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By Mike Copper, Tom Reisenweber, Jeff Kirik Erie Times-News staff bloggers
The Varsity blog is the 2013 winner of an international EPPY award for best sports blog. EPPYs are awarded to media-affiliated websites by Editor & Publisher, an industry trade publication. Varsity is primarily maintained by Times-News sports writers Mike Copper and Tom Reisenweber and sports editor Jeff Kirik.   Read more about this blog.
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Posts categorized "PIAA"
Posted: July 30th, 2014

Varsity Kickoff Countdown is a daily series on the Varsity blog. It’s 30 days until the opening night of the high school football season on Friday, Aug. 29:

Number of the day: 30

That’s the number of points Hickory scored to beat Montoursville in the 1989 PIAA Class AA championship game. The Hornets’ 30-22 victory at Memorial Stadium in Middletown made them the first District 10 football team to win a state tile.

Hickory beat Fairview 34-10 in District 10′s inaugural Class AA final in 1989. They eliminated Steel Valley 17-7 in the state semifinals to set up the final against Montoursville.

Andre Coleman starred for the ’89 Hornets. The wide receiver was recruited by Kansas State and then picked by the San Diego Chargers in the third round of the 1994 NFL draft.

The highlight of Coleman’s five-year professional career was at the end of his rookie season. He scored on a 98-yard kickoff return for the Chargers during their 49-26 loss to San Francisco in Super Bowl XXIX.

Coleman will be featured in a upcoming story on the history of the District 10 playoffs in the Kickoff magazine.

– Mike Copper

 

Posted: July 29th, 2014

Brian Milne

Varsity Kickoff Countdown is a daily series on the Varsity blog. It’s 31 days until the opening night of the high school football season on Friday, Aug. 29:

Number of the day: 31

That’s the number of touchdowns Brian Milne scored during Fort LeBoeuf’s 1989 season. His 2,419 rushing yards that season are the fourth most in District 10 history.

Milne’s story is well known, but always worth repeating. He never got a chance to duplicate or surpass the statistics he posted as a junior after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1990.

Although Milne didn’t play for the Bison as a senior, Penn State coach Joe Paterno didn’t rescind the football scholarship offered by the Nittany Lions even if Milne never played a down for them.

Milne recovered and returned to the football in the 1991 Erie Lions Club Save-An-Eye All-Star Game. He went on to play for Penn State and then four seasons in the National Football League with Cincinnati, Seattle and New Orleans.

– Mike Copper

Posted: July 28th, 2014

Varsity Kickoff Countdown is a daily series on the Varsity blog. It’s 32 days until the opening night of the high school football season on Friday, Aug. 29:

Number of the day: 32

That’s the number of seasons Dan Budziszewski was the head coach at Harbor Creek.

Budziszewski teams went 165-146-3 between 1982 and 2013. His victory total trails only Mina George (230) and Gus Anderson (167) among District 10 head coaches who spent their entire careers in charge of Erie County programs.

The highlight of Budziszewski’s tenure were Harbor Creek’s 2004 and 2007 teams. Each reached District 10 Class AA championship games, with the former losing to Grove City and the latter to Wilmington.

Budziszewski also was a six-year assistant with Harbor Creek’s coaching staff before he took over for John Ballard.

– Mike Copper

Posted: July 27th, 2014

Bryan Divido will forever be remembered in Erie Lions Club Save-An-Eye All-Star Game history thanks to his two interception returns during Friday night’s game at Veterans Stadium.

Divido was vital to the County’s 21-14 victory over the City. The Girard graduate became the first player in the series’ 76 games to accomplish that feat, according to the “75 Save-An-Eye Games” book.

After returning a Josh Wells interception 38 yards for a third-quarter score, Divido picked off an errant pass by Chris Starocci for a 74-yard return midway through the fourth. That return was the difference in the County’s first Save-An-Eye victory since 2008.

Wesleyville graduate Paul Barone was the first player to record an interception return in a Save-An-Eye Game. Barone’s 40-yard return for the East was part of their 25-0 shutout of the West on Nov. 27, 1943.

The Save-An-Eye Game switched to its current City-County format in 1952.

– Mike Copper

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: July 27th, 2014

Varsity Kickoff Countdown is a daily series on the Varsity blog. It’s 33 days until the opening night of the high school football season on Friday, Aug. 29:

Number of the day: 33

That’s the number of touchdowns Lakeview running back Blake Reddick scored during his record-setting season in 2013.

Reddick captained the Sailors to their first-ever District 10 championship in the sport when they blanked Sharpsville 27-0 for the Class A trophy. A loss to Clarion in the PIAA quarterfinals left the senior with 2,974 yards on the ground.

Mercyhurst Prep graduate Aaron Horton held the district’s previous single-season mark with 2,444 yards in 2010.

Reddick, who plans to play for Edinboro University this fall, also graduated from Lakeview as District 10′s career rushing leader at 6,548.

– Mike Copper

Posted: July 26th, 2014

Varsity Kickoff Countdown is a daily series on the Varsity blog. It’s 34 days until the opening night of the high school football season on Friday, Aug. 29:

Number of the day: 34

That’s the number of points Farrell scored en route to its victory over Sharpsville in the 2009 District 10 Class A final.

The Steelers’ 34-7 win over the Blue Devils at Slippery Rock University represented the second of their three straight titles in that class. The first was thanks to a 28-7 victory over Linesville in 2008 and the third via a 39-0 shutout of Mercyhurst Prep in 2010.

