Boys Basketball: No surprise, Beaver Falls sprints to fast start

Written by John D'Abruzzo on .

Tri-State Sports & News Service writer John D'Abruzzo profiles the Beaver Falls boys basketball team. Click here to read his story.

2013 1219 BeaverFalls BBasketball(Photo: Beaver Falls' Elijah Cottrill goes up for a basket as Holy Cross' Josh Kosin defends during last season's PIAA Class AA championship game at Giant Center in Hershey. Lake Fong/Post-Gazette)

"Grinding through a lengthy, challenging basketball season is nothing new for the Beaver Falls boys basketball team.

A perennial Class AA basketball power, the Tigers seem to do their best prowling in the playoffs. They enter this season as two-time WPIAL title winners as well as the defending PIAA champs.

Still, Beaver Falls coach Doug Biega knows that his team hasn't earned anything yet this season and will need to put in a lot of work in order to have his team ready come playoff time.

"We have to stay healthy and get better every day," said Biega, who was named Pennsylvania's Class AA coach of the year last season by the Associated Press. "Whether it's while we're stretching before practice or before a game, we're always talking about getting better.""




Boys Basketball: Beaver Falls picking up where it left off

Written by Bill Allmann on .

As the two-time defending WPIAL and 2013 PIAA Class AA champion, Beaver Falls started the season – as it usually does – with a target on its back. But, just as happened last year, the Tigers can't rest on their laurels because much of the championship winning cast has graduated.

The 2013-14 Tigers, though, started the season the same way last season ended – winning two games over the weekend by a combined 43 points. Leading the way were three veterans from last year's title run – Javon Turner (34 points in the two wins combined) Elijah Cottrill (32), and Dan Stratton (20).

However, a solid group of newcomers showed fans that the Tigers are reloading, not rebuilding. Brandon Thomas, a transfer from New Brighton, had 20 points in the two wins and a trio of freshmen – Neshaud Akins, Josh Creach and Donovan Jeter – also made their presence felt. Creach and Jeter are both 6-foot-5 while Akins is a 5-8 guard. The Tigers next play in their section opener Friday, hosting Shenango.


Alumni Update - Admire Carter (Slippery Rock)

Written by Drew Karpen on .

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. Slippery Rock University football student-athletes AdmireCarter SRU Carter and John Schademan were named Tuesday as Division II national Players of the Week by Beyond Sports Network.

Carter, a junior cornerback from Beaver Falls (Beaver Falls H.S.), earned a Defensive Player of the Week honor by intercepting two passes and breaking up a third attempt in last Saturday's Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference championship-game loss at Bloomsburg University.

With his picks last Saturday, Carter moved into a tie with redshirt sophomore free safety Derek Morgan for the team lead in interceptions with three.

(photo courtesy of Slippery Rock University)



Football: West Feature Athlete - Beaver Falls' Mike Lyons

Written by Bill Allmann on .

Name: Mike Lyons
High School: Beaver Falls
Grade: 12
Sport: Football

Background: Beaver Falls is averaging over 39 points and 425 yards per game in offense as the Tigers have remained undefeated this season. While the Tigers have a lot of depth at the skill positions and a lot of weapons, no offense puts up those kinds of numbers without a solid line up front and Beaver Falls has that, too. Senior captain Mike Lyons, 6-foot and 315 pounds, is a three-year starter and was elected team captain, even though he didn't play football until he was a freshman.

Coach Ryan Matsook said: "Mike has come a long way. He's always been a big kid and when I was teaching in the middle school, I kept talking to him about playing football. He finally came out and played for the first time as a freshman. To come from never playing to team captain in a few years is impressive. He's strong and he works hard so some of it is natural ability and a lot of is hard work. You can only go as far as your line can take you and he's a big part of how far we can go."


Football: Inside the Program - Beaver Falls

Written by Craig Meyer on .

In this week's Inside the Program, Post-Gazette writer Craig Meyer takes a look at the Beaver Falls football team. Click here to read his story.

2013 0920 BeaverFalls Stratton(Photo: Beaver Falls quarterback Dan Stratton runs for extra yardage in a scrimmage against Mars on Aug. 17. Lake Fong/Post-Gazette)

"Standing tall at the top of Class AA, just as it was last year and the year before that, is Aliquippa, the two-time defending WPIAL champion that has not lost to a WPIAL team since 2010. Right behind the Quips is Beaver Falls. Through their first three games, the Tigers are undefeated after outscoring their opponents by a combined 127-16. This marks the fifth time in the past seven seasons that Beaver Falls has gotten off to a 3-0 start under coach Ryan Matsook. Since taking over in 2006, Matsook's record is 63-17.

The Tigers have three players who already have committed to Division I-A colleges. Senior offensive lineman Brock Boxen, at 6 feet 4, 270 pounds, has committed to Akron, as has standout wide receiver/defensive back Elijah Cottrill. Senior running back Sage Curry has committed to West Virginia, where he is expected to play linebacker. That number of Division I-A players on a Class AA team is noteworthy, but Matsook said it's hard to say if this is the most talented team he has coached at Beaver Falls. "When you throw Division I around, you can't lose sight of what Division I is looking for," he said. "The difference in Division I can be an inch or a tenth of a second. That's what separates those kind of kids.""