A-K Valley football notebook: Springdale hopes to improve before conference opener with Clairton

Thursday, August 24, 2017 | 8:42 PM

Springdale faces an enormous challenge in its Class A Eastern Conference opener: a road date with Clairton, the three-time defending WPIAL Class A champion. By that time, though, the Dynamos will have two games under their belt.

Because of Friday's Week Zero game at Burrell and a Week 1 nonconference home date with Jefferson-Morgan, Springdale will have plenty of preparation time for its first conference game Sept. 8.

“Certainly it's a benefit,” Springdale coach Seth Napierkowski said. “We open our conference schedule with Clairton, so not a cupcake by any means. I think going out against a team the caliber of Burrell is going to be a benefit for us in the long run. They're a bigger school, they play tough, they play physical, they play fast. We have to be able to match that if we want to have any chance to succeed.”

The WPIAL's 2016 realignment into six classes, and the large conferences that resulted, leads to conference games in Week 1 for the bulk of the WPIAL.

Ironically enough, Springdale's Week Zero opponent is the only other Alle-Kiski Valley team to play a Week 1 nonconference game. Burrell travels to Hopewell in Week 1 before hosting Shady Side Academy in its Allegheny Conference opener Sept. 8.

“By the time you get to that conference game, your hope is as a coach (is that you've grown),” Burrell coach Dave Bellinotti said. “Especially our conference is very competitive and challenging.”

Hazlett hired

Burrell brought on an assistant with plenty of experience on the sidelines, as former Deer Lakes coach Todd Hazlett will coach the Bucs' offensive and defensive lines.

Hazlett coached Deer Lakes from 2007-12, compiling a 17-39 record. He led the Lancers to a 7-3 record and the first WPIAL playoff berth in program history in 2010.

“It's a great addition,” Bellinotti said.

Open the gates

Kiski Area will open the Davis Field gates for all home games at 5:30 p.m. this season, with kickoff at 7 p.m., athletic director John Peterman said.

The Cavaliers host Canon-McMillan on Friday.

Anniversary time

A few Alle-Kiski Valley teams are celebrating significant football anniversaries this fall.

This season marks the 70th anniversary of New Kensington's WPIAL Class 3A title, the 50th anniversary of Burrell's WPIAL Class 2A title and the 20th anniversary of Riverview's WPIAL Class A title. Burrell beat Freeport in the championship game in 1967 and ‘68.

Additionally, Highlands is celebrating its 50th year as a school.

Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

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