A-K Valley high school football notes: Springdale succumbs to grueling schedule

Saturday, October 31, 2020 | 7:13 PM

Not many teams get the chance to say they faced the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 teams in their respective classification in one season.

That was the case for Springdale this year. The Dynamos led No. 3 Jeannette for most of their Eastern Conference matchup before losing 36-28, and they battled No. 1 Clairton in a 45-10 loss in the regular-season finale.

Springdale took on No. 2 Rochester on Friday in the WPIAL Class A first round and lost 34-17.

“Every loss is difficult, especially since we felt very good about our gameplan coming into this one (against Rochester). We just didn’t execute it well enough,” Springdale coach Seth Napierkowski said.

“But our guys have a lot to be proud of. These seniors were sophomores two years ago when they went 2-8. In two short years, we get back into the playoffs. It’s just unfortunate that single-A’s so good. Every week’s a challenge. This is a good football team that we have. It just wasn’t good enough (Friday).”

Springdale finished 5-3. The Dynamos, Napierkowski said, will not schedule a game to continue their season.

streak stopper

Plum’s 12-9 victory Friday over McKeesport in a WPIAL Class 4A quarterfinal game not only propelled the Mustangs into the WPIAL semifinals for the first time since 1996, it also snapped a long losing skid against the Tigers.

Plum had lost 13 straight to McKeesport dating to 1998. The last win came in 1997’s regular-season finale (20-19). The Mustangs beat the Tigers three straight times from 1995-97.

The 12 points also tied for the second fewest scored in a playoff victory in program history. The record is 10 scored in a 10-6 triumph over New Castle in the 1983 WPIAL Class 4A Division II title game.

Plum (8-0) hopes to keep its record-setting season going this Friday in its first meeting with Thomas Jefferson. The No. 2 Jaguars, the defending WPIAL and PIAA Class 4A champions, routed Mars, 41-6, in the first round.

vikings on the move

Washington traveled 61 miles Friday to face Apollo-Ridge in the WPIAL Class 2A playoffs.

The No. 4 Vikings flexed their muscles in a 42-6 victory over the No. 5 Prexies.

Now it’s Apollo-Ridge’s turn to make an extended bus trip. It will trek 65 miles to Beaver County this Friday to match up with No. 1 Beaver Falls (8-0).

When it is playoff time, traveling sizable distances often is a part of the package with the opportunity to still be playing serving as the main prize.

Apollo-Ridge faces Beaver Falls for the fourth time since 2014 when the Vikings topped the Tigers, 58-40, in the WPIAL Class 2A first round.

The teams are 2-2 in the series, with the Vikings winning the most recent matchup, 27-19, in 2017 when the current seniors were freshmen. In only his second varsity game, Logan Harmon rushed for 82 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Beaver Falls was the defending WPIAL and PIAA Class 2A champion.

youthful returns

When Freeport coach John Gaillot surveyed the postgame huddle Friday after his team’s 34-20 loss to No. 3 Elizabeth Forward in the first-round of the WPIAL Class 3A playoffs, he saw the future staring back at him.

The Yellowjackets, who finished the 2020 season 3-3, are a young bunch, and Gaillot said he is excited to see them continue to grow.

Almost all of the skill-position personnel and a majority of the line returns. On defense, eight of the nine top tacklers are eligible to come back.

Freeport’s three losses this season came to teams with a current combined record of 21-0: Elizabeth Forward (7-0), North Catholic (8-0) and Apollo-Ridge (6-0)

going out winners

When Burrell scheduled this past Friday’s game with Class 4A Ringgold, the plan was to play it on the new turf at Buccaneers Stadium.

However, yet-to-be-completed work on the stadium track forced Burrell athletic officials to seek a different venue for the homecoming matchup.

Enter Burrell’s conference rival Valley. The schools agreed to have the game at Valley, and Bucs coach Shawn Liotta was grateful to all who helped make the game happen.

Burrell earned a 26-20 victory to send its seniors out on top. Senior AJ Corrado scored three rushing touchdowns, and fellow senior Alex Arledge added the other.

Burrell, which concluded its season 3-5, is 3-0 on Valley’s turf the past two seasons. The Bucs’ five losses this year came to teams with a combined record of 30-5.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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