Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Perfection Spreads around Wpial

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Perfection Spreads around Wpial

Article excerpt

Coaches will tell you it's never easy to go through a WPIAL regular season undefeated. But it seems a lot easier these days compared to decades ago.

Twelve teams made it through the regular season with a perfect record. That is believed to tie the all-time high in the WPIAL. The 2011 season also had 12 perfect teams while there were 11 in 2013 and 10 in 2010.

It's a sign of the perfect times in WPIAL football. From 1999 through this year, there have been 11 seasons with at least seven undefeated teams in the regular season. From 1974 through 1998, there was never a season with more than seven undefeated teams. In fact, during those 25 seasons, there were fewer than seven undefeated teams 19 times.

Consider this: In 1988, '87, '80 and '79, there were only three undefeated teams in the regular season. In 1985, there were only two. Heck, go back before the WPIAL started playoffs in 1971, and there were only championship games -- and teams had to be undefeated in their classification to play in the championship games. Sometimes, there was only one undefeated team in a classification and that team was awarded the championship without a title game.

It's hard to pinpoint why there are more undefeated teams these days. One of the reasons might be the gap between the "haves" and "have-nots" has gotten bigger.

In other words, there are more teams having trouble being competitive. Another reason might be the nine-game regular-season schedule. WPIAL teams used to play a 10-game schedule. Nowadays, the WPIAL schedules only nine regular-season games. Teams that don't make the playoffs have the option to schedule a 10th game on their own, but only a few choose to do so.

The undefeated teams this season were Pine-Richland and Penn- Trafford in Class AAAA, Central Valley and Thomas Jefferson in AAA, South Fayette, Aliquippa, Washington and Highlands in AA and Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic, Clairton, Neshannock and Beth-Center in Class A.


Pine-Richland quarterback Ben DiNucci has caught the eye of at least one NCAA Division I-A college program.

DiNucci, who led the WPIAL in passing yardage during the regular season, made a verbal commitment this summer to Pennsylvania, a I- AA school in the Ivy League. But Penn State apparently has an interest in DiNucci now, and invited him to attend Saturday's home game against Maryland. Penn State has not offered a scholarship and inviting a player to a game doesn't say a school is going to offer.

"They called him and invited him," Pine-Richland coach Eric Kasperowicz said. "It's good to see. Ben has said all along that he's not going to sway his commitment [to Pennsylvania] unless he would get something from a school in one of the five so-called "power" conferences. …

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