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Breaking down Week 3 high school football matchups

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Top high school sports
Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

Here's a look at some of the top high school football matchups for Week 3 in Western Pennsylvania.

Class AAAA

Quad Central

Mt. Lebanon (0-2, 0-2) at Plum (0-2, 0-2)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Plum lost to Baldwin, 38-6. Mt. Lebanon lost to Bethel Park, 14-3.

The buzz: Though it's winless, Mt. Lebanon enters the game knowing it beat Plum, 49-14, last year.

Key players: Mt. Lebanon WR Troy Apke has committed to Penn State. Plum sophomore WR Patrick Crossey caught a touchdown pass last week.

About the Blue Devils: About half of the starters returned from a team that tied for the Quad Central title in 2012. Senior lineman Alex Bookser is major Division I recruit.

About the Mustangs: Plum trailed Baldwin, 14-6, at halftime last week. Freshman Kevin Brown got a chance to carry the ball against Baldwin, and he finished with a team-best 62 yards on six carries, including a 57-yarder.

Prediction: Plum, 15-14

Peters Township (1-1, 1-1) at 2-AAAA Upper St. Clair (2-0, 2-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Last week: Peters Township lost to Penn Hills, 33-15. Upper St. Clair beat Canon-McMillan, 47-0.

The buzz: Peters Township has never beaten Upper St. Clair. The Panthers cruised to a 42-14 win last year.

Key players: Upper St. Clair RB Trevor Morrow rushed for three TDs last week, and QB Joe Repischak threw for 197 yards. Peters Township's Cory Owen totaled 349 yards in Week 1. Penn Hills didn't allow Owen to reach 100 yards passing or receiving.

About the Indians: Peters Township struggled to run the ball against Penn Hills and allowed a pair of 200-yard rushers in Billy Kisner (216) and Isaiah Jones (213).

About the Panthers: USC was second in WPIAL Class AAAA with 10.0 points allowed last season. They're giving up half of that through two games. Credit defensive end Rori Blair (Pitt), safety Morgan Lee and others.

Prediction: Upper St. Clair, 35-7.

7-AAAA Woodland Hills (0-2, 0-1) at 5-AAAA Bethel Park (2-0, 2-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Last week: Woodland Hills lost to McKeesport, 33-20. Bethel Park beat Mt. Lebanon, 14-3.

The buzz: Woodland Hills was labeled a title contender but is winless. Bethel Park has been solid but lost this matchup, 35-7, last year.

Key players: Woodland Hills senior QB Harry Randall threw two TD passes last week, including a 36-yarder to sophomore RB Miles Sanders, who scored twice. Bethel Park junior RB Alexander Minton had 106 yards and a 45-yard TD.

About the Wolverines: Woodland Hills could face its first 0-3 start since 2007. That season, the Wolverines lost their first four games and finished 3-7. They were 0-2 to start 2010 but won in Week 3 and reached the WPIAL final.

About the Black Hawks: Bethel Park's defense has been strong, allowing only a field goal in eight quarters. ... Sophomore QB Levi Metheny has four rushing TDs.

Prediction: Woodland Hills, 21-17

Quad East

Connellsville (0-2, 0-2) at Hempfield (1-1, 1-1)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Hempfield defeated Latrobe, 28-7. Connellsville lost to Gateway, 41-22.

The buzz: Connellsville upset Hempfield, 14-10, last year so the Spartans don't want that happening again heading into a couple big games in Week 4 and 5 on the road.

Key players: Hempfield senior RB Joey DeFloria scored three TDs last week. Connellsville running back Dylan Knopsnider rushed for 124 yards and a touchdown at Gateway.

About the Spartans: Quarterback Ty George completed 5 of 10 passes for 110 yards. He tossed a 76-yard touchdown pass to DeFloria and ran for a score. … The Spartans defense limited Latrobe to 30 yards rushing.

About the Falcons: The defense has allowed 94 points in the first two games this season. ... Six different players have scored touchdowns for Connellsville. … Quarterback Jade Maher is a dangerous runner and thrower.

Prediction: Hempfield, 28-14

Kiski Area (2-0, 2-0) at

4-AAAA Gateway (2-0, 2-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Last week: Kiski Area shut out Altoona, 20-0. Gateway beat Connellsville, 41-22.

The buzz: The Cavaliers are undefeated after two weeks for the second year in a row. The Gators won last year's meeting, 55-14.

Key players: Kiski Area kicker Adam Mitcheson is one of the WPIAL's best. He kicked field goals of 33 and 38 yards in the first half against Altoona.

