Fans still hoping for marquee high school football matchup

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(WBRE/WYOU) — Controversy continues to swell around a proposed matchup of two premier high school football teams. On Thursday, football fans across the region are still wondering whether or not Southern Columbia and Wyoming Area will play.

It was on and right now, it’s off. But for the community that is rallying around the potential of this game, all hope is not lost.

“It’s my understanding that conversations are ongoing to try to get this game on track. The pace of those conversations, the conclusions of those conversations, I can’t speak to,” Senator John Yudichak (D) – Carbon and Luzerne Counties said.

On September 17, the announcement was made after four high school teams and two PIAA districts green-lit changes that a marquee matchup between Southern Columbia and Wyoming Area would take place on October 11 in West Pittston.

“For a game like this to be scheduled, it was just unreal. I couldn’t wait to tell everybody. I couldn’t wait to plan a party and have people here,” Wyoming Area parent and Southern Columbia alum Justin Adams said.

The entire Wyoming Area community and high school football fans across the region prepared for a massive crowd to descend on Sobeski Stadium with thousands of dollars worth of tickets sold in advance.

“We were ready. The enthusiasm was at a high level and I think it would have been a great game,” West Pittston mayor Tom Blasciewiscz said.

“It wasn’t just about wins or losses. It was about the community being involved in such a one-time deal that hasn’t been done in decades,” Wyoming Area athletic director and assistant coach Joe Pizano said.

On Monday, the executives of the Pennsylvania Heartland Athletic Conference voted and decided that if Southern Columbia were to keep their date with the Warriors, they would face sanctions. Sanctions steep enough for all parties involved to revert to their original schedules, leaving the Wyoming Area community in the lurch. Fans are hoping that administrators and league executives can find a way to not make the extra efforts of all involved in vain.

“There’s an organization and rules to follow. There’s a bureaucracy to work through and hopefully we can work through that,” Yudichak said.

Yudichak said his place in this fight is not that of a senator, but a local football fan pleading for cooler heads to prevail. Wyoming Area’s athletic director said that barring a reversal of this week’s decision, administrators will send out a press release to address those pre-sale tickets.

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