Previewing Week 2 in Western Pennsylvania high school football
Published: Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Here's a look at some of the top games in Western Pennsylvania for Week 2:
Baldwin (0-1, 0-1) at Plum (0-1, 0-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Last week: Baldwin lost to Peters Township, 33-28. Plum lost to Bethel Park, 38-0.
The buzz: Baldwin beat Plum, 35-7, last year at home, and the Highlanders lead the overall series, 3-1.
Key players: Plum sophomores Patrick Crossey and Jason Hubner each hauled in three passes, while junior Phil Mahr added a reception. Baldwin wideout Luke Smorey had five catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns.
About the Highlanders: Baldwin gave up 374 rushing yards to Peters Township. Quarterback Doug Altavilla, a returning starter, completed 14 of 30 passes for 236 yards against Peters.
About the Mustangs: Plum, which was limited to 74 total yards in Week 1, will attempt to snap a 17-game losing streak.
Prediction: Baldwin, 21-13
6-AAAA Bethel Park (1-0, 1-0) at Mt. Lebanon (0-1, 0-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Last week: Bethel Park beat Plum, 38-0. Mt. Lebanon lost to North Allegheny, 55-7.
The buzz: Mt. Lebanon has won three straight in the series since a 27-14 win for Bethel Park in ‘09.
Key players: Bethel Park QB Levi Metheny ran for three scores last week behind tackle Mike Grimm (6-6, 315). Penn State recruit Troy Apke caught four passes for Mt. Lebanon last week.
About the Black Hawks: The line averages almost 285 pounds. The team also returns rushing and receiving leader Zachary Enick.
About the Blue Devils: Kellan Stout made his debut at QB vs. NA. Will be interesting to see how the Blue Devils respond to the blowout.
Prediction: Bethel Park, 21-17
Altoona (1-0) at Kiski Area (1-0, 1-0)
Last week: Altoona beat Norwin, 21-0. Kiski Area beat Connellsville, 53-20.
The buzz: Altoona's defense, which forced four turnovers last week, will try to slow the Cavaliers, whose 53-point total in Week 1 was its best since Oct. 1, 2010.
Key players: Altoona junior quarterback Eli Mencer rushed for 115 yards in his first varsity start. Sophomore quarterback Chad Kuhn completed 13 of 14 passes for 165 yards and three scores in Kiski Area's opener.
About the Mountain Lions: Under the direction of second-year coach John Franco, Altoona continues to rebuild an offense that graduated all 11 starters.
About the Cavaliers: Kiski Area's most lopsided win since 2008 showcased the potential of seniors Shane Kuhn and Jesse Noble as well as freshman Justice Evans and sophomore Lincoln Clayton.
Prediction: Kiski Area, 27-16
Hempfield (0-1, 0-1) at
Latrobe (0-1, 0-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Last week: Hempfield lost to McKeesport, 24-10. Latrobe lost to Gateway, 22-20.
The buzz: The winner of this game will receive the Lincoln Trophy, named after Route 30, which runs between the schools.
Key players: Hempfield RB Joey DeFloria, who returned a kickoff for a TD, had two scores called back because of penalties, yet rushed for 102 yards. Latrobe QB Logan Carns rushed for 136 yards and three TDs last week.
About the Spartans: QBs Ty George and De'Lorian Day will put pressure on the Latrobe defense.
About the Wildcats: Four second-half turnovers cost them last week. The defense forced five turnovers.
Prediction: Hempfield, 17-14.
Norwin (0-1, 0-1) at Penn-Trafford (0-1, 0-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Last week: Norwin lost to Altoona, 21-0. Penn-Trafford lost to North Hills, 21-14.
The buzz: Local rivals Norwin and Penn-Trafford look to bounce back from disappointing losses in Week 1 and gain an advantage in the race for the postseason.
Key players: Junior Logan Deri led Norwin in receiving in the Week 1 loss, hauling in eight passes for 65 yards. Senior linebacker Josh McElrone forced and recovered a fumble and led Penn-Trafford in tackles against North Hills.
