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CTK '14: WPIAL AA Allegheny Conference Preview

When has the Allegheny Conference been able to say this: There are two Pitt recruits in the conference and one West Virginia recruit.

As strange as it sounds, it is true. The Allegheny has two Pitt recruits in Kittanning receiver-tight end-linebacker Nick Bowers and Apollo-Ridge receiver-defensive back Tre Tipton, who are both seniors. The West Virginia recruit is Freeport linebacker Logan Thimons, who is a junior. All three made verbal commitments to their schools.

They are certainly three of the players to watch in a conference that takes on a different look this season. Two teams from last year are out while three have moved in from different classifications.

Former North Allegheny Hockey Coach Named PIHL Commissioner

If there is one word to describe the objective of Jim Black, it would be “competition.”

Black, a fixture in Western Pennsylvania hockey, has been hired as the new Commissioner of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League, replacing Ed Sam, who held the position since 1999.

An eight-year Coach of North Allegheny, Black won PIHL Penguins Cup Championships in 2007 and 2013. In both seasons, the Tigers won the Pennsylvania Cup as well. Additionally, Black won a PIHL Penguins Cup and Pennsylvania Cup in 2006 at Pine-Richland.

Black will focus on making the PIHL a more competitive, transparent and noteworthy league. Already, he has helped contribute to the realignment of the entire League, forming two divisions at the Varsity Level and two tiers of Class A.

CTK '14: WPIAL AA Midwestern Athletic Conference Preview

2013 was another great season in the Midwestern Athletic Conference as Aliquippa made their sixth straight trip to Heinz Field. Overall, the Quips have won three titles in that time and fifteen overall.

Beaver and Beaver Falls also had outstanding seasons, again making the trip on the Highway to Heinz. Also qualifying for the first time since 2003 were the New Brighton Lions.

2014 should prove to be a good season as well. The MAC gets some new members as Laurel rejoins the conference and the Summit Academy moves in from the Allegheny.

Here is a preview of all the teams and the predicted order of finish:

ALIQUIPPA QUIPS:

CTK '14: WPIAL AA Interstate Conference Preview

The WPIAL’s Interstate has changed. There are no longer exits for Jeannette and Greensburg.

Jeannette and Greensburg Central Catholic both dropped from Class AA to A this season and both teams played in the Interstate Conference last year. One other team is out of the Interstate this year as Yough moved up to Class AAA.

The two new teams in the Interstate are Burgettstown and McGuffey, who both played in the Century Conference a year ago.

The loss of Greensburg Central Catholic and Jeannette makes this conference a little weaker. A different team has won the conference title the past four years – Mount Pleasant, Washington, Jeannette and Greensburg Central Catholic.

Here is an overview of the Interstate:

BROWNSVILLE FALCONS

CTK '14: New WPIAL Football Head Coaches

New Faces - New Places - New Hopes - New Dreams. While there were six fewer coaching change this off-season then before the 2013 campaign, there are some big names that have changed sidelines this upcoming season. Some of the changes include former championship winning coaches in Ray Reitz, Muzzy Colosimo, Greg Perry and Tom Nola. There are a lot of rookie head coaches getting their first crack, and some coaches who are just changing hats and addresses. Whatever the case, there 21 coaching changes coming into this 2014 season. Here are the new football coaches that will be running the sidelines in the WPIAL this fall.

CLASS AAAA:

BUTLER - Rob Densmore replaces Clyde Conti

CTK '14: WPIAL AA Century Conference Preview

Some things are fresh, while others are the same-old, same-old in the WPIAL Class AA Century Conference on the brink of the start of the 2014 campaign.

First, the New Century. Nearly one-third of this ten team conference is new to the section. In fact, two teams are new to the classification as both the Carlynton Cougars and the Sto-Rox Vikings move up from Class A where the Vikings played in the last two WPIAL Single-A championship games. East Allegheny is also new to the conference, moving over from the Westmoreland/Washington County based Interstate Conference to the Allegheny County filled Century Conference, joining the likes of Keystone Oaks, Quaker Valley, Seton-LaSalle, South Allegheny, South Park, South Fayette and Steel Valley.

CTK '14: WPIAL/City League Week Two Scrimmages

One scrimmage is in the books and one more is coming up this weekend as WPIAL and Pittsburgh City League football teams continue to prepare for the kickoff of the 2014 season. Scrimmage number two will take place for most teams on Friday 8/22 with three scrimmages on Saturday 8/23. Here is a rundown of ALL the second week scrimmages involving District 7 and District 8 high school football teams.

All games are Friday, August 22nd unless otherwise indicated.

