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“Mr. High School Sports” – Eye on the WPIAL: 5 Class A Coaches with Something to Prove

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We’ll be keeping an “Eye on the WPIAL” throughout the summer, leading up to the kickoff of the 2011 high school football season…

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By Matt Popchock

Some may fight for championships, others may fight to build on what they began in 2010, while still others may simply fight for respectability for their programs. At any rate, here are five head football coaches “Mr. High School Sports” will be keeping an eye on in Class A this fall:

Dan Knause, Cornell – Was the end of a long playoff drought in 2010 merely lightning in a bottle? Or can he continue to revitalize this once-forlorn Class AA program and keep it relevant in the Big 7 Conference in 2011 and beyond?

Andy Pacak, Monessen – His Greyhounds, as usual, are expected to contend out of the Tri-County South Conference, but the competition should remain stiff, and no Tri-County South team has won a Class A WPIAL championship since Jefferson-Morgan repeated in 1974. Can his team buck that conference’s forgettable showing in recent playoff tournaments and make a run with a new-look offense?

Ryan Cecchini, Avella – Things have gotten so bad there in recent years that cheerleaders and trombone players literally had to put on the pads just to keep the team going. Can the Eagles’ new coach at least get his team to play hard enough to bump up interest in the program, or will this small Greene County squad continue teetering on the brink of extinction?

Bill Daniels, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart – His biggest accomplishment last year was leading the new program to its historic first win. Are greater achievements on the horizon this year, or will it take a few more before we’re all talking about Charger football?

Gene Matsook, Rochester – Competitively speaking, the Rams have seldom missed a beat under his watch, and he’s had the misfortune of running into some amazing teams at Heinz Field, but it’s not like they didn’t have chances to win those title games. Can he and his kids make the third consecutive time the charm?

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Be sure to revisit the “Mr. High School Sports” blog at 937thefan.com throughout the summer for more high school football coverage, as we prepare to kick off the 2011 season!