West Archives

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Football: Central Valley's Whitehead had score for the ages

Written by Mike White on .

Mike White previews the PIAA Class AAAA and AAA quarterfinals.

"Central Valley coach Mark Lyons heard the comments. Days after the WPIAL championship, they were still talking about Jordan Whitehead's play.

Heck, years from now, they still might be talking about it.

Whitehead, a terrific running back/defensive back at Central Valley, pulled off what is being called one of the greatest plays in WPIAL championship history in the WPIAL Class AAA final a week ago at Heinz Field.

Whitehead, a Pitt recruit, took a short pass and turned it into a 55-yard touchdown play for the ages. It made jaws drop. He made about a half-dozen West Allegheny players miss, moved with speed and grace and made an incredible spin move in the middle of the play. It helped Central Valley beat West Allegheny, 35-28."

 

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Hockey: West Feature Athlete – Moon’s Brayden Lange

Written by Keith Barnes on .

 

Name: Brayden Lange
School: Moon
Grade: 10
Sport: Hockey

Background: Lange, a solid two-way center, leads the team with six goals and is tied with Nick Hart for the team lead with eight points.

Moon coach Scott Kubatka: “Brayden’s a passionate kid and takes a lot of pride in his game. He’s real fast and kids have a hard time keeping up with him. Whenever he wants to set the pace on the rush, he can, and he’s not at all shy about going to net and he’s being rewarded for it.”

 

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Hockey: OLSH rolling

Written by Keith Barnes on .

 

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart remains hot in the PIHL Class C developmental league and continues to progress toward a possible move up into the top three classifications in 2015-16.

In their last four games, the Chargers are 4-0-0 and, in their last two games, against Ringgold and Wheeling Catholic, they scored 16 goals, eight in each, as defenseman Mark Richardson led the team with four combined goals in the two contests.

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Hockey: Moon’s six-game win streak ends

Written by Keith Barnes on .

Moon will have more than two weeks off to reflect on its last game, a 6-3 loss to Shaler on Nov. 17 that ended the Tigers six-game winning streak.

It was an atypical game for Moon, to be sure. The Tigers allowed more goals in the first two periods (five) than they had in their previous four games combined and gave up several quality scoring opportunities besides.

Of course, it was almost a foregone conclusion that Moon (6-2-0) would get a test here and there. Despite the early season success, this is still a team trying to figure things out and qualify for the playoffs after missing the postseason a year ago.

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Football: Loss in title game deflates Aliquippa

Written by Brad Everett on .

Brad Everett profiles the Aliquippa football team.

2014 1127 Aliquippa Football(Photo: Aliquippa's Patrick Anderson dives for yardage in front of South Fayette's Jack Relihan in the second half of the WPIAL Class AA championship game at Heinz Field last Friday. Matt Freed/Post-Gazette)

"When Aliquippa coach Mike Zmijanac and a few of his players met with the media following last Friday's 31-22 loss to South Fayette in the WPIAL Class AA championship game, the mood was somber.

Zmijanac stood sternly at the podium. Some of the student athletes were teary eyed.

"Losing [stinks]. That's the emotion," Zmijanac said. "But there are 120 other WPIAL teams that would trade places with us."

Zmijanac then put the defeat in full perspective: "It's not the worst thing that will ever happen to them, losing a football game. They'll be fine tomorrow morning.""

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Football: West Allegheny's try for a 'three-peat' ended by a rival

Written by Craig Meyer on .

Craig Meyer profiles the West Allegheny football team.

2014 1127 WestAllegheny Football(Photo: West Allegheny's Terence Stephens carries as he gets by Central Valley's Maurice Sims in the WPIAL Class AAA championship game at Heinz Field last Friday. Matt Freed/Post-Gazette)

"The dream of a "three-peat" that lingered in the back of the minds of anyone involved with West Allegheny football for nearly a year disappeared in a matter of seconds on a perfectly executed post corner route.

There would be no third-consecutive WPIAL championship for the Indians, as they fell last Friday to Central Valley in the Class AAA championship game at Heinz Field, 35-28, on a 23-yard touchdown pass from Warriors quarterback John George with 19 seconds remaining.

