Scholastic Notebook – 09/05/2014

Friday, September 5, 2014 | 2:16 PM

It is a recurring storyline at Indiana High School. The Stapletons are staples of the football team.

It has been the story in recent years at Indiana, and it is again this season. Two of the four Stapleton brothers had big impacts on the Little Indians’ opening-night upset victory against Mars last Friday. Riley Stapleton, a 6-5 senior receiver, caught seven passes for 95 yards and scored a touchdown. Dylan Stapleton, a 6-4 junior, caught five passes for 111 yards and scored two touchdowns.

They are continuing to add to this Fab Four story of brothers. Go back over the years and you’ll have a hard time coming up with four brothers who have made such a big impact on a football team – and basketball. Kevin is the oldest of the four Stapleton brothers, followed by Derek, Riley and Dylan. Besides football, all four played or play basketball at Indiana.

To wit:

* Riley is one of the best receivers in Class AAA football. He caught 50 passes last year. But he has decided his future is in basketball. He has made a verbal commitment to play basketball at IUP, despite getting some interest from Division I-AA colleges in football.

* Dylan figures to be a key part of Indiana’s passing game this year, evidenced by his first game and also plays basketball.

* Derek Stapleton graduated from Indiana in June. He was an all-conference linebacker last season and was one of three Stapleton brothers on the football and basketball teams.

* Kevin Stapleton was an all-conference football player at Indiana but chose to play basketball in college. He scored his 1,000th point last season at Juniata College.

So, four Stapletons – and one big impact at Indiana. The sad thing for Indiana is Dylan is the last of the brothers.

But just to add a little more to the Stapleton family legacy, two girl Stapletons were standout girls basketball players at Indiana. Leslie and Aubrey Stapleton are cousins to the four boys. Leslie now plays basketball at IUP and Aubrey Stapleton plays basketball at East Stroudsburg.

More Family at Indiana

The family stories don’t end with the Stapletons at Indiana. Mark Zilinskas is Indiana’s coach. His son, Jacob, is the starting quarterback. Jacob is a 6-2, 195-pound junior who last week against Mars completed 13 of 24 passes for 231 yards.

Big-Play Braydon

Braydon Toy is only 5 feet 7. His playmaking ability is the opposite of his size.

Toy is Kittanning’s senior quarterback and the little guy always seems to make big plays. In the season opener, he averaged 19.1 yards a carry on the ground, running for 172 yards on nine carries. He also averaged 16.6 yards per completion, throwing 13 times and completing eight for 133 yards.

Toy’s big-play ability is a carryover from last year when Kittanning finished the regular season undefeated for the first time since 1976. A year ago, he threw for 1,629 yards and averaged 16 yards per completion (102 of 138). But get this: One in every five completions went for a touchdown. But he also averaged over 8 yards per rushing attempt.

Just JV

Geibel is not playing WPIAL football this year. The Gators had to forfeit a few games the past two years because it had trouble fielding enough players.

But they are still playing football at Geibel. This year, though, the Gators are playing only a JV schedule. There might be a possibility the school might ask to re-join the WPIAL somewhere down the road.

McConnell to Robert Morris

One of the top senior basketball players in the WPIAL made his college decision Thursday night. Chartiers Valley guard Matty McConnell made a verbal commitment to Robert Morris. McConnell made the commitment while he and his father, Chartiers Valley coach Tim McConnell, met with Robert Morris coach Andy Toole and his staff on the Robert Morris campus.

Matty McConnell averaged 21 points a game last season in leading the Colts to the WPIAL Class AAA title game. Robert Morris offered McConnell a scholarship in April. McConnell is still recovering from a broken foot sustained this summer. The injury kept him from playing in some AAU tournaments seen by college coaches.

“Robert Morris got to see him play before,” said Tim McConnell. “I think it’s a good fit for him. With the injury he had, some schools didn’t get to see him play. But Robert Morris put a lot of time into recruiting him and showed him a lot of commitment. Matty said ‘this is where I want to go,’ so I said let’s get it out of the way. … I’m happy and excited for him.”

McConnell is the younger brother of University of Arizona point guard T.J. McConnell.

She Beats the Boys

Canon-McMillan’s Lauren Waller is the defending WPIAL Class AAA girls golf champion. But she is pretty good at beating the boys also.

Canon-McMillan doesn’t have a girls team so Waller plays on the boys team during the season. For individual championships, she will compete against the boys.

But Waller regularly finishes first in boys dual matches. True, she tees off at 80 percent of the distance of the boys, but it is still impressive what she does. She finished first against Peters Township, a perennial power in WPIAL boys golf. She thought a 34 in that match.

On Tuesday, she shot a 36 and finished first in a match against Trinity.

WPIAL Eligibility Rulings

The Vincentian Academy girls basketball team has won three consecutive WPIAL Class A titles and a PIAA title this past season. With star Brenna Wise returning for her senior year, the Royals are expected to be strong again.

And they just got stronger this week.

The WPIAL ruled Lexi Griggs is eligible to play after transferring from Hampton. As a 5-foot-10 sophomore at Hampton last season, Griggs averaged 12.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists a game.

Hampton did not sign off on the transfer, thinking there might be athletic intent involved. But the WPIAL ruled Griggs eligible after a hearing.

The WPIAL also had a hearing with Southmoreland wrestler Austin Griffiths, but the league denied Griffiths’ request for an extra year of eligibility. Griffiths has placed in the top five twice in the past three years at the PIAA wrestling tournament.

The WPIAL ruled Griffiths ineligible to wrestle this year, saying that he used up his eligibility. Griffiths attended Southmoreland in the seventh and eighth grade, but enrolled at a cyber school in ninth grade. In February of his ninth-grade year, he then enrolled at Geibel as an eighth-grader. In 2011, he enrolled at Southmoreland as a ninth-grader.

The WPIAL said because Griffiths started ninth grade, his four-year high school eligibility clock already started.

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