Westmoreland high school football notebook: Norwin, Derry on opposite sides of forfeit/no-contest rule
Saturday, September 25, 2021 | 6:38 PM
Call it a WPIAL dichotomy, the concept of forfeits and no-contests in covid-19 times.
Two area teams are on separate sides of the issue after they had to cancel games because of covid protocols.
Norwin was dealt a loss without playing, and Derry was not penalized for sitting out.
Norwin decided against playing Class 6A opponent Seneca Valley on Friday because a number of Norwin players were awaiting results from contact tracing. Some students, Norwin athletic director Mike Burrell said, are showing covid symptoms, and several others have tested positive at the school.
Bottom line: Norwin had to forfeit.
The Knights (2-3, 0-2) still could have fielded a full lineup Friday but chose to err on the side of caution and not put younger players in situations that might jeopardize their safety.
Under new WPIAL guidelines, having enough players but not playing must result in a forfeit.
“It has definitely been a tough week,” Norwin coach Dave Brozeski said. “We resumed practice (Thursday) with players that are available and our focus is preparing for our next conference game against Baldwin. We control how we respond to this situation, and I am confident that our team will respond positively.”
Derry, meanwhile, fell under a different umbrella in a rule book where the ink hasn’t dried.
Down to 28 players because of injuries and contact tracing — athletic director Brett Miller confirmed players and coaches had been exposed to someone who tested positive for covid — and a team shutdown, the Trojans (0-4, 0-1) could not play a game at Freeport.
Derry won’t return to practice until Tuesday.
All told through five weeks, four games in the WPIAL were deemed no contests, and eight resulted in forfeits.
The play everyone is talking about is Belle Vernon quarterback Devin Whitlock’s 40-yard touchdown run Friday with 4.5 seconds remaining that beat Thomas Jefferson, 28-21.
Whitlock, who didn’t want to bring overtime into play — the touchdown burst came on fourth-and-13 — made a sudden change of direction and left Jaguars’ defenders in the dust.
Senior Cole Weightman and sophomore Jake Gedekoh delivered key blocks to open an inside running lane for Whitlock, whose highlight made its rounds on social media.
Think you’ll be seeing this play from many different angles this week @DevinWhitlock3 ????
— Standout (@TribStandout) September 25, 2021
Belle Vernon lost star sophomore Quinton Martin in its thrilling victory. Martin went down with a left knee injury midway through the third quarter and did not return.
Martin appears to be all right. He tweeted Saturday the injury was “not as severe as I initially thought.”
Leopards coach Matt Humbert said Martin was in better spirits Saturday.
”He’s going to see how it feels and then reevaluate it on Monday,” Humbert said. “Nothing bone-related. If he doesn’t feel well on Monday, he will need to get an MRI.”
Belle Vernon (4-0, 2-0), now the top-ranked team in WPIAL Class 4A, hosts Laurel Highlands (5-0, 2-0) next week.
LV banged up
Ligonier Valley has looked impressive on its way to a 5-0 start. But the Rams face some key injury issues as they prepare to open conference play next week.
Ryan Harbert injured his shoulder in the first half and did not return. The first-year varsity player is one of the team’s top tacklers.
Junior quarterback and defensive back Hayden Sierocky is out with a broken arm, and senior tight end/linebacker Miles Higgins has a knee injury.
The fifth-ranked Rams’ first Allegheny Conference test will be a road trip to play Steel Valley (4-0) in one of the top 2A matchups in Week 5.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
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