Portage is going to have to make changes for homecoming.
The Mustangs were scheduled to host Rockwood on Sept. 27, but the Rockets' announcement earlier this week that they were calling off their football season because they were down to 11 players - injuries, defections and players not meeting heat acclimatization requirements apparently all were contributing factors - left Portage with an open date.
Athletic director Jeremy Burkett has the option of finding a new opponent, changing the homecoming game or turning homecoming into a cheerleaders/band performance at an in-squad scrimmage.
"We have reached out to a couple schools, but have not found an opponent yet. We will keep on searching, but it's been difficult. Most teams don't want to travel here," Burkett said. "Everybody at the school is trying their best to find a replacement."
Imani Christian of the WPIAL also cancelled its season a couple of weeks ago, so some of its opponents have matched up with Rockwood's foes from the corresponding weeks. United will play Canevin on Saturday.
Rockwood's decision has wider-reaching effects, too. Districts 6 needs to decide how it will impact playoff points. Football chairman Ralph Cecere said the district committee will talk about whether to divide points by games played, count the Rockwood game as a forfeit or just go on straight points at its Sept. 11 meeting.
George Iuzzolino Football Officials Chapter assistant rules interpreter Todd Parker has alerted the Mirror to several rules changes this year.
First, defensive pass interference no longer will be an automatic first down, nor will offensive interference be loss of down.
Also, players who lose their helmets cannot continue to participate in that play and are out for the next play, too. Kick-catch interference is returning to an old rule that allows the receiving team the option of taking the ball 15 yards from the spot of the foul.
There are some big goings-on in Mechanicsburg.
A couple of weeks ago, it was announced the PIAA is one of 28 state athletic governing bodies joining the National Federation of High School's digital network, which will broadcast a number of scholastic sports through NFHSnetwork.com.
The PIAA also is holding a 100th anniversary logo contest (PIAAlogocontest.org) open to students age 13 and up. The organization celebrates its centennial on Dec. 29 and will be conducting a countdown of the top 100 PIAA athletes of all-time.
In addition, the PIAA is continuing to encourage member schools and coaches to take advantage of MaxPreps.com's statistical, record and roster website.
Hopefully, that will catch on. Not only is it useful in getting the best information to readers, but the statistics there are extremely helpful when promoting local athletes for all-state teams. No coach worth his salt scouts opponents based on stats, so the downside to posting on MaxPreps is negligible.
Cmor can be reached at 946-7440 or firstname.lastname@example.org.