iPreps

#iPreps, #TribHS

January 18, 2015
by Kevin Gorman

Too many As?

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Opinions differ on more classifications for high school football, by Chris Harlan.

RECRUITING

Jordan Whitehead won the Pittsburgh Athletic Association’s Mercury Award Friday night, and the Central Valley star talked about his football future.

Kittanning's Nick Bowers

Kittanning’s Nick Bowers

Another player who committed to the Panthers, Kittanning’s Nick Bowers, not ruling out Pitt, by Bill Beckner Jr.

A pair of WPIAL standouts announced their college choices on Twitter this weekend:

Peters Township QB Cory Owen, who previously picked New Hampshire, had a change of heart:

Seneca Valley OL Tyler Hudanick made a verbal commitment to UCF during an official visit.

College coaches already are moving onto the Class of 2016, as Central Catholic junior LB David Adams received his first scholarship offer from West Virginia University:

Freeport's Josh Beale

Freeport’s Josh Beale

Freeport’s Josh Beale, meantime, will have to decide between basketball and baseball, by William Whalen.

ON THE COURT

Sunday VND

Plum’s James Edwards grows into one of the area’s top scorers, by Bill Beckner Jr.

Plum boys rely on defense, patience to sink Fox Chapel, by Bill Beckner Jr.

One week after I wrote about Matty McConnell stepping out of the shadow of his older brother, T.J. McConnell, the Chartiers Valley star dropped 54 points on Bethel Park.

#TribHS roundup: Burgettstown edges Southmoreland to win own invitational

Freeport's Kevin Lynch splits two Highlands defenders

Freeport’s Kevin Lynch (left) shoots while defended by Highlands’ Lamar McCamey (40) and Tyler Grosholz

Mars ends Ford City’s win streak, by William Whalen.

Norwin boys sink 10 3-pointers to derail Connellsville, by Jason Black.

Greensburg Trib roundup: Latrobe downs Penn-Trafford in Section 1-AAAA

McKeesport Daily News roundup: McKeesport boys top Franklin Regional

ON THE MAT

Fox Chapel's Andrew Kopco

Pine-Richland’s Hunter Baxter beats Fox Chapel’s Andrew Kopco, 15-1, in the 113-pound final at the Allegheny County wrestling championships.

Fox Chapel’s Kopco fights his way to county final, by Bill West.

Penn Hills senior Campbell repeats as county wrestling champion, by Bill West.

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January 16, 2015
by Kevin Gorman

Clairton makes public apology

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Clairton fight in PIAA final

Clairton faces possible discipline after a melee in the PIAA Class A final

After workshop with Charlie Batch, Clairton players offer video apology to Bishop Guilfoyle for incident in PIAA Class A football final, by Dave Mackall.

In an unrelated story, Uniontown is considering discipline for girls basketball players who wore ‘I Can’t Breathe’ T-shirt, by Renatta Signorini.

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TribHS page

Indiana's Dylan Stapleton (center) fights off Southmoreland's Benjamin Niemiec as they chase a loose ball

Indiana’s Dylan Stapleton (center) fights off Southmoreland’s Benjamin Niemiec as they chase a loose ball

No. 1 Indiana boasts top defense in WPIAL, leading to a lot of dunks, by Chris Harlan.

Gorman: Pittsburgh Athletic Association Mercury Awards a great event

#TribHS highlight reel: Burgettstown also hosting wrestling this weekend

RECRUITING

New Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi makes the rounds to WPIAL schools to meet recruits.

Kittanning’s Nick Bowers got a home visit:

Meantime, schools already are focusing on the Class of 2016.

Central Catholic junior defensive end Rashad Wheeler picked up his first scholarship offer:

January 15, 2015
by Kevin Gorman

A no-brainer for Narduzzi

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Pine-Richland QB Ben DiNucci

Pine-Richland quarterback Ben DiNucci

With QB recruit Alex Hornibrook reneging on his commitment to enroll at Wisconsin, new Pitt football coach Pat Narduzzi is wise to give a long look to Pine-Richland QB Ben DiNucci, who became the first player in state history to pass for 4,000 yards in a single season and will work out for Pitt coaches, by Jerry DiPaola.

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HS page

Ambridge stars draw from their older siblings’ experiences, by Bill West.

Gorman: Down go the undefeateds

#TribHS highlight reel: Big 33 participant streak carries on

ON THE COURT

Plum's James Edwards

Plum’s James Edwards

Junior guard Edwards a consistent force for Plum, by Michael Love.