Unfortunately for Farrell, its district dominance from 2008-10 coincided with the early years of Clairton’s tenure as a state power and champion. The WPIAL school eliminated the Steelers in the PIAA Class A semifinals in each of those three seasons.

– Mike Copper

Posted: July 25th, 2014

Varsity Kickoff Countdown is a daily series on the Varsity blog. It’s 35 days until the opening night of the high school football season on Friday, Aug. 29.

Number of the day: 35

That’s the number of points Wilmington scored in one of the greatest PIAA championships games ever played.

Wilmington became the sixth District 10 program to win a state football title in 2008. However, that didn’t become fact until after a second overtime session against Philadelphia West Catholic in the Class AA final at Hersheypark Stadium.

The teams went into overtime tied at 28. Each scored a touchdown during their possessions in the first OT, with the Greyhounds also reaching the end zone for seven points in the second.

West Catholic scored on its possession. However, instead of attempting a tying extra point and forcing a third OT, the Burrs opted for a title-winning, two-point conversion.

They lost the gamble, as Wilmington’s Shane Wagner tripped up star quarterback Curtis Drake inches short of the goal line. The ‘Hounds’ 35-34 victory meant they joined the 1989 Hickory Hornets (Class AA) and the 1997 Sharpsville Blue Devils (Class A) as PIAA football champs from Mercer County.

– Mike Copper

Posted: July 24th, 2014

Varsity Kickoff Countdown is a daily series on the Varsity blog. It’s 36 days until the opening night of the high school football season on Friday, Aug. 29:

Number of the day: 36

That’s the number of touchdowns Mike Millero has scored for Reynolds.

As a senior-to-be for the Raiders, Millero goes into their 2014 season as District 10′s active leader in career rushing yards. He’s gained 2,643 yards, an average of 6.5 per carry.

Millero can add to his career total when Reynolds opens with a non-region game at Cochranton.

– Mike Copper

Posted: July 23rd, 2014

Terry Verrelli

Varsity Kickoff Countdown is a daily series on the Varsity blog. It’s 37 days until the opening night of the high school football season on Friday, Aug. 29.

Number of the day: 37

That’s how many seasons, including the upcoming one, Terry Verrelli has been the head coach at Wilmington.

Between 1978 and 2013, Verrelli’s teams have won 276 times. That statistic makes him the most successful football coach in District 10 history, with former Warren coach J.B. Leidig second at 270.

It should be noted that all of Verrelli’s wins between 1978 and 1993 were when Wilmington was a member of District 7.

Sharon’s Jim Wildman (214 wins) is second on that District 10 list among active coaches, and fifth overall.

The highlight of Verrelli’s tenure was Wilmington’s 2008 season. The ‘Hounds, in one of the greatest PIAA championship games ever played, survived Philadelphia West Catholic 35-34 in a Class AA final that wasn’t determined until the second overtime.

– Mike Copper

Posted: July 22nd, 2014

One golfer expanded her lead in the standings while another saw his shrink after Tuesday’s Erie Sports Store Flagship Junior Tour stop at Elk Valley Golf Course.

Warren entrant Megan Smoulder finished a distant second to North East graduate Megan Moylan in the girls 16-18 division.

Smoulder’s round of 92 was 14 shots more than that of Moylan, a Lehigh University recruit. However, Smoulder upped her lead in the tour standings to 17 points over Georgia Capotis when the Mercyhurst Prep graduate didn’t enter.

The boys 16-18 winner was Titusville junior-to-be Eric Maginnis, who tied Clarion’s Jared Bish rounds of 75 on Elk Valley’s par-72 layout.

Jacob Van Slyke tied for seventh with a 79. The Harbor Creek entrant still leads the tour standings with 205.20 points, but saw Maginnis pull within 193.17 for second.

– Mike Copper

Posted in: District 10, Golf, PIAA
Posted: July 22nd, 2014

Elliot Spaeder, an assistant coach for Cathedral Prep’s swimming team, successfully crossed Lake Erie on Tuesday.

Spaeder took off from Long Point, Ontario, around 7 a.m. The former swimming standout at Prep and Gannon University arrived 11 hours, 28, minutes, 6 seconds later at North East’s Freeport Beach.

The possibility now exists that two members of the Ramblers’ 2014-15 swimming team could achieve that feat.

Awaiting for Spaeder to arrive Tuesday was Norman Stark, a senior-to-be at Prep.

Stark aborted last Friday’s attempt to complete the same Long Point-to-North East swim that Spaeder after roughly 45 minutes. However, he indicated to Erie Times-News reporter Victor Fernandes that he tentatively plans to try again this Saturday.

– Mike Copper

Posted: July 21st, 2014

Varsity Kickoff Countdown is a daily series on the Varsity blog. It’s 39 days until the opening night of the high school football season on Friday, Aug. 29.

Number of the day: 39

That’s the number points Hickory scored to beat Wilmington in the 2012 District 10 Class AA final. The Hornets claimed the second of their three consecutive titles in that class with a 39-7 rout of the Greyhounds at Slippery Rock University’s Mihalik-Thompson Stadium.

Hickory’s run to its third consecutive District 10 Class AA championship saw the Mercer County program score more than 50 points in its quarterfinal victory over Fort LeBoeuf and semifinal win over Northwestern. Girard gave the Hornets a game in the 2013 final before succumbing 21-10.

Strong Vincent will host Hickory at Veterans Stadium in the school’s 2014 opener.

– Mike Copper

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