About the Knights: After being gouged for 33.6 points and about 350 yards per game last season, the Norwin defense stepped up last week. The unit allowed just over 200 yards, and all three Altoona scoring drives began deep in Norwin territory. ... Coach Art Tragesser holds the all-time wins record at Penn-Trafford, having led the Warriors to an 83-52 mark from 1996-2008.
About the Warriors: Penn-Trafford has dominated its rival over the past 10 years, winning eight of its meetings with Norwin and outscoring the Knights by a 300-158 margin. ... Running backs Devin Austin and Tom Stinelli each rushed for touchdowns last week. ... The Warriors struggled on special teams against North Hills, missing a field goal and having a punt partially blocked.
Prediction: Penn-Trafford, 24-7
Fox Chapel (0-1, 0-1) at North Allegheny (1-0, 0-0)
Last week: Fox Chapel lost to Pine-Richland, 49-18. North Allegheny beat Mt. Lebanon, 55-7.
The buzz: Fox Chapel must fortify its defense if it intends to knock off three-time defending WPIAL Class AAAA champion North Allegheny.
Key players: Junior quarterback Billy Urso threw for 253 yards and two touchdowns for Foxes. North Allegheny junior running back Josh Bergman rushed for 120 yards and two scores.
About the Foxes: They're still in search of replacements for many injured starters, including linebackers Cory Camarote (a team captain) and Quintin Wirginis (Pitt recruit).
About the Tigers: Less star-studded than a year ago, North Allegheny remains a powerhouse thanks in part to senior speedster Elijah Zeise, a Pitt recruit at wide receiver.
Prediction: North Allegheny, 35-13
Seneca Valley (1-0, 1-0) at
9-AAAA Pine-Richland (1-0, 1-0)
7 p.m. Thursday
Last Week: Pine-Richland beat Fox Chapel, 49-18, and Seneca Valley topped Butler, 28-3.
The buzz: It will be strength against strength with the Rams offense vs. the Raiders D.
Key players: The Rams looked balanced with QB Ben DiNucci passing for 244 yards and RB Connor Slomka adding 172 yards and five TDs. Raiders QB T.J. Holl and RB Mason Dehart lead the offense.
About the Raiders: The offensive line is a strength so far and will be the key to team's success.
About the Rams: In his first game as a head coach, Eric Kasperowicz's offense piled up 504 yards and seven touchdowns.
Prediction: Pine-Richland, 27-17
3-AAAA Woodland Hills (0-1, 0-1) at 7-AAAA McKeesport (1-0, 1-0)
1 p.m. Saturday
Last week: Woodland Hills lost to USC, 16-10. McKeesport beat Hempfield, 24-10.
The buzz: McKeesport coach George Smith makes his return to his home turf. Smith and WH coach George Novak have combined for eight WPIAL and two PIAA titles.
Key players: Woodland Hills sophomore Miles Sanders ran for 101 yards in Week 1. McKeesport's triple option features QB David Queen and RBs Mikell Moore and Seanlou Gilmore.
About the Wolverines: A WPIAL title contender, they possess exceptional speed on both sides.
About the Tigers: Smith will run his familiar offense, and it appeared in strong form against Hempfield.
Prediction: Woodland Hills, 21-20
Albert Gallatin (1-0, 0-0) at Uniontown (0-1, 0-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Last week: Albert Gallatin defeated Derry, 52-0. Uniontown lost to Belle Vernon, 48-20.
The buzz: The Colonials couldn't have asked for a better start to the season, and they'll get a chance to build on their momentum with a key conference game against the Red Raiders. Uniontown and Albert Gallatin have struggled in the Big 9, but one will get a leg up this week. Last year, Uniontown beat Albert Gallatin, 41-6.
Key players: Albert Gallatin senior running back Branden Dice is a threat to break a long run at any point, and did so twice in the win over Derry. Quarterback Xavier Ellis and wideout Lyric Ellis displayed a solid bond last week as the two hooked up for a pair of touchdown passes for Uniontown.
About the Colonials: The Colonials have a roster comprised of 21 returning lettermen, including senior Branden Carey, who anchors both lines.
About the Red Raiders: Running backs Doug Lewis and Tristan Sandrosky will try to give Uniontown balance out of the backfield.