For much of this season, the possibility of a third championship in as many years hovered around West Allegheny. At times, it was a source of inspiration, a proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. In other moments, though, it created a sense of pressure that had to weigh heavily on the shoulders of 17- and 18-year-old kids.

Through it all, the team found a way to excel and even though it didn't end with another title, it was difficult for Indians coach Bob Palko to look back on the season without a strong feeling of fondness."

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Football: Central Valley shows grit in winning Class AAA title

Written by Craig Meyer on .

Craig Meyer profiles the Central Valley football team.

2014 1127 CentralValley Football(Photo: Central Valley's Jordan Whitehead carries against West Allegheny in the WPIAL Class AAA championship game at Heinz Field last Friday. Matt Freed/Post-Gazette)

"With his team less than 30 seconds away from reaching the goal it worked toward all season, Central Valley football coach Mark Lyons experienced a moment of telepathy.

The Warriors were tied with two-time defending WPIAL Class AAA champion West Allegheny and were in a position to win, at the Indians' 23 yard line with the clock dwindling in the final minute.

In that pressure-packed moment, Lyons looked over at one of his assistant coaches and could tell something right away -- they had the same play call in mind.

From that brief glance came a play that ultimately led to something much greater -- a championship."

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Hockey: Ligas opts to play for travel team over West Allegheny

Written by Keith Barnes on .

Keith Barnes profiles former West Allegheny hockey player Jess Ligas, who is playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins Tier 1 Midget Major U-18 team this season.

"Jess Ligas spent quite a bit of time during the 2013-14 hockey season juggling his scheduling between West Allegheny's high school team and his traveling squad.

After a tough season in which the Indians finished a disappointing 7-15-0 and missed the playoffs, however, he came to a conclusion; playing with two teams might be fun, but he had to make a choice on which would benefit him more if he pursued the sport beyond the prep level.

In the end, Ligas, a junior forward opted for the Pittsburgh Penguins Tier 1 Midget Major U-18 team and opted not to play for West Allegheny.

"It was hard at first," Ligas said. "But I had to look at it as what was in the best interests of my hockey playing career. My teammates understood. They kind of got on me a little bit for a while, but they understood.""

 

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Wrestling: Despite changes, Section 4 still has that familiar look

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

Ken Wunderley previews the West Xtra teams competing in WPIAL Class AAA. Read his story below.

2014 1127 Hopewell Wrestling(Photo: Stephon Peake, a student at Aliquippa High School, wrestles for Hopewell under a WPIAL-sanctioned co-op agreement. Peake also plays football for Aliquippa. Ken Wunderley/Tri-State Sports & News Service)

Two teams have moved down in classification, but the wrestling teams to watch in Class AAA Section 4 have not changed.

McGuffey and Central Valley, a team from each sub-section, dropped to Class AA in the WPIAL's new alignment. That leaves 10 teams in the conference, five in each sub-section.

Canon-McMillan, Chartiers Valley, Moon Area, Trinity and Waynesburg Central are in sub-section 4A. Ambridge, Blackhawk, Hopewell, Montour and West Allegheny are in sub-section 4B.

Canon-McMillan is once again the favorite to win the Section 4 title, as the Big Macs have won 13 consecutive section titles. But the Big Macs will not be as strong as in the past five years, as seven starters graduated, including a pair of PIAA champions.

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Wrestling: 2014 Top returning West Class AAA wrestlers

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

The top 10 returning Class AAA wrestlers from West Xtra area high schools (listed in alphabetical order with school class year and career record in parentheses):

* Josh Bahr, West Allegheny (Sr., 64-22) -- A three-year starter who missed most of last season with an injury. A two-time Section 4 runner-up and WPIAL qualifier. Posted an 8-2 record at 170 before the injury.

* Nathan Barcaskey, Moon (Jr., 40-28) -- A two-time WPIAL qualifier who placed third in Section 4 and fifth in the WPIAL at 195 pounds last season. As a freshman, he placed fifth in the section at 170.

