Realignment no surprise for Fox Chapel, Shady Side Academy teams

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Saturday, January 29, 2022 | 11:01 AM


The WPIAL section realignments for the next two football and soccer seasons have been issued, and a couple of local coaches all but predicted where their teams would land.

Shady Side Academy has been advanced to Class 3A in football from 2A, as anticipated by coach Chuck DiNardo, while Fox Chapel girls soccer has returned to familiar ground.

Those are among the highlights of the WPIAL’s biennial realignment where Shady Side Academy has been placed in a section with larger football schools and the Fox Chapel girls will be getting out a section with a number of Westmoreland County schools.

Because of the addition of athletes from The Neighborhood Academy, it was a foregone conclusion that the Bulldogs would move up in class.

“We’re pretty excited,” DiNardo said. “It’s like the old Allegheny Conference rivalries back again with these guys. There’s a new face in Knoch, dropping down from (Class) 4A, and we’re excited about that. I’ll get to see some old rivals again.”

The Bulldogs will also be facing Deer Lakes, East Allegheny, Freeport and Valley.

The mere mention of East Allegheny should bring fond memories to Shady Side fans. On Nov. 1, 2006, in the era of Week 10 games for nonplayoff teams, Shady Side defeated East Allegheny, 43-6, in what was thought to be an obscure Wednesday night football game that gave the team a 5-5 record.

But in a larger sense, the victory was a springboard toward eight consecutive WPIAL football playoff appearances.

Fox Chapel football will remain in Class 5A Northeast Conference with North Hills, Penn Hills, Pine-Richland and Shaler. Kiski Area has dropped to Class 4A. The WPIAL originally put Aliquippa in the conference before that school won its PIAA appeal to remain in 4A.

That gives Fox Chapel just a five-team conference, similar to the small grouping that is plaguing Class 6A teams. Unless something changes, the Foxes will have more nonconference game than conference games.

After spending the last two seasons in a section comprised of teams largely outside of Allegheny County, the Fox Chapel girls are now in a section with likes of Seneca Valley, North Allegheny and Butler.

“It’s not unusual and not surprising,” coach Peter Torres said. “We were in that section for eight years before. If they’re only going to have two 4A sections, that makes sense.”

The only new school in the Fox Chapel boys soccer section is Central Catholic. The Foxes will be shooting for their 22nd straight WPIAL playoff appearance this coming fall.

Shady Side girls soccer players are in for some long road trips. The Bulldogs are in with Brownsville (53 miles one way) and McGuffey (46 miles), a school district that borders West Virginia. Other schools are Keystone Oaks, South Park and West Mifflin.

Realignment

A look at new sections for Fox Chapel and Shady Side Academy fall sports teams:

Football

Section 2-5A

Fox Chapel

North Hills

Penn Hills

Pine-Richland

Shaler

Section 2-3A

Shady Side Academy

Deer Lakes

East Allegheny

Freeport

Knoch

Valley

Boys soccer

Section 1-4A

Fox Chapel

Butler

Central Catholic

North Allegheny

North Hills

Pine-Richland

Seneca Valley

Shaler

Section 2-2A

Shady Side Academy

Deer Lakes

Derry

Freeport

Greensburg Salem

Jeannette

Knoch

Leechburg

Girls soccer

Section 1-4A

Fox Chapel

Allderdice

Butler

North Allegheny

North Hills

Pine-Richland

Seneca Valley

Shaler

Section 4-2A

Shady Side Academy

Brownsville

Keystone Oaks

McGuffey

South Park

West Mifflin

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