Prediction: Albert Gallatin, 22-20
Belle Vernon (1-0, 1-0) at
West Mifflin (1-0, 1-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Last week: Belle Vernon beat Uniontown, 48-20; West Mifflin shut out Laurel Highlands, 59-0.
The buzz: Belle Vernon enters the game boasting a strong passing attack, while West Mifflin showcases one of the best ground attacks.
Key players: RB Jimmy Wheeler rushed for 359 yards, tops in the WPIAL. Belle Vernon QB Travis Snyder threw for 142 yards and five TDs.
About the Leopards: Last week's easy victory opened some eyes. Hanging with West Mifflin will enhance their reputation even more.
About the Titans: Wheeler will get as many touches as possible while WM attempts to play its typically strong brand of a defense.
Prediction: West Mifflin, 34-17
Laurel Highlands (0-1, 0-1) at Ringgold (0-1, 0-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Last week: Laurel Highlands lost to West Mifflin, 59-0. Ringgold lost to Thomas Jefferson, 31-10.
The buzz: Both teams will look to put a rough first week behind them as the Mustangs and Rams square off in a critical conference game. Neither team wants to start the season 0-2, so this game carries its share of weight. Ringgold beat Laurel Highlands last year, 48-27.
Key players: The Mustangs will look to quarterback Jimmy Pierce and running back Dontay Jacobs to get the team back on track. Ringgold quarterback Nico Law runs the offense after throwing for 620 yards and four touchdowns last season.
About the Mustangs: Laurel Highlands must find a way to be better on defense. The Mustangs got off to a bad start this year after giving up at least 40 points in seven of 10 games last season.
About the Rams: Senior linebackers Matt Kirby and Dayshore Majors can cause problems for opposing offenses.
Prediction: Ringgold, 17-7
4-AAA Franklin Regional (1-0, 1-0) at 9-AAA Indiana (1-0, 1-0)
7 p.m. Friday
Last week: Franklin Regional defeated Mars, 20-13. Indiana defeated Hampton, 33-7.
The buzz: Fresh off a victory over defending conference champion Mars, Franklin Regional will look for its second straight road win.
Key players: Franklin Regional junior Brett Zanotto rushed for 68 yards and two TDs against Mars and also led the Panthers with 13 tackles. Indiana QB Sean Thompson, a 6-foot-4, 185-pound senior, threw for 142 yards and three TDs last week.
About the Panthers: Franklin Regional used its no-huddle, read-option attack to much success against Mars, rushing for 180 yards. ... Senior Colin Jonov intercepted three passes, returning one for a key second-quarter touchdown. ... The Panthers had three long scoring plays nullified by penalties against the Planets.
About the Little Indians: Indiana is looking to avenge a 35-0 loss to Franklin Regional last season. ... Running back Dequan West, a converted quarterback, rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown last week. ... Wide receiver Darrious Carter is committed to Temple, while offensive lineman Cody Squiric is receiving interest from FBS and FCS schools.
Prediction: Franklin Regional, 24-21
Hampton (0-1, 0-1) at Highlands (1-0, 1-0)
Last week: Hampton lost to Indiana, 33-7. Highlands beat Hollidaysburg, 33-14.
The buzz: Hit hard by graduation, Hampton is rebuilding this season. Highlands, deep and experienced, will look to exploit the vulnerable Talbots.
Key players: Hampton senior Eddie Edwards can create offense as a wide receiver and a quarterback. Highlands junior running back Elijah Jackson finished with 180 rushing yards, an 83-yard touchdown catch and a 53-yard interception return in Week 1.
About the Talbots: New offensive linemen need time to jell to the point that they can give senior running back C.J. Arch room to run.
About the Golden Rams: Their ability to run the ball and shut down the opposition's rushing attack allows them to dictate a game's tempo.
Prediction: Highlands, 21-7
Hollidaysburg (0-1, 0-1) at Greensburg Salem (1-0, 1-0)
7 p.m. Friday
Last week: Hollidaysburg lost to Highlands, 33-14. Greensburg Salem defeated Knoch, 20-14.
The buzz: Greensburg Salem made first-year coach Dave Keefer a winner with a strong first half performance. But Keefer's team had to hold on for victory after giving Knoch opportunities with turnovers.
