-athletes (grades 9-12) were cited for having competed in at least one sport in the fall, winter and spring while maintaining a minimum B (85 percent) grade-point-average during the first three 9-week grading periods of the academic year.
SPORTVIEW: Ex-Greenville man to enter Bedford County Hall
HUGHEY TATE was the greatest baseball player that ever lived — hitting 10,000 home runs and never making an out in 50 years on the diamond.
OK, that’s not true of course. But that’s the way Hughey would have told it before bursting into laughter.
Tate, a Greenville man who was as good at spinning a yarn as well as he was in hitting home runs, will be inducted posthumously into the Bedford County (Pa.) Hall of Fame Saturday. Some of his relatives from this area will attend the ceremonies.
Wilson wins Herald-Tamie Jr. golf crown
It was a case of family history trumping golfing history!
Hickory High golfer Billy Colbert had a chance to become only the second player ever to win the Herald-Tam O’Shanter Golf Championship four times. But he missed the final round of the tourney Wednesday along with his brother Colbert to attend his great-grandma’s funeral in Pittsburgh.
“I kind of wish he was here,” said the 2014 champion Jacob Wilson, a Kennedy Catholic High player who lost in a sudden-death playoff to Colbert last year. “But you play whoever is here. And in golf, you play against yourself too.”
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