George Guido: A-K Valley football teams failed to surpass .500 record
By: George Guido
Tuesday, November 6, 2018 | 4:27 PM
For the first time since 1909, there are no Alle-Kiski football teams that finished over .500.
Of course, there were only a handful of teams that were around in 1909 — New Kensington, Tarentum, Ford City, Apollo, Aspinwall and Parnassus.
Forbes Field opened that year, William H. Taft was in the first year of his presidency, Arizona and New Mexico weren’t even states yet and my grandfather still lived in the Abruzzo Province of Italy.
Local teams had all sorts of problems in 2018.
A-K Valley teams had a cumulative record of 38-91.
There were 43 games where local teams gave up 40 or more points in a game.
There were some bright spots.
• Kiski Area opened Richard Dilts Stadium on Aug. 24.
• Armstrong opened its new facility and qualified for the playoffs on the final night of the regular season.
• Highlands quarterback Seth Cohen became the first local player to eclipse the 4,000-yard career passing mark, doing it against New Castle on Oct. 27. He finished with 4,011 yards.
As difficult as this season was, it’s time to pass out this year’s awards:
Kiski Area. Nine of the Cavaliers’ 11 games were against playoff teams.
Most improved team
Locally, it was Leechburg that went from zero wins to 5. Beaver Falls went from one win in 2017 to nine so far this year, pending the outcome of Friday’s playoff game against Aliquippa.
Mars has made the WPIAL playoffs 14 straight seasons. The Planets have done it in four different classifications — 2A, 3A, 4A and this year in 5A.
Career achievement Award
Kiski Area coach Sam Albert has now piloted five different schools to WPIAL playoff berths, with preceding runs at Valley, Butler, Freeport and Highlands.
On the brink
Fox Chapel coach Tom Loughran’s next win will be the 200th of his career.
Stat of the year
In the Belle Vernon-Ringgold game on Oct. 26, the halftime stats showed Belle Vernon with 302 offensive yards to 2 for Ringgold.
Aimless fact of the year
Freeport had a 5-5 record and now has 555 all-time wins.
Seth for certain
What makes Cohen’s record more impressive is that he did it in 22 games, 20 as a starter. Plus, he did it without any playoff games added to the schedule.
Quote of the year
Upper St. Clair coach Jim Render, downplaying his 400th career victory: “What does it mean, if I have 395 wins instead of 400, people won’t visit my grave as often?”
Thirst for 300
With an all-time record of 297-298-13, will Knoch get to 300 wins or 300 losses first?
Upset of the year
Sept. 28, Freeport 20, Yough 0. The Yellowjackets had lost three in a row and turned the tide with this victory. Freeport held Dustin Shoaf, one of the top 25 ball carriers in WPIAL history, to just 89 yards.
Play of the year
Sept. 28, Hampton 34, Kiski Area 31. Walk-offs are usually associated with baseball, but Hampton’s Harper Cook kicked a 25-yard field goal as time expired.
Outlook for 2019
Let’s hope some teams can turn things around and be, at least, conference title contenders. … The schedules will be the same, with the sites being reversed from this year. The exception is Plum, where an open date exists in Week 6 with Albert Gallatin dropping out of the WPIAL for football. … Springdale will play its 900th football game in Week 1. … Apollo-Ridge’s ninth game will be the 500th in school history. … Kiski Area needs three wins to reach 300.
George Guido is a Valley News Dispatch scholastic sports correspondent. His column appears Wednesdays.