Key players: Greensburg Salem QB Adam Indof had an efficient game, throwing for 120 yards and a 49-yard touchdown toss to Simeon Stevens. Hollidaysburg quarterback Josh Bickley had 181 yards and two touchdowns.
About the Golden Tigers: Hollidaysburg and new coach Homer DeLattre hope to improve on a ground attack which was limited to minus-13 yards against Highlands.
About the Golden Lions: Stevens had 68 yards receiving against Knoch. Keefer hopes to get him the ball more often. … RB Dom McKinley had a 17-yard touchdown run and Ryan Zepeda went 32 yards for the eventual game-winner. … TE/LB Kenny Clark injured a knee blocking and will miss the game.
Prediction: Greensburg Salem, 27-13
7-AAA Mars (0-1, 0-1) at Derry (0-0, 0-1)
7 p.m. Friday
Last week: Mars fell to Franklin Regional, 20-13. Derry was blanked by Albert Gallatin, 52-0.
The buzz: Three interceptions hurt the Planets last week, while Derry is trying to regroup after a tough loss.
Key players: Mars QB Owen Nearhoof completed 8 of 25 passes for 207 yards. Quarterback Kyle Holmes played well in 2012 when he replaced starting QB Rob Hebenthal.
About the Planets: Junior RB Josh Schultheis rushed for 1,687 yards and 27 touchdowns in 2012. … RB Jordan Lozzi rushed for a touchdown in Week 1. … The Planets graduated 22 players from the 2012 roster.
About the Trojans: There are only nine seniors on Derry's 44-man roster. … Senior TE Clint Beeman and junior RB Josh Flack are expected to play key roles. … Seniors Sal DeCario and Lloyd Zulisky are two-way starters.
Prediction: Mars, 38-7
3-AAA Central Valley (1-0, 1-0) at 8-AAA Montour (1-0, 1-0)
7:10 p.m. Friday
Last week: Central Valley beat New Castle, 29-6. Montour beat Hopewell, 20-14.
The buzz: These teams became rivals over the past three years while competing for titles. Both again are ranked, but Montour has more to prove.
Key players: Central Valley RBs Jordan Whitehead and JaQuan Pennington each scored twice in last week's win. Montour RB Cole Macek scored two TDs and threw one.
About the Warriors: A dominant win over New Castle bolstered their status as title contenders; the defense allowed just 29 rushing yards.
About the Spartans: Montour won this matchup last year, 28-27, but few starters return.
Prediction: Central Valley, 21-14
Knoch (0-1) at Trinity (0-1)
Last week: Knoch lost to Greensburg Salem, 20-14. Trinity lost to Elizabeth Forward, 46-0.
The buzz: Doomed by a slow start last week, Knoch will try to come out firing against Trinity, which trailed, 33-0, midway through the second quarter of its opener.
Key players: Quarterback Dan Farinelli, a transfer from Valley, threw an 18-yard touchdown to start Knoch's comeback effort last week. Trinity senior Brandon McGavitt brings speed as a wideout and safety.
About the Knights: Their youth showed when they fell behind, 20-0, in the first half. But they showed resilience with their second-half response. Kraig King stabilizes a young offensive line.
About the Hillers: Led by second-year coach Ryan Coyle, Trinity last endured a shutout loss in 2009.
Prediction: Knoch, 23-13
Burrell (1-0, 0-0) at
Valley (1-0, 1-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Last week: Burrell beat Brownsville, 46-14. Valley beat Deer Lakes, 42-16.
The buzz: Burrell has won its last four games against neighbor Valley, but the Vikings believe they're ready to turn the tables thanks to an explosive offense.
Key players: Junior RB Ryan Sowol gained 97 yards in the Bucs' spread offense. Valley's Demetrius Houser had 287 yards and three TDs.
About the Bucs: A co-conference champion last season, Burrell has a new look offensively and a burgeoning star in QB Cody Wolfe.
About the Vikings: Their 26-point blowout might raise eyebrows in the conference, but they expect more to come, minus the penalties.
Prediction: Valley, 27-20
Deer Lakes (0-1, 0-1) at Shady Side Academy
Last week: Deer Lakes lost to Valley, 42-16. Shady Side Academy beat Ford City, 21-0.
