Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of the 2011 Season

The Good:

Tyler Boyd... Enough said right lol. It has been a blessing to watch him run, almost effortlessly, this past season. This kid is a rare breed of talent, and just maybe the best player, at the 1A level, in a long, long time. Watching him on an option play to the left and get cornered, just to cut back across the field for a long TD run in the State Championship was just a thing of beauty. And here's the scary thought for Class A teams, he'll be returning in the 2012 season for his Sr. Year.

Clairton's streak of 47 games in a row has been amazing. I know there are some that say that the Bears wouldn't own such a streak if Jeannette and/or Aliquippa played Class A football. I say so what, if those fans have something to say, let those schools drop and let it play out on the field. 47 games in a row, even against this competition, is one hell of a feat. Teams, that have the talent Clairton has, been known to play down to their competition and even lose. The fact that these Bears haven't done that and blasted these schools the way they have, the kids and the coach's should be applauded. These last 2 state championship games really tested the mettle and heart of these kids. And they passed with flying colors!

The Bad:

WPIAL competition has seemed to have gotten worse these past few years. When you see scores of 43-7 and 42-6 you instantly think of a regular season game, and not playoff games against the likes of Rochester and Sto Rox in the Semi's and the Finals.

What happened to the mighty WPIAL in Class A? I just remembered 10 years ago when Rochester went on to win a few State Championships but struggled in a few playoff games against the likes of Chartiers Houston in the 2nd round of the playoffs. Is it talent, coaching, or a combination of the 2?

The Ugly:

84-0 rings a bell doesn't it. While Clairton and even the haves have seemed to separate themselves, the difference between the haves and have nots has gotten much much worse. Beth Center, Springdale, Rochester, Bishop Canevin, and Clairton all routinely blew out their competition-or lack there of. Are we in need of a 5th Class or a Class 1A and Class 1B? Who knows, but this issue wasn't addressed for this next cycle(2012/13 and 2013/14 school years) but it will be. But Clairton's 84-0 win should be the catalyst for some change in the PIAA.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Steelers Defense: Holes Gallore

I normally don't write blogs about the Steelers and its quite simple to why I don't blog about them. Its mostly because there's hundreds of Steeler bloggers out there. But after tonight's game I just have to say my 2 cents.

OK schematically I felt we took the right approach to Tim Tebow and the Broncos passing game. You can't all out blitz him because he'll simply scramble and gain 10-15 yards at a clip. So daring him to throw is obviously going to put pressure on our Cornerbacks to make plays. Tonight both Willie Gay and Ike Taylor failed... miserably.

Games like tonight is the exact reason why I felt that the Steelers should have drafted a shutdown cornerback in last years Draft. And this is the reason why the Steelers will need to draft one in this years Draft. If we don't it will still be the same old same old next season.

But when it came to the Zone Read Option and the more traditional option we failed miserably as well. To defend that style of football you need all of the Options covered. And if they aren't covered Tebow- or any other option QB- is just going to read the DE or LB. If the DE or LB covers the RB, he'll keep the ball, and if the DE or LB commits to the QB he'll hand off or pitch the ball to the RB.

This is practically an offense many of these players saw in High School and College. And I'm just surprised Dick LeBeau didn't have an answer for this offense.

If we can't defend this style of football, I'm afraid of what Cam Newton and the Panthers will do to this defense. Cam Newton is a far better runner and passer than Tebow.

I'm not going to ramble on and on about this. But I have to give credit where its due. Tebow made the plays when he had to tonight. He's going to be a dangerous weapon when he gets more accurate in the future.

I guess its time to enjoy the long off season. It won't be long until the boys in the Black n Gold hit the field again. Until then, enjoy the Penguins and Pirates seasons. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Some Notes On What to Expect in the 12/13 Football Cycle(Realignment)

Expect to see 3 Conferences of 9 teams in Class's 4A and 3A, 3 Conferences of 9 teams and 1 8 team Conference, and in Class A, expect to see 3 Conferences of 9 teams and 1 Ten team Conference.

I'm hearing from too many people, from coach's and media types, that there will be a major shift in Class A. I saw different configurations and as always, I totally hate them all. One has Clairton in the Eastern Conference with the likes of W. Shamokin and Apollo Ridge-talking about driving a distance. Another I saw wast Clairton in a Mon-Yough like league w/ the likes of Brentwood, Monessen, Frazier, and Geibel.

For Wash County Fans; I really don't know what to expect to be honest. Canon-Mac and Peters Township looks to be in a southern based Conference with Mt. Lebo, Baldwin, maybe McKeesport or Pittsburgh Central Catholic.

Trinity looks to be in a league with Thomas Jefferson, Ringold and teams as far away as Albert Gallatin and Uniontown.

In one form or another Char Houston and Fort Cherry fans expect to lose Clairton as a conference member and gain at least Bishop Canevin and even possibly Western Beaver.

I really haven't seen 2A projections so I really can't speak on that.

You yinzers ready for my typical anti-WPIAL rant!!!

Here's my problem with 3A and 4A going to just 3 Conferences of 9 teams, and its simple. This just feels so archaic to me. While the rest of the nation is promoting big time games, we're only having games within our District. No doubt that there are some fine matchups on the horizon, but come on. I want to see Pittsburgh Central Catholic play against the likes of Louisville Trinity or Don Bosco Prep. I want to see Central Valley play against a Stuebenville or Cincinnati Colerain and so on.

