Southmoreland awaits GCC in Interstate Conference tilt
By Mark King
Published: Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Before the 2013 high school football season started, many people expected Greensburg Central Catholic to be one of four teams to battle for the Class AA Interstate Conference title.
The Centurions started slow, going 0-3 in their first two games, but have strung together a pair of wins in the last two weeks to at least right their sinking ship and give the “Centurion Nation” hope for a return to the WPIAL playoffs.
Central opened the season with a 26-14 loss to currently unbeaten Washington. Shai McKenzie, who is now out for the season after suffering a torn ACL two weeks ago against Charleroi, rushed for 240 yards and scored three touchdowns against a defensive unit that was supposed to be one of the best in the Interstate Conference.
In week two, Central lost starting quarterback Chase Keller to an injury, and lost the game to Mt. Pleasant, 19-3.
Keller threw for 1,378 yards last season and added 15 touchdown passes to his resume. Keller also led the Centurions in rushing with 577 yards on the ground.
Week three saw the Centurions fall, 18-13, at the hands of Kittanning.
Central got in the win column in week four with a 35-20 win over Waynesburg as Tyler Balla rushed for 118 yards and four touchdowns.
Last week, Balla picked up right where he left off rushing for 221 yards and three touchdowns against Brownsville. Balla also reeled in a 53-yard touchdown pass in the Centurions' 35-6 romp over the Falcons.
Southmoreland should give the Centurions a stiff challenge this week.
The Scotties are coming off an emotional 14-13 win over Waynesburg and are looking to build some momentum heading into the second half of their schedule.
It will be the Scotties third home game played at California of Pennsylvania's Adamson Field since the turf at Russ Grimm Stadium was damaged by raging flood waters a week before the start of the season.
Without the services of Keller, the Centurions have turned the reigns over to Tommy Pellis. Pellis has continued to grow as the starter and last week he passed for 136 yards and a pair of scores for the Centurions.
Balla has become the primary ball carrier, but senior Nate Stone also will see carries for Central Catholic.
Defensively, the Centurions return six starters from last season's squad that fell in the opening round of the WPIAL playoffs to Seton-LaSalle.
Seth Warburton, Stone, Eddie Kilkeary and J.T. Astalos return at linebacker, and August Shotts and Jon Murray anchor the defensive line.
Last year, the Centurions pounded Southmoreland, 39-0.
The Scotties have a sour taste in their mouths after last season's beatdown, and would love nothing better than to upset the Centurions.
In order to do that, Southmoreland must key on stopping Balla. Stopping the Centurions from running the ball successfully has worked for the three teams that have defeated them this season.
However, the Centurions have found their running game in the last two weeks and have scored 73 points in those two contests.
Mark King is a contributing writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Central Catholic delivers crushing defensive performance to qualify for PIAA championship
- Running game carries South Fayette past Hickory and into PIAA title game
- Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic dominates Clarion in PIAA semifinals
- North Catholic football team earns trip to Heinz Field
- Krepps resigns as BVA coach
- Gateway football coach Militzer won’t return
- Central Catholic looks for knock out against District 3 champion in PIAA semifinals
- Friday’s PIAA semifinal football games postponed