The buzz: Deer Lakes must improve its run defense, as Shady Side Academy features a scary-good backfield.
Key players: Freshman Mark Febinger gave the Lancers a spark by scoring on a 75-yard kick return. Senior Jarred Brevard, meanwhile, had a 95-yard kick return touchdown for the Indians.
About the Lancers: A year after allowing 31.7 points per game, defense remains a work in progress for Deer Lakes, which is under the tutelage of first-year coach T.J. Wiley.
About the Indians: Senior running Dennis Briggs, a Pitt recruit, quarterback Charles Calabrese and Brevard comprise Shady Side Academy's three-headed offensive monster.
Prediction: Shady Side Academy, 28-14
East Allegheny (0-1, 0-1) at Kittanning (1-0, 1-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Last week: East Allegheny lost to Summit Academy, 35-6. Kittanning beat Freeport, 40-13.
The buzz: Kittanning can open the season 2-0 for the first time since 2007.
Key players: Junior QB Braydon Toy ran for 118 yards and two scores in his first start for Kittanning. Jaiquan Faulk caught a 20-yard TD for East Allegheny last week.
About East Allegheny: The Wildcats in blue and gold allowed 218 rushing yards to Summit Academy's Elijah Harvey last week. East Allegheny avoided a shutout with a late touchdown throw from Deon Smith.
About Kittanning: The red-and-white-clad Wildcats churned out 282 rushing yards as a team in their opener. Underclassmen scored all of Kittanning's points.
Prediction: Kittanning, 20-12
Ford City (0-1, 0-1) at Freeport (0-1, 0-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Last week: Ford City lost to Shady Side Academy, 21-0. Freeport lost to Kittanning, 40-13.
The buzz: Two of the Allegheny Conference's perennial powers look to shake off tough openers.
Key players: Ford City senior RB Chantz Schrecengost accounted for exactly half of the Sabers' offense last week. Freeport senior Steven Lassinger, listed as a wide receiver, led his team in rushing with 42 yards.
About the Sabers: Though the offense struggled, the Sabers' defense held its own by limiting a highly touted Shady Side running game to 152 yards.
About the Yellowjackets: Freeport wants to be sharper than in the opener, when it was flagged for 10 penalties.
Prediction: Ford City, 14-12
Burgettstown (0-1, 0-0) at Steel Valley (1-0, 1-0)
7 p.m. Friday
Last week: Burgettstown was shutout by Beaver, 42-0; Steel Valley topped Keystone Oaks, 47-13.
The buzz: Steel Valley coach Rod Steele is convinced that his team can enjoy a strong season if it remains healthy. So far, so good for the Ironmen, who figure to be an overwhelming favorite against a Burgettstown team that is 0-1 and that went 0-9 last season.
Key players: Sophomore quarterback Robert Dupain will lead the way for the Blue Devils, who will be shooting for a significant upset. Running back D'Andre Pickens is likely Steel Valley's most talented player. He is capable of hitting home runs and can physically grinding down a defense.
About the Ironmen: Steel Valley is feeling good about itself following a dominant victory against a Keystone Oaks team that generally fields a strong squad. The Ironmen run the football well and possess one of the faster defenses in Class AA.
About the Blue Devils: Burgettstown is among the WPIAL's youngest teams, showcasing only three seniors on its roster. The Blue Devils did not win a game last season but feel like they are clearly improved in 2013.
Prediction: Steel Valley, 41-7
Quaker Valley (1-0, 1-0) at South Allegheny (0-1, 0-1)
7 p.m. Friday
Last week: Quaker Valley defeated South Park, 47-27. South Allegheny lost to Seton-La Salle, 40-3.
The buzz: The teams have split the series the last two years with the Gladiators winning 27-7 last season. The Quakers are in search of their first playoff berth since 1999.
Key players: Quaker Valley junior QB Dane Jackson debuted last week with touchdown runs of 98 and 13 yards. South Allegheny running back DaVonte Johnson uses his experience and talent to get the tough yards.
About the Quakers: Offense boosted by talented running back trio of senior Gennaro Trovato and juniors Trewon Marshall and Aaron Cunningham. ... The offensive line is led by four seniors. ... QB made a switch to a 3-5-3 defense this season.