Steel Valley falls again to hot-shooting South Fayette, by Dave Mackall.

Greyhounds keep rolling in Section 3-A

Chartiers Valley's Eddie Flohr

Chartiers Valley’s Eddie Flohr dives for a loose ball

Chartiers Valley junior Flohr providing scoring spark, by Nathan Smith.

Baldwin's Lauren Gilbert

Baldwin’s Lauren Gilbert

Gilbert making her point in the backcourt for Baldwin girls basketball team, by Ed Phillipps.

Keystone Oaks' Alexa Valforte

Keystone Oaks’ Alexa Valforte

Keystone Oaks girls hoops contends with injuries, inexperience, by Nathan Smith.

Carlynton's Jordan Melko

Carlynton’s Jordan Melko

Carlynton girls basketball bouncing back from three-game skid, by Nathan Smith.

Quaker Valley girls basketball hopes to improve in season’s second half, by Gary Horvath.

Shady Side Academy's Sarah Hacke

Shady Side Academy’s Sarah Hacke

Shady Side Academy’s Hacke helps girls basketball team to key wins, by Marty Stewart.

California's Lyndsey Hunn (00) drives past Monessen's Cara Grogan (22)

California’s Lyndsey Hunn drives past Monessen’s Cara Grogan

With early-season injuries mostly in the past, California girls looking to contend for title, by Ed Phillipps.

Southmoreland basketball player Brooke Cottom changed her uniform number from 20 to 5 this season to honor Brendan Walter, who died in a vehicle accident in July.

Southmoreland basketball player Brooke Cottom changed her uniform number from 20 to 5 this season to honor Brendan Walter, who died in a vehicle accident in July.

Southmoreland basketball player changes number to honor fallen friend, by Emily Donovan.

Southmoreland boys hoops team starts strong, by Jordan Pawlikowsky.

ON THE MAT

Belle Vernon Area's Joshua Godzin (black) wrestles Laurel Highlands' Jimmy Pierce

Belle Vernon Area’s Joshua Godzin (black) wrestles Laurel Highlands’ Jimmy Pierce

Belle Vernon pins Laurel Highlands to stay perfect, by Jeff Oliver.

Burrell's Alex Moses attempts to pin down Valley's Noah Baker during their 182-pound match

Burrell’s Alex Moses attempts to pin down Valley’s Noah Baker during their 182-pound match

Burrell wrestlers control Valley for victory, by Doug Gulasy.

Connellsville wrestlers handle Albert Gallatin, by Jason Black.

Kittanning preps for playoffs by drubbing Indiana, by Matt Grubba.

#TribHS roundup: Butler edges Seneca Valley in final bout

Fox Chapel set to host Allegheny County tournament, by Marty Stewart.

IN THE POOL

West Allegheny's Jarod Kehl
West Allegheny’s Jarod Kehl, a Kentucky recruit

West Allegheny swimmer has Olympic dreams, by Karen Kadilak.

Chartiers Valley swimmer looks to defend WPIAL titles, by Karen Kadilak.

Chartiers Valley swimming and diving shifting focus to individuals, by Gary Horvath.

Penn-Trafford junior diver Ference continues to improve, by Alex Oltmanns.

Thomas Jefferson boys, girls teams aiming for section success, by Jennifer Goga.

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January 14, 2015
by Kevin Gorman

Vestal starting over at Seneca Valley

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Dave Vestal

After 14 seasons as Hopewell head coach, Dave Vestal left for Seneca Valley

When Dave Vestal became head coach at Hopewell in 2001, it didn’t take long for him to turn the Vikings into a WPIAL Class AAA powerhouse. Vestal lost his opener at West Allegheny, then didn’t lose again until a rematch with the Indians at Heinz Field.

The following season, led by NFL linebacker Paul Posluszny, Hopewell won WPIAL and PIAA championships. Along the way, the Vikings beat a Perry Traditional Academy team that hadn’t allowed a point all season. Vestal was named the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review coach of the year.

Now, after going 1-17 the past two seasons, Vestal is ready for a new challenge and taking over as head coach at Seneca Valley. He replaces Don Holl, who resigned in November after six seasons.

“I can’t believe 14 years has gone by, first of all, because it’s just flown,” Vestal said. “To me, it meant a lot to stay at the same school because you had so much pride and felt established. That’s why it’s going to be tough to leave Beaver County because this is all I’ve known. You look at the Jim Renders, Bob Palkos and George Novaks, who have been there for so long. It’s been tough. It’s time for a new challenge.”

