Week Zero football showcase involving York High in western Pa. expands to second venue

(Greensburg) Tribune-Review (TNS)
York High head football coach Russ Stoner, seen here in a file photo, will lead his Bearcats against perennial western Pennsylvania power Pittsburgh Central Catholic in a Week Zero game at 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23, at Woodland Hills High School.

The Western Pennsylvania vs. Everyone Football Showcase is officially too big for one stadium.

The multi-game Week Zero event was held entirely at Woodland Hills’ Wolvarena last season, but this year will grow to include two games at North Allegheny’s Newman Stadium.

All combined, there are eight games on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 23-24, including one game involving York High. The Bearcats will face Pittsburgh Central Catholic at 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23, at Wolvarena.

York High, coached by Russ Stoner, is coming off an 11-2 season that included a York-Adams Division I co-championship and a District 3 Class 5-A semifinal berth. PCC is a traditional western Pennsylvania power which won the PIAA Class 6-A state title in 2015 and appeared in the state championship game as recently as 2016. Last year, PCC finished at 7-4. Overall, the Vikings have won four state football titles.

“I made the decision to expand it because there were so many teams that wanted in last year and we just simply didn’t have enough game spots,” said Woodland Hills athletic director Ron Coursey, the event’s organizer and the former athletic director at York High. “I had to turn away several teams, so we thought about how we could expand it and how we could make it bigger. I reached out to (North Allegheny athletic director) Bob Bozzuto and he was excited about the possibility of making it a two-site event.”

The schedule features seven WPIAL teams (Baldwin, Pittsburgh Central Catholic, Imani Christian, OLSH, McKeesport, North Allegheny and Woodland Hills) and one from the City League (Westinghouse).

Single-day tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students.

There are four games on Aug. 23, two apiece at the Wolvarena and Newman Stadium. There are four games Aug. 24 — all at the Wolvarena.

Many of the Western Pennsylvania teams are facing opponents from the Washington D.C. area. Coursey is a Maryland native with connections in that region.

The schedule: On Aug. 23 at the Wolvarena, Baldwin plays Dunbar at 5 p.m., and Central Catholic faces York High at 8 p.m. At Newman Stadium, Erie plays Theodore Roosevelt at 5 p.m., and North Allegheny plays Friendship Collegiate Academy at 8 p.m.

Dunbar, Roosevelt and Friendship Collegiate are Washington D.C. schools.

On Aug. 24 at the Wolvarena, Imani Christian plays National Christian of Fort Washington, Md., at 11 a.m., OLSH plays Westinghouse at 2 p.m., McKeesport plays Woodrow Wilson of Washington D.C. at 5 p.m., and Woodland Hills plays Calvert Hall of Baltimore, Md., at 8 p.m.

“Last year I thought was an overwhelming success,” Coursey said. “But the one criticism that I got — and it was valid — was that not all of the games were competitive. This year we were able to elevate the competition.”