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Football: West Game of the Week (Sept. 4, 2015)

Written by Brad Everett on .

Brad Everett takes a look at this week's West Game of the Week ... along with a few other good ones.

Montour (0-0) vs. Central Valley (0-0)

Data: 7 p.m. Friday at Sarge Alberts Stadium, Central Valley.

Coaches: Lou Cerro, 11th year at Montour. Mark Lyons, 6th year at Central Valley.

History: Central Valley was formed in 2010 after Center and Monaca merged, so this is just the sixth meeting between the schools. Central Valley owns a 3-2 edge, topping Montour each of the past two seasons. The visiting team has won all five matchups. The Warriors beat the Spartans, 48-28, last season. It was the most points given up by Montour since 2008.

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Football: Western Beaver grad grows into top receiver at Bethany

Written by Joe Koch on .

Joe Koch profiles Western Beaver graduate Eric Blinn, who is now a standout football player at Bethany.

"The maturation process for a college football team cannot be measured in a finite period of time. But as senior wide receiver Eric Blinn, a Beaver resident and graduate of Western Beaver High School, it was a process that involved every member of his team at Bethany College.

"We grew a lot since my freshman year," said the 22-year-old senior who is majoring in criminal justice and will be serving an internship with the U.S. Marshal's office this semester. "In my freshman year, people were fighting here and there on the field. There was a competitive nature, but that started to stop. There was a rivalry, between offense and defense.

"But last year, and even a little bit in 2013, [cohesiveness] started to grow. Everyone's friends with everybody, and there's just a great connection between offense and defense, and everyone wants to see everyone do well."

Blinn's introduction to college football was a culture shock along with adjusting to the pace of the game."

 

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Girls Tennis: Experience, depth keys for Beaver

Written by Keith Barnes on .

Keith Barnes profiles the Beaver girls tennis team.

"Considering that Beaver Area has almost its entire starting lineup back from a squad that finished fourth in the WPIAL Class AA team tennis championships, the Bobcats have the appearance of a front-runner for the school's sixth title and first since 2002.

That is if, somehow, a completely loaded Greensburg Central Catholic team that gave eventual champion Sewickley Academy everything it could handle in a 3-2 semifinal loss before knocking Beaver Area out of the state playoffs with a 3-2 decision in the third-place match, falls flat somewhere along the line.

Sometimes the unthinkable does happen.

Alyvia and Michaela Kluska, the top two returning players from the 2014 singles tournament, moved to White Sulfur Spring, W.Va., which not only leaves a gaping hole at the top of Greensburg Central Catholic's lineup, but opens up opportunities for several teams to jump in and fill the void."

 

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Girls Tennis: West Players to Watch

Written by Keith Barnes on .

Cam Beer, Jr., Moon

Moriah Bridges, Sr., Beaver

Megan Garfinkel, Jr., Central Valley

Taylor Jackson, Sr., Rochester

Krista Kasunic, Sr., Hopewell

Hannah Phillips, Sr., Carlynton

Catherine Marks, Fr., Montour

Kaitlyn Marweg, Sr., Riverside

Monica Patura, Sr., Blackhawk

Alyssa Stevens, Sr., Beaver Falls

Anne Taylor, Jr., Beaver

Colleen Walsh, Sr., Ambridge

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Girls Tennis: West Preview

Written by Keith Barnes on .

 

There were plenty of repercussions that reverberated through the WPIAL Class AA girls tennis when Greensburg Central Catholic’s top two singles players, Alyvia and Michaela Kluska, the first and second place finishers in the WPIAL in 2014, left the school after moving to White Sulphur Spring, W. Va.

If last season’s results are any indication, many of those ripples will be felt in the West.

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Football: 2015 West Season Preview

Written by staff reports on .

Last year, the West put half as many teams as possible in the three WPIAL Championship games at Heinz Field (there are no local AAAA teams) as West Allegheny met Central Valley in Class AAA and Aliquippa reached the Class AA final. At this point, it looks like such a representation could happen again, or there could be even more teams in what looks to be a very interesting season.

Central Valley defeated West Allegheny in the WPIAL Class AAA championship and remained unbeaten until a loss in the PIAA championship. Both of those teams lost a lot to graduation but there should be enough left for both to be considered among the favorites again.

At Central Valley, Chris Callaghan had to fill in for injured quarterback John George and did so well enough and long enough to accumulate over 1,300 yards passing. The Warriors did lose Jordan Whitehead, who is now competing for playing time at Pitt, and his versatility will be hard to replace but the fact that the underclassmen got to practice 18 weeks last year should leave them poised to repeat.

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Football: 2015 West Players to Watch

Written by staff reports on .

Here are some football players to watch from the West area this season.

DiMantae Bronaugh, Aliquippa, RB, 5-5, 170. Sr. – Rushed for 1,262 yards and scored 146 points as part of a 1-2 punch with Kaezon Pugh. Unfortunately, Bronaugh was diagnosed with leukemia and will now fill an inspirational role for the Quips.

Chris Callaghan, Central Valley, QB, 6-3, 188, Sr. – Passed for 1,314 yards and 13 TDs while filling in for an injured John George. He'll be the main man this year.