About the Gladiators: Senior tight end Kordell Thompson is a receiving target for quarterback Ty Cook. ... The defense lost its entire front seven to graduation. ... They made the playoffs for the first time since 1986 last season.
Prediction: Quaker Valley, 35-21.
Charleroi (0-1, 0-1) at 8-AA Jeannette (1-0, 1-0)
7 p.m. Friday
Last week: Charleroi was beaten by Yough, 42-14. Jeannette defeated Southmoreland, 49-21
The buzz: Jeannette opened with an impressive win and will try to hold off Charleroi for a second-straight home contest.
Key players: Running back Dakota Moorer returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown. Jeannette junior QB Julian Batts completed 8 of 9 passes for 115 yards.
About the Cougars: QB Brennen Matthews completed 7 of 15 passes for 63 yards. … Charleroi's offense had trouble getting untracked. … Charleroi junior punter Jake Lemmon averaged 43.8 yards per punt.
About the Jayhawks: Running back Quenth Rickard scored on runs of 7 and 63 yards. … Terell Canady returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown and Cruz White returned an interception 17 yards for a score.
Prediction: Jeannette, 34-14
9-AA Greensburg C.C. (0-1, 0-1) at 3-AA Mt. Pleasant (1-0, 1-0)
7 p.m. Friday
Last week: Greensburg Central Catholic lost to Washington, 26-14. Mt. Pleasant beat Waynesburg, 33-13.
The buzz: Mt. Pleasant beat GCC, 30-28, last year; another close game is expected.
Key players: QB Ryan Gumbita will be looking to throw his first TD pass after the Vikings scored five rushing TDs last week. Chase Keller threw two TD passes for the Centurions.
About the Centurions: They are led by an experienced offensive line and veterans on defense, notably linemen August Shotts and Jon Murray.
About the Vikings: Tyler Mellors and Brett Fess combined for five rushing TDs in last week's win.
Prediction: Mt. Pleasant, 24-22
Southmoreland (0-1, 0-1) at Washington (1-0, 1-0)
7 p.m. Friday
Last week: Southmoreland lost to Jeannette, 49-21. Washington beat Greensburg Central Catholic, 26-14.
The buzz: In Week 1, the Scotties played their first “home” game of the season at Cal (Pa.) because flooding caused heavy damage to Russ Grimm Field. This will be Southmoreland's first official road game of the season. Washington cruised past Southmoreland, 42-7, a year ago.
Key players: If a team hopes to beat Washington, it needs to contain running back Shai McKenzie, who scored three touchdowns in the Prexies' season-opening win. Jake Pisula is a focal point of the Scotties' offense; he scored twice in last week's loss.
About the Scotties: Brennan Coles has stepped into the role of signal-caller and will look to gain valuable experience as the season moves along.
About the Prexies: Don't sleep on Jonathan Spina, who proved there is more to Washington's attack than just McKenzie. Spina hit Quorteze Levy on a touchdown pass to get Washington rolling in Week 1.
Prediction: Washington, 42-21
Yough (1-0, 1-0) at Brownsville (0-1, 0-1)
7 p.m. Friday
Last week: Yough beat Charleroi, 42-14; Brownsville fell to Burrell, 46-14.
The buzz: Yough has the look of a legitimate sleeper team in Class AA. The Cougars, in fact, were a lost fumble away from beating Greensburg Central Catholic and earning a playoff spot last season. Yough might be better this season, while Brownsville started the season poorly against Burrell in a 32-point loss.
Key players: Although Yough is blessed with a deep and talented roster, quarterback Tyler Donahue is the team's most important player. Donahue is a threat to beat defenses with his arm or his legs, and is performing behind an experienced and talented offensive line. But he injured his non-throwing shoulder last week against Charleroi and remains a question mark to play in Week 2.
About the Cougars: If Donahue is unable to play, look for the Cougars to resort to a more conservative style in an attempt to grind out a win against a team with inferior talent. If Donahue is given the green light to play, he could certainly enjoy a big night for a team with legitimate playoff aspirations.
About the Falcons: Brownsville almost didn't get to play this contest at home because of vandalism to its field. Some soccer games were moved during the week while repairs to the field were made. The field has been ruled in good enough condition for the game to take place.