This area's old school ways just drives me insane. We totally need "new blood" within the combines of the WPIAL with fresh new idea's. Why not have spring football? Why not have smaller leagues and more conferences? Why not vote Yes for 5 Class's or even 6? The league is simply moving backyards and not forward and its sad, quite sad.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Some changes coming for the 2012 football season

I'm not going to rant about the PIAA and the WPIAL tonight I promise. I'm sure I'm going to rant about both sometime in the near future.

I plan on expanding my content next season. I'm going to post more on Washington County Schools but at the same time expect my traditional 3-4 Clairton blogs.

There are a few reasons for me expanding my content. The main reason for the change is that I need to know 2A-4A football as much as I do 1A football. And there is no better way than gathering that knowledge blogging these local schools in the area.

Now if I have the availability on Friday Nights, I'd like to cover some games as well. So I may have to step up my interview skills and figure out ways to get a media pass.

So between now and August I have to do some studying on Canon-Mac, Trinity, Washington, Peters Township, Avella, and so on.

This blog has been an overwhelming success and I thank you guys. Its totally natural to expand my content.

One thing though, I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to do every week just yet. Maybe a preview Wednesday and a week in review on Sunday with Clairton content in between.

Thanks for reading making this blog as successful as it has been.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Parents of Clairton Education Center: Where's the Outrage

As a 2001 Grad of Clairton High School there are a few disturbing trends as I did a little bit of research from Clairton's Web Page.

We all know that CEC isn't making the grade when it comes to the PSSA(PA System of School Assessment) tests.

But I must ask this simple question, where is the outrage from the PARENTS of these kids? Where are the parents during such events like School Board Meetings, Parent Teacher Conferences, or part of the PTA(Parent Teacher Association)?

On the City of Clairton Facebook Page there are always great discussions, but they are always led by people outside of the city such as Gary Mullen(Leader of the Clairton Restoration Movement), Paul Goodrum, Loretta Sanders, Damon Moore and so on.

The problem is that we can discuss these issues all we want, but we can't change anything until the residents of Clairton are involved.

Here are the facts parents;

From Page 24;

Strategy: PSSA awareness
Description: The district will utilize motivational strategies to inform the student and home of the
importance of the PSSA assessment.
Activity: Parental correspondence
Last Modified: 9/15/2009
Description: A letter explaining the importance of the PSSA is sent to each home on three
occasions prior to the administration of the assessment.
Person Responsible Timeline for Implementation Resources
None Selected Start: 1/1/2007
Finish: Ongoing
Status: In Progress — Upcoming

Low Test scores for Clairton has been in the limelight ever since the PSSA was introduced in the 1990's. So you're going to tell me that from the 1st of January in 2007 through September 15th of 2009 this School Board didn't find the need to have someone in charge to lead in this area. There maybe one in place today, but not having one in place for a year and 9 months is, what we like to say in the Navy, UNSAT.

Also as you read their Strategic Plan you're going to notice minor spelling errors and so on. And then you're also going to notice several of their Goals listed as Overdue, or not completed.

So how can we take this school seriously when they're sending this Document to the Department of Education on the Federal and State Levels and they can't spell or have decent grammar.

Most "Living Documents" are only updated when "Goals" are completed. So most of these so called Goals from 2007 are still incomplete and overdue. Which is a shame, because this Admin is failing the future of this great nation.

Again Parents, where is the outrage? This document is on the Schools Web Page for crying out loud. Do you even read the site at all? Parents... get off of your dead asses and turn off your TV's, and lets do something about this problem.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

16 Week Season for the Next 2 Years

The WPIAL and PIAA are simply amazing. Saying that both organizations are stupid or dumb would be giving them far too much credit.

Last Thursday night they was supposed to vote on a 15 Week Season and tabled the vote to Friday Morning-before the State Championship games. In a Tally that needed 21 Yes votes, the final tally came out to 16 Yes votes to 10 No votes and 1 voter abstained-for whatever reason.

While some people was surprised by this ruling I wasn't. Why would a D5, D9, or any other District be willing to cut playoff qualifiers when the WPIAL was still going to be able to hold a 16 team playoff field in all 4 Class's. Fair is fair right.

Its obvious to me that no one cares about the kids and only about their own self interest, but at the same time they want a shorter season at the same time. So compromise needs to be in order somewhere.

So what's the next step in ending the season sooner. The East doesn't want to start the season earlier, the WPIAL doesn't more Class's because of the Heinz Field issue, and doesn't want to cut its playoff field in half.

This is really going to come down to who blinks first.

And lets be serious my fellow WPIAL fans, does a 3-6 Fox Chapel team really deserve a playoff spot? Or how about in some of those bottom tier schools in Class A? I mean what benefit does bringing in 4th place teams really do when they're more than likely going to lose by 30+ in the first round. Why risk injuries to a star player or 2 in these meaningless playoff games? And its really sad that I'm calling a playoff game meaningless for crying out loud.

Another thing we need to fix is the competitive balance in esp in Class A and 4A. McKeesport for example is definitely a quality football program but why have them compete with a North Allegheny when their enrollment was 515 Boys and NA's was 1078. NA has more than double the amount of boys than McKeesport has. In Class A its even worse. Schools like Mapletown, Geibel, and Imani has less than 70 boys competing against schools of over 180 boys in enrollment. But the competitive imbalance is very noticeable at the Class A Level.

I'd root for 5 or maybe 6 Class's for the PIAA. But until the WPIAL and its counterparts reach some compromise. And with the way things are going, its not going to happen any time soon. And its a shame.