WEST PITTSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)– It’s been an absolutely tumultuous seven days, but the official word is out–game on.
“I think it’s going to be a great environment,” said Wyoming Area athletic director Joe Pizano. “A great community and it’s going to be a great thing for our team and people in the area.”
It took several weeks planning and controversy to get back to a battle of two local football powers.
Wyoming Area was approached by Southern Columbia about potential schedule changes in mid-September.
When Shikellamy, Holy Redeemer, Wyoming Area and Southern Columbia all were on board to shuffle their schedules and got approval from their PIAA districts, the tweet went out and a battle of titans was set for an October 11th date in West Pittston.
That plan held until September 30th, where a Monday Pennsylvania Heartland Athletic Conference (PHAC) meeting saw a vote to disallow the revised schedule and threaten sanctions that were too steep for the Southern Columbia athletic program to bear.
“Sanctions that would have not only hurt our football team but would have hurt our whole school’s athletic program,” said PHAC president Southern Columbia principal Jim Becker, the day after the PHAC vote to disallow the games. “–And we weren’t even going to venture towards that direction.”
The nationally acclaimed tigers weren’t the only ones reeling from the decision. The cancellation meant thousands of dollars in pre-sale tickets and municipal planning in the Wyoming Area community wouldn’t live up to the almost 10,000 expected in attendance.
“It wasn’t just about whether Wyoming Area wins or loses,” added Pizano. “It was about the community being involved in such a one-time deal that this hasn’t been done in decades.”
Shikellamy would put in a formal request to play Holy Redeemer to quell tensions on Friday and fast-forward to October 7th–the marquee matchup thousands had been looking forward to was approved by association.
“I think, now, we are going from two games that weren’t going to be competitive to two games that are now going to be competitive,” noted Becker. “That’s the big thing.”
All four teams are amenable to the competitive schedule, the PHAC has given it’s formal blessing and the thousands of fans getting ready to descend on West Pittston are getting the matchup they’ve been looking forward to.
The schedules are official and Berwick will play host at historic Crispin Field to Holy Redeemer and Shikellamy while a pair of undefeateds in Southern Columbia and Wyoming Area will play in West Pittston, under the week 8 Friday night lights.