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December 19, 2008
Western roundup: Post-season accolades for Bethel, Gateway
The two top teams in Class AAAA in the WPIAL were honored with post-season awards on Friday.
Bethel Park head coach Jeff Metheny was named the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Coach of the Year in Friday's editions, as determined by members of the paper's sports staff. He topped Thomas Jefferson head coach Bill Cherpak, and was heralded with accolades from one of his top opponents on the field.
"The team represented (Metheny). He's a tough, hard-nosed guy," Gateway head coach Terry Smith told the Post-Gazette. "You always know playing Bethel Park that they're going to have their I's dotted and their T's crossed. They didn't make many mistakes. You look at their stretch run and they made a minimum amount of mistakes. Even our game, they played ball control and waited for us to make mistakes, which we did."
Smith's standout running back-slash-linebacker Dorian Bell was named the Post-Gazette's Player of the Year, also on Friday.
Bell, who told the paper he thought he had just an "OK" year, is busily preparing for next year's transition to Ohio State.
"My head is in my books right now. I just want to keep my grades up," Bell told the Post-Gazette. "That's my first goal. My second one is to start at Ohio State next year as a freshman. I want to start four years. Thirdly, I'd say my last goal is to make it to the NFL someday."
Smith thinks that Bell could make an impact for the Buckeyes as early as next season, following in the footsteps of another stellar WPIAL player.
"I'm sure there are some studs waiting their turn to play there," Smith said. "But I think Dorian looks at (Jeannette's) Terrelle Pryor and his impact at Ohio State this year, and how he came in and made a difference on that team. He wants to be that same type of guy next year. Terrelle opened the door and said, 'It's possible.'"
Meanwhile, readers of the Post-Gazette overwhelmingly selected Bethel Park's John Schademan as their Player of the Year. The wideout garnered 83 percent of the more than 3,600 votes cast on the Post-Gazette's Web site. Thomas Jefferson running back Brian Baldrige was second in the voting, with 11 percent.
The Erie Times-News this week named Erie McDowell quarterback A.J. Fenton as its District 10 Player of the Year.
"A.J.'s biggest attribute is his leadership," McDowell head coach Mark Soboleski told the Times-News. "He's a natural born leader who doesn't have to say a whole lot to lead."
Fenton, a Wisconsin recruit, finished his scholastic career with 600 carries for 4,207 yards and 54 touchdowns, all school records. He also rushed for a school-record 1,933 yards this season, setting the school's single-season mark as well. In the air, he was 37-of-64 for 764 yards with 10 touchdowns and four interceptions this season.
"Honestly, the records are nice to have, but it always came down to helping the team win," Fenton told the Times-News. "The offensive line and our backs and receivers all worked together to try and win."
Miller to Moon
Jon Miller, the defensive coordinator at Upper St. Clair, has been named the new head coach at Moon Area, also according to Friday's Post-Gazette.
It will be Miller's first head coaching post. He replaces long-time head coach Mark Capuano, who retired in November after a 1-18 record over the past two seasons with the Tigers.
Wilson to Kiski
The Kiski Area School Board this week unanimously approved the hiring of Troy Wilson as its new head football coach, after accepting the resignation of coach Harvey Smith at the same meeting, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Wilson will be the program's third head coach in as many years.
NO RIVALRY FOR PITTSBURGH
According to multiple reports, Pittsburgh has withdrawn its proposal to host the Army-Navy game at Heinz Field.
The remaining venues vying for the rivalry game from 2010 to 2014 are now Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium, Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., Indianapolis' new Lucas Oil Stadum, FedEx Field in Lanover, Md., and the new venue to replace Giants Stadium, expected to be ready for 2010, in East Rutherford, N.J.
The game's current host, Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, is also still in the running.