Vestal believes whoever replaces him at Hopewell has a chance to be successful, given that the Vikings return a large junior class. He dealt with some difficulties this past season, ranging from injuries to insubordination, not to mention playing in a Parkway Conference that featured WPIAL finalists Central Valley and West Allegheny.

“When I first came in, we obviously had immediate success,” Vestal said. “Just looking at our conference and how it’s grown and seeing the talent level, it’s really at a high point now. We competed.”

One thing that helped his cause with Seneca Valley is the familiarity. Not only did Hopewell scrimmage Seneca Valley every year for the past eight seasons, but Vestal worked with Seneca Valley principal Mark Korcinsky when he was an assistant principal at Hopewell in 2001-02.

“It felt right in my gut when I went up there,” Vestal said. “It was neat reconnecting with him. I think a lot went into it. I really like the area, the facilities are outstanding. I think it was the right job at the right time, a situation that just felt right in my gut. Usually when I walk into a place and it feels right, it usually is.”

It’s going to be interesting to see how Vestal fares outside Beaver County, where he has spent two decades, and deals with coaching at the largest school district in the WPIAL. He plans to waste no time in making himself visible in the community, by attending Seneca Valley’s basketball games this week and implementing a strength-training program on Wednesday.

“I want to make sure I’m visible and get to know the players and their parents,” Vestal said. “They can expect a positive, energetic, enthusiastic passionate football coach who wants them to grow as a player and a person. Getting to know your players and let them know that you care about them is invaluable.”

After winning big with backs like Posluszny and Rushel Shell, who set the state’s career rushing record, Vestal made it clear that he still believes in running the ball but isn’t married to the Wing-T or wildcat offense.

“I still think it comes down to winning that line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball,” Vestal said. “I need to go up there and take a look at the players we have and make sure the system fits those players. You’ve got to use your quarterback as a weapon, as a runner. You want to make them a dangerous player.”

Of course, Vestal knows that Seneca Valley has lost talented players in recent years to Central Catholic and now has an additional challenge with Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic moving its campus to Cranberry. He understands that it’s going to be vital to connect with the district’s youth football program, given that Vestal grew up in Boardman, Ohio, where the public school has to compete with Cardinal Mooney.

“I know SV has had some success the past six years,” Vestal said. “When you talk about enrollment, the opportunity to go in and recruit our district, recruit our school. That’s exciting to talk about those numbers. When you put that together with the facilities in place, it’s a challenge but it’s exciting.”

REMEMBERING JUD

On Tuesday, I wrote that the Hempfield swim team planned to honor Judson Shiffler, the senior captain who died in an auto accident with a grand gesture during its meet against Greensburg Salem.

Memories of captain keep Hempfield swim team afloat, by Kevin Lohman.

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TribHS page

Despite delay, South Fayette’s Walker shifts smoothly to wrestling, by Bill West.

ON THE MAT

Hempfield's Fred Mantsch scrambles with Latrobe's Dylan Davis

Hempfield’s Fred Mantsch (top) scrambles with Latrobe’s Dylan Davis in their 120-pound championship bout at the Westmoreland County Coaches Association Wrestling Tournament

Distracted Hempfield wrestler perseveres to capture second WCCA title, by Paul Schofield.

Canon-McMillan to host Class AA Southwest Regional, by Paul Schofield.

Belle Vernon's Jacob Dunlop (right) battles Southmoreland's Tyler Griffiths during their 106-pound consolation bout for third place at the Westmoreland County Coaches Association Wrestling Tournament

Belle Vernon’s Jacob Dunlop (right) battles Southmoreland’s Tyler Griffiths during their 106-pound consolation bout for third place at the Westmoreland County Coaches Association Wrestling Tournament

Despite changes at the top, Belle Vernon wrestlers thrive, by Jeff Oliver.

#TribHS wrestling notebook: Allegheny County event awaits big field, by Doug Gulasy.

Burrell's Al Beattie (left) and Kittanning's Jake Robb tie up during their 285-pound match

Burrell’s Al Beattie (left) and Kittanning’s Jake Robb tie up during the 285-pound match

Kittanning wrestler Robb quietly assumes leadership role, by Doug Gulasy.

ON THE COURT

Gateway's John Paul Kromka dunks against McKeesport

Gateway’s John Paul Kromka dunks against McKeesport

McKeesport sprints to victory over Gateway, by Dave Mackall.