Isiah Canton, Carlynton, RB, 5-9, 197, Sr. - Gained over 1,000 yards as a sophomore but lost his junior year to an injury. Is looking for a big bounce-back campaign.

Derrell Carter, Beaver Falls, RB/DB, 5-11, 150, Jr. – Limited by injuries last year, he still gained 750 yards and averaged 10 yards per carry, scoring 10 TDs.

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Boys Soccer: 2015 West Season Preview

Written by staff reports on .

Last year was the first year that didn't have a golden ending for teams in the West as West Allegheny lost in the WPIAL AA final and was the only local team to qualify for the state tournament. However, the two years before that the top teams all came from out of nowhere to contend – Riverside and Carlynton in 2012 and Beaver County Christian School in 2013 – so early indications don't always mean a lot.

There is only one local team in Class AAA - Moon. The Tigers have the talent to compete and will be a force if they reach the playoffs, but reaching the playoffs in Section 5-AAA is a major challenge – the last five WPIAL Class AAA champions and 10 of the last 15 have come from the section. Last year, Moon missed the playoffs by just one game.

In Class AA, West Allegheny followed up its WPIAL championship and PIAA title game appearance in 2013 with another solid performance – losing to South Park in the 2014 WPIAL championship and to South Fayette in the second round of the PIAA playoffs. That streak of success doesn't abruptly end and the Indians will again be one of the best in the area, behind senior Cooper Amos, but they will be challenged in their own section (5-AA) by South Fayette, Quaker Valley, and Montour. Montour missed the playoffs last year on tiebreakers and behind defender Dan Heyer and goalkeeper Brian Duggan, the Spartans expect to be back in the postseason this time around.

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Boys Soccer: 2015 West Players to Watch

Written by Joe Greiner on .

Here are some boys soccer players from the West to keep an eye on this season.

Cooper Amos, West Allegheny, Senior, Midfielder
Manny Burton, Carlynton, Senior, Forward
Brian Duggan, Montour, Sophomore, Goalkeeper
Austin Gorman, Ambridge, Senior, Goalkeeper
Dan Heyer, Montour, Senior, Defender
Zach Petey, Central Valley, Senior, Forward
Gavin Pritchard, New Brighton, Senior, Forward
Justin Rogowski, Beaver, Senior, Forward
Adam Saunders, Riverside, Sophomore, Midfielder
Jack Shearer, Central Valley, Junior, Midfielder

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Girls Soccer: 2015 West Season Preview

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Montour won the program's first WPIAL girls soccer title last season. It will be a rebuilding year of sorts for the Spartans who must find a way to replace two catalysts to their run to WPIAL gold, Victoria Kocsuta and Jane Schleicher. Kocsuta scored 21 goals, while Schleicher led the team with 36. With Hopewell and Central Valley in the section, Section 3-AA may be the most competitive in the WPIAL. Central Valley brings back junior forward Carolina Lucci, a three-year starter, along with senior midfielders Ally Delostrino and Olivia Pritt. Hopewell is in a similar situation as Montour, needing to replace senior forward Kayleen Schwegler and midfielder Abby Losco. They do, however, bring back senior forward Briana Losco.

Moon has fared just fine since moving up to Class AAA. The Tigers won 18 games last season and reached the WPIAL semifinals. Moon was also hit hard by graduation, losing forward Kallie Conte and goalie Kylie Downs. The Tigers will lean on junior forward Emma Thomas and sophomore forward Delaney Snyder.

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Girls Soccer: 2015 West Players to Watch

Written by Joe Greiner on .

Here are some girls soccer players from the West to keep an eye on this season.

Natalie Caraway, South Fayette, Senior, Goalkeeper
Ally Delostrino, Central Valley, Senior, Midfielder
Lexie Frank, Blackhawk, Senior, Forward
Cortney Harden, Riverside, Senior, Midfielder
Meghan Hoerger, South Fayette, Senior, Midfielder
Emily Ledbetter, Beaver, Senior, Forward
Briana Losco, Hopewell, Senior, Forward
Carolina Lucci, Central Valley, Junior, Forward
Katie Nelson, South Fayette, Junior, Defender
Maggie Pine, South Fayette, Senior, Midfielder
Olivia Pritt, Central Valley, Senior, Midfielder
Alexa Schwab, Freedom, Junior, Forward
Emma Thomas, Moon, Junior, Forward
Delaney Snyder, Moon, Soph., Forward
Maya Watkins, New Brighton, Senior, Forward

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Boys Cross Country: 2015 West Season Preview

Written by Brittany Goncar on .

Hopewell returns from a fifth-place finish at the WPIAL Class AA championships after going 7-0 in the section. The Vikings graduated Nick Tocci, Clark Cicone and Joel Kuzminski. Newcomers Zach Hall and Travis Siversten will have to step up to fill the spots.

Greogory Nero will have to battle it out with Beaver's Riley Lamison for one more year. The returning seniors finished 16th and 17th at WPIALs, respectively. The Bobcats will also return sophomore Sean Rendar.

