ShareThis Page
High school football notebook: Rematches tough to avoid in WPIAL 1st round |

High school football notebook: Rematches tough to avoid in WPIAL 1st round

| Wednesday, November 1, 2017 7:15 p.m
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Montour's Jaxon Schrenker slaps the hands of young cheerleaders as he takes the field for a game against Mars Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in Robinson.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Freeport defenders gang tackle Seton LaSalle running back Lionel Deanes Friday, Oct. 13, 2017 at Thomas Jefferson High School.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Franklin Regional's Devon Powell runs the ball in for a touchdown when Franklin Regional hosted Gateway, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017.

Montour and New Castle tied for second in the Northwest Nine, but the WPIAL scheduled them head-to-head for the ultimate tiebreaker.

The conference foes meet Friday in the first round of the WPIAL Class 4A playoffs. Montour was seeded fourth with New Castle fifth in the eight-team bracket. For years, the WPIAL football committee avoided first-round rematches between teams from the same conference, but that policy was nixed a year ago when the sport expanded to six classifications.

This year there are three first-round conference rematches. Seton LaSalle and Freeport meet Friday in Class 3A, matching the first- and second-place teams from the Allegheny Conference. In Class 4A, Big 9 teams Thomas Jefferson and Trinity face off.

Montour defeated New Castle, 42-21, in Week 1. Seton LaSalle defeated Freeport, 21-10, in Week 7. Thomas Jefferson defeated Trinity, 35-0, in Week 2.

The WPIAL could have switched No. 6 seeded Trinity (6-3) and No. 5 New Castle (7-3) to avoid two first-round rematches. But the football committee believed New Castle was the better team and should be seeded higher than Trinity, regardless of conference.

“When you have 16 teams, you’re typically able to avoid (conference rematches) in most cases,” WPIAL executive director Tim O’Malley said. “But when you have eight teams, what are you going to do? When it really came down to it, in 4A, is it fair for your three seed to play a better team than your four seed?”

There were five first-round conference rematches last season. Twice, the lower seed avenged a regular-season loss. Gateway defeated Armstrong, and New Castle defeated South Fayette.

“The discussion at the beginning of the meeting goes to approach,” O’Malley said. “Is your approach as a committee collectively to seed them or is your approach to separate them by conference?”

Under the six-class format, it’s not always possible to do both.

MPC accepts Altoona

Altoona’s days in the WPIAL are ending.

The Mid-Penn Conference athletic directors voted Wednesday to let the school join in football, basketball and boys volleyball. Altoona had played WPIAL football since 2010 as an associate member but will instead join the MPC next fall, Altoona athletic director Phil Riccio said, pending school board approval.

“Being in the WPIAL has been an outstanding experience,” Riccio said. “The professionalism and class from Tim O’Malley to every administrator, athletic director and coach that we’ve dealt with, I can’t say enough about the positive experience that we’ve had there. Even given our lack of success at times, it has been nothing but a positive experience.”

The Blair County school had recently asked the WPIAL for full membership, a request that the WPIAL Board of Directors is scheduled to address at its meeting this month. Altoona was seeking a more structured league schedule for its sports other than football. However, WPIAL acceptance was likely a longshot because of the distance and added winter travel member schools would endure for basketball season.

The Mid-Penn Conference includes Harrisburg, Carlisle, State College, Shippensburg and a number of other schools from the center of the state.

Coaching vacancies

Two more schools are looking for a new football coach. Ringgold coach Nick Milchovich and Laurel Highlands’ Zack Just each resigned this week. Milchovich went 30-13 in four seasons. Just went 21-49 in seven seasons

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.