More playoff spots available to Warriors, Patriots in football with PIAA changes for 2016-17 season

By Tom Robinson - For Sunday Dispatch | August 5th, 2016 1:33 pm

Opportunities are available for the Wyoming Area and Pittston Area football programs if they can show improvement in 2016.

Wyoming Area has had three consecutive 3-7 seasons since moving the 2012 District 2 title and advancing to the state playoffs in Class AA.

Pittston Area also went 3-7 in the 2011-2014 seasons between suffering through winless seasons before and after.

The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association realigns schools according to updated enrollment numbers every two years, creating some changes on the local level in league alignments and district playoff races. When the PIAA decided last fall to add classifications in many sports, it only added to the changes for the next two school years.

There are many other schools in District 2 which face more dramatic changes to their athletic programs than Pittston Area and Wyoming Area, but the Greater Pittston schools will notice some differences in their regular-season schedules and playoff pursuits.

Wyoming Area’s football schedule and playoff pursuits became more difficult when it switched from being a small school to a big school between the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

The Warriors are still across the line as one of the big schools, but with the PIAA’s switch from four classes to six in football, both Wyoming Area and Pittston Area have moved away from their largest opponents on the district and state level.

Both teams are in Class 4A, the third-largest of six, as opposed to the old Class AAA, the second-largest of four.

Wyoming Area and Pittston Area also wound up in the one classification that will have a larger playoff this year. District 2 will have a three-round, eight-team playoff in Class 4A.

So, instead of needing to be among the top 4 teams out of 14 fighting for 4 playoff berths, the Warriors and Patriots will make the District 2 playoffs as long as they are one of the top 8 out of 11.

The local teams will no longer have to get past two of the Lackawanna Football Conference’s toughest programs – Scranton Prep, which is now 3A, and Abington Heights, which is 5A. Wallenpaupack is also scratched from the list as it also is in 5A.

The other teams the Warriors and Patriots go against in the district football playoff race remain the same – West Scranton, North Pocono, Valley View, Honesdale, Dallas, Crestwood, Berwick, Coughlin and Tunkhannock.

Wyoming Area will no longer play Wyoming Valley West, North Pocono and Tunkhannock and will instead play Williamsport, GAR and Hanover Area.

Pittston Area will not play Wyoming Valley West and Hazleton Area, but will instead play GAR and Nanticoke.

Other fall sports

Boys and girls soccer have switched from three to four classes on the state level.

Pittston Area had been in the largest class out of three, but will now be in Class 3A, the second-largest.

Wyoming Area, which had been in the middle, is split with its boys team in 3A and girls in 2A.

The Wyoming Valley Conference changed formats to two divisions, one for the large schools (4A and 3A) and one for the small (2A and A).

Teams will play all division opponents twice.

Pittston Area, Hazleton Area, Wyoming Valley West, Crestwood, Coughlin, Dallas and Tunkhannock are in Division 1 together for both boys and girls and will have Wyoming Area with them in boys.

The Wyoming Area girls will be in Division 2 with Holy Redeemer, Meyers, Nanticoke, GAR, Lake-Lehman, Hanover Area, Berwick and Wyoming Seminary.

Field hockey has switched from two to three classifications.

The WVC has also realigned from four divisions to two based on strength.

Pittston Area, a Class 2A team, and Wyoming Area are each part of the 15-team Division 1 where teams will play each other once for a 14-game schedule. Wyoming Area is one of the four Class A teams considered strong enough to compete in the upper division.

Cross country remains in three classifications.

The only change that could impact the local teams is that Pittston Area will now have Abington Heights, a state’s fourth-place Class AA team last season, among the District 2-4 Class 3A Subregional competition on the girls side.

Golf is still in two classifications, but Berwick’s move from 3A to 2A causes minor changes in the Wyoming Valley Conference divisions.

Coughlin and Tunkhannock are still in WVC Division 3A-1. Dallas moves from Division 3A-1 to 3A-2, so Pittston Area and Wyoming Area will each play the Mountaineers once instead of twice. They will no longer play Dallas.

On the district level, the move of state power Scranton Prep to 2A should in theory make it slightly easier for 3A teams and individuals to advance from the district into state play.

Girls tennis is still in two classifications.

Coughlin moves from the WVC 3A Division where Pittston Area is one of four teams to the WVC 2A Division where Wyoming Area is one of 11 teams.

The WVC teams all play each other once in the season so there are no changes in the conference schedule.

Nothing else has changed on the district or state level.

The PIAA switched from three to four classes in girls volleyball.

Pittston Area, which had been in the largest of three classes, and Wyoming Area, which had been in the second largest, both wound up in Class 3A of the new four-class system.

The WVC schedule has all teams play each other so there are no changes on the conference level.

Winter sports

The PIAA switched from four to six classifications in boys and girls basketball.

Pittston Area will be Class 5A in both and Wyoming Area will be 4A in both.

Pittston Area had been competing on the highest level of girls basketball in the old system as a Class AAAA team. Its boys were in Class AAA as were both Wyoming Area teams.

Wrestling is still two classes and no Wyoming Valley Conference teams changed classes.

Pittston Area remains in 3A and Wyoming Area in 2A.

Boys and girls swimming will also remain in a two-class system.

Pittston Area is still 3A in girls swimming. Wyoming Area will be 2A in both boys and girls swimming.

Spring sports

Baseball and softball have changed from four to six classes.

Pittston Area will be 5A in both. Wyoming Area will be 4A in both.

Track and field remains two classes and both Pittston Area and Wyoming Area will continue to compete in 3A, the larger class.

Boys tennis, boys volleyball and both boys and girls lacrosse each remain in two-class formats.

Pittston Area is 3A in boys tennis.

The remaining Greater Pittston teams in the sports are in 2A.

Wyoming Area’s Brian Miles, right, runs up the middle as Pittston Area’s Nic Anastasi goes for the tackle during last year’s game. Area’s Brian Miles, right, runs up the middle as Pittston Area’s Nic Anastasi goes for the tackle during last year’s game. Bill Tarutis File Photo | For Sunday Dispatch
More playoff spots available to Warriors, Patriots in football

By Tom Robinson

For Sunday Dispatch

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