Waynesburg feels at home in Class 2A Century Conference

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Monday, August 24, 2020 | 11:54 PM


Looking for the biggest winner in the WPIAL’s biennial realignment?

How about Waynesburg?

For the past two seasons, the Raiders have been through the meat grinder in the Class 3A Tri-County West, butting heads with powers such as Aliquippa, Central Valley and Beaver Falls on an annual basis. They went 2-8 overall both years.

Now, they’ll be facing smaller schools in the Class 2A Century Conference.

It’s no picnic, of course. Washington, McGuffey and Charleroi, to name three opponents, can strike fear into any foe.

“I’m not taking anything away from our Double-A opponents,” coach Chad Coss said. “There’s some good teams in our conference.”

Still, the geography of the new Waynesburg schedule makes a lot more sense.

“We’re happy with the conference we’re in now,” Coss said. “To put it into perspective, with our schedule change, we have three away games. The total travel time for all three of those games would add up to one away game from last year. That’s a big difference. That’s great, just to be able to be closer and not have to travel as far.”

As they enter a new conference, the Raiders will be led by a pair of four-year starters on the line, Kyle Cox and Luke Maley. Last season, they paved the way for running back Trevor Stephenson to rush for 1,206 yards and seven touchdowns.

“Everything starts up front,” Coss said. “They’re going to help out on the line.”

This season, senior Nate Stephenson figures to handle much of the ball-carrying duties. He ran for 880 yards and eight touchdowns as a sophomore before missing last season with an elbow injury suffered while competing on the wrestling team.

Darnell Johnson, who threw for 473 yards and ran for 689 yards and a team-leading nine touchdowns last season, returns at quarterback.

From Cox and Maley to Stephenson and Johnson, many of Waynesburg’s key players have taken some lumps starting as underclassmen. Now, they hope to use that experience to their benefit.

“Hopefully we reap some rewards for playing young kids against Triple-A teams,” Coss said.

Schedule

Coach: Chad Coss

2019 record: 2-8, 0-7 in Class 3A Tri-County West

All-time record: 373-549-36

Date, Opponent, Time

9.11, Beth-Center*, 7

9.18, at Washington*, 7

9.25, Charleroi*, 7

10.2, at Frazier*, 7

10.9, McGuffey*, 7

10.23, at Chartiers-Houston*, 7

*Class 2A Century Conference game

Statistical leaders

Passing: Darnell Johnson

31-91, 473 yards, 4 TDs

Rushing: Trevor Stephenson*

206-1,206 yards, 7 TDs

Receiving: Avery McConville*

14-238 yards, 3 TDs

*Graduated

Fast facts

• Playing in Class 3A the past four seasons, Waynesburg went 5-33. In the four seasons before that, playing in Class 2A before the split into six classifications, the Raiders had more than twice as many wins, going 12-25 and making the playoffs in 2014.

• Last season, Waynesburg went 0-8 against Class 3A opponents (their seven conference foes and Burrell) and 2-0 against teams from other classifications (beating Class 4A Ambridge and Class A Jefferson-Morgan).

• Waynesburg is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its most recent trip to the WPIAL finals. The Raiders lost to Aliquippa, 14-6, in the Class 2A finals in 2000. Waynesburg has reached the championship game three other times, beating Washington in 1999 and losing to Braddock in 1958 and 1959.

• Waynesburg scored 178 points last season, second-most of any team to finish last in the WPIAL’s 15 conferences. Chartiers Valley (240) had the most.

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review Assistant Sports Editor. You can contact Jonathan by email at jbombulie@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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