Scholastic Notebook – 10/25/2015

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Sunday, October 25, 2015 | 11:40 AM


The irony of it. Deer Lakes came into Friday night’s game with the leading rusher in the entire WPIAL this season Hunter Burns.

When it ended, Apollo-Ridge had the top rusher ever in a WPIAL game.

Duane Brown, a junior at Apollo-Ridge, put himself in the history books when he rushed for a WPIAL record 460 yards in a 56-35 victory over Deer Lakes. Brown was certainly a workhorse in the game, carrying the ball 47 times.

Brown broke a 15-year-old WPIAL record. Connellsville’s Marcus Furman ran for 455 yards in a 2000 game. What’s funny is that Apollo-Ridge coach John Skiba and his team had no idea how many yards Brown had or that he had broken the WPIAL record until an announcer from your very own MSA Sports staff came on the field and told him after the game.

“When the guy from MSA told us, then Duane’s mom came down on the field right away – and everyone was there,” said Skiba.

Brown played running back in the game, but he also took direct snaps in the second half.

“The thing about it is he had a number of runs called because of penalties,” said Skiba. “He could’ve had over 500 yards easily. That’s what’s killing me. But we really had no idea what his numbers were.”

Brown apparently is fully recovered from a concussion that kept him out of three games earlier this season. Brown played the first two games and then missed three. He had 668 yards on 86 carries coming into Friday’s contest.

Progression of Record

Brown broke Furman’s record. Before Furman, the record was held by Hempfield’s Matt Steve, who rushed for 446 yards in 1999. Before Steve, Fort Cherry’s Mike Vernillo held the record with 424 yards in 1997.

Crazy Eights

Besides his 460 rushing yards, Brown scored eight touchdowns in the contest. It’s not often you see eight touchdowns in a game. But it’s the third time in the WPIAL this season that someone has scored eight. Casey Zajicek of California and Dylan Rush of Mapletown also scored eight TDs in a game.

It is not known what the WPIAL record is for touchdowns in a game.

Wade for 4,000

Put Clairton’s Lamont Wade on the list of runners who will probably get 4,000 career yards rushing this season. Wade, a junior, needs only 22 yards.

Beth-Center’s Anthony Welsh reached 4,000 earlier this season and Woodland Hills’ Miles Sanders also is closing in on the mark.

Big-Play Bear

Clairton’s Aaron Mathews is being recruited by Division I colleges as a receiver. But he has been a big-play quarterback for the Bears this season.

In an eye-popping statistic, about one out of five passes by Mathews ends up in a touchdown. Mathews has attempted 93 passes and 20 have gone for touchdowns. He is 66 of 93 for 1,593 yards.

Also, Mathews is Clairton’s leading tackler on defense.

The Perfect Lions

South Fayette’s 17-14 comeback victory Friday against Seton-LaSalle kept the Lions’ hopes alive of joining a special group. A perfect group, if you will.

If South Fayette beats Summit Academy Saturday, South Fayette will finish the regular season with a perfect record for the fourth year in a row. Only three other teams have been perfect four consecutive seasons.

Braddock has the most consecutive perfect regular seasons with six from 1954-59. But Aliquippa has been undefeated five years in a row and will tie Braddock if it beats Beaver Falls Friday. Woodland Hills was undefeated four years in a row from 1999-2002.

Still Chasing Bruce

Avonworth quarterback Zach Chandler still has a chance at the WPIAL regular season passing yardage record.

Chandler threw for 273 yards this past Friday to give him 2,447 passing yards. That is 307 yards away from the record of 2,754 yards, set by Seton-LaSalle’s Bruce Gradkowski in 2000. Avonworth plays at Northgate Friday in the final regular-season game.

A Change in Venue

There was an interesting situation this week with the WPIAL in scheduling of a boys soccer playoff game.

When the brackets came out Thursday, the Allderdice boys soccer team was scheduled to play at Peters Township. Allderdice is a City League school that is an associate member of the WPIAL in soccer. Allderdice was the only team in the Class AAA boys and girls bracket that was seeded in the top eight and did not get a home game.

There were a number of neutral site games in the other brackets. But no team seeded in the top eight of any bracket had to play a road game – except Allderdice. The Dragons, a section champ, were seeded No. 6 and Peters Township No. 11. Something seemed wrong, said Melissa Friez, Allderdice’s school principal. She was quoted as saying the game site seemed something personal against Allderdice and the City League.

But one day after the brackets came out, the WPIAL changed and moved the game to Cupples Stadium on the South Side. Cupples is the home field of all City League soccer teams.

A Royal Threepeat

The WPIAL cross-country championships are Thursday at Coopers Lake in Slippery Rock on MSAsports.net. Marianne Abdalah, a junior for the Vincentian Royals, has yet to know what defeat tastes like at the WPIAL championships. Abdalah won the Class A championship as a freshman and sophomore and now is seeking her third consecutive title.

That is one of the top storylines at the races. Another is will Mount Lebanon’s Kelsey Potts finally get to the top rung of the ladder?

Potts is a senior and has finished fourth, third and third the past three seasons. She might have to be considered the race favorite this year. She won the Tri-State coaches meet last week.

Madeleine Davison of North Allegheny would have been another one to watch in Class AAA. She finished second last year and fifth in 2013. But she elected not to run high school cross country this season and is instead training on her own.

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