WPIAL vs Pittsburgh City League:

Clairton Bears vs Allderdice Dragons AT Cupples Stadium at 9:00am

Perry Commodores vs Pittsburgh Central Catholic Vikings AT Central Catholic High School at 3:00pm

This Week on the MSA Sports Network

As Countdown to Kickoff 2014 continues each day online, it is the calm before the high school sports storm begins on 8/29 this week here on the MSA Sports Network. With the Pennsylvania Rebellion regular season over, the focus is on Frontier League pro baseball featuring the Washington Wild Things as they return home to CONSOL Energy Field to face River City and Gateway along with Fast Pitch Pro Softball postseason action, plus check out the latest local, regional and national auto racing news every Monday with another edition of Rappin' on Racin' ALL here at MSAsports.net

Monday, August 18th:

CTK '14: WPIAL AAA Big Nine Conference Preview

The WPIAL realigned football conferences for this season, but the Big Nine stayed absolutely the same.

Look for the conference race to stay the same as it has for a number of years. In other words, look for Thomas Jefferson on top.

Thomas Jefferson has won or tied for the conference title eight consecutive seasons. The last time a team other than Thomas Jefferson won the title outright was West Mifflin in 2005.

Many project Thomas Jefferson as the team to beat. Ringgold could challenge, though. A few teams have new coaches this season. Here is a look at all of the teams in the Big Nine:

ALBERT GALLATIN COLONIALS

CTK '14: WPIAL AAA Greater Allegheny Conference Preview

The teams in the Greater Allegheny Conference will have something new to worry about this season. They hope to avoid the bite of the Gators.

One of the major changes in the WPIAL football landscape this year is Gateway dropping down to Class AAA. Since Gateway opened in the mid 1950s, the Gators had always played in the largest classification. But the school’s enrollment allowed the team to drop from Class AAAA to AAA this season.

CTK '14: WPIAL AAA Parkway Conference Preview

The Parkway Conference has dominated the WPIAL title picture since 2009. The last five champions have come from the conference and in three of the last five, two conference teams have played each other in the title game. The Parkway has been represented at Heinz Field every year since 2005.

It has to start with the coaches, who have racked up 14 WPIAL titles at their current schools. Even the newcomer to the conference, has made two title game appearances. Add in a pair of coaches who won gold as players and you have a great collection of championship gold and some tough football games.

Five playoff spots are guaranteed in the conference, a sixth is possible with the WPIAL wild card, that race for post season play will be exciting as always.

CTK '14: WPIAL AAAA Southeastern Conference Preview

While Upper St. Clair and Woodland hills battled for the top spot in the Quad-A Southeastern Conference in 2013, much the same as they did in 2012, one team that missed out on the WPIAL football playoffs in 2012 was back into the postseason in 2013 while a long time playoff team and co-champion in the conference in 2012 was a rare spectator come playoff time in 2013.

Some things stayed the same in the conference made up of teams east of Pittsburgh as well as south of the city…like Upper St. Clair beating out Woodland Hills for the section crown in the regular season, only to see the Wolverines eliminate the Panthers for the second straight season in the district Semifinals.

CTK '14: WPIAL AAAA Foothills Conference Preview

The Gateway Gators have finished first or second in the Foothills Conference for six consecutive seasons. Don’t look for Gateway near the top of the conference this year.

That’s because Gateway is no longer in the conference. The Gators dropped from Class AAAA to AAA for this season.

The Foothills Conference, though, still has nine teams. Plum was moved from the Southeastern to the Foothills.

McKeesport is the defending conference champion. The Tigers lost a number of key players, but still should be in the top of the conference. Many are pointing toward Penn-Trafford as the team to beat.

Here is a look at the Foothills:

ALTOONA MOUNTAIN LIONS

CTK '14: WPIAL AAAA Northern Eight Conference Preview

The WPIAL realigns football conferences every two years, but the league kept the Class AAAA Northern Eight Conference intact from the past two seasons.

But really, the Northern Eight is the northern seven plus the big one from the city.

The conference has seven teams from the northern suburbs, plus the team from the Oakland area of the city that wears the helmets with horns. Pittsburgh Central Catholic will once again be a major player in WPIAL Class AAAA after winning the title a year ago. The Vikings also won the conference title a year ago, but they might have a tougher challenge to finish first this season.

This Week on the MSA Sports Network

As Countdown to Kickoff 2014 continues each day online, it is another busy week of youth and professional diamond action this week here on the MSA Sports Network. We have Frontier League pro baseball featuring the Washington Wild Things as they hit the road to Windy City and Evansville while the Pennsylvania Rebellion close out a home stand before hitting the road. Meanwhile, the 2014 PONY League World Series winds down with the Championship Game slated for Wednesday, plus check out the latest local, regional and national auto racing news every Monday with another edition of Rappin' on Racin' ALL here at MSAsports.net

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