By Corey J. Corbin
Allied News Sports Columnist
WE ALL KNOW the dislike between Sharon and Farrell, Grove City and Hickory, Reynolds and Greenville, West Middlesex and Sharpsville, West Middlesex and Kennedy Catholic.
Mercer County sports fans know these rivalries all too well.
We can argue until the cows come home about which rivalry is better or more intense and never come to a consensus.
There are a couple things all of will agree on whether you live in Hermitage, Grove City, Sandy Lake or Transfer — Mercer County football teams are generally better than their northern counterparts and we love it when our teams shut their fans up.
Our eight Class A and AA football teams took their 8 northern tier foes to the woodshed last weekend to the tune of 367-96.
One word sums that up: DOMINATION!
“That’s a testament to the coaching staffs in our region,” Grove City coach Jeff Bell said after his Eagles crushed North East.
“I think that prepares us for the playoffs. By the time you’re in the playoffs, you’re ready.”
Is there anything better than knowing that the District 10 Class A and AA champions will reside within Mercer County’s borders?
The only bad thing for fans of Mercer County is we won’t be able to break out the brooms again this weekend, because four of our teams have to lose — because they’re playing another Mercer County team.
“Now, we have to knock each other out,” Bell said. “In Mercer County, you better have a good coaching staff. You won’t be able to compete (if you don’t). It’s loaded. I don’t care if it’s A, AA or AAA. You better have a good coaching staff or you’ll be in trouble.”
No truer words have been spoken.
Mercer County football is loaded. I wouldn’t be surprised if some other county teams that didn’t qualify for the playoffs (ie. Reynolds and Mercer) could have won their playoff openers this year as well.
Bell’s words about the coaching staffs in Mercer County were very accurate as well.
Wilmington’s Terry Verrelli and Sharpsville’s Paul Piccirilli are rock solid coaching legends and will someday soon find themselves in the Mercer County Hall of Fame.
Grove City’s Jeff Bell has over 100 wins at the helm of Grove City and has, like the aforementioned coaches, coached in Hershey for a state title.
West Middlesex’ Jason McElhaney has kept the Big Reds among the county’s best Single-A teams as has Brian Herrick at Greenville in AA.
Dan York has been a solid perennial playoff contender at Lakeview and Jarrett Samuels has guided Farrell to the PIAA Western Finals three times during his brief career.
Hickory’s Bill Brest is no slouch either, having guided the Hornets to at least one playoff win in each of his seasons as head coach.
As fun as sweeping Erie County was last weekend, I have a feeling this weekend is going to be just as fun, watching 8 Mercer County A and AA teams duke it out on the march for a D-10 title.
It’s just too bad four of them will have to go home.
Agree, disagree or just want to comment? Contact Corey at email@example.com.