Westmoreland HS notebook: Norwin and Hempfield ready for challenges after football realignment
Saturday January 22, 2022 | 5:40 p.m.
Now that they have a better idea of what they will face in their new classification and conference, Norwin and Hempfield can start planning for the next football season.
The WPIAL has announced new rosters for the next two-year cycle, and Class 5A newcomers Norwin and Hempfield are stationed in the yet-to-be-named Section 2, in line with Franklin Regional, Gateway, Penn- Trafford, Plum and Woodland Hills.
Geography is a clear advantage, as Knights and Spartans will greatly reduce long road trips to the southern hills and surrounding areas.
“The closest team to our 6A conference schedule has always been Hempfield,” Norwin coach Dave Brozeski said. “Now our travel to conference games is significantly reduced.”
The realignment also ups the ante in the Norwin vs. Penn-Trafford rivalry game. Instead of a Week Zero opener, the game will be a conference game.
Hempfield is also getting more backyard rivalry type games which should get more fans and hype.
Then there is the competitive angle. Norwin and Hempfield will be able to compete for a playoff berth against more similar teams — which they’ll learn about during the offseason.
“Our focus always remains solely on our team and how we can prepare to develop our team for the 2022 season, regardless of our opponents,” Brozeski said. “That being said, one adjustment that my coaching staff and I need to address is to increase our familiarity with conference teams. We’ve only played games against Hempfield and PT and will need to start doing our homework to become more familiar with their personnel as well as the types of offenses, defenses and special teams plans we’ll be up against. .
Other local football changes involve Latrobe, which is moving from 5A to 4A and will join a conference with Connellsville, Laurel Highlands, McKeesport, Ringgold, Thomas Jefferson and Trinity.
WPIAL 4A runner-up Belle Vernon and Greensburg Salem both dropped a step, in 3A, and will again be conference opponents along with Elizabeth Forward, Mt. Pleasant, South Allegheny and Southmoreland.
Class 2A Section 1 will house Apollo-Ridge, Burrell, Derry, Imani Christian, Ligonier Valley, Serra Catholic, Steel Valley and Yough.
Division 1-A, likely to remain the Eastern Conference, includes Clairton, Frazier, Greensburg Central Catholic, Jeannette, Leechburg, Riverview and Springdale.
football is changing
Penn-Trafford and Latrobe have moved from 4As to 3As but will remain section foes in boys and girls.
The Warriors and Wildcats will be in a section with Franklin Regional, Gateway, McKeesport, Obama Academy, Penn Hills and Plum.
Greensburg Salem, Belle Vernon and Ligonier Valley all fell to 2A.
Jeannette is the only Westmoreland men’s team to “play”. A Class A team, the Jayhawks will compete in 2A.
Girls from Penn-Trafford and Latrobe will play in the same section, alongside Greensburg Salem, Gateway, Franklin Regional, Penn Hills and Plum.
“We have to stay vigilant,” Latrobe coach Jamie Morrison said. “We still have to be ready to compete every night.”
Latrobe is expected to be one of the best teams in class after reaching the 4A quarter-finals, but perennial powerhouse Mars and Moon might have something to say about that.
Ligonier Valley plays in 2A. His section will also include Mt. Pleasant Area, Southmoreland and Yough.
Like Mother like daughter
Senior basketball player Gracie Spadaro moved into a unique business when she joined the 1,000-point club from Southmoreland.
Well, she had already moved in. His mother took the same step 25 years ago.
Susan (Love) Spadaro, assistant coach of her daughter’s team, also scored 1,000 when she played for the Scotties. She graduated in 1997 with 1,076 points.
Keywords: Belle-Vernon, Greensburg Salem, Hempfield, Jeannette, Latrobe, Ligonier Valley, Norwin, Penn-Trafford, Southmoreland