Scholastic Notebook – 09/19/2014

Friday, September 19, 2014 | 2:29 PM

At the rate he is passing, Pine-Richland quarterback Ben DiNucci has a good chance to become the 17th player in WPIAL history to throw for 5,000 career yards.

While that is an impressive feat, Pine-Richland does thro the ball often. So DiNucci will naturally pile up yardage. What might be more impressive about DiNucci is his accuracy.

DiNucci is a 6-foot-2, 195-pound senior who you probably wouldn’t want to play in darts. Sure, in Pine-Richland’s spread offense, DiNucci throws a number of short passes. But he still throws downfield and his accuracy is uncanny.

Consider that in this year and in 2013, DiNucci has completed 72 percent of his passes. That is an extremely high percentage for a high school quarterback. In fact, that is a high percentage for a college or NFL quarterback. Consider that in two weeks, only two NFL quarterbacks have a higher completion percentage than DiNucci – Robrt Griffin III of the Washington Redskins at 77.5 and Austin Davis of St. Louis of 73.1.

DiNucci became Pine-Richland’s starting quarterback as a sophomore and completed 59 percent of his passes that season (103 for 175 for 1,219 yards). His accuracy went up the next two years.

Last season, DiNucci completed 72 percent (167 of 233 for 2,131 yards). This year, he has completed 73 percent (58 of 79 for 793 yards). The past two games, he has completed 79 percent (44 of 56).

DiNucci leads the WPIAL in passing yardage and has helped Pine-Richland to a 3-0 record. If Pine-Richland beats Kiski Area tonight and North Hills beats Seneca Valley, it sets up a week five showdown between two undefeated teams – Pine-Richland and North Hills.

DiNucci already has made a verbal commitment to Penn of the Ivy League.

Monz Resigns at Carlynton

While players and teams usually make news at this time of the year, a coach’s resignation was a big story in the WPIAL this week.

Mauro Monz’s tenure as Carlynton’s coach lasted only three games before he handed in his letter of resignation.

Monz was quoted in media outlets as saying he resigned because he feared for the safety of his players and he complained about Carlynton not doing anything to stay in Class A instead of Class AA. But Carlynton can’t do anything about its classification. It is based on enrollment figures. And Carlynton has known since December that it would be in Class AA. Monz was hired in April and knew the team would be in Class AA.

Scott Yoder is the interim head coach now at Carlynton.

Basketball Coaches

While Monz’s departure at Carlynton got attention this week, there was another coaching move that  made some news.

Steel Valley got rid of boys basketball coach Shawn McCallister and hired former Penn Hills standout Drew Schifino.

The move to not re-hire McCallister was controversial. Many of his players and other community members attended a school board meeting Monday to support McCallister, who also is the school’s athletic director. McCallister has been coach for 11 seasons and he guided Steel Valley to a 15-5 record last season.

But the board still hired Schifino, who has been a head coach for one season. Schifino was 6-16 last year at Waynesburg. He played at West Virginia University, California of Pa. and professionally overseas.

The hiring process at Steel Valley could definitely be considered unusual. The board interviewed McCallister for his position. Then school officials had McCallister sit on an interview committee and interview other candidates for HIS job.

“I was hurt by the whole thing,” McCallister said. “We, as coaches, invested a lot of time in the players and the students of the whole Steel Valley community. We worried about more than just the player himself. … The whole thing is disheartening. You give your heart and soul to a program and then have the board come in, for no given reason, and open the job.”

McCallister remains as Steel Valley’s athletic director.

More Basketball Coaching News

Gateway has a new boys basketball coach. The school has hired Daryn Freedman to succeed Mitch Adams, who resigned a few weeks ago.

Freedman was most recently the coach at Kiski School, a prep school in Saltsburg. He also was an assistant at Sewickley Academy and he runs the Basketball Stars of America AAU club.

In WPIAL girls basketball, Korie Morton-Rozier resigned as girls coach at Woodland Hills. Morton-Rozier is a standout former player at Woodland Hills. She coached the Wolverines for 11 years and made the WPIAL playoffs seven times.

Ace at Sections

Deer Lakes sophomore Conner Chirdon didn’t make it out of Wednesday’s WPIAL Class AA Section 3 boys golf tournament to advance to next week’s championships. But it was still a memorable day for Chirdon.

He had a hole-in-one on the seventh hole at Shannopin Country Club. Chirdon aced the 126-yard par 3 with a nine iron.

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