About the Cavaliers: The Kiski Area defense converted three Altoona turnovers into scores. Senior Joe Brungo intercepted two passes, and he hauled in a 7-yard TD pass from QB Chad Kuhn.

About the Gators: Senior QB Jimmy Moore completed 18 of 31 passes for 225 yards and four TDs last week. Senior WR Delvon Randall hauled in a team-best seven passes for 90 yards and two scores. The defence forced six turnovers, including four in the second half.

Prediction: Gateway, 28-14

6-AAAA McKeesport (2-0, 1-0) at Norwin (0-2, 0-2)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Last week: McKeesport beat Woodland Hills, 33-20. Norwin lost to Penn-Trafford, 17-3.

The buzz: McKeesport coach George Smith seeks his 200th career win.

Key players: McKeesport's Mikell Moore rushed for 69 yards and two TDs against Woodland Hills. Sophomore QB Nick Amendola leads Norwin's offense and also picked off a pass against Penn-Trafford.

About the Tigers: Since 2008, the Tigers have won all five of the meetings with the Knights by a combined 197-52 margin. ... Five McKeesport players rushed for at least 30 yards last week against Woodland Hills.

About the Knights: The Knights have scored three points in two games, with Dan Passarello's 26-yard field goal last week ending a six-quarter scoreless streak. ... Amendola threw four interceptions last week. ... Norwin forced P-T to turn the ball over three times.

Prediction: 27-14

Penn-Trafford (1-1, 1-0) at Altoona (1-1, 1-1)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Penn-Trafford defeated Norwin, 17-3. Altoona lost to Kiski, 20-0.

The buzz: After opening conference play with a victory over rival Norwin, Penn-Trafford makes a two-hour trek east to play Altoona.

Key players: Devin Austin rushed for 182 yards last week against Norwin and scored on a 50-yard run a week earlier against North Hills. Altoona QB Eli Mencer rushed for 115 yards in a 21-0 victory in Week 1.

About the Warriors: The defense intercepted four passes against Norwin, including two in the fourth quarter by DB Zack Queen. ... Tom Stinelli added 86 yards and a rushing TD against the Knights. ... They will look for through the air after Timmy Vecchio caught an 85-yard TD pass.

About the Mountain Lions: Altoona managed 66 yards of offense last week and is averaging less than 150 yards per game. ... Mencer rushed for 22 yards and threw two interceptions.

Prediction: Penn-Trafford, 24-14

Quad North

3-AAAA N. Allegheny (2-0, 2-0) at 8-AAAA Sen. Valley (2-0, 2-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Last week: Seneca Valley defeated Pine-Richland, 43-25. NA vanquished Fox Chapel, 42-7.

The buzz: Seneca Valley is looking to avenge last season's sweep when NA won in the regular season and WPIAL semis.

Key players: North Allegheny WR Elijah Zeise can stretch the field and make tough catches. RB Josh Bergman can move the chains and grind out tough yardage. The defense is anchored by LB Layne Skundrich. Seneca Valley will rely on athletic QB T.J. Holl and the emergence of junior WR Eric Mrkonja, who had two TDs last week.

About the Raiders: The offense is clicking, but LB Tucker Van Dyke and the defense have allowed only 28 points in two games and scored a touchdown last week.

About the Tigers: The faces may be different, but thus far, the results have been the same for the three-time defending WPIAL champions.

Prediction: North Allegheny, 38-28

Nonconference

Latrobe (0-2) at Fox Chapel (0-2)

7 p.m., Friday

Last week: Latrobe lost to Hempfield, 28-7. Fox Chapel lost to North Allegheny, 42-7.

The buzz: Latrobe secured one of its two wins at home against Fox Chapel last season. The Wildcats won, 25-13, after holding the Foxes scoreless at halftime.

Key players: Defensive back Nicholas Halula headlines a much-improved Latrobe secondary. Fox Chapel senior Brandon Mitchell's 6-foot-6 frame might create problems though when he lines up out wide.

About the Wildcats: Latrobe raised eyebrows in Week 1 when it led star-studded Gateway at halftime before falling, 22-20.

About the Foxes: Defensive improvement is a priority for the Foxes, who have allowed 91 points. Quarterback Billy Urso has been a bright spot for Fox Chapel, throwing for 330 yards and two TDs.

Prediction: Latrobe, 26-14

Class AAA

Big 9

Laurel Highlands (0-2, 0-2) at Elizabeth Forward (1-1, 1-1)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Last week: Laurel Highlands lost to Ringgold, 57-14. Elizabeth Forward lost to Thomas Jefferson, 42-0.

