Moosic, Pa. - From day one, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) have repeated multiple mantras. When it comes to their reconstructed home of PNC Field, the common refrain has centered around the stadium's community-focused nature. Add an NEPA high school football tradition to those efforts. Starting this fall, the RailRiders' summer home will host a new autumnal classic, the "RailRiders Bowl". The first version of the RailRiders Bowl in 2014 and 2015 will sport the annual rivalry game between Abington Heights and Valley View.
"This is a great day for the RailRiders, PNC Field and Northeast Pennsylvania," said RailRiders president/GM Rob Crain. "Few things bring communities together like sports. High school football under the lights at a facility like PNC Field - that's a recipe for memories that will last a lifetime for players, coaches and all of those that follow and support them."
The first meeting in the two-year agreement will take place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 4. Abington Heights will be the home team in 2014 while Valley View owns home team status in the 2015 match-up.
"We extremely excited and grateful for the RailRiders once again supporting the community and impacting our game," said Abington Heights athletic director Randy Hanyon. "This gives our kids the opportunity to play in a premier, beautiful facility."
"We're very excited and extremely honored that Abington Heights has been selected to play in the first football game at PNC Field," said Abington Heights head coach Joe Repshis. "It's a first-class, state-of-the-art facility that will provide a great experience for football. We are grateful to Mr. Crain and the entire Scranton/Wilkes-Barre organization for giving us the opportunity to play this game against an outstanding opponent in Valley View."
PNC Field opened to rave reviews in 2013 including Ballpark of the Year accolades from the industry standard in those evaluations, Ballpark Digest. And it is home to more than just RailRiders baseball with a number of events taking place there since its reconstruction in advance of the 2013 season.
"We're looking forward to this exciting opportunity for both of our schools," said Valley View athletic director Chris Killiany. "It's always a great rivalry with them no matter what the records are. What a chance to showcase our kids and the football in this area. With Penn State not playing that week, our teams have the chance to own the stage that night."
"I think it's going to be great for our area to have football back at the stadium," said Valley View head coach George Howanitz. "It's a nice way for people from all of NEPA to come together on a Saturday night to watch high school football."
Tickets for the inaugural "RailRiders Bowl" will go on sale to the general public beginning Friday, August 15 at 10 a.m. at the PNC Field box office. Fans can also purchase tickets online at SWBRailRiders.com.
The RailRiders' eight-game homestand continues on Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m. with game three of four against the Louisville Bats (Cincinnati Reds). Aaron Berlin will have the call on radio when the pregame show starts at 6:35 p.m. on NEPA Sports Radio - The GAME, Northeast PA's largest sports radio network: 100.7 FM, 1340 WYCK-AM, 1400 WICK-AM, 1440 WCDL-AM and 106.7 FM. For season ticket information, single-game tickets or to book a ballpark group outing, call (570) 969-BALL (2255) or visit swbrailriders.com.
- SWB RailRiders - All Aboard! -