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Rival schools attempting to revive "Coal Bowl"

By Matt Maisel,

Cambria Heights High School and Northern Cambria High School are in the process of trying to revive their annual football game, locally known as "The Coal Bowl."

The two schools played what they believed would be the final time in a regular season format last November. Cambria Heights, a member of the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference, is moving to a 10-game conference schedule in 2014.

Since then, the rival schools have been working together to revive the game. Four days ago, Northern Cambria Athletic Director Jim Yeager and Cambria Heights Athletic Director Tom Boyle finalized a letter, approved by both school boards, petitioning District 6 to allow their teams to face each other as an 11th regular season game.

"The PIAA says you can play an 11th game if neither team makes the playoffs," Boyle told 6 Sports.

Presently, the two schools are awaiting District 6 to meet and approve the petition. The District 6 committee is next scheduled to meet Wednesday, February 12, according to District 6 football chairman Dr. Dave Crumrine of Central-Martinsburg. Crumrine added he has not received any letters from Cambria Heights or Northern Cambria.

"I don't know any reason they would reject it," Boyle said, "other than length of the season."

Playing an 11th regular season game is common for some rival schools on the eastern part of the state who play "Turkey Bowl" games around Thanksgiving. Boyle said there were other proposals on the table to revive the "Coal Bowl" on Thanksgiving or Veterans Day, but there was a concern with the down time between the tenth week of the season and the game.

Cambria Heights and Northern Cambria have played 44 times since 1961, with the series tied 21-21-1. They have played each of the last two seasons following a seven-year hiatus.

"We have a chance to keep this rivalry and tradition alive," Boyle said. "But it only takes place if neither team reaches the playoffs."

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times