In Class A, Beaver Falls' Dom Perretta returns for his senior year to defend his WPIAL title and improve upon his eighth-place PIAA finish. However, Perretta will still face competition from Burgettstown's Cody Divecchio. The senior finished a place behind Perretta in both races last year.

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Girls Cross Country: 2015 West Season Preview

Written by Brittany Goncar on .

West Allegheny will have to cover some ground to move up from last year's seventh-place finish at the WPIAL Class AAA championships. Sophomore Maddie Salek will be on point after finishing 15th at WPIALs as a freshman.

Salek was the only West Allegheny runner besides Alexis O'Shea to finish in the top 20. O'Shea, who finished fourth, went on to take seventh at PIAAs to cap her high school career. West Allegheny also graduated Danna Heh, Rebecca Lawrence and Anastasia Kwiatkowski from the top five.

In Class AA, Beaver will try to claim a podium finish after taking fourth at WPIALs last season. Junior Katia Kaffenes is the returning frontrunner. She finished 29th at the WPIAL meet last year. Rachel O'Neil, Sarah Johnson and Grace DuBois are the returning senior talents.

Ambridge's Mica Hanish returns to better last year's eighth-place WPIAL finish. She helped the Bobcats to a sixth-place finish.

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Boys Cross Country: 2015 West Runners to Watch

Written by Brittany Goncar on .

Here are some boys cross country runners from the West to keep an eye on this season.

Dom Perretta, Beaver Falls, Sr.
Cody Divecchio, Burgettstown, Sr.
Gregory Nero, Hopewell, Sr.
Riley Lamison, Beaver, Jr.
Billy Lott, Ellwood City, Jr.
Christopher Kocent, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, So.
Zach Wahl, West Allegheny, Sr.
Louis Vigder, Blackhawk, Sr.

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Girls Cross Country: 2015 West Runners to Watch

Written by Brittany Goncar on .

Here are some girls cross country runners from the West to keep an eye on this season.

Maddie Salek, West Allegheny, So.
Clara Cavitt, Moon, Sr.
Mica Hanish, Ambridge, Jr.
Sarah Connors, Moon, Jr.
Maria Lohmann, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Jr.
Tara Richardson, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Jr.
Mica Hinish, Ambridge, Jr.
Katia Kaffenes, Beaver, Jr.
Carinna Lapson, Hopewell, So.
Maiah Yankello, Central Valley, Sr.
Mallory Angelucci, Ellwood City, Sr.
Paige Hineman, South Side Beaver, Jr.

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Index to 2015 West Football Previews

Written by Sports Town on .

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Ambridge 2015 Football Preview

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

The Bridgers haven't been to the WPIAL playoffs since 2005. Coach Dan Bradley enters his second season with hopes of ending the playoff drought. The Bridgers had a 3-5 record in the Parkway Conference and finished with a 3-6 mark.

"We were very young and inexperienced last year," Bradley said. "Almost everybody is back. We're still young, but everybody has experience. This year, we're a bit more mature."

The top returnee is quarterback Austin French (6-4, 190, Jr.), who had a very productive debut season. He completed 102 of 188 passes for 1,397 yards and 19 touchdowns and was intercepted 11 times.

"Austin is getting better with his decision making," Bradley said. "He's a lot stronger and has more zip on his passes."

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Blackhawk 2015 Football Preview

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

Legendary coach Joe Hamilton retired after 39 years as Cougars coach and 49 overall. He had a career record of 342-170-11 and won four WPIAL titles at Blackhawk.

Joe Lamenza, the coach at Mohawk the past four years, has the unenviable task of replacing the legand. He had a 7-29 record at Mohawk. He also coached one season at West Mifflin in 2006.

"I've known Joe for years," said Lamenza, who will teach English at the high school. "He built an unbelievable program at Blackhawk. It's a great honor to follow him. It's a great responsibility. I'm up for the challenge."

The Cougars failed to qualify for the WPIAL playoffs for the fifth time in six years. They posted a 2-6 record in the Parkway Conference and finished with a 3-6 overall mark.

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Central Valley 2015 Football Preview

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

The Warriors and coach Mark Lyons have posted a 56-11 record and made three appearances in the WPIAL Class AAA title game in the school's first five years of existence. Last season, the Warriors won the WPIAL title and advanced to the PIAA title game before dropping a 33-14 decision to Archbishop Wood.

"We lost a very talented group of players to graduation, but we still have a nice group of kids returning," Lyons said. "Getting back to Heinz Field is our goal, but it's never easy in the Parkway Conference."

Tailback Jordan Whitehead, 1,933 yards rushing and 471 yards receiving, has moved on to play at Pitt. Quarterback John George, 1,539 yards and 16 touchdown passes, also graduated.

Quarterback is not a concern, however, as Chris Callaghan (6-3, 185, Sr.) saw just as much playing time last year when George was injured. Callaghan completed 76 of 120 passes for 1,312 yards and 13 touchdowns. Wide receiver Kurt Reinstadtler (6-0, 180, Sr., WR) is also back after 29 catches and 618 yards.