The Herald, Sharon, Pa.


November 1, 2013

Preview: Regular season ends, playoff teams seek momentum

- — With playoff pairings pretty much set for the upcoming postseason, some might question why would a team want to play a “meaningless” week-10 regular-season game?

But if your team is on a late-season surge and is prepping for the playoffs, there are no “meaningless” games when attempting to maintain momentum and mojo. And while the risk of injury always is there, no self-respecting team wants to back into the playoffs or squander its sharp edge honed by the rhythm of 9 previous weeks of competition.

Tonight’s Games

(All games begin 7 p.m.)

Sharon (6-3) at Sharpsville (5-4)

This regular-season finale pits a pair of proud, playoff-bound programs.

Jim Wildman (214-81-6) has taken the Tigers to 10 titles since the District 10 tournament’s inception, while Paul Piccirilli (159-54) has produced 7 of Sharpsville’s 8 district championships.

Sharon’s 6-win season is its best since the 2010 District 10 Class AA championship campaign.

The Tigers have triumphed twice as many times as the last 2 seasons combined (3).

That total, however, is only two-thirds of the 2001 season (9-4), Tigers’ taskmaster Wildman’s last year at the helm of his initial tenure.

Two-time District 10 Class A titlist Sharpsville’s skein of consecutive double-digit win seasons (4) is in jeopardy, but the Blue Devils are back in the playoffs for the 6th straight season.

The last Sharpsville squad to win only 6 games occurred in 2008, while the program’s last losing season took place the year before (3-7 in 2007).

The Blue Devils defeated Sharon last year (28-6), as well as the programs’ previous pair of meetings (28-0 in ’05; 35-7 in ’04).

The game will be broadcast on NewsTalk 790 (WPIC AM) with Ryan Briggs and Bob Greenburg calling the action.

Greenville (9-0) at Harbor Creek (1-8)

The Trojans are treading on somewhat uncharted turf — or that on which they have not trod for quite some time.

According to available archives at The Herald, the last Greenville grid team to win as many as 10 games without a loss occurred in 1999.

That year Greenville garnered 11 consecutive wins and the District 10 Class AAA crown, but bowed to Perry Traditional Academy (27-17) in the PIAA playoffs.

Last year Trojans’ taskmaster Brian Herrick’s team humbled the Huskies (34-13) on Tyler Fattman’s field day.

Fattman forged 70- and 55-yard punt returns for TDs and also ran 13 yards from scrimmage for another. Also, Luke Houpt hauled in a 27-yard TD toss and Cody Nellis notched a 2-yard run.

Previously, the last time the programs met occurred in 2007, with Harbor Creek harvesting a 34-13 win.

The game will be broadcast on WGRP (940 AM), with Steven G. Folmer and Karl Rupert calling the action.

Iroquois (3-6) at Lakeview (8-1)

This season’s Sailors’ success — while not quite unprecedented — is on the verge of establishing a new single-season standard.

According to available archives at The Herald dating back 4-plus decades, 3 previous Lakeview squads enjoyed 8-win seasons: 2010 (8-4, losing to Farrell in the D-10 semifinals); 1986 (8-2, losing to Reynolds, 41-6, in the D-10 Division II championship game), and 1982 (8-1, sharing the French Creek Valley Conference title with Linesville).

Also, running back Blake Reddick can re-write the District 10 record book. According to The (Erie) Times-News, no back in the 6-county district’s gridiron history has posted back-to-back 2,000-yard rushing seasons. Reddick rushed for 2,025 yards (17 TDs on 282 carries) last year, and thus far this season the Sailors’ speedster has sprinted for 1,953 yards (on only 171 carries, 11.42 yards/attempt) and 23 TDs.

Reynolds (4-5)  at Mercer (7-2)

Following a 1-year hiatus, Mercer makes a playoff appearance this season; first, however, the Steeds are seeking the program’s 1st 8-win season since the last time the Mustangs made the postseason — 2011 (8-3, losing to West Middlesex, 44-34, in the D-10 semifinals).

With its initial win over a winning team, Reynolds could reach the .500 plateau for the 2nd straight season following last year’s 6-4 ledger.

The Raiders have not recorded back-to-back non-losing seasons since legendary Frank Amato led Reynolds to 8-3 and 9-1 seasons in 1991 and ’92.

