4 Champs Crowned At Pitt's Passing Camp

The University of Pittsburgh's annual passing camp ended with a flourish Saturday, as champions were crowned in four divisions.

"It was a nice weekend,'' Pittsburgh coach Dave Wannstedt said. "There were some good games throughout the event, and the championship games were excellent. The kids seemed to have a good time, and everything ran smoothly. I don't think you could ask for a better event.''

Brashear, from Pittsburgh's City League, thwarted a two-point conversion on the final play to edge Seneca Valley from Harmony, Pa., 20-19, while Gateway from Monroeville, Pa. also stopped a two-point attempt to beat Pittsburgh Central Catholic, 21-19. Brashear and Gateway were undefeated for the two-day event. The Bulls and Gators were among six teams with 5-0 records after round-robin play Friday, and they remained undefeated with four wins Saturday.

"It's been a while for us,'' Brashear coach Ron Wabby said. "We've been coming down here a few years, and we usually lose in the last game. So, we're pretty happy about what happened. We were undefeated, so it was a good weekend for us. A great experience for everybody.

"We were able to get our kids exposed to a lot of things this weekend, and that's what it's all about. They met a lot of different kids from Pennsylvania schools, as well as other states, so they learned about some places they never knew about before. So, it was pretty cool.''

Gateway beat archrival Central Catholic three times in two days, one-third of its wins, in the battle between the two WPIAL Quad-A powers.

"That's tough to do, but we had a good weekend,'' Gateway coach Terry Smith said. "We played well as a team, so this is a good start for us for the summer. We worked very well together, and we're going to move forward from here. There's no looking back for us now.''

Underdogs Pine-Richland from Gibsonia, Pa. and Woodland Hills from Pittsburgh won the other two title games. Those two schools aren't usually categorized as such, but both battled back from the losers' bracket. Pine-Richland beat previously undefeated Manheim Township, Pa. 24-14, while Woodland Hills stopped Franklin, Pa. 25-17.

Pine-Richland was seeded second to No. 1 Manheim, which was 5-0 Friday and 3-0 Saturday going into the title game. But the Rams lost to Keystone Oaks, Pa. after an opening bye. They then won five straight, including the win against Manheim, to win the championship.

"To come up through the losers' bracket, you're really doing something because your next loss is always the one to send you home,'' Pine-Richland coach Clair Altemus said. "We won the Big Man competition Friday night, too, so that's a nice sweep for us. We're very happy about that.

"We've been coming here a while, and this is our second win in three years. So, we love coming down here. It's always run very well, and the facilities are great. So, it was a great experience for our team in this two-day event, and we're looking forward to coming down here again next year.''

Woodland Hills had an average opening day, was seeded in the middle of its bracket and opened with two wins. But Franklin knocked the Wolverines into the losers' bracket. Woodland Hills then won four straight, including the rematch with Franklin, to win the title.

"This is a summer camp, and it was a lot of fun,'' Woodland Hills coach George Novak said. "There were some good teams here, as usual, so we got some good competition. And it's always a first-class operation here at Pitt. The kids got to play on some nice facilities and meet the Pitt coaches.

"So, it was a great experience. We've been coming here forever, and we love it. We're Pitt people. We love Pitt, and we love the program here. They do a nice job with their camps and do good things for the kids. So, it's great work for the summer, and we're happy to come here.''

Along with Gateway, Brashear and Manheim Township, Kiski High School from Vandergrift, Pa., North Allegheny from Wexford, Pa. and Bishop McCort from Johnstown, Pa. were defeated during the round-robin event. NA was through in two, however, while Kiski -- behind quarterback Josh Vick -- went 2-2 the second day. Kiski lost to Gateway and was eliminated by Central Catholic.

"We had a good start,'' Vick said after guiding his team to a 5-0 record Friday and 2-0 opener Saturday. "It's been a lot of fun so far.''

Vick played just four games last season before being injured, so the team recruiting him -- including Pitt -- want to see him play a few games this season to see how well he comes back. While watching him this weekend, along with Pitt offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh, Vick appeared to be nearly all the way back from the leg injury. He displayed good footwork and a strong arm despite throwing a lot of passes in the two-day event.

Pitt offer Mike Yancich from Trinity High School in Washington, Pa. was also in attendance with his team, which won two games Saturday but lost to Central Catholic twice. Before he left, however, the Pitt coaches made a last-ditch effort to secure a commitment from him to play for the Panthers this season. It is between Pitt and Penn State, reportedly vying for Yancich's linebacking talents. He is expected to announce a decision Tuesday.

Pitt's entire freshman class is expected to report for orientation Sunday. Talented DB Jarred Holley will visit the campus and practice facilities.

Pine-Richland beat Gateway in the Big Man Challenge Friday night to win dual titles. The Rams beat Manheim Township in one semifinal, while the Gators knocked off Indiana, Pa.

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