New Castle News


January 22, 2014

High School Football: Laurel bumped up to Class AA, Wilmington drops

NEW CASTLE — Some major change is in store for Lawrence County football teams.

Based off the approaching new PIAA enrollment cycle, which runs every two academic years and kicks in this fall, the WPIAL released its revamped conference alignment yesterday.

Laurel is the only county team directly affected from the WPIAL moves. Its PIAA enrollment figures bump it up to Class AA. The Spartans re-join the Midwestern Athletic Conference with Mohawk and Ellwood City Lincoln.

Neshannock, Union and Shenango remain in the Class A Big Seven Conference and New Castle stays put in the Class AAA Parkway Conference.

In District 10, Wilmington drops to Class A and joins Region 1.



Laurel is no stranger to the MAC. The Spartans have bounced back and forth between Class A and AA the past few years. They were in the MAC as recently as 2011.

“From what I understand of the numbers, in a couple years, we will be back down, too,” Laurel coach Pat Cuba said. “It is what it is. We’ll approach it just like we did the past season. We play the hand we’re dealt. I don’t have a problem with it. Our kids have played these teams before and they know what they’re up against.”

Laurel will face local squads Mohawk and Ellwood City as well as Aliquippa, Beaver, Beaver Falls, Freedom, New Brighton and Summit Academy, which is new to the conference as well. Those teams pose new challenges for the Spartans.

“We play some good programs. We did in the Big Seven, too. It’s definitely prepared us to play in the MAC,” Cuba said. “The only hard part is we have to go out and start all over again. We have to start from scratch again. It is what it is. We all have to deal with it.”

Laurel, in its first year under Cuba, finished third in the Big Seven at 6-2. The Spartans (7-3 overall) dropped a 34-16 decision to Avonworth in a WPIAL first-round playoff game.

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