#TribHS roundup: Hampton, North Hills no longer unbeaten

Hempfield's Kason Harrell drives to the basket over Latrobe forwards Matt Dragan, right, and Seth Holler

Hempfield guard Kason Harrell, left, drives to the basket over Latrobe forwards Matt Dragan, right, and Seth Holler

Hempfield stays hot, shuts down cold-shooting Latrobe, by Paul Schofield.

Greensburg roundup: Norwin boys top rival Penn-Trafford

Burrell's (22) Max Garda looks to pass the ball against Valley's (11) Dayon Lloyd

Burrell’s (22) Max Garda looks to pass the ball against Valley’s (11) Dayon Lloyd

Burrell hopes to continue winning formula after beating Valley, by Bill Beckner Jr.

Apollo-Ridge steals last Ford City game in home gym with third-quarter rally, by George Guido.

West Shamokin’s strong start sets tone in win over Kittanning, by Matt Grubba.

McKeesport Daily News roundup: South Allegheny edges East Allegheny in overtime

Connellsville senior Connell makes most of his chance, helps beat Albert Gallatin, by Jason Black.

Hot Monessen torches California, by Jeff Oliver.

Snyder’s basket gives Belle Vernon first Section 4-AAA win

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January 13, 2015
by Kevin Gorman

‘That’s who Jud was’

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Hempfield’s Judson Shiffler swims at Westmoreland County Coaches Association meet last February at Derry

The Hempfield swim team has been together non-stop the past three weeks, spending time either swimming in the pool or consoling each other outside of it since the sudden death of senior captain Judson Shiffler.

The Spartans host their first meet since Shiffler died Dec. 30 from injuries suffered in an auto accident. Hempfield’s race for Jud will honor Shiffler by paying tribute to him in a way that he would appreciate.

Hempfield coach Kevin Clougherty sounds like someone still in a state of disbelief, which makes sense given that Shiffler was his star swimmer and a model student to his teammates. Shiffler’s accident occurred shortly after he left Hempfield’s practice, from which he was excused for his strong work in the classroom.

“It was Jud’s day off. He had earned a day off since he had done so well academically,” Clougherty said. “He came in and wanted to get some work, and we told him to get some rest.”

By the minute, Clougherty can recall the events: The girls leaving their locker room at 12:15 p.m. Sitting in the hallway at 12:20 and hearing ambulances drive past the school. Clougherty, in his 17th season as Hempfield’s coach, immediately wondered if it was one of his swimmers. But he figured that Shiffler had left long ago and would be home by then. When he left the pool, he saw the ambulance at the scene of the accident and watched the Life Flight helicopter land. Soon after, he received a phone call with the news.

Hempfield swimmers coped the way they knew best, by swimming and talking. The pool was their refuge.

“Tuesday morning, we were back in the water,” Clougherty said. “We brought the kids in for regularly scheduled practice and sat and talked. Jud had not passed away yet, but this did not look good. Afterwards, we stayed and talked some more. The kids stayed 45 minutes after practice, just talking about Jud and telling stories about Jud. Then we got the phone call that Jud had passed away…”

Clougherty is impressed with how the school and his students have dealt with the tragedy, with the support that has been offered and how the swimmers have bonded.

“They got and are getting each other through this,” Clougherty said. “They know when somebody needs to cry, to laugh or just to talk. They learned this from Jud. That’s who Jud was. When one of our kids had a problem, Jud was there for them. It’s stereotypical to say, but he was a great kid — but he was different. He did not like the spotlight. Jud was very meticulous kid in his preparation. No matter what happens you keep doing your work. To do otherwise would be disrespectful to Jud.”

That’s why Hempfield will leave a lane open for Shiffler for the final lap of the 200-yard medley relay, for which he swam the anchor leg in the 50 free. It should be a touching tribute to a kid whose best was still ahead of him.

“Jud was a kid that was just starting to tap into his potential,” Clougherty said. “He grew up in the YMCA program and did well there but was a young, raw, skinny kid as a freshman. We started to see some potential. It was halfway through his sophomore year, we saw that he was going to be more than just really good, that he could be special.”

Nonetheless, it was something of a surprise when Shiffler won the WPIAL Class AAA title in the 50 freestyle last year. He finished 16th at the PIAA championships. As a senior, however, he was ranked No. 3 in the state.

“The 50 free was not his event until January of that year,” Clougherty said. “There was a lot of reason to think that he was going to be a breakout type of kid who was going to achieve some significant things this year. We made some technical changes on his turn. There was a hope that he’d really had things lined up to do some special things this year.”