Prediction: Yough, 30-10
7-A Brentwood (1-0, 1-0) at
5-A Monessen (1-0, 1-0)
7 p.m. Friday
Last week: Brentwood stormed past Serra, 49-7. Monessen blanked California, 40-0.
The buzz: Monessen beat the Spartans last season, 35-28.
Key players: Brentwood RB Justin Vickless suffered a knee injury early in last week's game but is expected to play. Monessen RB Clintell Gillaspie rushed for 173 yards and two TDs.
About the Spartans: Pat Carr, a junior RB, rushed for 117 yards and three TDs last week. QB Connor McWilliams passed for 116 yards and one TD in his varsity debut.
About the Greyhounds: They have four all-conference players ... They have lost only five regular-season games the past three years.
Prediction: Monessen, 21-14
Carlynton (0-1, 0-1) at Clairton (1-0, 1-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Last week: Carlynton lost to Fort Cherry, 46-31. Clairton defeated Chartiers-Houston, 35-0.
The buzz: The Bears look to keep their record-setting win streak alive, which reached 64 last week. They routed the Cougars, 50-7, in 2012.
Key players: Clairton sophomore Aaron Mathews is a rising star, throwing a pair of 30-yard touchdowns and pulling in a 30-yard score in Week 1. Carlynton senior quarterback Freddie McKissick can make plays with his feet and scored two touchdowns last week.
About the Cougars: They are seeking their first playoff berth since 2001. ... The offensive line is made up entirely of multi-year starters. ... The young but talented group of running backs is led by sophomore Isiah Canton and freshman Brandon Rogers.
About the Bears: Time at quarterback is split between Mathews and junior Ryan Williams. ... The team's only senior starter is tight end/outside linebacker JoJuan Bray. ... The offensive line has four returning starters from 2012.
Prediction: Clairton, 42-0.
Apollo-Ridge (0-1, 0-1) at Wilkinsburg (1-0, 1-0)
Last week: Apollo-Ridge lost to North Catholic, 22-21. Wilkinsburg beat Leechburg, 14-13.
The buzz: Eager to move past its mistake-laden overtime loss, Apollo-Ridge turns its attention to an opponent it defeated, 41-0, last season.
Key players: Vikings junior wide receiver Alex Smith caught four passes for 73 yards and one touchdown in Week 1. Freshman wideout Robert Higginbotham thrived against Leechburg's secondary early.
About the Vikings: Their defense, which contained a high-powered offense in Week 1, might match the talent of an offense that likely will rank among Class A's top scorers.
About the Tigers: Coach Mike Fulmore might've tapped his son for a scouting report on Apollo-Ridge; P.J. Fulmore is a standout running back for North Catholic.
Prediction: Apollo-Ridge, 27-8
Riverview (0-1, 0-1) at Avonworth (1-0, 0-0)
Last week: Riverview lost to Northgate, 18-13. Avonworth beat Rochester, 33-6.
The buzz: Riverview will look to rebound from Week 1's last-second loss, and late-game breakdowns certainly won't end well against Avonworth's veteran lineup.
Key players: Senior wideout Zach Hanus, a transfer from Florida, had a 25-yard touchdown catch in his debut with Riverview. Running back Moses Giles rushed for 132 yards and two touchdowns in Avonworth's dominant opener.
About the Raiders: In search of offensive weapons, they leaned on Dillon Provenza to move the ball on the ground; Provenza finished with 71 yards.
About the Antelopes: Avonworth, which outgained Rochester by more than 170 yards, can give the ball to Giles or junior Andrew Broadus, the team's top returning rusher.
Prediction: Avonworth, 20-10
Springdale (0-1, 0-1) at North Catholic (1-0, 1-0)
Last week: Springdale lost to West Shamokin, 12-7. North Catholic beat Apollo-Ridge, 22-21.
The buzz: Springdale, shut out by the Trojans in 2012, encounter an even stronger version of North Catholic.
Key players: Junior quarterback Daniel Franskousky's arm gives the run-oriented Dynamos a passing option. North Catholic's Jerome Turner thrived at running back as a fill-in for standout P.J. Fulmore.