The buzz: Elizabeth Forward is looking to save some face following last week's lopsided loss to its neighborhood rival. Laurel Highlands has given up 59 and 57 points to West Mifflin and Ringgold.

Key players: Elizabeth Forward's JaQuan Davison is as versatile as they come, but TJ limited him to 14 total yards. Jimmy Pierce threw for 105 yards and a touchdown for Laurel Highlands.

About the Mustangs: Laurel Highlands is exceptionally young, with just two senior starters back. LH struggled to defend Ringgold dual-threat quarterback Nico Law, giving up three passing touchdowns and allowing Law to rush for 103 yards and a score.

Elizabeth Forward: Davidson rushed for negative-6 yards against the Jaguars. A 47-12 win last year helped the Warriors start a stretch where they won six of their final seven games to reach the playoffs.

Prediction: Elizabeth Forward, 21-10

West Mifflin (2-0, 2-0) at Uniontown (1-1, 1-1)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Last week: West Mifflin beat Belle Vernon, 41-6. Uniontown beat Albert Gallatin, 26-25.

The buzz: West Mifflin looks like the top challenger to Thomas Jefferson in the conference, and the Titans can't afford a gaffe here. The Red Raiders are coming off a win over local rival Albert Gallatin.

Key players: West Mifflin's James Wheeler rushed for 189 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries last week. Xavier Ellis and Doug Lewis ran for two touchdowns apiece against Albert Gallatin.

About the Titans: West Mifflin has Wheeler, the third-leading rusher in the WPIAL last season behind Clairton's Tyler Boyd and Washington's Shai McKenzie, but the Titans have plenty of playmakers on defense, too.

About the Red Raiders: Uniontown is young. Very young. But Ellis, the team's leading runner and passer last season, is a playmaker. Four starters are back up front, including 6-foot-3, 280-pound Rodney Harris.

Prediction: West Mifflin, 28-14

Greater Allegheny

Derry (0-2, 0-1) at Knoch (1-1, 0-1)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Derry lost to Mars, 64-7. Knoch beat Trinity, 19-7.

The buzz: Derry fell to Knoch, 40-7, a year ago, and this rematch might not go much better.

Key players: Senior QB Kyle Holmes tries to steer Derry toward productivity. Knoch junior RB Cody Milsom gained 165 yards and scored twice last week.

About the Trojans: Derry has lost 10 games in a row, and it's been outscored 116-7 this season. ... Sam Watters scored Derry's lone TD last week on a 16-yard catch from quarterback Trey Friedline. ... Derry fell behind 28-0 in the first quarter last week.

About the Knights: Knoch's offense gained confidence in Week 2, as it rushed for 194 yards. ... Jim Larrimer also scored on a 6-yard touchdown pass Dan Farinelli. ... The team again started slow, but it recovered much faster against Trinity.

Prediction: Knoch, 45-14

Greensburg Salem (1-1, 1-1) at Hampton (0-2, 0-2)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Neither offense could get going in conference play, scoring a combined 13 points. Greensburg Salem lost to Hollidaysburg, 36-6, and Hampton fell to Highlands, 26-7.

The buzz: The offensive lines have to get a push for each team if either offense is to have success.

Key players: Hampton receivers Eddie Edwards and Jon Floss made some fantastic catches last week, and Floss also picked off a pass. Simeon Simmons found the end zone for Golden Lions last week.

About the Talbots: Edwards and Floss are as dynamic of a receiving duo in the WPIAL, but the line has to give the quarterbacks better protection. ... Running back C.J Arch missed last week's contest with an injury.

About the Golden Lions: Greensburg Salem has had some offensive issues too, scoring only six points in the last six quarters.

Prediction: Hampton, 20-14

Highlands (2-0, 2-0) at 4-AAA Franklin Regional (2-0, 2-0)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Highlands beat Hampton, 26-7. Franklin Regional beat Indiana, 31-0.

The buzz: After two road victories to start the season, Franklin Regional returns home for a game that looms large in the race for the conference championship. Five years have passed since Highlands last defeated Franklin Regional, which won the matchup, 35-3, last season.

Key players: Highlands' Elijah Jackson can break big gains at running back and on special teams. Senior Colin Jonov has intercepted four passes for Franklin Regional.

About the Golden Rams: Elijah Jackson and younger brother Jeremy are one of Highlands' talented brother tandems; senior twins Zach and Derrick Mazur comprise the other pair.

