Homecoming saved: West Greene to play North Star Friday
Bill Simms, the athletic director at West Greene High School, had a bad start to his Wednesday, and it had nothing to with the cold and rain in the morning.
At about 9 a.m., Simms was informed by officials of Geibel Catholic that the Gators would not be able to field a football team for their scheduled game Friday night at West Greene.
“And this is our homecoming game,” Simms said.
The day, however, ended much better than it began for Simms and West Greene.
Knowing that Rockwood in PIAA District 5 had dropped its football program in August, Simms made a phone call to Rockwood’s scheduled opponent for this week, North Star, located in Boswell, in Somerset County. North Star athletic director Stacy Schmitt, who doubles as the Cougars’ football coach, agreed to fill in for Geibel on short notice.
North Star (4-3) will play Friday night at West Greene (1-6). Kickoff is 7 p.m.
Homecoming has been saved.
Geibel (0-6 in the Tri-County South, 0-7 overall) has struggled to field a team all season because of a player shortage and forfeited its Sept. 6 game against Beth-Center. The Gators showed up for a game Oct. 4 at Carmichaels with only 14 players. The Mikes won that game, 48-0, with the third and fourth quarters played as five-minute periods.
“We had conversations with Geibel, and our coaches had spoken with their coaches at Tri-County South meetings, and they told us ‘We’re good,’” Simms said. “We knew there was a possibility they might not play us. … They said it’s just about players. They are short on players.
Simms, however, wasn’t happy about a last-minute notice.
“I’m a little bitter,” Simms said.
West Greene is not the only local team that juggled its schedule for this weekend. Fort Cherry was originally scheduled to play a Black Hills Conference game Friday against Imani Christian, but that school dropped its program in mid-August. The Rangers, however, were able to fill the hole in the schedule with a game against Brockway of District 9. The teams will play Friday (7:30 p.m.) in McDonald. The game will be the Rangers’ homecoming.
“The day after Imani Christian dropped its program, our athletic director (Tom Scarpone) sent out an ad looking for a game. The next day, I was told that Brockway was willing to play us,” explained Fort Cherry coach Jim Shiel. “It was a stroke of luck that they answered an ad. We got lucky.”
Much like Fort Cherry (6-1), Brockway (4-3) has a high-powered offense. Quarterback Alec Shaffer-Doan has passed for 1,632 yards and 19 touchdowns.
“They have a nice tradition up there,” Shiel said. “They usually make the PIAA playoffs but get knocked out by WPIAL teams, so that’s probably why they’re willing to come down here and play us.”