WPIAL realigns

Altoona’s loss is Hollidaysburg’s gain. Or maybe its the other way around.

It depends on how you look at it.

The WPIAL has announced its football conference alignments for the next two seasons, and, while things won’t look a great deal different where the Mountain Lions and Golden Tigers are concerned, there was one notable change. Gateway, long one of the heavyweights in Class AAAA in the state, is dropping to Class AAA and will be put in the Greater Allegheny Conference with Hollidaysburg, the Pittsburgh Tribune Review first reported on Tuesday.

Last season, the Gators were in the Foothills Conference, which included Altoona.

“We obviously can’t control that. I’m not too concerned. Why would you worry about something you can’t control? We’ve got to take care of ourselves,” said Hollidaysburg football coach and athletic director Homer DeLattre.

Connellsville, Hempfield, Kiski Area, Latrobe, McKeesport, Norwin and Penn-Trafford remain in the Foothills with Altoona. Plum joins the section, and that would seem to bode well for the conference’s other teams – the Mustangs were 1-9 in 2013 and winless in 2012.

In fact, Plum has won twice in the last three years.

Altoona was in the same section as Plum its first two years after returning to the WPIAL, splitting a pair of meetings with the Mustangs.

“It’s positive. All the schools are on our side [of Pittsburgh], which makes it an easy trip for us,” Altoona athletic director Phil Riccio said. “The teams should be competitive. It’s pretty much the same teams. After two years, we’re getting some familiarity with them, and we’ve played Plum in the past.”

The Tigers’ road, meanwhile, just seems to get tougher. Perennial powers Franklin Regional, Mars and Knoch remain, as do typically competitive Indiana, Hampton and Greensburg Salem. Gateway was 8-3 in what was considered a down year for the Gators last season in Class AAAA.

Also joining the Greater Allegheny Conference is Yough, which went 6-5 and made the District 7 playoffs in 2013. Derry and Highlands, who were in with Hollidaysburg last year, both slipped to Class AA.

“It definitely looks like the toughest conference, maybe the toughest one in the state,” DeLattre said. “It’s a great opportunity for our kids to play the highest level of competition.”

Each team has room for one game out of conference. DeLattre and Riccio said they expected to know who that opponent would be in the next week or two.