About the Panthers: They came into the year with 10 new starters on offense. Four different players rushed for TDs against Indiana.

Prediction: Franklin Regional, 24-7

10-AAA Indiana (1-1, 1-1) at

6-AAA Mars (1-1, 1-1)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Indiana lost to Franklin Regional, 31-0. Mars beat Derry, 64-7.

The buzz: Mars and Indiana are among four teams tied for second behind unbeaten Franklin Regional and Highlands, who play Friday. Mars beat Indiana, 40-6, last year.

Key players: Mars QB Owen Nearhoof has thrown for 346 yards and three TDs. Teammate Josh Schultheis was held to 92 yards in Week 1 but erupted for 219 and four scores last week.

About the Indians: QB Sean Thompson and RB DeQuan West eclipsed 100 yards in a 26-point win over Hampton in Week 1. Wide receiver Darrious Carter (6-5, 205) is a Temple recruit.

About the Planets: Mars turned the ball over four times during a 20-13 loss in Week 1, though it faced little resistance with Derry last week, piling up a 52-0 lead by halftime. Schultheis rushed for 1,687 yards and 27 touchdowns last season.

Prediction: Mars, 42-14

Parkway

Moon (2-0, 2-0) at

1-AAA West Allegheny (2-0, 2-0)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Moon beat Blackhawk, 14-6. West Allegheny defeated Ambridge, 42-7.

The buzz: This is the toughest test thus far for Moon, which is enjoying its first 2-0 start since 2006. West Allegheny slipped past Moon, 21-14, last year en route to the WPIAL title.

Key players: Chayse Dillon and Tory Delmonico split carries for West Allegheny, running for 330 yards and four TDs. Moon's V.J. Dean rushed for a TD and caught another.

About the Tigers: Moon's last winning record also came during that 2006 season. Former offensive coordinator Brandon LeDonne is now coach at Northgate. QB Aleksei Yaramus has thrown for 251 yards and two touchdowns.

About the Indians: Andrew Koester has been a weapon for West Allegheny, which has scored a Parkway-best 82 points. Koester has completed 13 of 20 passes for 195 yards and three scores.

Prediction: West Allegheny, 35-13

NONCONFERENCE

Thomas Jefferson (2-0) at Hollidaysburg (1-1)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Thomas Jefferson defeated Elizabeth Forward, 42-0. Hollidaysburg defeated Greensburg Salem, 36-6.

The buzz: Thomas Jefferson routed Hollidaysburg, 55-0, in 2012 — one of two shutouts during an unbeaten 9-0 regular season. The Jaguars, who lost to West Allegheny in the WPIAL Class AAA semifinals, are coming off their 21st consecutive series victory against Elizabeth Forward last week.

Key players: Thomas Jefferson used its massive offensive line against Elizabeth Forward to grind out 209 yards rushing, led by Austin Kemp's 175. Hollidaysburg got 127 yards rushing from Reid Miller and 116 yards passing on an efficient 4 of 6 completions from Josh Bickley in the win over Greensburg Salem.

About the Jaguars: Thomas Jefferson held highly regarded Elizabeth Forward quarterback JaQuan Davidson to 14 total yards last week. Meanwhile, the Jaguars scored 21 points in a span of 10 offensive plays to take a commanding halftime lead. They have outscored their first two opponents by a combined 73-10.

About the Golden Tigers: Hollidaysburg, which competes in the Greater Allegheny Conference, bounced back in a big way from a season-opening loss to Highlands with a convincing victory at Greensburg Salem. The Golden Tigers broke free from a 14-6 halftime lead by blitzing the Golden Lions with 22 unanswered points in the second half.

Prediction: Thomas Jefferson, 33-13.

Class AA

Allegheny

Ford City (1-1, 1-1) at East Allegheny (0-2, 0-2)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Last week: Ford City beat Freeport, 34-20. East Allegheny lost to Kittanning, 56-39.

The buzz: Both teams found their offense last week. Ford City went from 0 points to 34, while East Allegheny improved from 6 to 39.

Key players: Speedy Sabers RB Chantz Schrecengost had a 146-yard night at Freeport. East Allegheny back Taizjon Brown logged a three-touchdown, 80-yard night in Week 2.

About the Sabers: Ford City's running game found its balance again last week, as four different backs had eight or more carries.

About the Wildcats: East Allegheny QB Kyle Whipple isn't afraid to spread the ball around; he had two 100-yard receivers last week. The team has allowed a runner to break 160 yards in each of its games.

