New Makeover: A look at the section and 2016 schedule.
As teams are looking for the newest members to step up and make a big impact during conditioning week and early camp, so is the WPIAL trying to mesh together the new classes. As of the beginning of the 2016 school-calendar year, most sports played in the WPIAL will have new classifications, six to be exact, ranging from A to 6A (shortened for the likes of AAAAAA...).
With this in mind, the Ellwood City Wolverines will have some new faces to compete against in and out of the conference. The new conference the Wolverines will be part of is AAA Section 1, being dubbed the "Beaver Valley" Conference. The teams include: Aliquippa, Beaver, Beaver Falls, Central Valley (from AAA Parkway), Hopewell (from AAA Parkway), and Quaker Valley. The conference will have a total of seven teams, leaving teams with three games that will be out of conference - for Ellwood City, these include: Derry Area (AAA Interstate), Valley (AAA Allegheny), and a rekindled rivalry with Riverside (AA Midwestern).
Looking at the pasts of the teams in the Beaver Valley conference, every team has been to the playoffs in some fashion in the past couple years (with four teams the past year). Yes I said EVERY - this will make for a tough schedule during the season. Furthermore, WPIAL has agreed that only eight teams will be taken from AAA for the playoffs, with the top two teams from the three AAA conferences and two "wild-card" teams being added. This just makes every game during the season that much more important.
Looking at the previous season for each team, Ellwood City will have great competition throughout each week. Below is information from the previous season including the rankings for the upcoming year for the 2016 schedule - CL (class), ST (state), NT (nationally).
- Aliquippa (AA Midwestern) Record: 15-1[Playoffs - State Runner-up] CL: 1 ST: 15 NT: 419
- Beaver (AA Midwestern) Record: 8-3 [Playoffs - Second Round] CL: 6 ST: 63 NT: 1747
- Beaver Falls (AA Midwestern) Record: 9-2 [Playoffs - Second Round] CL: 3 ST: 25 NT: 695
- Central Valley (AAA Parkway) Record: 11-2 [Playoffs - WPIAL Runner-up] CL: 9 ST: 75 NT: 2072
- Ellwood City (AA Midwestern) Record: 4-5 [3-5 Conference Play] CL: 41 ST: 265 NT: 6293
- Hopewell (AAA Parkway) Record: 2-7 [2-6 Conference Play] CL: 40 ST: 259 NT: 6160
- Quaker Valley (AA Midwestern) Record: 5-4 [4-4 Conference Play] CL: 32 ST: 215 NT: 5372
- Derry Area (AA Interstate) Record: 5-4 [5-3 Conference Play] CL: 53 ST: 355 NT: 8191
- Valley (AA Allegheny) Record: 5-4 [5-3 Conference Play] CL: 31 ST: 214 NT: 5310
- Riverside (A Big Seven) Record: 3-6 [2-5 Conference Play] CL: 76 ST: 476 NT: 10946
Upcoming post: Preview for the 2016 AAA Section 1 (Beaver Valley Conference) Season