Alle-Kiski valley high school notebook: Kiski Area grad faces Steelers

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Wednesday, November 21, 2018 | 5:09 PM


The man who will try to slow down the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense Sunday hails from the Alle-Kiski Valley.

Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Joe Woods, a 1988 Kiski Area graduate, will call the plays Sunday as the Steelers visit Broncos Field at Mile High at 4:25 p.m.

A longtime defensive backs coach, Woods became the Broncos’ coordinator in 2017 after the hire of coach Vance Joseph. The Broncos rank fourth in Football Outsiders’ Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) defensive rankings, which calculates how successful teams are compared to the rest of the league.

The Steelers, meanwhile, rank fifth in Football Outsiders’ offensive DVOA standings entering Sunday’s game.

A New York Thanksgiving

The WPIAL and PIAA cross country championships didn’t spell the end of the fall season for runners from Fox Chapel and New York, who will compete in two regional events Saturday in New York.

A quartet of Fox Chapel runners will race at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional at VanCortlandt Park in the Bronx.

Junior Christian Fitch, who placed third overall at the WPIAL Class AAA championships last month and added a fifth at states, will test his mettle in the boys championship race at 11 a .m. Senior Sarena Seeger and juniors Grace Sisson and Brooke Krally, who helped the Fox Chapel girls team place third at WPIALs and fifth at states, will race in the girls championship at 11:40.

The top 10 finishers in each race advance to the 40th Foot Locker Nationals on Dec. 8. The top 30 earn medals. There are expected to be close to 200 runners in each race.

Kierra Shreffler, a senior, will represent Kiski Area and face runners from New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island and New Hampshire in the girls championship race at the Nike Northeast Regionals at 1:45 p.m. Saturday at Bowdoin Park in Wappinger Falls, N.Y. The top five non-team finishers from the boys and girls championship races will advance to Nike Nationals on Dec. 1 in Portland, Ore.

Shreffler capped her high school career with a 15th-place finish at the WPIAL championships, and she took 13th at states. Both were career bests.

Other runners from Kiski Area will form teams and compete in the open girls and boys races at 10 and 11 a.m., respectively.

Runners’ high

A strong fall on the cross country course culminated in postseason recognition for Fitch and Seeger, who were named the Alle-Kiski Area runners of the year. Alle-Kiski Valley coaches pick the runners of the year each fall, along with three boys and three girls all-star teams.

The first-team boys all-stars included Riverview’s Noah Black, Gideon Deasy, Mason Ochs and Lucas Wilton, Shady Side Academy’s Adam Lauer and Leo Liu, Deer Lakes’ Josh Yourish, Freeport’s Josh McCoy, Highlands’ C.J. Thimons and Knoch’s Braden Zukowski.

The first-team girls all-stars included Fox Chapel’s Anna Folkerts, Brooke Krally, Grace Sisson and Annika Urban; Kiski Area’s Josie Plazio and Kierra Shreffler; Burrell’s Lauren Brown; Knoch’s Sammy Jo Barnes; Plum’s Angela Valotta; and Shady Side Academy’s Emmie Lau.

Delay of game

Some A-K Valley winter sports teams got off to a delayed start thanks to the blast of winter weather that hit Western Pennsylvania late last week.

With schools across the region canceling classes because of bad roads or power outages Friday, that meant many teams couldn’t open practice that day, the WPIAL’s first allowed day of official workouts.

In fact, with outages extended deep into the weekend, many schools had to wait until Sunday or Monday to practice. That was the case at Deer Lakes, where power outages at the high school caused the girls basketball team to move its first official practice to the middle school Sunday, and the boys basketball team waited until Monday for its first practice.

“It’s taken us a second to kind of get in the groove with it, but I’m confident that we’ll bounce back the same way we always do,” said Deer Lakes’ Anna Solomon, a senior on the girls basketball team.

Bottomless fries, but no power

Power outages even affected the Deer Lakes boys soccer team Friday, even though the Lancers were hundreds of miles from their homes.

The team, which played in the PIAA championship game Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium, was gathered at a Red Robin restaurant near the stadium for a meal Friday when the power went out.

Denied their chance at bottomless fries, the Lancers instead went back to their hotel to eat.

Griffin Moore

Apollo-Ridge senior girls basketball player Maddy Moore signed last week with Seton Hill.

The sharpshooting guard begins her senior season as the all-time leading 3-point shooter in Apollo-Ridge history with 70 makes.

She finished second on the Vikings in scoring last season with 11.5 points per game, hitting 42 3-pointers at a 37 percent clip.

More recruiting

Deer Lakes football players Nick Caro, Colin Kadlick and Zak Raynovich picked up collegiate offers recently.

Kadlick, a first-team all-conference tight end, received offers from Lake Erie College, Moravian College and Thiel. Caro, a second-team all-conference kicker and a member of the boys soccer team, was offered by Thiel. Raynovich, an honorable mention defensive end, was offered by Moravian and Thiel.

Michael Love contributed. Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Doug at dgulasy@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.

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