Another successful season for Guyasuta youth football

Saturday, October 16, 2021 | 11:01 AM

It’s been another banner season for Guyasuta youth football.

After reaching the championship game in all three age/weight classes last season, the program is knocking on the door again in the Allegheny Youth Football League.

The Braves (ages 10 and under) won it all last year while the Warriors (12 and under) and the Tomahawks (8 and under) were runners-up.

The oldest group has a weight limit of 160 pounds per player, the middle group 135 pounds and the youngest group 105 pounds.

Michael Ostrowski has been coaching the older players for 33 years and his philosophy is simple: “We try to teach fundamentals to get ready for the next level so they can play on the high school level.”

Coaching the Braves is Frank Iusi, and the Tomahawks are guided by Steve Mayhew.

All three teams were slated for their regular season finales Oct. 16 at Lower Burrell. The AYFL was then set to meet to determine playoff seeding.

Guyasuta plays its home games at Shady Side Academy’s Michael Farrell Stadium and practices are held at Blawnox Community Park.

Through the years, Ostrowski has seen players develop more quickly and can be offered a more advanced playbook.

“We can get into the more sophisticated stuff,” Ostrowski said. “We can do some passing out of the shotgun formation and the spread formation, even when we run the ball.”

Ostrowski said about 85% of the players in the program are from the Fox Chapel Area School District. Last year, despite the pandemic, the league managed to get its season in. Youngsters who weren’t having football in their areas were welcomed into the league on a one-year exception.

Other teams in the league include Deer Lakes, Ford City, Freeport, Highlands-based Rams Youth Football Organization), Plum, West Mifflin, Brentwood and East Allegheny.

“This is a great league and they have some good people,” Ostrowski said. “All the coaches get along and have become pretty good friends.”

Each league entry has a board of directors with Barbara McBriar serving as the Guyasuta organization’s president. McBriar has been with the Guyasuta group for 36 years.

Additionally, the Allegheny Valley Youth League has a governing board made up us representatives from the individual community organizations.

Fundraising is a key. The Guyasuta ladies auxiliary has to raise funds to meet various expenses, including $6,000 annually to rent Michael Farrell Stadium, equipment, compensating officials and insurance.

The organization was once known as Fox Chapel Area Youth Football but changed its name some years back to honor the Seneca Native American chief.

Guyasuta sided with the French in the French & Indian War and with the British during the American Revolution.

Eventually, he reconciled with the American settlers in the Pittsburgh region, and General James O’ Hara, for whom the township was named, allowed Guyasuta to live out his final years in a cabin on his estate until he died in 1795.

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