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.
Players relent, agree to play for reinstated football coach
Minnesota State University-Mankato's football team has ended its boycott of reinstated head coach Todd Hoffner, who successfully fought child pornography charges and other misconduct accusations that removed him from the job for 20 months.
Hickory track coaches near finish line
While the Shenango Valley lionizes legendary gridiron greats and hardwood heroes, the sport of track & field at Hickory High has resonated its relevance throughout District 10 and commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
For the better part of the last 3 decades that was due, to a great extent, to the efforts of Barb Dzuricsko and Mark Slezak.
More than 200 dual-meet victories combined between the girls’ and boys’ programs, 9 district championships (7 girls, 2 boys), 2 statewide runners-up berths and another pair of 3rd-place finishes, culminating in the Lady Hornets’ 2012 PIAA Class AA championship.
Their collective resumé would be envied by any coach, regardless of sport. Which makes this recent revelation regrettable: Dzuricsko and Slezak simultaneously will step down at this season’s conclusion.
SPORTVIEW: Cavaliers are example of how an owner impacts a team
WHEN LEBRON James vacated Cleveland for South Beach a few years ago, angry Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert declared that the Cavaliers would win an NBA championship before James and the Miami Heat.
How’s that working out, Dan?
Miami is seeking a third straight title this postseason while the Cavaliers are headed for the golf courses. Pretty sad.
Roundup: Trojans, Hounds win team titles at WM Invitational
Wilmington High girls and Greenville boys dominated the annual Big Red Track & Field Invitational Thursday afternoon in West Middlesex.
A half-dozen girls’ and 7 boys’ teams competed.
Wilmington overwhelmed the female field, as the Lady Greyhounds garnered almost twice as many points as runner-up Lakeview (236-5 to 133.5).
Roundup: WM diamondmen edge Reynolds, 6-4
ä West Middlesex 6, Reynolds 4 — At Transfer, the Big Reds snapped a 4-all tie by plating a run in the 4th inning and another in the 7th in a 2-run win over the Raiders.
Mark Colella earned the mound win in a relief appearance for WM. No pitching stats were submitted.
Roundup: Hickory, Wilmington softball teams win
Paced by Chelsea Marriott’s muscle, Hickory High hammered 4 home runs Saturday afternoon en route to a 19-1 rout of Sharon.
At Wengler, Marriott mauled 2- and 3-run round-trippers to right-center and straightaway center field, respectively. Her Lady Hornets’ teammates Hannah Gallagher and Morgan McBride mustered 3-run bombs, also.
Fired coach in Mankato unjustly accused of visiting porn sites
Minnesota State University-Mankato officials wrongly accused former football coach Todd Hoffner of viewing pornography sites on his work computer before firing him last May, a state arbitrator has disclosed.
Roundup: Hickory track coaches to step down following season
Hickory High track & field co-head coaches Barb Dzuricsko and Mark Slezak announced they will step down at the season’s conclusion.
Dzuricsko and Slezak, who led the Lady Hornets to the 2012 PIAA Class AA crown, jointly made the announcement via e-mail late Wednesday.
Roundup: Devil diamondmen roll past Sharon
An old-school baseball bromide states that, early in any season, pitching is always ahead of hitting. However Sharpsville shunned that axiom Wednesday afternoon.
The Blue Devils banged 15 hits, and Sharpsville short-circuited Sharon, 16-4, in 5 innings.
Roundup: Hounds, Hornets notch track sweeps
ä Wilmington 116, Reynolds 44 — At New Wilmington, the host Lady Hounds were led by Rikki Brumbaugh (4x8, 4x4 relay legs, 400- and 800-meter runs); Hannah Drake (long, triple jumps, 4x4 relay); Allison Baldwin (4x8 and 4x4 relay legs); Lexi Brumbaugh (1600-, 3200-meter runs, distance-relay leg), and Tessa Sikora (high jump, 200-meter dash, sprint-relay anchor).
SPORTVIEW: Pirates, Indians fans looking for big things this year
LIFE IS GOOD if you are a fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates or Cleveland Indians. At least for now!
Heading into Saturday, both teams were 3-1 and looking pretty sharp. Since both made the playoffs last year, there are high expectations for both clubs. But in baseball, every year is a new season and there are no guarantees.
Still, it’s always nice when your favorite teams get off to a good start. In too many seasons, Pittsburgh and Cleveland fans were only talking about the NFL draft because hopes were bleak for their baseball teams.
Hickory's Arbanas 1st team All-State; KC's Hood 3rd team
ALTOONA, Pa. (AP) — Teams from the WPIAL won three of the four PIAA girls basketball championships this year, and southwestern Pennsylvania is turning out to be just as dominant when it comes to postseason honors.
Pittsburgh-area programs produced seven of the eight major award winners on this season’s Sports Writers Pennsylvania High School Girls Basketball All-State Team, including all four players of the year.
WM's Staunch named 2nd team All-State
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Finishing on the winning side in a championship game — or coming mighty, mighty close — scored plenty of points with the panel that selected Pennsylvania’s all-state boys’ basketball team.
Especially when it came time to choose those — whether players or coaches — who claimed the top individual awards.
Roundup: Hickory, Mercer, Reynolds, WM baseball teams earn wins
ä Hickory 12, Sharpsville 10 — At the McCullough Run Complex in South Pymatuning Twp., the visiting Hornets improved to 4-0 with the win.
Brady Leunis went 2-for-3 for Hickory with a double and 3 RBI, Tommy Cannon belted a 2-run homer, Noah Orndorff was 2-for-4, Nate Mastrian ripped an RBI-double, Ethan Davis was 2-for-4 with a double and a run driven in and Jake Andrzjewski doubled.
Roundup: WM, Wilmington, Mercer softball teams win
ä West Middlesex 11, Grove City 1 (5 inn.) — At the Richard J. Kritz Softball Complex in West Middlesex, Jordyn Allen fired a complete-game 2-hitter with 8 strikeouts and no walks as the Ms. Reds (1-1) rebounded from a tough loss to Lakeview on Monday.
Offensively, Allen doubled and ripped 2 singles for WM, Abby McAdams and Aly Andrusky doubled and singled, Macy Siefert collected 4 singles and Hannah Havens, Megan Hazlett and Oivia Slater added 2 singles each.
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