Scheduling conflict means Springdale kicker will play in Friday’s soccer final

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Wednesday, November 1, 2017 | 7:09 PM


Faced with a decision between two sports, Logan Panza chose his first love.

Panza, a Springdale senior, will start at defender when the Dynamos play Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic in the WPIAL Class A boys soccer championship game at 8 p.m. Friday at Highmark Stadium.

He also kicks for the football team, but he won't be able to do that this weekend — Springdale opens the WPIAL Class A football playoffs against Our Lady of the Sacred Heart at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Panza said Wednesday he didn't want to comment much on the situation but confirmed he'll play in the soccer championship game. Springdale is making its first title-game appearance since 2009 and is seeking its first championship since 1973.

“It is what it is,” Panza said. “Stuff happens like that in life, and you've just got to get through it.

“It's just what you've got to do. Soccer was my first sport from the beginning, and everyone agrees with me going to soccer. I hope my football team does great, too. I love my football team, too, but I can't be at both of them at one time. I wish, but it's not going to happen.”

The WPIAL scheduled eight boys and girls soccer championship games for this weekend at Highmark Stadium — two Thursday, two Friday and four Saturday. Friday's schedule includes the Class AAA girls title game between Moon at Mars at 6 p.m., followed by Springdale and North Catholic.

Allegheny Valley School Board member Donald Rocco said he was disappointed by the WPIAL scheduling Springdale for 8 p.m., considering the football conflict. Springdale football coach Seth Napierkowski and boys soccer coach Cesareo Sanchez referred comment to the district administration, which did not return a request for comment.

“I don't know what the answer is to it, but it just seems that they have those time slots and they chose a Single-A team and threw them in there and (the WPIAL) gave no foresight that there might be players on the soccer team that also play football, especially at a small school where the numbers are low,” Rocco said.

WPIAL executive director Tim O'Malley said no matter which soccer teams were scheduled for Friday, at least one school would have a football conflict. All four boys soccer championship games feature at least one school whose football team also made the playoffs. North Catholic, Springdale's soccer opponent, plays Brentwood in a first-round football game Friday.

The WPIAL kept the majority of its 2016 soccer championship schedule intact. The 2016 Class A boys game also was played Friday night.

“The district deadline is Saturday,” O'Malley said. “We have to play Thursday, Friday, Saturday with the expanded (classifications). On Friday, we have to play two games. Whoever you play on Friday has a conflict with a football game.”

Chris Harlan contributed. Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

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