Prediction: East Allegheny, 21-14

Freeport (0-2, 0-2) at Deer Lakes (0-2, 0-2)

7:30 p.m., Friday

Last week: Freeport lost to Ford City, 34-20. Deer Lakes lost to Shady Side Academy, 63-0.

The buzz: Both teams are desperate to claw their way out of the conference basement.

Key players: Yellowjackets WR Brandon Hochbein pulled in three receptions for 56 yards last week. Kicker Matt McCausland gives Deer Lakes a special teams weapon with his field-goal range.

About the Yellowjackets: They improved considerably from Week 1 to 2. But they remain heavily reliant on first-year starters such as QB Andrew Romanchak.

About the Lancers: Deer Lakes, which has been outscored 105-16 this season, will look for a spark from senior playmaker Josh Plocki.

Prediction: Deer Lakes, 18-16

(6-AA) Shady Side Academy (2-0, 2-0) at (10-AA) Valley (2-0, 2-0)

7:30 p.m., Friday

Last week: Shady Side Academy beat Deer Lakes, 63-0. Valley beat Burrell, 26-0.

The buzz: These preseason conference title contenders have lived up to the hype. Now they go head to head.

Key players: Junior WR Louis Berry is an under-the-radar yet explosive element to the Indians' offense. Valley senior RB Devin Houser is a speedy backfield complement to senior standout Demetrius Houser.

About the Indians: They're yet to allow a point. Senior RBs Dennis Briggs and Jarred Brevard fueled an offense that rushed for 323 last week.

About the Vikings: With a win, Valley will be 3-0 for the first time since 2007. The Vikings last beat Shady Side Academy in 2006 (7-0).

Prediction: Shady Side Academy, 21-20

Summit Academy (1-1, 1-0) at Burrell (1-1, 0-1)

7:30 p.m., Friday

Last week: Summit Academy lost to Waynesburg, 14-7. Burrell lost to Valley, 26-0.

The buzz: Summit Academy gave Burrell a scare last year, as the Knights held the high-scoring Bucs to 28 points and lost by 6.

Key players: Sophomore Elijah Harvey rushed for 210 yards and scored three touchdowns in a Week 1 win over East Allegheny. Junior Ryan Sowol provided a bright spot in Burrell's shutout loss, as he gained 115 yards.

About the Knights: Junior J'Ron Hill-Phillips was the only player to return for Summit Academy, a school for court-adjudicated youth.

About the Bucs: Senior Tyler Horwatt centers an offensive line that has adjusted to a spread-style scheme.

Prediction: Summit Academy, 26-13

Century

2-AA South Fayette (2-0, 2-0) at 9-AA Steel Valley (2-0, 2-0)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: South Fayette defeated Keystone Oaks, 59-0. Steel Valley beat Burgettstown, 55-3.

The buzz: The Ironmen hope to snap a five-game losing streak to the Lions, which includes a 50-0 loss in 2012.

Key players: South Fayette QB Brett Brumbaugh has 404 yards and five touchdowns. Steel Valley will rely on the legs of D'Andre Pickens, who has

488 yards and seven TDs.

About the Lions: Running back Grant Fetchet has gained 215 yards and has four scores. … The team's leading tacklers are brothers Jared and Zach Walker with 16 each. …SF scored 34 first-quarter points in Week 2.

About the Ironmen: Pickens is complemented by freshman Duane Murray, who has 296 yards and three touchdowns. … The defense is surrendering only eight points per game. … Steel Valley has started 2-0 in four straight seasons.

Prediction: South Fayette, 42-28

INTERSTATE

8-AA Jeannette (2-0, 2-0) at Yough (2-0, 2-0)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Jeannette defeated Charleroi, 62-27. Yough rallied to defeat Brownsville, 30-21.

The buzz: Jeannette has won the previous four meetings by a combined score of 49-8. … Yough senior quarterback Tyler Donahue is questionable with an injury to his left shoulder.

Key players: Jeannette junior quarterback Julian Batts has completed 17 of 20 passes for 206 yards and three touchdowns. Yough senior running back Clay Waldron has scored four touchdowns.

About the Jayhawks: Jeannette is averaging 55.5 points per game, but is allowing 24 points a game. … Jeannette coach Roy Hall said the defense must improve its tackling. … Batts and running backs Terrell Canady, Damone Morton and Quenth Rickard have each scored two touchdowns.

About the Cougars: If Donahue cannot play, junior Eric Baer will again direct the offense. He has completed 16 of 23 passes for 190 yards and three touchdowns. Donahue completed 7 of 8 passes for 130 yards and three touchdowns against Charleroi in Week 1. … Yough coach Mark Crovak said his offensive line needs to play well for his team to have a shot at the win.

