As I was watching Clairton win its 60th game in a row I noticed about 2-3 thousand fans at the game. They were mostly Clairton and Sto-Rox fans, but I still asked myself, where was everybody at. You’d think there would be more people sitting at Heinz Field for such an historic event.
This picture above was taken by Bob Gregg of WJPA & MSA sports during the 4A Title Game between North Allegheny and Woodland Hills. I mean come on, is this a joke?
It shouldn’t be a surprise that HS Football is dying off in Western Pennsylvania. And its more than just population decline. A school like Keystone Oaks, for instance, has about the same enrollment as it did 20 years ago.
Fact of the matter is the average person in Western Pa. doesn’t care about High School Football. Towns like Clairton, Aliquippa, Monessen, and Jeannette are the exception to this where the entire town supports the team. The average fan base are usually just parents of the band, cheerleaders, and football players. If you walked up to the average person in a bar in a town like Hickory(Fort Cherry School District) or Canonsburg(Canon-Mac) and asked them “how do you think the football team will do this fall”? Most will look at you dumbfounded and shrug their shoulders.
Here’s the thing, you have 3 schools in the State Playoffs this weekend in North Allegeny, Aliquippa, and Clairton. Only the Aliquippa game will be on the radio and that will be on WKPL 92.7 FM. Why aren’t any of those games on KDKA”The Fan” 93.7. There isn’t a hockey season so why aren’t any of those games on Root? I mean why not even on WTAE’s THIS 4.2 or Comcast On Demand at least?
How do you expect the average person to care about HS Football when the WPIAL doesn’t even promote its primary sport, once you get past “Championship Friday”. Hell why doesn’t the WPIAL even promote “Championship Friday” and those games are on TV and the Radio?
The part of this that amazes me the most is how the WPIAL fought tooth and nail to keep the status quo in PA Football for such horrible attendance at its supposed big day. Kinda pathetic… DON’T YA THINK!!!
In Texas there are schools with stadiums that fit 25-30K fans. Whats stopping a school like NA from having at least 15K fans a week.
For this Football in this area to become King again, the average person must care about football again. And that starts with the WPIAL promoting the league. That starts with parents kidding their kids from in front of the XBox & Computer and playing football again. It really starts with everybody.
So what good is the WPIAL if they don’t promote their schools? What good is the WPIAL when create such bottle necked conferences/leagues to where there is ZERO scheduling flexibility to allow for interesting “Out of Conference Games” or Rivalry Games? Lets face it, from a leadership standpoint, the WPIAL is practically worthless.