2020 Week 9 (Pennsylvania)

2020 Week 9 (Pennsylvania)

Things are finally starting to become a bit more reasonable. My schedule went off without a hitch. Even though there was one change. My Saturday afternoon switched from Linsly in Wheeling, West Virginia to a recently rescheduled game at Seneca Valley.

My night game was circled the moment I had seen it on the schedule. Bentworth had been on my list since last year. As I want to see more of the southwestern PA stadiums. Bentworth is located between Washington and Belle Vernon along I-70.

Bentworth is a combination of Bentleyville and Ellsworth. The two towns share a border, and the stadium sits right along that border. The hilly locale of Ellsworth puts the stadium up onto a tall hill that makes it difficult to get up to. Especially if you go up hill from the west. A large switch back turn in a tight residential area. The parking area is small, and results in everyone being ‘parked in’. My car was parked in with one car to the left, three to the right, and about 6 cars behind. But only one car in front of me in the grid. Which was nice.

#31 Bentworth v. Avella

This was my first time seeing Bentworth. I had seen Avella once before when they played at Riverview in Oakmont. The stadium was nice. Sitting at the top of a hill, the view wasn’t that grand with the trees surrounding the field. But, the simple stadium sits tight to the field. Scoreboard to the north along with the fieldhouse and restrooms located to the northeast. The stands are metal. The field was grass, but the lighting was phenomenal.

The Bentworth Bearcats dressed only 15 for the game. While Avella had by my count, 20. The early part of the game featured a lot of placekicking. For a 1A game, Bentworth kicked two first half field goals. And an early deficit for the homestanding Bearcats still saw them overcome with a 29-7 lead at the half. The fumbles and interceptions were plentiful throughout the game.

After halftime, rain started. Which wasn’t originally in the forecast. A light sprinkle. But I headed to my care for rain gear that I didn’t bring in earlier. The end of the game moved at a brisk pace as Avella made great strides toward a comeback. Including a TD, an onside recovery, another TD, and some late chances to try and score. Bentworth 41, Avella 31.

My Friday games were a few, but my first pick ended up working out so no need to really look around. With another long trip planned for Saturay, i didn’t want three straight long trips. So, my first option was Hopewell hosting Avonworth. Two teams I’ve seen previously, but a new location and a game I was banking on being close as well. The drive south to Hopewell was via 422 and I-79 and down to Neville Island. From there, it was backtracking north through Coraopolis, and up the hill to Hopewell. This was my first time to the area Hopewell’s high school was located. Though they have an Aliquippa mailing address, they’re a little southeast of the Quips’ home field.

Just a brief side trip to Greenville with my daughter and then headed down to Aliquippa.

Hopewell’s stadium is named for one of their team’s most prestegious alums. Tony Dorsett Stadium sits behind the high school and is nice and modern. The field is turf, and the stands sit on a hillside up toward the school. A large ‘legends park’ sits at the northwest corner near the entrance showing off the local greats that have come through this area of the country. Tony Dorsett being one of them, obviously. A huge billboard greets you from the parking lot on arrival.

The only real issue with the stadium is the lighting. It’s incredibly dim for a turf field. The home team wearing navy and old gold doesn’t help brighten things up. At the fifty, though, is a large Minnesota Viking-esque full head logo, not just the horns.

#32 Hopewell v. Avonworth

I was happy that I managed to get a good shot of the opening kickoff. The game started well. Hopewell scored first on a 61 yard TD, but missed the extra point on a block by Avonworth. Quickly, though, the Antelopes scored to take the lead on their own 61 yard TD. Avonworth added two more touchdown passes in the second quarter against Hopewell’s fumble into the endzone that was recovered for the Vikings’ second score of the game. At the half, Avonworth led 21-13 and it seemed like they would be going back and forth scoring the rest of the game.

