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Ringgold Team Wraps Season; Featured Players From Across Mon Valley Schools

March 14, 2018 |

By Josh Rizzo | Posted in: Sports

(Photo courtesy Ringgold Hockey Association, via Facebook)

Clayton Colecchi doesn’t feel any different aversion to playing hockey with a different high school on the front of his sweater. The South Allegheny High School sophomore wanted a chance to compete in the PIHL -- the governing body for high school hockey in Western Pennsylvania -- and playing under the Ringgold Hockey banner was his only option.

South Allegheny is part of a wide-ranging agreement that features eight schools, including Belle Vernon, Bentworth, Brownsville, California and Yough.

“I’ve embraced it and so have the other kids in my school,” Colecchi said. “They come out and watch the games and support it. They don’t care if it’s Ringgold, they consider it South Allegheny.”

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Serra's Cleary: Not The 'Firebrand' He Used to Be

February 22, 2018 |

By Josh Rizzo | Posted in: Sports

Bill Cleary, athletic director and coach of the women's basketball team at Serra Catholic High School, celebrates his 600th win along with members of the team. (Photo courtesy Serra Catholic High School, via Twitter)

Bill Cleary gets a gentle reminder when former players return that he isn’t the firebrand he used to be. Coaching the Serra Catholic girls basketball program for 31 years, Cleary has led many generations of Eagles.

Each has different memories of Cleary’s style.

“I have changed,” said Cleary, who will coach the Eagles tonight in the WPIAL Class 2A quarterfinals against Greensburg Central Catholic. “Some of the players from years gone by who come back say I’ve changed. I’ve softened. Age has done that and experience has made me more understanding in a lot of situations.”

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Tigers Look to 2018-19 Following 8-3 Football Season

November 20, 2017 |

By Josh Rizzo | Posted in: Sports

When the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association released enrollment numbers last week, McKeesport Area School District was on the list to bump down in classifications from 5A to 4A.

The Tigers were listed as having 335 boys enrolled, down from 439 two years ago.

McKeesport Athletic Director Charley Kiss said via email the district hasn't yet made a decision if the Tigers’ football program will accept a move to Class 4A for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years.

Tigers second-year coach Matt Miller wouldn’t mind staying put.

“We’ve always played Woodland Hills and Penn Hills and Gateway,” Miller said. “It’s hard to give that up. You have those built-in rivalries and healthy competition. I foresee us probably sticking in 5A. It hasn’t been finalized yet, but it’s hard to give up those rivalries. The kids get fired up for those games. I think the rivalries will make it hard to move to a lower division.”

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Serra Boys Take on Springdale Soccer in Playoffs Today

October 21, 2017 |

By Josh Rizzo | Posted in: Sports

Serra Catholic goalkeeper Teddy Almeter slides to try and block a shot by a teammate Thursday at East Allegheny High School. The Eagles open the WPIAL Class A playoffs against Springdale today at North Allegheny. (Photo by Josh Rizzo, special to Tube City Almanac)

When things go wrong, the Serra Catholic boys' soccer team tries to find the right attack.

The Eagles (9-7-1, 7-5) think that's the proper mindset for this afternoon, when they take on seventh-seeded Springdale (12-4-1) in the first round of the Class A playoffs. Game time at North Allegheny is 1 p.m.

The 10th-seeded Serra High team didn’t point to a signature victory as a point of confidence. Heading into the playoffs, the Eagles are ecstatic about a scoreless draw that capped a 1-4-1 slide to end the regular season.

Serra Catholic stayed together on Oct. 17 on the road and tied a Keystone Oaks’ team, which finished 12-5-1 and is headed to the WPIAL Class AA postseason.

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Football Preview: Tigers Look to Keep Momentum Going

August 31, 2017 |

By Josh Rizzo | Posted in: Sports

There’s been one topic of conversation throughout the offseason for McKeesport senior quarterback John Harper and his teammates: How can the Tigers follow their best season in 11 years by taking another stride forward?

McKeesport reached Heinz Field to play in the newly-created WPIAL 5A championship game last December before falling in a heart-wrenching overtime contest, 38-37, to West Allegheny.

“That’s all we’ve been talking about every day, honestly,” said Harper, who will start under center for the first time after playing at running back and defensive back last season.

The Tigers, who finished 9-3 last season and tied for second place in the Big East Conference, won the last of their three WPIAL crowns Class 4A back in 2005.

McKeesport will kick off its run toward another championship at 7 p.m. Friday against Franklin Regional in Murrysville. (Editor's note: The game will be televised on WPNT-TV "The Point" 22.)

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