The two squads combined for more than 700 yards of offense in a low-scoring contest Friday night at the 48th annual Ken Lantzy All-Star Football Game at Greater Johnstown’s Trojan Stadium.
The North came from behind to prevail 17-14 with Berlin Brothersvalley kicker Carter Raupach providing the winning margin of victory.
Most valuable position awards were presented immediately after the game.
For the North, Greater Johnstown quarterback Austin Barber was selected the offensive back MVP, Zane Horne of Berlin Brothersvalley was the offensive lineman, Eric Elgin of Forest Hills, who picked off a pass on a fake punt, was the defensive back, and Max Sankey of Bishop Guilfoyle, the defensive lineman.
Central Cambria quarterback Justin Bezek was the South offensive back MVP. The other South MVP’s were Noah Dillow of Chestnut Ridge (defensive back), Evan Bobby of Cambria Heights (defensive lineman) and Eric Shirley of Homer-Center (offensive lineman).
Prior to the game, Greater Johnstown football coach Tony Penna Jr. was honored, and scholarship awards were presented to a number of players.
Nick Peretin of Forest Hills was the winner of the Arthur R. Palumbo $1,000 scholarship.
Jonathan Long of Forest Hills, who finished with six catches for 91 yards and had a 51-yard punt return for a touchdown, won the Paul Shandor $500 award, while the Dave Rizzo award of $500 went to Portage’s Tom Randazzo.
The recipients of three $500 scholarships for scholastic achievement went to Richard Phillips of Bishop McCort, Nick Brawley of Cambria Heights and Clayton Dorian of Westmont Hilltop.
Meeting of the minds: The PIAA wrapped up its sports season this past week with the baseball and softball finals, but the political season kicks off Monday when the PIAA Legislative Oversight Committee hosts its public meeting at the Capital Complex in Harrisburg.
Historically the 90-minute conclave isn’t very newsworthy, but this year’s hearing will focus on separate championships, boundary and non-boundary schools and classification of sports.
While those subjects have been a bone of contention in the past, expect more fireworks this time around given the fact that the WPIAL, the largest PIAA district, has made it known that the vast majority of its schools want to see changes.
Additionally, several individual school districts have also gone on record as demanding changes.
In District 6, a number of schools have been outspoken concerning the matter.
Superintendent John Sarandrea of the New Castle School District, who spearheaded the recent WPIAL sports survey, is expected to testify that there is an uneven playing field between boundary and non-boundary schools and that despite the fact that private/charter schools only make-up approximately twelve percent of the PIAA membership, they win a disproportionate number of championships in sports such as football and basketball.
Representatives from the PIAA, Pennsylvania Catholic Conference and the PA Coalition of Public Charter Schools are also scheduled to give testimony.
PIAA executive director Robert Lombardi has steadfastly refused to even entertain separating the championships between private and public schools.
Lombardi cites the law passed in 1972, which forced the PIAA to accept private schools as members. Lombardi adds that the PIAA will not even consider a change until the law is amended.
This is where it gets interesting.
A Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story reports that after a recent meeting with Sarandrea, Sen. Jay Costa, D-Allegheny and Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver, both members of the oversight committee, went on record as stating there is nothing in the 1972 law that prohibits the PIAA from staging separate championships if they desire.
They clearly stated the decision is one for the PIAA to make.
Other topics sure to be discussed are the newly proposed PIAA transfer rule, which would prohibit athletes who switch schools during the regular season from participating in postseason competition, along with a proposal by oversight committee member Scott Martin, R-Lancaster, to force non-boundary schools to establish their own boundary limitations, without legislation being necessary.
Don’t expect anything definitive to happen Monday, but these discussions should lead to further meetings which hopefully will bring closure.
Let the games begin.