Cody Pattison head shot mug shot

Cody Pattison

The WPIAL football championships are almost here and for Lawrence County football this week — it’s all about the U.

The Scotties have made a historic drive in the postseason Class 1A playoffs and are the sole Lawrence County team that will travel to Acrisure Stadium.

All good things must come to an end, but let’s not forget to sprinkle in a few odds from around the gridiron into the mix.

ENDS: History in the making

To quote a Twisted Sister song, “The Kids Are Back.”

For Union High’s football team that is the case. The Scotties have returned for a shot at WPIAL gold for the first time since 1973.

To wait 49 years for another chance to capture gold, almost half a decade, is one historic drive in its own right. To get to the big dance saw Union make some other history in the process.

Union will enter Acrisure Stadium as the 10th-seeded team that will be taking on the No. 1 ranked Bishop Canevin. Union is now the lowest-seeded team in over a decade to reach the WPIAL championship.

The Scotties had to wait 43 years to reach the semifinals again. The last time Union reached the semifinals was 1979 and they were defeated by Knoch, 13-2.

I’d also need to check with my Lawrence County history buffs on how many first-year coaches have led a team to the WPIAL championship like Kim Niedbala has done.

Whether it’s a gold or silver outcome for the Scotties the journey to reach this point has been historic in its own way and these players should be proud of all of their accomplishments.

ODDS: I remember you

With the Scotties facing the top-ranked Crusaders on Friday, some would think the matchup on paper is not in their favor. I’m sure if you asked any one of the football players who are also on Union’s roster they’d say this is the ultimate shot of redemption.

Any Union basketball fan will know what I mean.

Union football players might line up across from some familiar faces and say “I remember you,” to a Bishop Canevin player if they also play basketball.

Bishop Canevin denied WPIAL 1A gold in the 2021-22 season, defeated them in the 1A semifinals in the 2020-2021 season and eliminated Union in the quarterfinals the year before that.

Maybe a big underdog push from the Scotties to topple Bishop Canevin on the gridiron will translate to tip-off season.

ODDS AND ENDS: Respect your refs, but not your elders?

You hear it every time prior to the start of a game, “Sportsmanship. The only missing piece is you.”

The New Castle News sports staff was informed of an incident that happened a while back when two Lawrence County football teams clashed in the postseason for the first time in history.

Laurel and Union squared off against each other in the WPIAL Class 1A semifinals at Shenango High School on Nov. 11. A man who has helped Laurel’s chain gang for 60 years was cursed at by an official and was told to “Get the f- — off the field,” adding that he was, “too old.”

I get referees get a lot of guff but come on. I was raised to be given the mystic zen riddle of one hand slapping up aside my head if I was to treat someone that way, especially a man who has volunteered his time for 60 years and to stand out in the rain.

Not to mention it was his last game.

Maybe there is a reason for this lack of PIAA officials after all.

The WPIAL Sportsmanship Message reads, “3. Treat all visitors with respect. Take appropriate measures to discourage taunting, trash-talking, vulgar language and disrespect directed toward opponents and contest officials. In advance, advise your students that disrespectful behavior will not be tolerated at games.”

Maybe instead of advising just the students about disrespectful behavior the officials should be included.

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