#TribHS PAGE

HS page (1)

#TribHS highlight reel: Seneca Valley hires Vestal as football coach

ON THE COURT

Highlands' Emily Cochran (left) and (33) Nicole Boda strip the ball from Deer Lakes' Kristen Stanko

Highlands’ Emily Cochran (left) and (33) Nicole Boda strip the ball from Deer Lakes’ Kristen Stanko

#TribHS roundup: No. 1 Vincentian boys edge Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic in OT

Greensburg Salem's Maggie Kallock brings the ball up court during a game against Mt. Pleasant

Greensburg Salem’s Maggie Kallock

#Greensburg Trib roundup: Mt. Pleasant girls take down Greensburg Salem

McKeesport Daily News roundup: East Allegheny girls beat South Allegheny

Kittanning's Emily Klingensmith drives around Ford City's Christina Davis

Kittanning’s Emily Klingensmith drives around Ford City’s Christina Davis

Ford City defense carries the day in win over Kittanning, by Matt Grubba.

Connellsville's Dae-Lin Burnsworth shoots over Albert Gallatin's Emily Moccaldi (10) and Alexis Thompson (left)

Connellsville’s Dae-Lin Burnsworth (24) puts up a shot between Albert Gallatin defenders Emily Moccaldi and Alexis Thompson

Connellsville girls basketball routs Albert Gallatin, by Jason Black.

ON THE ICE

Moon goalie Luke Durkin

Moon goaltender Ryan Durkin (left) receives congratulations from teammate Luke James after a 6-0 shutout win over Norwin

Moon junior Durkin becomes feisty shotstopper after subpar 2013-14 season, by Bill West.

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January 12, 2015
by Kevin Gorman

#TribHS weekend roundup: Petrishen a hot commodity

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RECRUITING

Central Catholic's Johnny Petrishen

Central Catholic’s Johnny Petrishen

Harlan: Central’s Petrishen stays open as Signing Day looms.

Gateway’s Horner happy with Indiana State commitment, by Michael Love.

Horner even changed his Twitter screen name:

January 10, 2015
by Kevin Gorman

Escaping the family shadow

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TribHS page

After growing up in the shadow of father and older brother at Chartiers Valley, Matty welcomes McConnell name in leading the WPIAL in scoring and attempting to add another WPIAL championship to the family trophy case.

Matty McConnell

Chartiers Valley senior Matty McConnell (left)

Listen to interviews with Chartiers Valley coach Tim McConnell and Matty McConnell, along with a guest appearance from Trib Total Media sportswriter Gary Horvath, on the Kevin Gorman Show on TribLIVE Radio:

Steelers safety Ross Ventrone, a Chartiers Valley graduate, among those impressed by Matty McConnell:

ON THE COURT

Plum's James Edwards drives past Gateway's John Horner

Plum’s James Edwards drives to the basket past Gateway’s John Horner

Spread offense seals Plum win over Gateway, by Bill Beckner Jr.

Hempfield's Kason Harrell shoots over Norwin's Logan Deri and Curtis Perz

Hempfield guard Kason Harrell (right) shoots over Norwin’s Logan Deri (left) and Curtis Perz (3)

Better defensive rebounding allows Hempfield to rally past Norwin, by Bill West.

East Allegheny's T.J. Banks

East Allegheny freshman T.J. Banks drives to the basket

No. 3 Greensburg Central Catholic routs youthful East Allegheny, by Dave Mackall.

Greyhounds hammer winless Maples, by Jeff Oliver.

Knoch's Matt Zanella

Knoch’s (13) Matt Zanella breaks through Mars’ Robby Carmody (24) and Ryan Giallonardo (14)

Mars’ tough defense rocks Knoch, by George Guido.

#TribHS roundup: Beaver Falls downs New Castle at buzzer

McKeesport Daily News roundup: Clairton boys edge Trinity Christian

Mt. Pleasant edges turnover-prone Kittanning, by Matt Grubba.

Greensburg roundup: Latrobe tops Kiski Area for third consecutive win

ON THE MAT

Greensburg Salem's Chris Eddins

Greensburg Salem’s Chris Eddins bites the arm of Norwin’s Kevin Miller during their 120-pound bout at the Westmoreland County Coaches Association tournament

Follow @StephChambers76 on Twitter for photos of WCCA wrestling action:

Upsets reign during Day One of Westmoreland County wrestling tournament, by Paul Schofield.

