Scholastic Notebook – 10/03/2014

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Friday, October 3, 2014 | 11:09 AM


Maybe you’ve heard the quote “Down goes Frazier, Down goes Frazier.” It is a line from legendary sports announcer Howard Cosell, describing boxer Joe Frazier after he went down from a George Foreman punch in a famous 1973 bout.

In WPIAL football this year, it is “Up goes Frazier, Up goes Frazier.”

Things haven’t been this good in Perryopolis (where Frazier is located) since 10 years after that Frazier-Foreman fight. The Frazier Commodores are 5-0 and have a showdown tonight with Beth-Center for first place in the Tri-County South Conference. The winner likely will win the Tri-County South title. Frazier has not started a season 5-0 since 1983, when the school made it all the way to the WPIAL Class A championship game before losing to Western Beaver.

That 1983 team, incidentally, had a standout quarterback in Ray Ciferno, a talented running back in Ken Poling and receiver-running back Joe Lafko. Now the boys basketball coach at Hampton, Lafko finished his career with 37 interceptions, which is still a state record today.

This Frazier team has been on the rise the past few years under coach Mike Steeber, who was hired in 2010. From 1997 through 2010, Frazier did not finish above .500. The Commodores were 4-5 in Steeber’s first year and then started to climb. Frazier went 6-4 in 2011, 7-3 in 2012 and 7-3 again in 2013.

Yes, Frazier plays in the much-maligned Tri-County South, but the Commodores are still one of the surprising storylines of this WPIAL season. Frazier has been impressive offensively and defensively. The Commodores are averaging 40 points a game and allowing only 6.

Alvin Ross is averaging better than 100 yards rushing a game with 519 yards on 46 attempts. Frazier has used two quarterbacks. Hunter Patterson is 21 of 37 for 490 yards while Chris Pierce is 10 of 18 for 191 yards. Patterson is a dual threat. He also has rushed for 174 yards on 29 carries.

Beating Beth-Center will be tough to do, but if the Commodores win, they could be looking at their first conference title since 1993, when they tied East Allegheny for the Class AA Century Conference title.

Schoppe Will Coach

Bishop Canevin coach Darren Schoppe was ejected from last Saturday night’s game because two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties were called on his bench. An ejection in Pennsylvania high school sports means a coach or player is automatically ineligible for the next game.

But Schoppe will coach this week because the officials in the game made a mistake by ejecting Schoppe.

One of the unsportsmanlike conduct penalties was against Schoppe, but the other against an assistant. The officials made an error by thinking all bench penalties go to the head coach. The PIAA informed Bishop Canevin of the mistake, which allows Schoppe to coach.

Controversial Transfer

Transfers of talented student-athletes can make headlines in the WPIAL. Another happened this week.

Stephon McGinnis was Ambridge’s leading receiver and a star basketball player who averaged 20 points a game last season. Well, McGinnis enrolled at Aliquippa Monday.

Reports said McGinnis’ mother recently moved into the Aliquippa district and McGinnis moved in with his mother. He previously lived with another family member in Ambridge. It looks like McGinnis is trying to become eligible to play football at Aliquippa.

He started practicing with Aliquippa Monday, which is permitted under WPIAL and PIAA rules. But the WPIAL will most likely have a hearing with McGinnis to determine if athletic intent was involved in his move. Ambridge is 1-4 while Aliquippa is 5-0. Ambridge football coach Dan Bradley said McGinnis gave no indication that he would be transferring.

The WPIAL Board of Directors does not have a meeting for a few weeks. The Board might not decide until then whether to have a hearing.

More WPIAL and PIAA Matters

The PIAA voted, 3-2, Wednesday to send the case of Nick Aloi back to the WPIAL.

Aloi is a talented basketball player who transferred from Ellwood City to Lincoln Park in January. Ellwood City didn’t sign off on the transfer, claiming it was for athletic intent. The WPIAL had a hearing and ruled Aloi ineligible until Jan. 21 of 2015.

Aloi appealed his case to the PIAA and the PIAA had a hearing with Aloi and school officials Wednesday. But for some reason, the PIAA voted to send the case back to the WPIAL for them to re-hear. If the WPIAL rules Aloi ineligible, the case can be appealed back to the PIAA.

It’s a strange situation with the PIAA and WPIAL and the Aloi case is one that probably won’t be settled for another couple months.

Also, the PIAA denied the request of Lincoln Park and Western Beaver to have a cooperative sponsorship in girls basketball. The WPIAL also denied the request, but the two schools appealed to the PIAA.

Where the Scorers Are

The Greensburg Central Catholic girls soccer team had the most potent one-two scoring punch in WPIAL history the past few years in Frannie Crouse and Malea Fabean. Crouse is now playing at Penn State and Fabean at Pitt, and Greensburg Central Catholic has another scoring sensation.

Bailey Cartwright is only a sophomore, but she leads the WPIAL in goals with more than 20. Scoring goals is not new to Cartwright. She was a freshman on Greensburg Central Catholic’s PIAA championship team a year ago. Although overshadowed by Crouse and Fabean, Cartwright still scored 24 goals.

Longtime Golf Coach Retires

Go to the WPIAL boys and girls championships for years and Dede Rittman was there, helping the WPIAL run the event as a member of the WPIAL golf committee. Go to a North Allegheny boys match over the past few decades, and Rittman was there as a coach.

But Rittman has decided to walk away from both positions.

Rittman has retired as North Allegheny’s coach and also resigned her position on the golf committee. Rittman coached the North Allegheny girls team from 1979-84 and became the boys coach in 1985. She took a few years off as the boys coach, but she won 322 matches and lost only 96, with 13 section titles for the boys. Her boys team also finished as WPIAL runner-up four times.

Rittman is now trying her hand as an author, writing a book about teaching. She is a retired North Allegheny teacher. The book is available on the Internet, including through amazon.com

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