Guido: After memorable season, time to hand out annual football awards

Saturday, November 26, 2022 | 5:46 PM

With the unusually quick convergence of the fall sports season with the winter sports, our sports department has been as busy as the guy who runs the fake snowmaking machine for Hallmark Christmas movies.

Completion of the football playoffs with basketball and wrestling seasons being moved up a week is wild.

And don’t forget Freeport’s volleyball team winning the state title a day after the Yellowjackets football team’s season ended and statewide basketball practice began.

All of that, however, won’t stop us from passing out our 34th annual football awards:

Upset of the Year

This one’s easy. Apollo-Ridge defeating Serra Catholic, 43-36, on Oct. 21. The Vikings had the lead six times against a team ranked in the Trib HSSN top five all season.

Quote of the Year

After yet another Riverview player suffered a leg injury in an Oct. 23 game, Raiders coach Trevor George said, “We’re running out of crutches.”

Best in-season comeback

Shady Side Academy started 0-3, won seven of eight and ended up in the Class 3A semifinals.

Most gracious hosts

South Allegheny opened its new stadium Sept. 2 and proceeded to lose all four games there.

Toughest schedule

Deer Lakes. Eight of the Lancers’ 11 opponents were playoff teams.

Stat of the Year

Aliquippa coach Mike Warfield’s record in his five seasons with the Quips is 59-5. That’s a .922 winning percentage for those of you scoring at home. That mark can be extended this week when Aliquippa plays Allentown Central Catholic.

Play of the Year

Central Catholic was lining up to kick a field goal with 4 seconds to go and trailing Penn Hills, 28-27. Rowan Kautter’s kick was blocked. While Penn Hills was celebrating an apparent win, the ball lay by itself at the Indians 32. Because the block went past the line of scrimmage, Central lineman Anthony Shovlin picked up the ball and ran for the winning touchdown.

Generational talent

Hope many of you got to see Armstrong’s Cadin Olsen. Here are his final career numbers: Record as a starter: 22-10; Career passing: 521 comp./884 att./7,819 yards, seventh on the WPIAL all-time yardage list/ 95 TDs; Career rushing: 277 att./1,465 yards, 23 TDs.

As if that’s not enough, he had two receptions for 7 yards and a TD.

Total yards: 9,291, 119 TDs

Add a cherry on top: In 2022, he had 3,671 passing yards, 50 TDs

Aimless Fact of the Year

Usually in PIAA playoff games, competing schools can be as many as 300 miles apart. But next weekend, Westinghouse will play Steel Valley. The schools are 7 miles apart.

Final salute

Let’s give a shout out to Highlands’ Chandler Thimons, who finished with 5,014 passing yards, Leechburg’s Braylan Lovelace who finished with more than 4,000 career rushing yards and to Freeport, which celebrated its 100th anniversary with a trip to the WPIAL semifinals.

Outlook for 2023

Burrell will try for 300th win in school history Aug. 25 vs. Jeannette. … Knoch will show off renovated Knights Stadium after 10 road games this season. … There already is a coaching opening as Fox Chapel’s Tom Loughran retired. … In nearly all cases, schools will play the same opponents, alternating the sites.

More Football

Plum’s Moore-Watkins, Thomas sign on to continue football careers
Ohio-bound D.J. Walker, 5 other Aliquippa seniors make college commitments official
High school sports notebook: Ex-Hempfield, Jeannette football assistant heads to Central Catholic
Pine-Richland linebacker Max Heckert gets green light to commit to Slippery Rock
Cal (Pa.) lands 4 Western Pa. high school football stars