Greensburg Salem's Austin Shaw controls Hempfield's Will Chillinsky

Greensburg Salem’s Austin Shaw controls Hempfield’s Will Chillinsky

#TribHS highlight reel: Franklin Regional leads WCCA field

Belle Vernon's Josh Godzin battles Mt. Pleasant's Ethan Charlesworth

Belle Vernon’s Josh Godzin battles Mt. Pleasant’s Ethan Charlesworth during their 160-pound bout

Belle Vernon in third place after first day of WCCA tourney

Daily Courier roundup: Four local wrestlers advance to WCCA semifinals

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January 9, 2015
by Kevin Gorman

Redman focusing on future

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One of my columns that generated great debate this past fall was my advocacy for Central Catholic’s Riley Redman to be ruled eligible for his senior season, despite being in violation of the PIAA age rule. Both the WPIAL and PIAA ruled Redman ineligible because he turned 19 before the July 1 cutoff.

Both organizations followed the letter of the PIAA by-laws.

My argument was that the spirit of the rule was at stake for the life of Riley. Redman was five days before the PIAA cutoff date, a month before his due date. As the father of a boy born 11 weeks early, as someone who knows the struggles preemies endure in their early development, Redman’s story struck a chord with me.

What really touched me, however, was that Redman stayed at Central.

Instead of transferring to a prep school to play his senior season, Redman played running back for the scout-team offense. He led the Vikings onto the field on Friday nights, wearing the links for their ‘chain gang’ defense.

But he wasn’t allowed to play in games.

That was a blow to Central, which lost Luigi Lista-Brinza to graduation and endured injuries to Grant Foster and Ron George. By season’s end, the Vikings were using receivers Johnny Petrishen and Damar Hamlin in the backfield.

I imagined that had to be difficult for Redman, a 5-foot-11, 195-pound senior who rushed for more than 1,000 yards as a junior, to watch. So I called him this week to see what it was like to spend not only football season on the sidelines but also to have to sit out the swimming season, where he is a talented diver.

What I learned is that practice is not perfect for Redman.

He showed maturity in answering questions that have to be tough for a teenager.

Such as, what was it like to not be able to play your senior season?

“It was terrible,” Redman said. “During the season, I talked to myself every night: Why can’t I play? I felt sick to my stomach. Every Friday, before games, I wanted to cry because I wanted to play.”

What impresses me about Redman is why he stayed at Central Catholic and what it means to him to graduate from there.

“I made a commitment to my fellow players on the football team,” Redman said. “I didn’t want to go to a prep school. People were giving me the options, but I wanted to finish out here. It means that I’m forever a brother at Central Catholic on the football team. It means that I’ll never be shunned. It means they would carry me through whatever I had to go through. It means a lot, because I never had a foundation like that. I never had people that cared that much. It gave me some kind of strength. They gave me a place when I had no place. When I was denied the right to play WPIAL and PIAA sports, I had no place.

“It means a lot. Maybe in a prep school or in a different school, they probably don’t have the resources that I needed. The teachers, the (Christian Brothers) at the school, really had a heart for me. I don’t want to graduate from anywhere that I didn’t have a relationship with anybody. They’re the reason I’m going to graduate. They pushed me to this point. I give all the credit to them.”

The problem for Redman is this: Sitting out hurt his college recruitment.

Redman said Robert Morris has offered a scholarship but every other school formerly showing interest has backed off because he had no senior game or practice film to show coaches. He ran for the scout team against the first-team defense, but Central doesn’t videotape the scout team.

“They’re really not wanting to recruit me because of me not playing my senior year,” Redman said. “They call and ask if I have film from practice. Or they say, ‘You can go to prep school for a year, then we’ll pick you up from there.’”

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HS page

ON THE COURT

New-look Hampton changes style but getting similar results, by Chris Harlan.

Basketball notebook: Father-son duos lead Section 1-AAA teams, by Bill Beckner Jr.

Norwin's Aubree Halusic has her recovered loose ball tipped away by Norwin's Taylor Ingel

Hempfield’s Aubree Halusic has her recovered loose ball tipped away by Norwin’s Taylor Ingel

Gribble’s 16 second-half points lead Norwin past Hempfield, by Dave Mackall.

#TribHS roundup: No. 4 Ambridge girls take down rival Beaver

Uniontown guard DeAundre Winfrey drives past Belle Vernon's Tommy Rodriguez

Uniontown guard DeAundre Winfrey drives to the basket past Belle Vernon defender Tommy Rodriguez

Uniontown boys team looks to add to program’s rich history, by Paul Schofield.

