Top 19 of ’19: Trib HSSN breaks down the top stories of the year — No. 5

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Friday, December 27, 2019 | 5:32 PM


The 2019 high school sports season is nearly in the books.

While we anxiously look ahead to 2020, let’s reflect on the district high school sports scene over the last 12 months.

Here is a look back at the top 19 stories from around the WPIAL in 2019.

HSSN Top 19 in ’19: No. 5 — Top cat

There was a time early in his career in the mid-90’s, Bill Cherpak could relate to the likes of Bud Grant or Marv Levy, a good coach that just couldn’t win the big one.

Thomas Jefferson kept reaching the WPIAL Class AAA semifinals, but just couldn’t clear that final four hurdle.

Finally, in 2003, Thomas Jefferson reached the WPIAL finals and then the following year, won the school’s second district crown and first under Cherpak.

In the 15 years since, the wins and championships kept coming.

In November, TJ beat Belle Vernon, 41-7, for the Jaguars’ fourth championship in five years. The title was the eighth for Cherpak, tying him with Bob Palko for the most WPIAL coaching championships.

The win was one of 16 on the season for the Jaguars, who finished the program’s second perfect 16-win season with a 46-7 rout of previously undefeated Dallas.

Here’s a look at the rest of the top stories of the year:

No. 19 — Big Ben strikes often

No. 18 — Near perfect on the pitch

No. 17 — Five golden rings

No. 16 — Bucs title run is now a teenager

No. 15 — Worldly results lead to district and state gold

No. 14 — Black out

No. 13 — Big time ballers

No. 12 — Four decade wait is over

No. 11 — Fight for survival

No. 10 — A Crummie ending

No. 9 — Swimmer breaks national mark

No. 8 — PIAA to the rescue

No. 7 — Coaching king hangs up his whistle

No. 6 — Golden run ends

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