| home | about us | search | links | contact

Scholastic Notebook
By Rich Emert
Valley News Dispatch

Having a female place kicker is not a big deal in the high school football ranks these days. A number of teams have had girls kick field goals and extra points. But Stephanie Weimer of Serra is a bit different.

A sophomore, Weimer used to play football. According to Serra coach Tom Nola, when Weimer was in seventh grade she was a defensive back on an organized team.

Last Saturday, Weimer helped Serra win its first game of the season. She made a 31-yard field goal in the second overtime to give the Eagles a 17-14 victory over Wilkinsburg in the Class A Eastern Conference.

"She's a competitor, so I didn't have to say anything to her before she went out to kick,'' Nola said. "That's the third field goal she's kicked for us and she has pretty good range. I'd say she could kick one from 40 yards and in.''

A member of the school's girls soccer team, Weimer kicked for Serra last year. She was good on four extra points.

"I've had girls as kickers before,'' said Nola who is in his second stint as Serra's head coach. "I knew she was a good athlete and somebody told me she played football. I asked her if she wanted to play and she said no, but that she wouldn't mind kicking.

"The nice thing is that she's just a sophomore, so I should have her around for a couple more seasons.''

Running wild: Connellsville running back Marcus Furman is the third leading rusher in the WPIAL going into the eighth week of the season, but he is No. 1 in Class AAAA.

A junior, Furman has rushed for 1,302 yards on 124 carries. That comes out to a gaudy 10.5 yards per carry average.

"He's having a good year, but I like to look at things in the team concept,'' Connellsville coach Dan Spanish said. "He's running well, but we have a pretty good offensive line. Most of our linemen are back from last year. They've been a big part of his success.''

To his credit, Spanish doesn't wear out Furman, who is 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds. Furman averages just 17 carries a game.

"We've got some other weapons,'' Spanish said. "Is he the best running back I've had? I don't like to get into comparison until after a player's career is over. Let's just say he's playing well.''

Just missed: Nick Kurtz of Whitehall rushed 25 times for 429 yards last weekend in a 41-14 victory over Bethlehem Freedom. The 429 yards was 10 away from the state single-game rushing record.

"I had no idea he had that many yards,'' Whitehall coach Tony Cocca. "Nick ran 75 yards on a play and my offensive line coach came up and said he had 351 yards. I said, `You mean our offense has 351.' He said, `No, Nick has 351.'

"I didn't have any clue what the record was. We took him out with a little more than five minutes left to play. Had I known, I would have put him back in and told him to run 15 yards and then get out of bounds.''

A 5-7, 170-pound senior, Kurtz has outstanding speed. He has been timed at 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash and 6.53 seconds in the 60. Cocca said his phone has been ringing constantly this week after Kurtz's performance.
"College coaches have been call to inquire about him,'' Cocca said. "We also got a call from Sports Illustrated who might put him in the Faces in the Crowd section. I don't know if Nick is big enough to play Division I college ball. His size hurts him, but Rutgers has shown some interest because of his speed. He does have good hands, so maybe somebody will take a chance on him as a receiver or returner.''

Before the Bethlehem Freedom game, Kurtz had rushed for 714 yards.

They're in: Twenty-two of the 60 spots in the WPIAL football playoffs have been secured. Teams that have clinched spots in post season play are:
Penn Hills and Woodland Hills in the Quad East Conference, North Hills and North Allegheny in the Quad North, and Mt. Lebanon and Baldwin in the Quad West. In Class AAA, Pine-Richland and Burrell have clinched in the Greater Allegheny, Belle Vernon in the Keystone, and West Allegheny, Hopewell and Moon Area in the Parkway.

In Class AA, North Catholic has clinched in the Allegheny Conference, Aliquippa and Center in the Midwestern, Washington and Waynesburg in the Three Rivers, and Steel Valley in the Century. In Class A, South Side Beaver has clinched in the Big Seven, Clairton in the Eastern, Brentwood in the Ohio Valley and Monessen in the Tri-County South.

The WPIAL playoff pairings meet is scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Raddison Hotel in Green Tree.

Ineligible: It has to be like Déjà vu for Daren Tielsch.

Last year, Tielsch transferred from Montour to Blackhawk. He was ruled ineligible by the WPIAL, which said the move was for athletic intent. The ruling was appealed to the PIAA which reversed the decision. Tielsch went on to help Blackhawk win WPIAL and PIAA Class AAA basketball titles.

This year, Tielsch transferred back to Montour. Officials at both schools signed off on the transfer, but the WPIAL had a hearing Monday and ruled Tielsch ineligible. That ruling will probably be appealed to the PIAA level.

A 6-6 junior, Tielsch has already verbally committed to Penn State for basketball. This fall, he has been playing football at Montour.

The WPIAL also ruled Kristen Gattuso of Seton-La Salle ineligible. A basketball and softball player, Gattuso transferred to Seton-La Salle from Brashear in the City League in May. That ruling will also be appealed to the PIAA in November.

Golf champions: Upper St. Clair captured the WPIAL girls golf team championship Monday at River Forest Golf Club. The Panthers had a combined score of 347.

In the team championship, five golfers from each team participate with the best four scores added together for the team total. On the winning team were Katie Palermo, who had an 85 on the par-72 course, Jaime Hays (85), Katie Newcamp (86), Kelly MacWhinnie (91) and Kim Henderson (103). North Allegheny was second with a 373 and Elizabeth Forward was third at 375.