Greensburg roundup: Mt. Pleasant girls top Laurel Highlands

Quaker Valley's Tre'won Marshall

Quaker Valley’s Tre’won Marshall pushes past OLSH’s Collin Neville

#TribCup: Quaker Valley boys again off to fast start

Miceli lifts Cougars in 4-AA showdown, by Jeff Oliver.

Riverview defense puts clamps on St. Joseph, by Doug Gulasy.

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January 8, 2015
by Kevin Gorman

Jenkins works on Sterling reputation

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Sterling Jenkins is well aware of his critics, considering he can’t please them.

So, it’s no surprise that the award Jenkins drew from Rivals.com national recruiting director Mike Farrell at the Under Armour All-American Game wasn’t a flattering one. Farrell gave Jenkins, a 6-foot-8, 308-pound offensive tackle from Baldwin, his Bear Market award.

“This award is not one that you want; it’s for the player whose stock dropped the most during the Under Armour week. This is a tough call for sure and it’s always hard to talk about one or two players who didn’t impress in a week of action, but every year there are a few guys who are simply disappointing.
“Jenkins has great size and looks amazing on the hoof, but he was a turnstile all week long and it was hard to evaluate the rush ends going against him because it just looked too easy. He doesn’t move his feet enough or use his long arms so he remains a big project for Penn State.”

Jenkins went against explosive defensive ends like Ohio State recruit Josh Cornell, with mixed reviews.

Jenkins could look good, as he did here:

Or get beaten badly, as he did here:

Jenkins admits that he had difficulty against players who had speed and strength, who knew how to use their long arms to get blow past him before he could lock in. He was pleased with his pad level, given that he hadn’t played since early November and that he was dealing with playing in 80-degree weather.

“They may have thought I struggled,” Jenkins said, “but it helped me more.”

Now that he has graduated early from Baldwin and will head to Penn State on Saturday, it’s time for Jenkins to tap potential. Despite his reputation, he was never a first-team all-conference pick, which might not have been fair if you watch his
senior highlights.

Jenkins is looking forward to playing at Penn State — and proving people wrong.

“I feel midway to the end of the season I was one of the better guys,” Jenkins said. “That motivates me. It was definitely something on my mind, something important to me.”

#TribHS PAGE

TribHS page

ON THE COURT

Shaler girls tout underdog status following strong start, by Bill West.

#TribHS highlight reel: WPIAL spirit meet set for Saturday

Belle Vernon guards giving opponents reason to look beyond star forward Slagus, by Bill West.

Win over Quad-A team slips away for Belle Vernon, by Jeremy Sellew.

Bishop Canevin freshman Melina Lynn

Bishop Canevin freshman Melina Lynn

Bishop Canevin girls hoops rebounding after shaky start, by Nathan Smith.

Norwin girls hoops continues non-section success, by Nathan Smith.

Uniontown routs cold-shooting West Mifflin, by Dave Mackall.

McKeesport Daily News roundup: Laurel Highlands defeats Elizabeth Forward

Monessen's Jaden Altomore drives past Clairton's Aaron Mathews

Monessen’s Jaden Altomore drives past Clairton’s Aaron Mathews

Greyhounds claw Bears in 78-51 rout, by Jeff Oliver.

Bunting’s late steal, free throw lift Mt. Pleasant past Yough, by Jason Black.

Recruiting: Seton-La Salle’s Henderson commits to Slippery Rock, by Ed Phillipps.

ON THE MAT

Kittanning's Matthew Vukovich gets tied up with Burrell's Dillan Jeffery

Kittanning’s Matthew Vukovich gets tied up with Burrell’s Dillan Jeffery in the132-pound match

Burrell wrestlers rally past Kittanning to stay undefeated in section, by Matt Grubba.

Kiski Area wrestling coach Tursky pins down 500th career victory, by Doug Gulasy.

Rams get pinned; Belle Vernon clinches Section 2-AAA title, by Bill Hughes.

ON THE ICE

Baldwin hockey player’s career jump-started by ‘Sidney Crosby influence,’ by Ed Phillipps.

Franklin Regional hopes to build on winning streak, by Michael Love.

IN THE POOL

South Fayette swimming and diving reasserts championship hopes, by Gary Horvath.

