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Mike White
High Schools: Woodland Hills joins select unbeaten club

Thursday, October 31, 2002

The Woodland Hills football team is concentrating on what is ahead -- the WPIAL playoffs. But a look back shows the Wolverines have a spot in WPIAL history.

Woodland Hills finished the regular season with a 9-0 record. It was the fourth consecutive year the Wolverines have gone through the regular season undefeated.

Only two other teams in WPIAL history have been undefeated in the regular season for four consecutive years. Jefferson-Morgan did it from 1941-44 and Braddock did it from 1954-59. Braddock, coincidentally, is part of the Woodland Hills district.

"I never knew that, but it's amazing just to hear that," said Woodland Hills Coach George Novak.

Two other teams in WPIAL history had four consecutive unbeaten seasons, but with a tie. North Hills did it in 1985-88 and Greensburg from 1913-16.

Records mistake

Perry was the first Pennsylvania team since 1959 to go through the regular season without giving up a point. The Post-Gazette correctly reported that last week. But Perry was not the 14th team in Pennsylvania history to accomplish the feat. The Commodores are the 68th.

Why the big difference? Here is the explanation.

Roger Saylor has records and scores for every high school football team in the history of the PIAA. The PIAA promotes him as its official football historian. A few years ago, Saylor put together a book with many interesting facts. One of them was that 13 teams had gone through the regular season without giving up a point. But Saylor, who is elderly, apparently missed a lot of teams.

Gordon Blain, who runs pasportsfever.com in eastern Pennsylvania, bought all of Saylor's records a few years ago. Blain and Don Black, a high school football follower, scoured through Saylor's records and old computer lists. A few weeks ago, they found 67 teams had not given up a point.

Perry accomplished something that hasn't been done in more than four decades. But the Commodores have more company in the zero-tolerance business than originally thought.

Ferguson to Toledo

Another Perry player has made a verbal commitment to a Division I college. Linebacker Kareem Ferguson (6 feet 2, 220 pounds) committed to Toledo this past weekend. Ferguson is one of the leading tacklers on Perry's defense.

Two other Perry players have committed to West Virginia. They are Vaughn Rivers and Eric Wicks, who both play receiver and defensive back.

Change of venue

The Latrobe-Penn Hills first-round game tomorrow night has been switched from Penn Hills to Plum because of Penn Hills' field conditions.

Check this out

dot.gif A question heading into the WPIAL playoffs: Will a team from the Quad West or Quad South win a game? In the past two seasons, teams from those two conferences are 0-16 in Class AAAA first-round games.

dot.gif Peabody beat Brashear in the City League regular-season finale Friday, and the two teams meet again in the semifinals tonight at Cupples Stadium. This is the third time in five years two teams have played in the final regular-season game and the following week in the semifinals.

dot.gif In the WPIAL regular season, Thomas Jefferson Coach Bill Cherpak had the best of both worlds -- offense and defense.

The Jaguars finished as the WPIAL's top team in scoring offense and defense. They averaged 41.7 points a game and gave up only 4.2.

The price for LeBron

Mellon Arena has announced ticket prices for the basketball tripleheader Dec. 15 that will feature LeBron James of Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary. James, a 6-foot-7 guard, was on the cover of Sports Illustrated last year and might be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft if he decides to skip college.

Ticket prices are $50, $25, $15 and $10 and will go on sale Monday at Mellon Arena and all Ticketmaster locations. One ticket is good for all three games. The event also features some of the best teams in the WPIAL. Chartiers Valley will play Aliquippa at 4 p.m., St. Vincent-St. Mary meets New Castle at 6 and Hempfield plays Sto-Rox at 8.

Fifty dollars to watch high school games?

"The $50 tickets will be courtside and VIP seating. There will be a limited number of those," said Brian Chiera, director of marketing at Mellon Arena. "The $25 tickets will be a center-court type of thing, the Igloo Club seats. The majority of the house will be $15 and $10 tickets."

The prices are somewhat comparable to a doubleheader at Cleveland State University that will include St. Vincent-St. Mary. For that event, tickets are $35, $25, $20 and $15.

One of the reasons for the ticket prices is a promotion company -- Fast Break Limited -- is paying at least $10,000 to St. Vincent-St. Mary to stage the games at Mellon and Cleveland State.

Mike White can be reached at mwhite@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1975.

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