"Mr. High School Sports" – Spanning the States
For all the feel-good stories that take place in high school sports, there are just as many “feel-bad” stories. And quite frankly, there’s a lot of stories that are a little bit of both. For example, on the local front, I felt good for Deer Lakes finally making the playoffs, and I felt bad for Geibel, another long-suffering program, being eliminated from contention. You might say it was a melancholy week for high school football around the country.
You’ll feel bad for what one kid in Kentucky has had to put up with, but you’ll feel good when you see what he’s been up to on the field. Many already feel bad for Connellsville, which is approaching a WPIAL record streak of the wrong kind, but you’ll feel better when you see that there was a PIAA team actually doing worse…until now. And yes, you’ll even feel bad for members of the media who have to stay late to cover games that run long…real long. With help from our friends at MaxPreps.com, here are some of the latest scholastic football headlines from all over the greatest (sports) country in the world:
HARNED, KY – Chance Anthony (pictured left in dark red), a senior wide receiver for Breckinridge County (Harned, Kentucky), has brought a whole new meaning to the phrase “one-handed grab.” Earlier this month he caught his first-ever varsity touchdown pass in Breckinridge County’s homecoming game before catching another that night, and in a truly inspirational development, he is the Fighting Tigers’ leading receiver with 13 catches for 204 yards following last week’s win at Atherton (Louisville, Kentucky)…despite being born without the bottom half of his right arm. Oh, by the way, did I mention he’s a linebacker too? Anthony has 12 solo tackles, three tackles for a loss, and one safety to his credit through nine games. He is a nominee for the national High School Football Rudy Award, named after Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger of Notre Dame fame, which is presented annually and includes a five-figure college scholarship. Click here for more on Anthony’s feel-good story.
ROCK HILL, SC – I mentioned Northwestern (Rock Hill, South Carolina) quarterback Justin Worley not long ago, and last Friday the starter for the No. 2 team in South Carolina according to MaxPreps added another milestone to what is shaping up to be a legendary high school resume. In an impressive 42-21 victory over visiting Clover (Clover, South Carolina), ranked ninth in the state, the senior completed 33 of 45 passes for 429 yards and four touchdowns, setting two South Carolina high school football records in the process. Worley, a University of Tennessee recruit, now owns the state mark for career TD passes with 131 and the all-time yardage record at 11,214. Worley is among the top ten high school QB’s in American history in single-season completion percentage (71.5 percent), and needs just three more touchdown tosses to move past ex-Browns QB Tim Couch for No. 10 in American history in career TD’s.
FOXBURG, PA – It’s true what Bill Cowher and Chuck Noll used to say: you’re never as good as you think you are, and you’re never as bad as people say you are. Like I said before, it’s been disappointing to see the Connellsville Falcons continue to lose, but there was, coincidentally, another western PA team called the Falcons doing worse…until last Friday. To be precise, the Allegheny-Clarion Valley (Foxburg, Pennsylvania) Falcons, a Class AA program in PIAA District 9, ended their 46-game skid last week with a 13-8 win at home over Hancock (Hancock, Maryland). Tailback Alex Ford ran the ball 16 times for 109 yards and got A-C Valley on the board in the second quarter, then scored the game-winning TD in the fourth. That losing streak was, prior to the victory, the longest active losing streak in the Commonwealth.
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Can you imagine a dominant program like Clairton, Thomas Jefferson, or the like not winning a single playoff round? Neither can I. But elsewhere in the country, we have one of our first major postseason upsets of 2010. The Warren Central (Indianapolis, Indiana) Warriors were the defending state champions and top-ranked Class 5A team in Indiana, their only regular season loss coming at the hands of nationally-ranked Glenville (Cleveland, Ohio). It seemed obvious they were in a world separate from their opponent in the First Round of the IHSAA Football Playoffs, Lawrenceville Central (Indianapolis, Indiana), even though the latter had won its section too. But in a classic that’s-why-they-play-the-game game, the Bears stunned Warren Central 35-14. Tre Roberson hooked up with Marciellen Gardner for a 78-yard TD pass on the first play from scrimmage, and Roberson scored himself shortly thereafter following a fumble recovery for an early 14-0 advantage the underdogs would not relinquish.
PASADENA, CA – Based on what I’ve heard through the grapevine, the WPIAL has, at least once, toyed with the notion of making 7:00 a universal kickoff time. A lot more schools around here are doing it, and, in theory, it allows members of the print media to meet deadlines with a little more ease. Last week’s game between Valley Christian (Cerritos, California) and Maranatha (Pasadena, California) makes this idea seem even better, I’m sure. Valley Christian prevailed 70-64 in five overtimes in a game that ended around 2:30 AM Eastern/11:30 PM Pacific…which means it ended too late for results to be published in local newspapers. Ironically, many of the scoring drives didn’t take long at all; the longest all night was 1:53, and there were ten that took less than one minute.
For more of the latest news and views on and off the gridiron, be sure to check out The Post-Gazette High School Football Show Presented by First Commonwealth Bank with the Post-Gazette’s Mike White and MSA’s Don Rebel. Due to Pitt’s noon kickoff against Louisville, catch us at a special time this week: Saturday morning 7:00-9:00 on SportsRadio 93.7 The Fan and 937thefan.com!