West Greene vs. Monessen

Observer-Reporter

West Greene’s Ben Jackson is congratulated by Gavin Scott after scoring a touchdown in a game last season.

West Greene High School will have its own version of “Monday Night Football” this season.

But Hank Williams Jr., will not be around to ask in a sharp musical tone, “Are you ready for some football?”

While many other WPIAL football teams will start their season with a Week Zero game on Friday, Aug. 23, the Pioneers will kick off their season on Monday, Aug. 26 in Rogersville.

Their opponent will be Cameron High School in West Virginia. The two teams have had regularly scheduled football games for quite some time now, even though the schools are in different states.

This year, West Virginia schools can’t open the season schedule until the week of Aug. 26. So moving the date of the opener was required if the two teams wanted to play a varsity game that counts in the win-loss column for Cameron.

“West Virginia and Pennsylvania are on a different enrollment cycle this year,” said West Greene athletic director Bill Simms. “They couldn’t open until our Week 1, which meant that our Week Zero game for us would be illegal for them.

“Our Week 1 game is with Bentworth. So we got creative and moved our (Cameron) game to Monday and then play Bentworth in a (Tri-County South Conference) opener for us.”

Only 24 miles separate the two schools and the enrollment of both are similar for them to compete against each other in varsity sports.

Simms said that West Greene would’ve had to travel great distances in order to fill that spot on the schedule if it didn’t play Cameron this year.

Besides, this game has become popular among the two schools.

“It draws everyone from Cameron and West Greene,” said Simms with a chuckle. “It’s a nice rivalry game, a nice local game for us. We didn’t want to lose it. It’s our little version of Charleroi-Monessen.”

West Greene has had to play on different nights before when rain flooded the football field. The Pioneers are coming off a 7-4 season that included a playoff appearance.

The team has a new head coach in Brian Hanson and Simms said he made him aware of the situation with Cameron.

“He understood,” Simms said. “We brought it up in the interview process and told him it was just a one-year thing. He’s been very gracious about it. He knows it’s not a (playoff-determining game) but it was popular within the communities.”

Assistant Sports Editor

Joe Tuscano has been with the Observer-Reporter since 1980. He has covered all sports for the newspaper, including the Steelers, Pirates, Pitt football, local college football and wrestling.

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