Scholastic Notebook – 10/30/2015
Friday, October 30, 2015 | 2:58 PM
If you want to see variety, check out Paris this fall.
But we’re not talking the city of Paris. We’re talking the junior do-it-all player for the Seton-LaSalle football team named Paris Ford.
He is a Ford that is souped up with versatility. He is undoubtedly one of the most versatile – and best – players in the WPIAL.
Ford is listed as a receiver and defensive back. He is a stud at both positions. But he also runs the football and returns kicks and punts. How versatile is he? Well, Seton-LaSalle has moved the 6-foot-1, 170-pound Ford to linebacker because that’s where they could use him the most.
On offense, Ford has scored a variety of ways. Five in fact. He has nine touchdown receptions and three touchdown runs. He also has scored on a punt return, a kickoff return and an interception return.
He is a master of big plays, too. The average length of his touchdowns is 34.7. Overall, Ford has 32 receptions for 602 yards, an average of 18.8 yards a catch.
Ford made a verbal commitment to Pitt a few weeks ago and was recruited to play defensive back. Maybe the best example of his all-around athletic ability is his switch to linebacker a few weeks ago.
“We had to make some changes solely for us,” said Seton-LaSalle coach Damon Rosol. “That’s where we could use him the most. He can play inside or outside linebacker. Plus, you never know what might happen. His Dad is 6-5. His mom is probably 6 feet. He could maybe even grow into a linebacker in the future.”
Another player who has shown great versatility this year is Clairton’s Aaron Mathews.
Mathews has Division I college scholarship offers for receiver, but he has been a tremendous big-play quarterback and defensive player for the Bears. He might line up at defensive back, linebacker or defensive end.
On offense, Mathews throws a touchdown about once every five pass attempts. He has completed 66 of 93 for 1,593 yards and 20 touchdowns. That is 24.1 yards per completion.
Mathews also has been superb on defense. He leads Clairton in tackles with 37 ½ and has an impressive seven sacks.
Mathews has yet to choose a college.
Hard Times at Rochester and Blackhawk
Rochester seems improved this year. The Rams take a 4-4 record into the final game of the season. But Rochester will not make the playoffs again – and that is extremely unusual.
Rochester will miss the playoffs for the third consecutive season. This from a program that played in the WPIAL Class A championship nine times from 1998-2010. The last time Rochester missed the playoffs three consecutive seasons was 1995-97.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in Beaver County, it is unbelievable how far the Blackhawk program has fallen. The Cougars started to go downhill the past few years and Joe Hamilton retired after last season. Hamilton is the second-winningest coach in WPIAL history behind Upper St. Clair’s Jim Render.
But one year after Hamilton leaves, Blackhawk is having the worst season in school history. The Cougars might finish the season winless. They are 0-8 and play Canon-McMillan in the season finale Friday night. Maybe Blackhawk has a chance in this game. Canon-McMillan is 2-6.
This is somewhat of an oddity. For the third consecutive season, Aliquippa, Beaver, Beaver Falls and New Brighton are the four teams from the Midwestern Athletic Conference that have made the WPIAL Class AA playoffs.
To take the consecutive streak a little further, this is the ninth consecutive season that Aliquippa, Beaver Falls and Beaver have made the playoffs from the conference. The last time all three of them didn’t make it was 2006, when both Beaver and Beaver Falls failed to qualify.
Freeport twin brothers Brandon and Dylan Hochbein play the same three sports – football, basketball and track. They finished 1-2 in the WPIAL Class AA hurdles championship this past spring in track.
And there is this: They are both receivers on the football team and their yardage totals are nearly identical – only 14 yards apart. Brandon Hochbein has 25 catches for 431 yards. Dylan has 21 for 417 yards.
Cornell Football Again?
Cornell dropped its football program after the 2011 season. The past four years, Cornell players have played at Quaker Valley under a cooperative sponsorship program.
Well, there is a chance Cornell might start its football program up again next season.
WPIAL executive director Tim O’Malley said a few weeks ago that Quaker Valley has dropped its cooperative sponsorship with Cornell, mainly because it might jump Quaker Valley into a higher classification once the new PIAA classes come out next month. Classifications are based on school enrollment and Quaker Valley must use Cornell’s enrollment in its total figures.
O’Malley said Cornell has indicated it might have enough players to start a program again next season.
Also, after the PIAA numbers are released, Quaker Valley could start the cooperative sponsorship program again with Cornell, provided it doesn’t change Quaker Valley’s classification.
North Allegheny States its Case
The first PIAA team championships of the school year were held Thursday in golf. The next ones are Saturday in girls tennis.
North Allegheny could very well have two state titles by the end of the weekend.
The North Allegheny girls golf team won the PIAA Class AAA title in York, Pa., with a score of 353. Mount St. Joseph was a distant second at 376.
The North Allegheny girls tennis team would seemingly have a good shot at winning the Class AAA team tennis title in Hershey. The two-day tournament concludes tomorrow.
North Allegheny is the two-time defending champion. The PIAA started team championships in tennis in 2000. Since then, no WPIAL team has won three consecutive titles.
The semifinals for WPIAL boys and girls soccer are all Monday night. Five schools have made the semis a boy-girl party.
Seneca Valley, South Park, Fox Chapel, South Fayette and Greensburg Central Catholic all have their boys and girls teams in the semifinals.