Pine-Richland will open football season on ESPN – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
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The Pine-Richland High School football team will start next season on national television.
Pine-Richland will play Saturday, Aug. 27, at St. Edward High in Lakewood, Ohio, near Cleveland. Pine-Richland coach Eric Kasperowicz said ESPN has decided to televise the game live, but a game time has not been set.
Pine-Richland had already scheduled the game with St. Edward before ESPN called and expressed the desire to televise the contest.
“When ESPN called, I said, ’What do you want this game for, ESPN Deportes or something?” said Kasperowicz with a laugh. “They said they wanted it live for the big-time ESPN.”
St. Edward is a perennial Ohio power that has won two consecutive state championships in Division I (largest classification). St. Edward has produced a number of major-college recruits over the years while Pine-Richland features Phil Jurkovec, rated the No. 1 sophomore quarterback in the country by one scouting service (247sports.com). Jurkovec decided Monday that he will play college football at Notre Dame.
“St. Edward and us kind of sought each other out to play, and a month or two later ESPN got on board,” said Kasperowicz. ”I’m sure it’s partially because of Phil and partially because they are the two-time defending state champions. I think it’s great for our program and great for our school. I just hope we can make it a respectable game.”
This game would have not have been possible the past four season because, starting in 2012, the WPIAL began scheduling all games for teams and started conference games the first week of the season. Before 2012, the WPIAL let individual schools schedule their first game against any opponent, in state or out of state.
But beginning next season, all teams in Pennsylvania can choose whether to play two preseason scrimmages, or only one preseason scrimmage and a game the second week.
“I’m a million percent behind this new way of scheduling because you can do things like play this [ESPN] game,” said Kasperowicz. “This isn’t good for just our program, but the whole WPIAL to showcase some teams. We were handcuffed for a lot of years and weren’t able to play games like this. I think it’s exciting.”
Pine-Richland will play host to St. Edward in 2017.
Mike White: email@example.com and Twitter @mwhiteburgh