Chartiers Valley senior diver Maria Lohman

Chartiers Valley diver Maria Lohman, a North Carolina recruit

Chartiers Valley diver has Olympic aspirations, by Karen Kadilak.

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January 7, 2015
by Kevin Gorman

Charlie in charge

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The Wayne Wade complaining on television after Clairton’s loss in the PIAA Class A final wasn’t the same Wayne Wade that Charlie Batch knows through his Best of the Batch Foundation summer basketball league.

So, with Clairton at the center of controversy, Batch offered to intervene.

“Coach Wade was part of the foundation basketball league we have in the summer for 10-plus years,” said Batch, whose league finished its 13th season. “He’s been top-notch all the way through with my experiences with him. I didn’t want that portrayal that was shown. The person he is, that’s not the person that was portrayed in those videos.”

Clairton is among the schools to get the best of Batch, who has gone from hometown hero as a Homestead native who spent 11 seasons as a Steelers quarterback to one who is trying to work as a mediator for WPIAL programs who face problems.

“It’s not something I’m going out of the norm to do,” Batch said. “I do it every day. My foundation has been around for 14 years and we touch 3,100 kids annually.”

Batch will host a workshop at Clairton next Thursday in an effort to get to the root of how and why the Bears reacted in the final minute of their 19-18 loss to Bishop Guilfoyle. One Clairton player started a scuffle on the field by stepping into the opposing huddle, and another escalated the incident by running onto the field and threw his helmet. When PIAA executive director Bob Lombardi refused to allow Clairton to participate in the post-game handshake, it infuriated Wade, the Bears’ head coach.

“Obviously, there were emotions throughout the course of the game. With the success that Clairton had, they let the best of their emotions get to them,” Batch said. “Whatever led to that, we don’t know – and never will. It’s a matter of getting to the players and letting them know that sportsmanship has to be carried on and off the field.”

Batch contacted WPIAL executive director Tim O’Malley, who referred him to Clairton in hopes that the school shows the PIAA it is taking the incident seriously and can avoid further severe punishment.

“We won’t know that story, and I’m not sure Coach Wade will get to tell his story the way it needs to be told because there will be sanctions,” Batch said. “They can be proactive to at least make that change. Whatever happens, he has to pay the consequences. Either way, it’s not helping the kids. There are kids who are affected, from the seniors who are graduating, to the juniors coming up to the freshmen coming onto that football team. You say, ‘We’re all going to get this together and go through this process.’

“It’s an opportunity for Clairton to get together and sit down, maybe for the first time since that incident happened.”

#TribHS PAGE

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ON THE MAT

South Park’s Wentzel wins with unconventional style, by Bill West.

Plum's Nate Turchick

Plum’s Nate Turchick looks to pin McKeesport’s Keith Rhodes

Plum senior wrestler bounces back from early-season losses, by Doug Gulasy.

Latrobe's Luke Pletcher looks to score on Derry's Micky Phillippi

Latrobe’s Luke Pletcher looks to score on Derry’s Micky Phillippi

Annual WCCA tourney to feature some of the nation’s top wrestlers, by Paul Schofield.

Alle-Kiski Valley wrestling notebook: Kiski Area’s Worthing among defending WCCA champs, by Doug Gulasy.

ON THE HARDWOOD

Thomas Jefferson's Frank Gentille (4) draws a charge against Steel Valley's Ryan McCallister (10)

Thomas Jefferson’s Frank Gentille draws a charge against Steel Valley’s Ryan McCallister

Donovan’s 15 first-half points propel Steel Valley past Thomas Jefferson, by Dave Mackall.

Norwin senior sinks game-winning shot to finish comeback against Kiski Area, by George Guido.

#TribHS roundup: Pine-Richland boys edge Seneca Valley in overtime

Greensburg Trib roundup: GCC triumphs over Apollo-Ridge

Highlands' Ryan Boda drives past Valley's Caleb Davis

Highlands’ Ryan Boda (1) drives past Valley’s Caleb Davis (13)

Highlands’ hustle, led by Dezort, enough to beat Valley, by Bill Beckner Jr.

Suspended McKeesport players set to return, by Dave Mackall.

McKeesport Daily News roundup: McKeesport defeats Woodland Hills

IN THE POOL

Derry diver Allison Brownlee

Derry diver Allison Brownlee

Derry swimmers working toward WPIAL goals, by Alex Oltmanns.

Latrobe's Monica Sowinski

Latrobe’s Monica Sowinski

Latrobe girls swim team has high expectations again, by Karen Kadilak.

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