Adding 2014 to State Championship History
The 27th set of state championships in 2014 presented both new; and familiar.
New was the fact that three 2013 champions successfully defended their titles. It was the first ever repeat of three defending champions – St Joes Prep (D12) 4A; Archbishop Wood (D12) 3A; and South Fayette (D7) 2A. New was the fact that Bishop Guilfoyle (D6) and Central Valley (D7) appeared in the finals for the first time. New was Pine Richland (D7) in the 4A final, they did appear in a 3A final previously.
As only two teams were new, a familiar six teams repeated appearances at finals, the three from 2013 that defended their titles, and Pine Richland ( in 3A – 2003), Dunmore ( D2 in1A – 2012), and Clairton (D7 – 2012). The two new finalists brought the total schools that have vied for finals to 104 now. As the PIAA reports 578 football schools, the percentage of schools that have tasted Hershey (and prior venues) remains at 18%.
This years’ type breakdown was 5 public and 3 Catholic schools which brings the 27-year total participation appearances for types to 171 public, 42 Catholic, 2 non-Catholic private, and 1 Charter, which is public but I feel needs its own count. The number of actual schools making up those 216 total appearances is 81 public, 19 Catholic, 2 non-Catholic private and 1 Charter – 104 schools for 216 appearances. All three Catholic schools won.
The easiest way to enter this years’ results is to use the same format in which I wrote the 25-year history article and its 2013 follow up; first the region results, then the 8 categories – title wins, individual team participation, number of appearances, winning percentages, and class breakdown for all four classes. For calculation purposes our bases change from 26 years to 27 years of championships; our total games changes from 104 to 108; and our total teams vying changes from 208 to 216.
Only four districts sent teams this year, 2, 6, 7, & 12. The 27-year average is 5 teams per championship finals. For the second consecutive year the 1A clash was won by a single point. The average margin of victory was 10 points for the four games, closer than last year’s 17 point average spread. The 4A game with 90 points scored is the second-highest scoring game to the 2012 North Allegheny-Coatesville championship which produced 91 points. The four losers combined score of 89 points is the second highest to the 95 scored in the 2003 finals. Ironically, Pine Richland and a D6 entry (Bishop Carroll) were also involved in the 2003 championships.
The regional outcome of the finals was 3 east wins and 1 west win. This increased the east’s lead from 10 to 12 games in victories. The east has won 60 titles and the west 48.
Although the Bishop Guilfoyle victory in 1A is a western team playing for the east; for those keeping track of these crossovers, the extra victory is offset by the 4A Central Dauphin victory over North Penn in 2011, as both of those were eastern teams.
The class standings for titles won are now:
AAAA – West 14 East 13
AAA – East 17 West 10
AA – East 16 West 11
A – East 14 West 13
Totals East 60 West 48
In title wins, D12 annexed two more; D7 another one; and D6 the first in a while (last was Tyrone 2A in 1999). These results gave the district leading D7 38 titles, in first place by a wide margin.
The two wins by D12 had a dramatic effect in two categories we will discuss later, but in total titles, moved D12 into a tie with D10 in total titles at 7 each. The tie is in 7th position behind total titles for Districts 7 (38), Districts 3, 4, and 11 (11), and Districts 1 & 2 (10). District 6 has 2 titles with the Guilfoyle win, and is in 9th position; while District 8 has a single title in 10th, and Districts 5 and 9 have yet to title.
Next is the individual team participation by district. As a team may appear more than one time this is the difference between districts in how many individual teams each has sent. This gets tricky with teams appearing in more than one class over the years, and one instance of a team appearing in two different districts, but I believe I have it sorted out. District 7 leads having sent 36 teams to finals. Three have participated in more than one class – Aliquippa, Seton-LaSalle, and most recently Pine Richland. D7 sent only one new team this season out of the four they sent – Central Valley. And this team IS new, a combination of Center and Monaca, and in existence for five years. D6 sent the only other new team this year, Bishop Guilfoyle in 1A, and this increased their individual team participation by one team to 6, which is good for 7th place. All other 2014 entrants were repeat teams and do not affect this category. The District order and numbers here are D7 (36); D3 (13); D11 (11); D10 (10); D1 (9); D2 (7); D6 (6); D4 and D12 (5); D9 (2); D8 (1); and D5 (0). You could convert these to percentages by dividing the totals by 104, which is the total number of different teams that have competed, but it would yield the same sequential results.
Our next category is total participation. This is a district’s total appearances whether new teams or repeat entries. District 7 again provided all four teams on the western side for the 8th time in history and the first time since 2007. They now have sent 78 entries to finals. Because the participation average is determined by the district’s number of teams entered over 27 years by the total teams entered for 27 years (216) there is usually little change in standings year-to-year in this category. However, District 12 has only been participating for 11 years and the base is 88 possible teams in that time. As D12 has sent 12 participants their average is 14% and behind D7 (36%) in second position. The rest of the districts in order are D4 – 10%; Districts 1, 3, & 11- 9%; D2 – 8%; D10 – 7%; D6 – 4%; Districts 8 and 9 – 1%; and District 5 – 0%.
The winning percentage category is always the most interesting to me, as it usually sees the biggest changes year to year. And this year was major. District 12, with its two wins in two appearances jumped into first place in winning percentage at overall 7-5 for an .584 winning average.
District 11 with no entries this season was in second position prior to this year, and stayed in second with a .579 average. District 2 was the leading winning percentage district through 2013, but with the Dunmore loss in 2014, dropped to third position at .556.
District 3 dropped from third to fourth position with no entries and at a .550 average. There was a five way tie in fourth place at an even .500 winning percentage before the 2014 championships among Districts 1, 4, 7, 8, and 12. But D12 moved up and D7 moved down, so Districts 1, 4, and 8 remain locked at .500 average with no 2014 participation. This now is technically a tie for fifth position. District 7 entered four teams and won only 1 and this 1-3 performance lowered their average to .488, now in 8th position. District 10 with no participation remained in 9th spot at .467, and District 6 improved by 100 points to .250 in 10th position. There were no changes for Districts 5 and 9.
Changes in the Districts individual class cell brackets:
AAAA – D12 win improved cell to 3-1 .750 D7 loss made cell 12-10 .546
AAA – D12 win improved cell to 3-2 .600 D7 loss dropped cell to 6-10 .375
AA – D7 win made cell 8-11 .421 D2 loss evened cell at 3-3 .500
A – D6 win made cell 1-2 .334 D7 loss made this cell 12-9 .572
And so another year of high school football is completed. And now there is talk of drastic changes in the structure of classifications in the future. We all anticipate where this will go. Our favorite sport took some hits this season with the Clairton meltdown at the state finals and the hazing national attention grabber at once-great and powerful Central Bucks West.
And, with a poll recently showing 50% of parents not wanting their child to play football along with that number upped to 62% among educated and salaried over $100,000 parents; I wonder if the future of high school football is in jeopardy. I hate to conclude on a downer, I hope we all have a great 2015 high school football season.
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