By Matt Popchock
For my money, preseason football is for three kinds of people: coaches, marginal players who are fighting for jobs, and talk show hosts (and you know I know a thing or two about that last one).
However, I do take one glaring thing from a nationally-televised 26-24 win over the Indianapolis Colts at Heinz Field Sunday:
A blocked punt.
But it wasn’t just any blocked punt. It was a serious WPIAL flashback.
Former Gateway product Mortty Ivy, still playing in a backup role with the Steelers, got in the way of a boot by Plum graduate Pat McAfee, one of very individuals Ivy once opposed in the Class AAAA Foothills Conference, not to mention his old WVU teammate.
Listen to his take on the play, which he shared with Seibel, Starkey & Miller Monday.
Ivy isn’t the only WPIAL alumnus on the Steelers’ preseason roster, either. We’re all well aware of Charlie Batch (Steel Valley) and Ryan Mundy (Woodland Hills), but don’t forget offensive lineman Johnny Malecki (Franklin Regional) and rookie receiver Toney Clemons (Valley) still have a shot to make the team. Clemons made one catch for 14 yards Sunday, his first unofficial reception as a Steeler.
Furthermore, McAfee isn’t the only player on the Colts with WPIAL ties. Former Moon all-conference lineman A.Q. Shipley, who starred at Penn State before unsuccessful stints with the Steelers and Eagles, is trying to shoehorn his way into the group of men who will be responsible for protecting Andrew Luck. Pro Bowler Jeff Saturday is now a Green Bay Packer, so although veteran center Samson Satele is ahead of Shipley on the depth chart, there seems to be a good chance this will work out for him.
Check out this profile of Shipley recently penned by Mike Bires of the Beaver County Times.
OTHER WPIAL SPORTS NEWS:
As long as we’re mentioning graduates of Gateway, we might as well tell you basketball standout Tyler Scott has picked a college.
Scott, a 6’5, 185-pound forward on back-to-back district championship squads for the Gators, formally committed to Kent State Monday.
Scott told the Tribune-Review’s Kevin Gorman he was eager to get his college career started; instead of going to prep school for a year, which was his original plan, he’ll take an academic redshirt and still have four years of eligibility while he brings up his grades to Division I standards.
Averaging over 16 points per game as a senior, he had been offered by, among other (smaller) schools, Duquesne, Penn State, and West Virginia.
BY THE WAY…
Normally “Mr. High School Sports” prefers to stick to just that here, but he couldn’t help noticing this highlight from the first weekend of peewee football season.
Check out this punt return in Beaver County Youth Football League action by Michael Savilisky of the Chippewa Indians midget team, courtesy of our friends at HeyRubino.com/Rubino Productions:
So he wants us to name the play? Hmm…
I think, in honor of Beaver County, I’ll call it “Revis Redux.”
(Follow me on Twitter @mpopchock.)