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Scholastic Notebook
By Rich Emert
Valley News Dispatch

By Rich Emert Valley News Dispatch While Mike Vernillo of Fort Cherry was rushing for 204 yards last Friday to become the WPIAL's all-time leading rusher, Rocky Doman was gaining 278 yards for Carmichaels.

Vernillo got his yardage in a 43-6 victory over Cornell and has 6,625 yards for his career. That's tops in the area and bettered the 6,512 yards Matt Gavrish gained during his high school career at Penn-Trafford.

Doman, a 5-foot-11, 205-pound senior, doesn't have that many yards, but he is closing in on 4,000. He will become the 24th area player to reach 4,000 with another 508. Carmichaels has at least four games remaining, so Doman needs to average just 127 yards a game.

What's impressive about Doman's totals is that he didn't play for Carmichaels as a freshman and missed the first game of this season. There was a time when Carmichaels coach John Menhart thought Doman might not be able to play this year.

"He fractured his collar bone before the season and we weren't sure if we'd have him,'' Menhart said. "He did it on a motorcycle. He used to race but then gave it up, but he was at a friend's house this summer and they had a track set up. He wasn't even on his bike, but I guess we went over one of those jumps and missed a gear.

"When I saw the X-rays of his collar bone I figured he was done. But he's come back strong and is finally back to 100 percent.''

Doman got his 278 yards on 20 carries and scored three touchdowns. He has 807 yards on 124 carries this season in just four-and-a-half games. His 278 yards is not a school record, however. Menhart isn't sure what Carmichaels' single-game mark is but he knows it's better than 300.

"When I played I rushed for 355 yards on 35 carries my first varsity game,'' Menhart said. "That was against Jefferson-Morgan, but like I told my son when you do something like that in your first game it's all down hill after that.''

Losing streak: Geibel has the longest losing streak in the WPIAL at 30 games. With three games remaining, first-year coach Brian Staines thinks the Gators can stop the streak this year.

Geibel entertains Frazier Saturday night and West Greene the following week. It plays at California in week nine.

"We have a chance to be in the game against all three of our final opponents,'' Menhart said. "We're getting it turned around. We have pretty good numbers and a number of solid underclassmen.''

There were only seven juniors on the roster last year. This season, Staines has 14 seniors on the team. A few are playing football for the first time, but the point is he has more than 30 players on the roster.

"The last three teams we played have a combined 16-2 record, so we've gone through a tough streak,'' Staines said. "But I see light at the end of the tunnel.''

Catching on: Dan Conley of Pine-Richland didn't receive a lot of attention at the start of the season, but he has emerged as one of the big-play receivers in the WPIAL.

Conley has pulled in 28 passes for 559 yards and six touchdowns. That's a 20 yards per catch average. He was outstanding in Pine-Richland's 28-9 victory over Valley last weekend, catching five passes for 103 yards and three touchdowns. He also had two interceptions and just missed a third.

"We throw a lot of five-yard hitch passes to him but not because we don't think he can't get deep,'' Pine-Richland coach Clair Altemus said. "We do it because we think he has the speed to break them for long gains.''

Against Valley, Conley's three touchdowns did not come as a result of hitch passes. He beat the Vikings secondary on deep routes.

Youth is served: The WPIAL boys individual golf championship was held Tuesday at Quicksilver Golf Course. Sophomores Scott Chisholm of North Hills and Dave Dankmyer of Pine-Richland tied for first with two-over-par 74s after 18 holes. Chisholm then won the title with a birdie on the first playoff hole.

Sixteen golfers from the WPIAL qualified for the PIAA championships to be held Oct. 25-26 at Penn State University. Others who qualified for the PIAA tournament are Forrest Bielby, Yough, and Matt Urban, Mt. Pleasant, 75; Malcolm Spatz, Fox Chapel, 76; Justin Smith, Moon; David Vallina, Burgettstown; Dante Martire, Seneca Valley, and Jack Tipton, OLSH, 77; Brian Galice, Laurel Highlands, 78; James Tompkins, Center, and Mike Wagner, Hopewell, 79; and Bobby MacWhinnie, Upper St. Clair; Jon Thomas, Fox Chapel; Jimmy Park, Upper St. Clair, and Lou Jesiolkiewic, Chartiers Valley, 80.

Graham retires: North Catholic boys' basketball coach Don Graham has made it official. He has retired after 51 seasons. Graham, 74, is the winningest coach in Pennsylvania history with an 801-436 record. Dave Long, one of Graham's assistants for 18 years, appears to be the heir apparent for the Trojans coaching job. Long filled in for Graham last season when he was sidelines after heart surgery.