About the Dynamos: Springdale has an 11-year playoff-qualifying streak to uphold and linemen that coach Dave Leasure believes can win the battle up front.
About the Trojans: Class A semifinalists in 2012, they have big-bodied weapons in senior tight end Ronnie Meder (6-2, 220) and senior fullback Jarred Fragapane (6-3, 235).
Prediction: North Catholic, 21-6
Northgate (1-0, 1-0) at West Shamokin (1-0, 1-0)
7 p.m. Friday
Last week: Northgate defeated Riverview, 18-13; West Shamokin beat Springdale, 12-7.
The buzz: Both teams picked up five-point victories last week to take the early conference lead. Northgate scored with 11 seconds remaining to squeak past Riverview, while West Shamokin kept then-No. 10 Springdale's offense in check.
Key players: Northgate QB Johnny Camello led the Flames' aerial attack against Riverview with 180 yards. West Shamokin RB Zac Horner had 80 yards and both touchdowns on 18 carries last week.
About the Flames: WR Romello Snyder hauled in a tipped pass for an 87-yard touchdown on the first drive of the second half last week. RB Alex Marusic scored Northgate's winning touchdown on a 2-yard run.
About the Wolves: West Shamokin was outgained by 39 yards in its opener, but the only points the Wolves allowed were on a Springdale fumble return. The Wolves had never previously won a WPIAL conference opener, and are 1-1 all-time against Northgate.
Prediction: West Shamokin, 26-18
Carmichaels (0-1, 0-1) at Frazier (1-0, 1-0)
7 p.m. Friday
Last week: Carmichaels beat Jefferson-Morgan, 36-0. Frazier beat Geibel, 81-0.
The buzz: Neither team gave up a point in Week 1 and both teams have their sights set on a conference title this season. Both teams figure to be in the playoff mix right up until the end of the season. The Mikes beat the Commodores in a Week 2 matchup a season ago, 28-14.
Key players: Frazier quarterback Charles Manack and running back Chaise Bertocci should see a much more significant challenge this week after getting limited action in last week's blowout win over Geibel. Carmichaels quarterback Brandon Lawless got off to a fast start, throwing three touchdown passes and rushing for another in a win over the Rockets.
About the Mikes: While Lawless is a threat to run, his main target in the passing game is Ty Aeschbacher. Last week, the senior hauled in all three of Lawless' TD tosses.
About the Commodores: Frazier's offense gets plenty of attention, but the defense could also be a factor in the team's success this year. Daniel Leonard recorded two safeties and Alvin Ross picked off two passes for scores in the lopsided win over Geibel.
Prediction: Frazier, 21-14
at Union (0-1)
Last week: Leechburg lost to Wilkinsburg, 14-13. Union lost to Our Lady of Sacred Heart, 20-0.
The buzz: Leechburg looks to snap a nine-game losing streak against Union, which started the Blue Devils' skid last season by winning, 35-0, on the road.
Key players: Running back Alex Kalmar scored Leechburg's first touchdown, as he found the end zone from 3 yards out. Linemen Curtis Caughey (6-3, 270) and Jamie Hooks (6-2, 250) are monster blockers for the Scotties.
About the Blue Devils: Leechburg last beat a nonconference opponent in 2007, when it topped Langley, 20-12, in its season opener.
About the Scotties: Their linemen are among their most experienced players, but they're short on proven playmakers.
Prediction: Union, 9-8
Perry (0-1, 0-0) at Brashear (0-1, 0-0), Cupples Stadium
7 p.m. Thursday
Last week: Perry lost to Cathedral Prep, 55-0. Brashear lost to Slippery Rock, 44-7.
The buzz: Brashear finished 3-6 in 2012, the Bulls' first losing season since 2001. ... Perry won its second league title in three years.
Key players: Perry has two QBs with interesting lineage: sophomore Shawn Rutherford, who's Rod's cousin; and junior Desean McGhee, who's the younger brother of former Perry QB Greg McGhee.
About the Commodores: Perry has won nine titles since 1997. ... RB Gary Reid and WRs Kevin Griffin and Jajuan Byrd are players to watch.
About the Bulls: Brashear returns four starters along the offensive line.
Prediction: Perry, 26-13
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