Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Injuries Are Playing a Major Role

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Injuries Are Playing a Major Role

Article excerpt

Every one of the teams in the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinals has a 1,000-yard rusher, but that's not what makes this an unusual group.

You'd have a hard time coming up with a semifinal field that has ever had to deal with injuries to their top running backs. And a couple of those running backs are questionable for tonight's games.

So the big story for these semifinals might not be who is playing as much as who might not be playing.

Upper St. Clair (11-0) meets Woodland Hills (9-2) tonight at Baldwin while Penn-Trafford (8-3) plays Central Catholic (11-0) at West Mifflin.

"Going back over the ages, I don't ever remember so many running backs being hurt from the four teams," Woodland Hills coach George Novak said. "Usually, you might have one team that has somebody hurt, but I don't know about four."

Here is the injury report:

* Woodland Hills sophomore Miles Sanders, who has 1,016 yards, hasn't played since the regular-season finale because on an ankle injury. Novak said Sanders is "questionable to doubtful."

* Upper St. Clair's Trevor Morrow, who has 1,069 yards rushing, sustained a foot injury in last week's game against North Allegheny. Upper St. Clair coach Jim Render said Morrow is questionable. Upper St. Clair fullback Mac Pope hasn't played since the regular-season finale because of a knee injury. Render said Pope also is questionable for Woodland Hills.

* Penn-Trafford's Devin Austin, who has 1,267 yards, missed some of last week's game against McKees-port because of a head injury. But Penn-Trafford coach John Ruane said Austin is expected to play.

* Central Catholic's Luigi Lista-Brinza, who has 1,233 yards, has been back for only two games after missing the final four regular- season contests because of an ankle injury.

"These injuries certainly make you tweak some things on offense," Render said. "We've got some other decent running backs, but they are just not the size of Morrow and Pope. …

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