Scholastic Notebook – 09/21/2012

Friday, September 21, 2012 | 8:05 PM

After seeing Clairton clobber Monessen, 52-7, on Thursday night, it makes you wonder if this is the same Clairton team that struggled to beat Chartiers-Houston, 22-20, on the opening night of the season?

It most certainly is not the same team – at least defensively.

Clairton was without 10 players the first three weeks of the season. The players missed time because of grades or attendance issues from last school year, and the players returned to the team for the Monessen game. Only two of the players who missed the first three weeks were starters. But still, the return of the group of players changed Clairton.

“It affected our depth,” said Wayne Wade, Clairton’s defensive coordinator. “Because of those players missing, we just played one base defense the first three weeks. That’s all we could do.”

But Monessen couldn’t do anything against Clairton’s defense. Monessen finished with only six first downs and 100 yards total offense. Quarterback Chavas Rawlins, a West Virginia University recruit, finished only 3 of 13 for 62 yards.

“Against Monessen, we played four defenses and three of them Monessen hadn’t seen before,” Wade said. “We were doing a lot of different things because we had everybody back.”

The win stretched Clairton’s winning streak to 51 games, the longest in the country.

Championship Reunion?

Gateway plays Altoona Friday night in a WPIAL Class AAAA Foothills Conference. These two teams have met only once before – and it was in the 1969 WPIAL championship game at Pitt Stadium.

Gateway won, 22-15, to give the Gators, under coach Pete Antimarino, their first championship. Looking back at that game, Rick Hrenko was 4 of 4 with all four passes to tight end Dave Jadgmann.

Mark Campbell rushed for 80 yards on 13 carries for Gateway and Mike Devine 8 for 74. Gateway’s Dave Berthold intercepted a pass in Gateway territory late in the game to preserve the win.

Offensive and Defensive Numbers

Gateway is the highest-scoring team in the WPIAL at 54 points a game. Aliquippa is second at 49.3, South Fayette third at 48.7, Jeannette fourth at 47.7 and West Mifflin fifth at 47.0.

On defense, Central Catholic and Seton-LaSalle still have not allowed a point. Beth-Center and South Fayette are next at 2.0 points allowed. Aliuqippa is fifth at 2.3.

For Starters…

Joe Carroll of Thomas Jefferson has been one of the early-season surprises in WPIAL football.

It’s not that Carroll isn’t talented. But it’s just that he didn’t have much experience coming into the year. Carroll, a senior, is in his first year as a starter, and he’s making the most of it. He is completing 61 percent of his passes (27 of 44) and throws for a touchdown on about half of his completions. Carroll leads the WPIAL in passing touchdowns with 11.

Roaming Vikings

Pittsburgh Central Catholic doesn’t have a stadium to play home games, so the Vikings play at many different places. It has been decided the Vikings will play their final few home games this season at Woodland Hills’ Wolvarena in Turtle Creek.

Central Catholic was hoping to play a few games at the Riverhounds new stadium near Station Square. But that stadium isn’t done.

Central Catholic played one home game at Carnegie Mellon University and will play next Thurday’s game against Seneca Valley at Fox Chapel. Central’s other home games will be Pine-Richland (Oct. 5) and Altoona (Oct. 19) at the Wolvarena.

He’s Baaaaack

Geno Thorpe’s high school basketball career has been filled with stops at a few different schools, but he will finish at Shaler.

Thorpe is a standout senior guard, a Penn State recruit and one of the best players in the WPIAL Class of 2013. But Thorpe decided in August that he would leave Shaler and transfer to West Oaks Academy in Orlando.

But Thorpe didn’t last long at West Oaks. He was back home in Shaler this week and said he will play this season for Shaler.

West Oaks coach Iren Rainey said to the Orlando Sentinel: “It was a family situation for Geno, missing his mom. She lives in Pittsburgh, his dad lives down here, but an hour away in Cape Canaveral. It was an adjustment. He’s a good kid. I wish Geno the best.”

Thorpe attended Shady Side Academy as a freshman, came back to Shaler for his sophomore and junior years, transferred to West Oaks, and then back to Shaler.

Kissell Boy Shines

The Kissell family of Latrobe is known for producing outstanding girl tennis players. Michaela, Joelle and Stacia combined for four WPIAL singles tennis titles during her career.

The Kissell girls have all graduated and now their little brother is shining – in a different sport.

Chad Kissell, only a sophomore, shot a 74 to finish third at the WPIAL Class AAA Section 1 golf championships Wednesday. Kissell now moves on to the semifinals next week.

But don’t think Kissell doesn’t have tennis talent. He won the Section 1 singles title a year ago. On top of that, he was on Latrobe’s varsity basketball team as a freshman.

Another Brother Story

Brock and Brandon Pompeani were outstanding golfers at Hopewell a few years ago and are now golfing at Robert Morris. Apparently they didn’t take all the golf talent in the family.

Younger brother Brett Pompeani shot even par 72 to win the Class AAA Section 5 championship Thursday at Blackhawk Golf Course.

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