Scholastic Notebook – 10/13/2012

Saturday, October 13, 2012 | 6:55 PM





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It has been said that a two-quarterback system usually does not work. But Aliquippa is proving the same can’t be said about a two-halfback system.

Aliquippa is using two halfbacks this season and the results have been staggering. Aliquippa is 7-0, leads the WPIAL in scoring at 52 points a game, and the players leading the offense have shared playing time at halfback for much of the season.

Dravon Henry and Terry Swanson are both juniors. They are both talented. And they are both making the two-halfback system work.

“We’ve alternated them pretty much every series,” said Aliquippa coach Mike Zmijanac.
“Now if one of them runs 70 yards and gets tackled at the 3, we have to take him out.”

The statistics of Henry and Swanson are very similar. Henry has rushed for 655 yards on 59 attempts while Swanson has 638 yards on 51 carries. Henry had three-consectuive 100-yard games before being held below 100 last night [Friday] against Ellwood City. No matter. Swanson came through with 168 yards on 14 carries in another Aliquippa blowout win (54-12). It was Henry’s third 100-yard game of the year.

“The nice thing about them is there is no jealousy between them,” Zmijanac said. “There is no pouting about who is in there. They cheer for each other. It’s really cool to see. I don’t even know one from the other when I’m calling plays for them.”

Zmijanac did say he is starting to use Swanson and Henry in the backfield together a little more recently.

It certainly is hard to argue with anything Aliquippa has done this season offensively, especially on the ground. The Quips have forced the mercy rule in all seven games and here is a mind-boggling statistic: They are averaging 346 yards a game rushing.

Gladiators Playoff-Bound

The WPIAL football playoffs will look a little strange this year. South Allegheny will be a part of them.

The Gladiators have ended a long playoff drought. Last night’s win against Keystone Oaks clinched a playoff spot for South Allegheny. The last time the Gladiators were in the postseason was 1986.

Valley Boys Turnaround

There have been a number of turnaround stories this year. One that hasn’t gotten as much attention is the one at Valley. But the Vikings’ turnaround is impressive also.

Valley is 5-2 overall and 4-2 in the Allegheny Conference of Class AA. This from a team that hadn’t won a game the past two seasons.

Valley is tied for third place in the Allegheny Conference with Kittanning and Shady Side Academy and in the hunt for a playoff spot. The Vikings have a big game this week against Kittanning and then finish the season against Ford City.

Absolutely Perfect

The South Park boys soccer team is the only undefeated and untied team in the entire WPIAL. The Eagles are 16-0.

While the offense has been impressive (95 goals scored), the defense and goalkeeping has been superb. South Park has shut out 11 of 16 opponents and allowed only five goals all season. No team has scored more than one goal against the Eagles.

A Day of Firsts

There were a lot of firsts at the WPIAL team golf championships Thursday. In fact, only one of the four winners had ever won a title before.

The Pittsburgh Central Catholic boys won their first championship ever while the Penn-Trafford girls and Central Valley girls won their first titles. The Burgettstown boys were the only champion this year that had ever won before.

All of the champions move on to the PIAA tournament.

Son of the Mayor Wins

The coach of the Pittsburgh Central Catholic boys team jumped into a pond after his team won the title at Cedarbook Golf Course in Belle Vernon Thursday.

Corey O’Connor had told his team he would make the jump if the Vikings won the title, and he kept his word. O’Connor is the son of former Pittsburgh mayor Bob O’Connor, who passed away in 2006.

Where Are They Now?

* When West Virginia plays Texas Tech today, a former WPIAL standout will be starting for Texas Tech. McKeesport graduate Delvon Simmons is a starting defensive lineman for Texas Tech. Another McKeesport graduate, defensive end Branden Jackson, is a backup at defensive end for Texas Tech, but has played in all five Texas Tech games. The Raiders are 4-1.

* Mount Lebanon graduate Zach Batteer is making an impact in his first season with the Stanford University mens soccer team. Batteer was named the Pac 12 Player of the Week for Oct. 1-7. Batteer was honored after his two-goal performance in a win over California.

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