However, the second half was scoreless despite being back-and-forth. In the fourth quarter, Hopewell was driving, before throwing an interception over the middle. Avonworth would later fumble it away. Hopewell then went down the field before being stopped on fourth down. Avonworth’s possession would run a lot of clock down as the ball moved to the Hopewell 16. On a 4th and 3, Avonworth would run for only 2 yards and turn it over. Hopewell, with a sliver of hope, would throw an incomplete, and then fumble for a ten yard loss. The third down play was a spike to stop the clock. The fourth down was a short run. Which gave Avonworth the opportunity to kneel out the game and secure the win.

After the game I meandered northwest through Aliquippa and to 376. Again, avoiding the interstate, I took a new route home. 51 to 168 and took that up through West Pittsburg. A little town just south of New Castle. It’s an interesting little community.

Now, for Saturday, I had my night game locked in for a while. Carmichaels was hosting California at night. So, the only issue was which afternoon game I could find. With Ohio being in the playoffs, Saturday afternoon games would mostly be in Ohio. The first option, of course, was Steubenville Catholic Central, who had arranged three straight home non-playoff games at their practice field. I went to one last week, and was quite content to go there again for their matchup against Bishop Rosecrans.

I had seen Rosecrans before. Also, Linsly, located in Wheeling, had a home game scheduled against Kiski School. At fist, I decided to do this game, but it was quickly cancelled. And then, just as quickly, their home game was rescheduled against Allderdice. At the same time, Catholic Central moved their home game back from 1pm to 4pm. Which meant that game was out. And without confirmation from either Linsly or Allerdice that there really was going to be a game on Saturday afternoon, the only other firm option was Bellaire. Who had a home playoff game at Nelson Field.

But, just like that, another game got rescheduled. Baldwin needed an extra day to practice before restarting their schedule. Resulting in the Seneca Valley homecoming game being pushed back to Saturday at noon. Though I had seen both teams previously, and seen two previous games at NexTier Stadium, this was the easy decision.

So, after getting most of the photos done for the night, it was a short night of sleep and then getting situated to head down to Harmony. I had planned to arrive an hour early. But, my late start meant that I was going to arrive just before kickoff. And then, to find out that my name wasn’t on the list. Though the AD thankfully remembered speaking to me so had no issues after that. other than being outside the stadium for the anthem.

#33 Seneca Valley v. Baldwin

Seneca Valley opened with a bang. A 90 yard kickoff return on the games’ first play. After that, they scored again on a 30 yard play. But, the 13-0 lead would hold until late in the game. Baldwin would struggle, but finally score late in the game after coming up short on an interception in the endzone stymied them earlier in the second half. With 1:35 left, Baldwin would run it in from one yard out. The kick would split the uprights, and despite one last gasp effort following a turnover by the Raiders, a field goal attempt came up short.

In overtime, Baldwin would get the ball first. Three plays proved fruitless and left them kicking a field goal to take their first lead of the game. But, on Seneca Valley’s first play of overtime, they’d run it in from ten yards out to the far left sideline. Seneca Valley 19, Baldwin 16 (OT).

With a noon start, and despite overtime, a brisk pace, left me over four hours between the end of this game and the start of the Carmichaels game. I left and headed south on the conveniently located I-79 right by the school, and stopped in Washington for some gas and food. Texas Roadhouse was open and I stopped there to finish up my Friday night article and get a Ribeye steak.

From there, it was a meandering drive from I-70 down through Beallsville, PA to the river and through Fredericktown and on to Carmichaels. The first time I had been to the town.

The Mighty Mikes have one interesting stadium. Just like Mapletown, it’s situated on the hill behind the school. It’s earth, rather than wood, metal, or concrete. Wood planks hold back the stepped hillside with bleachers supported from pilings aligned with the wooden planks. The gravel base gives an interesting feel instead of the more traditional stands. All the seating is on one side. And it’s steep and narrow. The far side of the field is just the left foul territory of their ballfield. The east endzone sits up against a street’s fence. The west side has a low squat scoreboard. Blazed with “Coaches Field” and the clock in the top middle. While the rest of the pertinent stats sit wider below it.