* DiMantae Bronaugh, Hopewell (Jr., 44-17) -- A two-time WPIAL qualifier. This Aliquippa student is wrestling for Hopewell under a co-op program. He placed third in Section 4 as a 160-pound freshman, then finished second at 170 last season. He finished with a 27-11 record.

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Football: Central Valley edges West Allegheny for WPIAL Class AAA title

Written by Craig Meyer on .

Craig Meyer covered Friday's WPIAL Class AAA championship game between Central Valley and West Allegheny.

2014 1122 CentralValley Football(Photo: Central Valley teammates celebrate their win over West Allegheny in the WPIAL class AAA championship Friday at Heinz Field. Matt Freed/Post-Gazette)

"It was a screen that looked innocent enough to an opposing defense, a quick out pass that went maybe 2 yards past the line of scrimmage. But when the player that catches the ball in that situation is running back Jordan Whitehead, everything changes.

The Central Valley senior sprinted by two West Allegheny defenders on the outside and went 20 yards before being greeted by three tacklers, all of whom were within 5 yards of him. Whitehead managed to avoid all three and spun toward the sideline to create a clear path to the end zone. It was the kind of play that defied convention, a fluid sequence of extraordinary events that looked remarkably natural.

For all those words couldn't do justice what took place on that play Friday night at Heinz Field, they could certainly describe the end result it led to — a championship.

A 55-yard touchdown catch from Whitehead late in the third quarter reignited a Central Valley team that had been derailed and set the stage for a 23-yard, winning touchdown catch from B.J. Powell with 19 seconds remaining in a 35-28 victory against West Allegheny in the WPIAL Class AAA championship."

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Football: Central Valley wins WPIAL Class AAA title (Nov. 21)

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

John George threw four touchdown passes and Jordan Whitehead scored three touchdowns to lead Central Valley to a 35-28 win against two-time defending champion West Allegheny in the WPIAL Class AAA final, Friday at Heinz Field.

It was the third title appearance and second title in five years for Central Valley (13-0). West Allegheny (11-2) was making its eighth title appearance and lost for the first time.

Central Valley jumped out to a 21-0 lead with three touchdowns in the first quarter. The first score came on a 15-yard run by Whitehead, which capped a nine-play, 83-yard drive. The other two Warriors scores came on passes by George, a 73-yard bomb to Whitehead and a 52-yard scoring strike to B.J. Powell.

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Hockey: Indians looking to get to .500

Written by Keith Barnes on .

West Allegheny has rebounded from a bit of a tough start and has an opportunity, with a win Friday at 8:15 p.m. at Center Ice Arena in Delmont against Norwin to reach the .500 mark for the first time since Oct. 22.

So far, the Indians (3-4-0) have stayed in the middle of the pack in the Class AA Western Conference thanks in large part to a solid defense that has held opponents to just 29 goals against in seven games, a solid 4.14 goals-against average seventh-fewest in the classification.

Offensively, however, the Indians are still struggling, having netted just 18 goals (2.6 per game), led by Ryan Rohal with four. Ryan Rohm is the team’s leading scorer with eight assists and 10 points.

Only one other player, defenseman Bailey Foy, has scored at least three goals.

Goaltender Anthony Dominick has been fair in the net with a 3-3-0 record in six starts.

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Hockey: Spartans hanging tough with perennial powers

Written by Keith Barnes on .

Montour may be playing in one of the toughest divisions in the PIHL, but that doesn’t mean the Spartans have been an easy win for any team out there.

So far, Montour is 4-3-0 despite playing in the Tier 1 Western Conference with defending champion Quaker Valley, perennial contender Mars and 20014 Penguins Cup finalist Thomas Jefferson. Despite the competition, the Spartans are only two points behind the Jaguars for third place in the conference.

Despite that, Montour will get a severe test tonight at 6:40 p.m. at Ice Castle in Castle Shannon when it takes on South Park (5-2-0), the first place team in the Tier 2 Western Conference. The Spartans are coming off their most impressive win of the season, a 7-3 victory over South Fayette 10 days ago in which Michael Skoff had a hat trick and Brandon Eisel scored two goals and finished with three points.

Skoff leads the team with six goals, while Matthew Tracy has eight assists and 10 points to lead the Spartans in scoring.