En route to its 6th win of 2012, Reynolds ripped Mercer (27-14) a year ago, led by Mike Millero’s monstrous 26-carry, 225-yard, 2-TD (33, 52) rushing performance. However Steeds’ signal-caller Logan Clarke connected on 11 of 28 passes for 175 yards and 2 TDs, including a 34-yarder to T.J. Peters.

The game will be broadcast on SportsRadio 96.7 (WLLF FM) with Hugh Ringer and Mike Piddington on mike.

Seneca (3-6) at West Middlesex (5-4)

Last season Seneca shocked West Middlesex (21-20) in the regular-season finale, though the Big Reds bounced back to reach the D-10 Class A title tilt for a 2nd straight season.

This season Middlesex — manhandled by Lakeview last week — needs to proceed into the postseason on a positive. Following the loss, Middlesex mentor Ed Roberson referenced his Reds will be ready.

“I got a great text-(message) from Coach McElhaney,” Roberson related, regarding former head coach Jason McElhaney. “He told me, ‘You’re playin’ with ‘house money.’ ... We’re the number two seed going into the playoffs, so we’re still in pretty good position. We’re disappointed (with the 19-2 loss to Lakeview), but going forward, you’ll see a much-improved Big Reds’ football team.”

LaBrae (5-4) at Brookfield (7-2)

A week ago Brookfield bullied Youngstown Christian (28-0) for the Warriors’ 3rd consecutive win. In spite of the shutout, Brookfield’s breathing room has been limited. Thus far the Warriors have outscored (192-148) and outgained opponents (2,559-2,394) by a slight margin, though the only meaningful statistic — W’s — continues to mount.

With a big night Joey Clark could surpass the 1,000-yard rushing plateau, while sophomore signal-caller Augustus Necastro already has done so through the air. They have accounted for 13 (rushing) and 8 (passing) TDs, respectively.

Last week LaBrae outlasted Champion (14-6) in a Trumbull County clash (All-American Conference/National Division). According to The (Warren) Tribune-Chronicle, Justin Jenkins hit Keevon Harris for a 4-yard TD toss, then Jenkins jolted the Golden Flashes by scoring from a yard out with only 2:26 left. Jenkins accounted for 77 (35 rushing, 42 passing) of the Vikings’ paltry 152 total yards.

Brookfield blasted LaBrae (48-17) last season.

Saturday’s Game

Maplewood (4-5) at Kennedy Catholic (0-9), noon

Last week Maplewood was manhandled by Cochranton (48-6) in a rematch of former French Creek Valley Conference competitors. Playoff-bound Cochranton collected a 491-166 edge in total yards.

“I told the kids I didn’t recognize our team,” Maplewood mentor Bryan Borkovich told The (Meadville) Tribune. “That’s not the team that’s been here the last couple weeks. ... ”

However a Tigers’ triumph would secure the Class A bracket’s final playoff berth.

Both Maplewood (41-7) and Kennedy Catholic (49-0) were routed by Reynolds, the teams’ lone common opponent.

KC head coach Archie Donofrio will bid adieu to seniors Jacob Feeney, Zach Zehner, Phil Moroco, Paul Fusco, David Cathey, Jeremy Branca, Brad Nulsen, Vince Caswell, Tyler Moore and Sam Crow.

Herald sports writer Rob Malsom contributed research for this preview.

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  • 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.
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    April 18, 2014

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    Mark Colella earned the mound win in a relief appearance for WM. No pitching stats were submitted.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 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.

    April 13, 2014

  • Fired coach in Mankato unjustly accused of visiting porn sites

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  • 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.

    April 11, 2014

  • Nikolo Lima 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.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Haley Boyd 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).

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPORTVIEW: Pirates, Indians fans looking for big things this year

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    April 6, 2014

  • Nikki Arbanas 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.

    April 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • Trey Staunch 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.

    April 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brady Leunis 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.

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jordyn Allen 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.

    April 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • In control Hickory girls, Farrell boys win Guerino titles

    The Hickory girls and Farrell boys captured championships on Saturday night at the 17th annual Buddy Guerino Underclassmen Basketball Tournament at Sharpsville High School.
    The Hickory girls beat Kennedy Catholic, 41-29, for the crown while the Farrell boys topped Mercer, 76-35, for the title.
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    March 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPORTVIEW: Eagles' release of Jackson was a strange move

    ONE OF THE strangest NFL moves I’ve seen in a long time involved the Philadelphia Eagles releasing DeSean Jackson.
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    March 30, 2014

  • Tanner Powell WM track teams go 6-1 at Big Red Duals

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    March 29, 2014 1 Photo

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