Scholastic Notebook – 10/26/2012

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Friday, October 26, 2012 | 8:10 PM


Saying “it’s time to move on,” Chartiers Valley’s Chris Saluga will coached his final game with the Colts Friday night.

Saluga has decided to resign as Chartiers Valley’s football coach, effective after Friday night’s game against West Allegheny. Saluga already has handed in his letter of resignation to the school board.

“I don’t know how to say it, other than it’s just time for me to move on,” Saluga said. “I’ve done all I can here.”

Saluga took over a bad program and made the Colts into a regular WPIAL playoff team. He took over in 2001 and went 4-6 and 2-8 in his first two seasons. But in 2003, Chartiers Valley made the playoffs for only the third time in school history. That started a string of seven consecutive playoff appearances from 2003-09. The Colts made the playoffs again in 2011.

In the 10 years before Saluga’s arrival, Chartiers Valley had a record of 27-70-2 and won more than three games only twice during that time.

“I am very proud of what we were able to accomplish and I’m proud of all the players who played for me,” Saluga said.

Saluga finished with a 60-60 record. His best seasons were 2007 through 2009 when the Colts went 8-3, 7-3 and 8-2.

Saluga is an English teacher at Chartiers Valley and hopes to coach again somewhere, at least as an assistant.

“It’s time to pursue some other opportunities,” Saluga said.

Lights, Action

Burgettstown is playing host to Keystone Oaks Friday night in a relatively meaningless game, except that it’s the first night game at Burgettstown in a while.

This is the first night game at Burgettstown since 2010. That year, the light poles at Memorial Stadium were condemned and had to be taken down. Since then, Burgettstown has been playing Saturday afternoon home games.

But through a fund-raising campaign spearheaded by athletic director Jon Vallina and some generosity from alumni, parents and community members, lights have been erected and will be turned on Friday night.

Big 33 changes game

Call it a Big 33 “state”ment.

The annual all-star football game is changing and next year the Pennsylvania All-Stars will play a different state. Since 1993, Pennsylvania has played Ohio. But earlier this week, the Big 33 signed an agreement with Maryland, and Pennsylvania will play Maryland every June in Hershey for the next five years.

The Big 33 is for graduated seniors and has many of the top players in the state.

“People have asked is this because Ohio beat us the past three years?” said Dave Trimbur, executive director of the Big 33. “That’s not it at all. The series with Ohio is tied. We have no issues with Ohio. I can’t say we’ve been disappointed by the competition.

“It’s just a matter of change. Like why did Pitt go to the ACC and why did other teams leave the Big East? Sometimes things just change.”

Trimbur said one of the reasons why Maryland will now be Pennsylvania’s opponent is proximity. Maryland is closer to Hershey than areas in Ohio. Also, Trimbur said the level of talent in Maryland is on the rise.

Chasing Brian Davis

Washington’s Shai McKenzie is having a big junior season and is within reach of a record held by one of the legendary running backs in WPIAL history.

McKenzie has rushed for 1,578 yards this season and needs only 131 yards to reach the school single-season record of 1,709, set by Brian Davis in 1983. By the time he was a senior, Davis was one of the best running backs in the country and was selected the Parade magazine national player of the year after his senior season.

State Tennis

The PIAA girls team tennis championships are Friday and Saturday in Hershey and Peters Township is trying to become truly one of the elite teams from the WPIAL.

Peters Township is trying to win its third PIAA title in four years. Upper St. Clair is the only other girls team from the WPIAL to win three championships in four years from 2000-03.

Shady Side Academy also is in the PIAA Class AAA quarterfinals. The only time Peters Township didn’t win the state title the past four years was 2010, and Shady Side Academy won it.

WPIAL teams Quaker Valley and Sewickley Academy are in the PIAA Class AA quarterfinals.

Oh, Brother

Rod Eldridge has done a great job in turning around the South Fayette boys soccer program from a year ago. The Lions won only three games in 2011. Thursday night, South Fayette knocked off previously undefeated South Park in the Class AA quarterfinals.

What is interesting is that Eldridge has three assistant coaches who are brothers and all were excellent players at Chartiers Valley. Derek, Garrett and Travis MacKenzie are all South Fayette assistant coaches.

First Time

Many of the WPIAL soccer semifinalists – boys and girls – are perennial powers. But there is one new face in the Class AA girls semifinals. Belle Vernon is in the final four for the first time in school history.

The Belle Vernon boys also are in the semifinals, but this is the third consecutive semifinal appearance for the boys.

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