When Trinity senior Berton Miller’s favorite football team was eliminated in the first round of the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs, he wasn’t ready to relinquish his role being part of a rowdy student section.
So Miller talked to a few friends and contacted the Washington High School student cheering section via Twitter to see if they would be interested in joining forces for the Prexies’ quarterfinal last Friday against Seton-La Salle.
The offer was gladly accepted, combining into one Washington County force during the Prexies’ 33-17 win over the Rebels last week at Moon High School. An estimated three dozen Trinity fans cheered on their crosstown rival.
Such a show of sportsmanship – and something that makes high school sports great – will hopefully continue this week when Washington plays South Fayette in the Class AA semifinals Friday night at Chartiers Valley.
“I think it was amazing how Wash High accepted it,” Miller said. “I know during basketball season, whenever we play them, our student sections go at it.
“Us coming together, people have called it unifying Washington, making it one. Not that we hate each other – I grew up with most of those kids – but we’re finally supporting them, and they accepted it better than I expected.”
The Hillers’ supporters – known as the Hiller Hooligans – have their own chants, traditions and Twitter presence, similar to any high school. And for the in-game cheers, every Hiller reference was changed to Prexies, something so odd that it made Miller hesitate for a second.
“It was weird,” Miller said. “Sometimes you had to stop and make sure of what you were saying.”
Fellow senior Evan Songer agreed, though neither minded the change. Not if it meant following another team, even if it was adopted, in the WPIAL playoffs.
“It was challenging, but at the same time, I know a lot of Wash High kids, and I’ve been friends with them over the years,” Songer said. “It was nice to finally cheer for them for once.”
And it hasn’t gone unnoticed by those being supported.
“That was something I had heard during the week,” Prexies coach Mike Bosnic said of the added fan support. “Our kids were pretty excited. It made them feel good. I heard a lot of positive things during the game, and it’s been nice; even Friday when we were down 14-0, I could hear our fans still encouraging our kids and having faith in them.”
Miller and Songer typically tailgate in the parking lot, grilling food and blaring music starting around 5 or 5:30 p.m. About an hour before the game, everybody heads inside to get their seats and begins cheering, heckling and everything in between.
Trinity senior Marissa Boardley was another student who crossed the Washington line and said it was enjoyable to support a playoff run, even if it wasn’t her own team.
“We all kind of got together and said that since our team wasn’t able to make it further in the playoffs, that we would go support the other local team in Washington,” Boardley said.
Though South Fayette has not tried to form an alliance with neighboring schools Chartiers Valley or Fort Cherry, Lions coach Joe Rossi isn’t shocked at the excitement for Friday’s game – essentially the WPIAL’s best passing attack, with South Fayette’s Brett Brumbaugh, against Wash High’s Shai McKenzie, the WPIAL’s leading rusher.
“I think people will come out to see the air attack versus the ground attack,” Rossi said. “A lot of people have been waiting for this game.”