Prediction: Jeannette, 26-21

Mt. Pleasant (2-0, 2-0) at Southmoreland (0-2, 0-2) at California (Pa.) University

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Mt. Pleasant beat Greensburg Central Catholic, 19-3. Southmoreland lost to Washington, 48-20.

The buzz: Mt. Pleasant got by GCC last week, but it wasn't as lopsided as the score may indicate; Centurions quarterback Chase Kellar was lost for the game and maybe the season with a shoulder injury. Southmoreland plays the second game on its “new” field after Russ Grimm Field suffered flood damage.

Key players: Mt. Pleasant quarterback Ryan Gumbita and running back Tyler Mellors were held mostly in check. Mellors had three touchdowns in Week 1. Southmoreland running back Brennan Coles has three rushing touchdowns, Jake Pisula two.

About the Vikings: Mellors, Mt. Pleasant's leading rusher last season with 1,490 yards and 25 touchdowns, has 37 carries for 254 yards and four touchdowns through two games.

About the Scotties: Southmoreland has allowed 48 and 49 points thus far.

Prediction: Mt. Pleasant, 47-13

Nonconference

Kittanning (2-0) at Greensburg Central Catholic (0-2)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Kittanning beat East Allegheny, 56-39. GCC lost to Mt. Pleasant, 19-3.

The buzz: Each team comes into their lone nonconference tilt of the season missing a key player. Kittanning will be without freshman RB Zane Dudek (hip), while GCC will miss senior QB Chase Keller (shoulder).

Key players: Nick Bowers did it all last week for Kittanning, as he ran for two touchdowns, caught two touchdowns and scored on a 96-yard interception return. Sophomore QB Tom Pellis has a week of practice under his belt as the team's starter with Keller out.

About the Wildcats: Kittanning QB Braydon Toy is the team's leading rusher. The Wildcats haven't started a season 3-0 since 2004.

About the Centurions: GCC was able to gain just 64 yards after Keller's injury last week. The Centurions also started last year 0-2 but beat Kittanning, 21-16.

Prediction: GCC, 17-14

NONCONFERENCE

South Allegheny (0-2) at New Brighton (2-0)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: South Allegheny lost to Quaker Valley, 41-20. New Brighton defeated Beaver, 64-49.

The buzz: South Allegheny knocked off New Brighton, 34-14, at home in 2012, part of a seven-game winning streak between regular-season losses to Seton-La Salle in the opener and South Fayette in the final game.

Key players: Lefty quarterback Ty Cook's 61 yards rushing and two touchdowns wasn't enough for winless South Allegheny in its second loss. Gabe Greco completed 15 of 18 passes for 371 yards to power New Brighton's high-scoring offense in another shootout victory.

About the Gladiators: South Allegheny's defense took a hit in the offseason with the loss of its entire front line from the Gladiators' WPIAL playoffs-qualifying team.

About the Lions: New Brighton is averaging 53 points per game in its first two contests, but the Lions' defense is hoping to put a lid on opponents after giving up an average of 35 during the same period.

Prediction: New Brighton, 48-20.

Class A

Black Hills

Chartiers-Houston (1-1, 1-1) at Serra Catholic (1-2, 1-1)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Last week: Serra lost to Hancock, Md., 55-26, and Chartiers-Houston beat Bishop Canevin, 9-6.

The buzz: Serra Catholic is looking for its first win on the field — the Eagles did technically receive a victory via forfeit when Imani Christian dropped its football program this summer — while Chartiers-Houston is looking to continue its impressive start to the season.

Key players: Serra quarterback Zac Quattrone is clearly the team's leader, and he engineered three scoring drives in Maryland last week. He is a dual threat and will be relied upon heavily. Chartiers-Houston wideout Miles Williamson has emerged as a star and forms a terrific connection with quarterback Kaleb Susko.

About the Eagles: Serra finally produced some quality offense last week in Hancock, Md., despite the setback. However, the Eagles are very much a team in transition.

About the Bucs: Chartiers-Houston played Clairton relatively tough in Week 1, which is saying something for any Class A team. Then, in Week 2, the Bucs grinded out a 9-6 victory against highly regarded Bishop Canevin, showing for a second consecutive week that its defense is stout.

Prediction: Chartiers-Houston, 35-14

Clairton (2-0, 2-0) at California (0-2, 0-2)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Clairton beat Carlynton, 41-0; California fell to Fort Cherry, 50-14.

