George Guido: Owens Field will be silent on its 100th birthday

Tuesday, September 24, 2019 | 4:37 PM

Happy 100th birthday wishes to Owens Field in Apollo, even though there will be no party.

The Alle-Kiski Valley’s oldest sports facility still in use hosted its first event Sept. 27, 1919, when Apollo blasted first-year Leechburg, 47-0.

The Vikings game Friday will not take place as scheduled.

Apollo-Ridge was supposed to host Shady Side Academy in an important Allegheny Conference game. But Shady Side officials notified Apollo-Ridge on Monday they are down to 14 healthy players, many of them inexperienced underclassmen.

The show must go on, however. School officials said homecoming ceremonies will go on as scheduled.

Ground was broken at Owens Field in a July 4 ceremony, and the field was set to go less than 90 days later. The field is on one-time farmland donated to the community by the Owens Family.

Apollo formerly played at Allison Park near the borough’s riverfront.

Lights were added for the 1938 season, and the field underwent an overhaul in 2010.

What’s in the future for Owens Field?

The venerable facility could get artificial turf. The school board is looking into taking out a bond issue for various school district upgrades. One of the considerations is to re-sod the field or install artificial turf.

Midterm evaluations

Let’s take a look at where local teams stand at the season’s halfway mark:

Class 5A

Kiski Area will take another crack at school victory No. 300 on Friday at Hampton after narrowly losing to Penn Hills, 7-3. The Cavaliers need a win to stay in playoff contention. Sixteen of the 23 teams will make the playoffs.

Fox Chapel picked up coach Tom Loughran’s 200th career victory Friday night but will take a rare, two-week break from Northern Conference play. The game at home against Armstrong on Oct. 18 might determine the Foxes’ playoff fate.

Plum, with one conference win, has a difficult task Friday at Penn-Trafford. But if the Mustangs win Oct. 11 at Latrobe, the Oct. 25 game at Hempfield — which will serve as the seventh conference game with the absence of Albert Gallatin — could come into play.

Class 4A

Knoch, off to its best start since 2011 at 5-0, can clinch a playoff spot with a victory Friday at home against Montour.

Highlands (1-2 in the conference) needs victories over Ambridge and Montour over the next two weeks to get into playoff contention. The top four conference teams make the playoffs.

Class 3A

Deer Lakes adopted the preseason mantra of “Why not us?” The Lancers (3-1 in the conference) might answer their own question with victories in the next two weeks over Burrell and Freeport.

Burrell is in fifth place in the Big East Conference, where the top four go to the playoffs. The Bucs’ fate will be decided over the next three weeks with games against Deer Lakes, Mount Pleasant and Freeport.

Freeport is 1-3 in the conference and has to win its last four games to stay in the postseason conversation.

Class 2A

With Friday’s forfeit, Apollo-Ridge is on the brink of playoff qualification. The Vikings’ magic number is one. Any Apollo-Ridge victory or Steel Valley loss puts the Vikings in the postseason.

Also, if Apollo-Ridge beats Steel Valley and Valley, the Vikings can open the playoffs at home — making up for the missed game.

Valley is struggling and is looking to play spoiler in the second half.

Class A

Leechburg is coming off back-to-back games in which it scored more than 40 points for the first time since 2000, when the Blue Devils opened with dominant wins over Avonworth and Neshannock. But Leechburg has to play No. 2 Clairton on Friday at home.

Springdale, one of the A-K’s surprises at 4-1, faces a key road game Friday at Greensburg Central Catholic.

The top two teams from each conference plus two third-place wild cards make the Class A playoffs.

Winless Riverview has a chance to get into the win column Saturday at home against winless Imani Christian.

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