Beaver Valley Conference proves one of the best in WPIAL/PIAA

Everyone knows that each week is a must-win for teams in the WPIAL. One conference lost and your team is in jeopardy of possibly falling out of division and conference titles, let alone possible playoffs. No one, and I mean no one expected the Beaver Valley Conference to be easy, but when critics ask whether or not Western PA football, or the BVC for that matter, is truly tough football. Well, we at the W-Zone break down the season for the Wolverines to prove how tough the BVC truly is...check it out below.

2017 Ellwood City Schedule

  • [7-42 L] vs. Central Valley (6-4)
  • [14-16 L] @ Hopewell (4-6)
  • [28-0 W] vs. Beaver Falls (1-8)
  • [0-32 L] vs. Aliquippa (12-1)
  • [20-18 W] @ Valley (3-6)
  • [14-57 L] vs. Beaver (9-3)
  • [7-35 L] @ Derry (9-2)
  • [0-40 L] vs. Riverside (9-3)
  • [0-28 L] @ Quaker Valley (14-1)

Now, no one makes excuses for wins and losses, but if we look at Ellwood's past two seasons under the new classification and alignments, the BVC has proven the toughest conference and has one of the highest winning percentages in two seasons.

Last year, Ellwood City finished 0-9 on the season, but was competitive in a few games. The total record of their opposing teams at the end of the year (including playoffs) was 73-19 or a win percentage of 79%. This also included three playoff teams (Aliquippa, Beaver Falls, Central Valley) as well as the eventual PIAA State Champion (Beaver Falls), WPIAL Champion (Beaver Falls), and WPIAL Runner Up (Aliquippa). Last year's schedule also included Derry Trojan's historical season, finishing 11-1. Last year also included the Riverside Panthers who made it to the 2A Semifinals, losing to eventual WPIAL Champion and PIAA State Champion Steel Valley. With this in mind, the worst team the Wolverines faced last year was the Hopewell Vikings who finished the season 5-5. The next closest conference based upon wins, points, and playoff teams would be all the way out west from the CIF (California Interscholastic Federation aka California High School Football).

Looking from the results above, the 2017 season was a bit more reasonable for the Wolverines as Ellwood City finished the season 2-7. When looking at their opponents combined record, the opponents were 67-34 or a win percentage of 66%. This also includes three playoff teams (Aliquippa, Quaker Valley, Beaver) as well as the eventual PIAA State Champion (Quaker Valley), WPIAL Champion (Quaker Valley), and WPIAL Runner Up (Aliquippa). This year's schedule also included not one, not two, not three, not four, but five playoff teams (four in 3A and one in 2A). This year also includes the Riverside Panthers who made another decent run in the 2A playoffs, losing to Steel Valley once again 14-10 in Overtime (Steel Valley lost to Washington in WPIAL Championship). With this in mind, the worst team the Wolverines faced this year was Beaver Falls who finished the season 1-8 with a new coach, several key injuries, and a ton of youth from last year's big graduation class (also included a transfer player).

If you combine the two seasons together, Ellwood City's opponents schedule wise finished the two-year span with a record of 140-53, or a win percentage of 73% during those two years. Ellwood City's record for the two years was 2-16, or a win percentage of 11%.

Now someone can say such is life of the WPIAL season and the Valley teams...and sometimes critics blame it on talent or coaching or statistics.

Breaking down those issues, we know for sure talent is there from all aspects, and with new coaching in play, there is only upside to the equation. Looking at the statistics from last year to this year, one may say, "how the heck did we win 2 games???" When looking at the 35-point mercy rule and Gardner system for points, putting up points is big in the WPIAL. Even though the Wolverines stats may not have been as efficient as last year, this year's games were close each week. Only three games included scores over 40 (40, 42, 57), with two of those games where EC scored at least a touchdown. The other games that were close at halftime caused stats to be very competitive for all four quarters. Some stats from last year were skewed based upon blowouts or teams subbing the fourth quarter due to the rigorous schedule for the season as well as the fact that 3A only took 8 teams for playoffs.

Now that the new alignments for the next two years is out and the teams that are playing up have been identified, it's time to look to next year's divisions and classifications. You can check out our predictions on our twitter account as well as our Facebook page from previous posts.

Barring any huge changes, Ellwood City, being back in the 2A classification, will most likely play or the possibility to play the likes of Neshannock, Riverside, Freedom, Mohawk, New Brighton, Western Beaver, South Side Beaver, Shenango, and Summit Academy. Some say this definitely helps the Wolverines next year. How we at the W-Zone take it - it is a simple SOS Schedule concern aka Strength of Schedule. Just like those schedules in the year the Steelers have one of the toughest schedules, then followed by one of the easiest (that's this year for those asking). Take it as it is...the Wolverines will be more competitive next year and seemingly just fits back in the "Midwestern" Conference type of team.

Ultimately, no excuses are to be made. Changes will be made though. And so far, what we, the fans, the statistic-fanatic people, the experts, the W-Zone, have seen has shown some life and opportunity to move forward. And we will. The Wolverines will be competitive. The Culture change among every party involved in game days and sports will help make the Wolverines a force to reckon with, week in, week out. Make every day a winning day.



The off-season starts now.