The buzz: Clairton enters the game with a 65-game winning streak, the nation's longest. California, meanwhile, has permitted 90 points in the first two games of the season and is likely hoping that the Bears are overlooking this game because of a pending showdown against Monessen next week.

Key players: Two young Clairton players are quickly becoming stars. Sophomore Aaron Mathews and freshman Lamont Wade have been terrific in their first two varsity starts. California's Austin Wingo has been a bright spot defensively and registered two sacks last week in a loss against Fort Cherry.

About the Bears: Clairton's offense isn't as explosive as in previous seasons, but remains potent and figures to improve as Mathews and Wade mature during the season. Clairton hasn't allowed a point this season and has recorded 35 shutouts during its winning streak.

About the Trojans: California is in a rebuilding season, having lost 10 of its past 12 games after qualifying for the playoffs in 2011. The Trojans have been particularly susceptible to giving up big plays early on this season, something that doesn't bode well against Clairton.

Prediction: Clairton, 42-7

Eastern

Avonworth (2-0, 1-0) at Leechburg (0-2, 0-1)

7 p.m., Friday

Last week: Avonworth beat Riverview, 44-6. Leechburg lost to Union, 33-13.

The buzz: Avonworth has scored 77 points and held opponents to a combined total of 12. Leechburg finished with 13 points in each of its losses.

Key players: Antelopes senior Matt Donovan is a dual threat from under center. Senior QB Alex Sipolino gives Leechburg's Wing-T attack a passing capability.

About the Antelopes: They're one of three unbeaten teams remaining in the Eastern Conference. Former Steelers Chris Hoke and Jeff Hartings are assistant coaches.

About the Blue Devils: Leechburg already is almost halfway to the point totals it finished with in 2012 and 2011 (56 and 58, respectively).

Prediction: Avonworth, 27-7

3-A North Catholic (2-0, 2-0) at Northgate (1-1, 1-1)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: North Catholic beat Springdale, 35-3. Northgate lost to West Shamokin, 46-20.

The buzz: North Catholic and West Shamokin are tied atop the conference. Northgate pulled off a 21-7 upset last year.

Key players: P.J. Fulmore (1,824 yards, 24 TDs in 2012) sat out last week with a lower body injury, but Jerome Turner filled in admirably, running for 109 yards and four TDs. WR Mark Lodge is one of the Flames' few experienced playmakers.

About the Trojans: Last week's win was No. 50 for North Catholic coach Bob Ravenstahl, who said Fullmore is “day-to-day.” Ryan Kirby led North Catholic in passing last season. He's now playing receiver.

About the Flames: Northgate started 4-0 last year but stumbled to a 1-4 finish and missed the playoffs. This will be the third game as a coach Brandon LeDonne, who replaced T.J. Wiley this offseason.

Prediction: North Catholic, 27-13

West Shamokin (2-0, 2-0) at Riverview (0-2, 0-2)

Noon, Saturday

Last week: West Shamokin beat Northgate, 46-20. Riverview lost to Avonworth, 44-6.

The buzz: The Wolves can go 3-0 for the first time. They beat Riverview, 25-6, last year to end a WPIAL-record 46-game losing streak.

Key players: Wolves RB Andrew Wingard had a 138-yard day against Northgate. Riverview RB Keir Barber leads Riverview in total offense with 118 rushing yards.

About the Wolves: RBs Zac Horner, Brandon Stover and Wingard all average at least 5.0 yards per carry.

About the Raiders: QB Tyler Nigro has accounted for all three Riverview touchdowns this year — two rushing and one passing. The Raiders face the early conference coleaders in back-to-back weeks, as they visit North Catholic in Week 4.

Prediction: West Shamokin, 26-13

Wilkinsburg (1-1, 1-1) at Springdale (0-2, 0-2)

7 p.m., Friday

Last week: Wilkinsburg lost to Apollo-Ridge, 56-36. Springdale lost to North Catholic, 35-3.

The buzz: Another 36-point performance from Wilkinsburg could present problems for Springdale, which has scored 10 points.

Key players: Freshman RB Robert Higginbotham has broken big runs for the Tigers. Springdale senior Robbie Korzon brings experience and size (6-2, 287 pounds) on the offensive line.

About the Tigers: Several key starters returned for Wilkinsburg, which endured a shutout but held Springdale to 15 points a season ago.

About the Dynamos: They remain confident that they can extend their playoff-qualifying streak to 12 years. Springdale last opened a season 0-3 in 1999.

