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Notebook: Deer Lakes coach to face former team this week

Deer Lakes coach Denny Fedigan will return to J.C. Stone Field on Friday for the first time since leaving North Catholic, and it promises to be an emotional homecoming.

Fedigan coached for 14 seasons at North Catholic, before departing this offseason to try his hand at rebuilding Deer Lakes.

Surprising Deer Lakes is 2-1 in the Allegheny Conference (2-3 overall). North Catholic (1-4, 0-3) is tied with Mars for last place.

North Catholic reached the playoffs seven times in the past nine years under Fedigan, but some of his players apparently felt betrayed when he left for their Allegheny Conference rival.

During Saturday morning’s conditioning exercises, Fedigan, 52, talked to his Deer Lakes players about the difficult departure from North Catholic.

“He told us that when his players found out he was hired here, the football players would skip his class,” Deer Lakes senior guard Zack Gall said. “I guess they felt abandoned. He wanted a new adventure, but he also seemed like he didn’t really want to leave.”

Gall said Fedigan would enter his classroom to find “Lancers suck” written on the chalkboard and the players taunted him with whispers of “Wait until Oct. 3.”

Deer Lakes is glad to have him. The Lancers have won two conference games this year. They were 2-31 in the past five seasons in conference play.

“Coach Fedigan just gave the whole school a new sense of pride that we’ve never had before,” Gall said.

The Lancers, who have never reached the playoffs since the school was formed in 1973, beat Burrell, 20-18, on Friday on a late touchdown.

“We showed a lot of emotion,” Gall said. “Any other year, we would have given up. There is a whole new sense of confidence.”

DIMICHELE PASSES 5,000

Sto-Rox senior quarterback Adam DiMichele eclipsed 5,000 career passing yards in the Vikings’ 46-10 victory over Burgettstown on Friday.

DiMichele threw for 145 yards against the Blue Devils to give him 5,039 for his career. He threw for 474 yards as a freshman, 1,380 as a sophomore and 2,318 as a junior. He has passed for 867 yards this season.

Steel Valley graduate Luke Getsy, a sophomore at Pitt, holds the unofficial career passing record in WPIAL history with 6,021 yards.

INJURY UPDATES

Pine-Richland senior tailback Greg Hough will likely miss at least one game after injuring his left elbow in the first half of Pine-Richland’s 34-26 victory over Hampton on Friday.

No. 2 Pine-Richland (5-0, 3-0) plays host to Valley this week in a Greater Allegheny Conference game.

Hough underwent an MRI on Saturday on the injury, which initial reports indicated was a hyper-extended left elbow. He was expecting to receive the results by Sunday.

Hough has rushed for 609 yards this season and needs fewer than 700 yads to reach 4,000 for his career.

Also, Upper St. Clair junior quarterback Josh Helmrich had an MRI on his right knee Saturday to determine the severity of an injury suffered in the first quarter of the Panthers’ 31-0 victory over Plum on Friday night.

Helmrich went down untouched on a quarterback draw play near the end of the first quarter Friday when his right knee twisted and then buckled. Helmrich said he wasn’t in a lot of pain initially, but was unable to continue playing.

Upper St. Clair coach Jim Render said a decision on Helmrich’s playing status for next week won’t be determined until the results of the MRI come in, which should be sometime today. Upper St. Clair plays Trinity on Friday.

Joe Halackna, a converted wide receiver, played for Helmrich last week.

MILESTONES ON THE WAY

Gateway running back Justin King needs 149 yards to become the first WPIAL running back to reach 1,000 for the season. Gateway plays host to Indiana on Friday. Western Beaver’s Warren Taylor, who ripped then No. 1 Rochester for 296 yards last week, needs 156 yards to reach 1,000.

Greg Swatek contributed to this report


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