The fieldhouse sits to the northwest corner. Two stories with the top floor being the restrooms to the patrons. The bottom level also where the large helmet run-through is erected for the team to make their entrance to the field.

#34 Carmichaels v. California

For a while, it seemed like Carmichaels might be able to keep up. However, it just wasn’t going to happen. Attrition go thtem. And California’s star back getting six touchdowns. A tightly contested halftime score ballooned into a big lead for the visitors. California 49, Carmichaels 20.

The one nice thing about their stadium is that it was bright enough when combined with the white and yellow uniform matchup made photography at least simple. Rather than some of the smaller grass fields out there. My only thought on the visitors was that though they are “California” they’re emulating one of Cal’s chief rivals, the USC Trojans in both name and uniforms. Meanwhile, Carmichaels were a max between the Cal Bears and the San Diego Chargers of the 90s style with Navy and white lightning bolts.

After the game, it was a very long drive home. With a stop for a hoagie on the way back. From there, it was back to I-79 and 422 to get home. Sunday was the unmitigated diaster that was the Browns game.

For the week, I drove 679 total miles between the four games. Not including Sunday driving back and forth to Greenville. Total spent was $15 on gas, and $110 on food. The most expensive was stopping at Texas Roadhouse for a Ribeye Steak, and a stop for a hoagie on the way back from Bentworth. Additionally, that included my wife and I eating after one game, and my daughter and I eating before another game on Friday afternoon.

Photos of the Week

2020 HSF Wk 9 Pennsylvania

2020 HSF Wk 9 Pennsylvania

2020 HSF Wk 9 Pennsylvania

2020 HSF Wk 9 Pennsylvania

2020 HSF Wk 9 Pennsylvania

2020 HSF Wk 9 Pennsylvania

2020 HSF Wk 9 Pennsylvania

2020 HSF Wk 9 Pennsylvania

2020 HSF Wk 9 Pennsylvania

Next Week

I have my itinerary mostly set. Thursday will be in the Buckeye State.

Thursday – Columbus Walnut Ridge v. Columbus West

There’s one Thursday night game in Pennsylvania. The Pittsburgh City League has a night game at Cupples Stadium. However, I plan to be in Columbus on Thursday night and will take in a game there for the second time this season. The three options have been Walnut Ridge, Beechcroft, and Independence. Though Walnut Ridge will be a blowout, it is the game we’re covering for PA Football News.

Friday – New Brighton v. Ellwood City Riverside

There weren’t many games where I hadn’t seen either team playing. Or a new location. But with my planned longer drive on Saturday, I decided to look closer for a Friday night game. First on my list featured two teams I’ve seen several times before. But, a new location being at New Brighton. Aside from Rochester, it is the last Ohio, Shenango, and Beaver River Valley team for me to see a game at. They were first on the list and didn’t have to look any further.

Saturday afternoon – Clearfield v. St. Marys (@ Brockway, PA)

My Saturday options were originally looking for Ohio as there wasn’t much for PA. Western Beaver and Seton LaSalle could be a doubleheader. But, I saw District 9 had an afternoon game and then started looking for a night game. District 6 has many Saturday night games. So, I called a few and got locked in for this afternoon contest. I had seen St. Marys previously at Clarion. But, this would be my first time seeing Clearfield. And first time at Brockway.

Saturday night – Marion Center v. Northern Cambria

With the lone afternoon game arranged, the night game was basically the first shot at a game closest to home and closest to Brockway. WHich is Marion Center hosting Northern Cambria in the first round. There are a few other options, but Marion Center would be closest, only northeast of Indiana and not too far of a drive away from home on Saturday night on US422.

2020 Season

34 Games
66 Teams
34 Stadiums
6 States

32 New Teams (Week 9: Bentworth, Carmichaels & California)
28 New Stadiums (Week 9: Bentworth, Hopewell & Carmichaels)

1,196 different teams
364 different stadiums

1,072 total games

For more, and larger, photos from this week, click HERE.

For photos from previous weekends and seasons, visit http://www.flickr.com/sykotyk/sets/

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