Prediction: Springdale, 18-15

Tri-County South

Frazier (1-1, 1-1) at Bentworth (0-2, 0-2)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Frazier lost to Carmichaels, 30-22. Bentworth lost to Jefferson-Morgan, 54-0.

The buzz: Frazier spotted Carmichaels three touchdowns before storming back to make it a one-score game. It shouldn't be as dramatic this week, as Bentworth has been outscored, 95-6, in losses to West Greene and Jefferson-Morgan.

Players to watch: Frazier quarterback Charles Manack threw for 278 yards last week but was intercepted four times. Dakota Hixson caught five passes totaling 125 yards. Bentworth rotates Darius Hays and Ethan Tush at running back.

About the Commodores: Manack threw for nearly 1,800 yards for Frazier's. Jaime Fell (878 yards) graduated, but Manack has several talented receivers, including Michael Luce (32 catches, 432 yards).

About the Bearcats: Bentworth's best player last season, Ben Carlisle, transferred to West Greene during the offseason. One lineman with experience returns: senior Mason Shumaker, a four-year starter.

Prediction: Frazier, 38-7

Nonconference

Western Beaver (1-1) at (6-AA) Apollo-Ridge (1-1)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Western Beaver beat Our Lady of Sacred Heart, 30-13. Apollo-Ridge beat Wilkinsburg, 56-36.

The buzz: Western Beaver's 28-23 win over Apollo-Ridge last season was a bright spot in an otherwise trying year. The Golden Beavers returned all but three starters. The Vikings are tied with Avonworth for the top scoring average (38.5 ppg) in the conference.

Prediction: Apollo-Ridge, 28-18

Geibel (0-2, 0-2) at Vincentian (0-2, 0-2)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Geibel lost via forfeit to Beth-Center. Vincentian lost to Mapletown, 12-0.

The buzz: Given Geibel's struggles to field a team, this game could be listed as “day-to-day.” Neither team's sideline should be all that crowded.

Players to watch: Brandon Kushnar returns at quarterback to lead the Geibel offense. Quarterback Michael Tappe threw for 582 yards and four touchdowns last season to pace Vincentian.

About Geibel: The Gators practiced with 12 players last week — one less than the mandated limit. But three players are supposed to recover in time for this matchup.

About Vincentian: The small private school in McCandless is without its coach, Tim Storino, who's suspended for the season, and has also dealt with low numbers, though the Royals seemingly aren't in jeopardy of forfeiting any games.

Prediction: Vincentian, 54-6

City League

Allderdice (0-2, 0-0) vs. Perry (1-1, 1-0) at Cupples Stadium

7 p.m. Thursday

Last week: Allderdice lost to Brooke (W.Va.), 21-19. Perry beat Brashear, 26-13.

The buzz: Perry established early pole possession in the City League by toppling Brashear last week. Allderdice, which reached the City League semifinals last season, has stumbled out of the gate.

Key players: Perry RB Kevin Griffin carried 33 times against Brashear for 104 yards and two TDs. Siblings James and Tim Jackson comprise a talented QB-WR duo for Allderdice.

About the Dragons: Allderdice, which finished 3-6 last year, lost to Perry twice in 2012. The Dragons did keep the Commodores under 13 points both times. Senior tackle Brody Miller is an All-City lineman.

About the Commodores: Perry's offense should get a boost with the return of running back Gary Reid, who missed last week's game with the flu. Perry is the defending City League champion.

Prediction: Perry, 21-6

DISTRICT 6

Heritage

Ligonier Valley (2-0, 2-0) at Blairsville (2-0, 2-0)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Ligonier Valley whipped United, 42-7. Blairsville beat Purchase Line, 34-26.

The buzz: First place in the conference will be on the line when these rivals collide. Both teams are loaded with skill players.

Key players: Ligonier Valley TE Alex Bloom, who committed to UConn, has 12 catches for 203 yards and two TDs. Blairsville RB Deion Robinson has 274 yards and four touchdowns.

About the Rams: QB Scott Fennell has completed 19 of 31 passes for 288 yards and two TDs. … Freshman RB Collin Smith has rushed for a team-high 141 yards, while senior Dereck Croyle has rushed for 103 yards and scored three touchdowns.

About the Bobcats: QB Scott Thompson has completed 23 of 36 passes for 316 yards and two TDs. He has thrown four interceptions. … Robinson had carried 51 times in two games. … Thompson has rushed for 77 yards and two scores.

Prediction: Ligonier Valley, 27-22

 

 
 


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