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Breaking down Week 9 matchups in Western Pennsylvania

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Top high school sports
Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, 10:15 p.m.
 

Here's a look at some of the top matchups for Week 9 in Western Pennsylvania high school football.

Class AAAA

Quad Central

Baldwin (4-4, 3-4) at

9-AAAA Bethel Park (5-3, 5-2)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Last week: Baldwin defeated Canon-McMillan, 49-6. Bethel Park lost to Seneca Valley, 39-3.

The buzz: Baldwin has won its past two games — averaging 56 ppg — while Bethel Park is on a two-game losing streak. The Fighting Highlanders can qualify for the playoffs with a win or a Mt. Lebanon loss. Bethel Park won, 42-25, last season.

Key players: Baldwin is led by QB Doug Altavilla and WR Luke Smorey. Altavilla has passed for 1,461 yards and 19 TDs. Smorey has 49 catches for 978 yards and 15 TDs. Bethel Park is led by QB Levi Metheny.

About the Highlanders: Guided by first-year coach Pete Wagner, they can finish with a winning regular-season record for the first time since 2003.

About the Black Hawks: Bethel Park has clinched third place. The senior-laden Black Hawks have shut out three opponents this season.

Prediction: Bethel Park, 28-24.

Quad Central

4-AAAA Woodland Hills (6-2, 6-1) at 10-AAAA Penn Hills (5-3, 4-3)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Last week: Woodland Hills beat Peters Township, 42-9. Penn Hills lost to Mt. Lebanon, 24-21.

The buzz: Both teams are locked into the playoffs, with Woodland Hills second and Penn Hills fourth or fifth in the conference. This allows one more solid test before the postseason.

Key players: Woodland Hills senior QB Harry Randall had three touchdown passes last week, including a 79-yarder. Penn Hills sophomore QB Billy Kisner ranks second among WPIAL Class AAAA rushers with 1,107 yards.

About the Wolverines: Junior RB Art Thompkins scored four touchdowns a week ago while replacing sophomore Miles Sanders, who's expected back in action this week.

About the Indians: Penn Hills rushed for 218 yards but passed for only 17 in last week's loss to Mt. Lebanon.

Prediction: Woodland Hills, 21-7.

Quad East

8-AAAA Hempfield (6-2, 5-2) at Penn-Trafford (5-3, 5-2)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Last week: Hempfield beat Norwin, 31-7. Penn-Trafford upset No. 3 Gateway, 35-34.

The buzz: A likely home playoff game is up for grabs as third-place Hempfield and Penn-Trafford meet to close the regular season.

Key players: Hempfield's Joey DeFloria had 182 yards and three TDs against Norwin. P-T's Devin Austin rushed for 182 yards and a TD and scored the winning 2-point conversion against Gateway.

About the Spartans: Since allowing 59 points in its first three games, Hempfield has surrendered just 50 in the past five. ... QB Ty George can hurt opponents through the air (640 yards, five TDs) or on the ground (463, five).

About the Warriors: The 35 points scored last week marked a season high. ... TE Chris Stanford's first career catch last week went for a third-quarter score. ... WR/DB Timmy Vecchio scored touchdowns on offense and defense.

Prediction: Hempfield, 21-17

Quad East

Latrobe (2-6, 1-6) at

Kiski Area (4-4, 4-3)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Last week: Latrobe lost to Connellsville, 19-0. Kiski Area lost to McKeesport, 34-12.

The buzz: Kiski Area, certain to make the playoffs, can move into fourth if it wins and Hempfield beats Penn-Trafford.

Key players: Latrobe's Craig Stevens completed 6 of 12 passes for 105 yards after replacing Logan Carns last week. Kiski Area WR Joey Brungo has 29 catches for 329 yards.

About the Wildcats: They're accustomed to close games, as they've lost three by 7 points or fewer. They also beat Fox Chapel, 20-8, in Week 3 and Altoona, 20-14, in Week 7. Carns has thrown for more than 600 yards and rushed for more than 400.

About the Cavaliers: Kiski Area is a playoff qualifier in back-to-back years for the first time since 2003 and ‘04. Sophomore QB Chad Kuhn leads the team in rushing with 397 yards and also has thrown for 870.

Prediction: Kiski Area, 29-14.

Quad East

3-AAAA McKeesport (8-0, 7-0) at 6-AAAA Gateway (7-1, 6-1)

7 p.m. Thursday

Last week: McKeesport beat Kiski Area, 34-12. Gateway lost to Penn-Trafford, 35-34.

The buzz: The Quad East powers will meet for the conference title in a game to be broadcast live on Root Sports. The Gators won last year's meeting, 21-6, and the conference crown.

Key players: Gateway QB Jimmy Moore and WR Montae Nicholson set team records for passing yards in a game (389) and receiving yards in a game (252) against P-T. McKeesport is paced by RBs Mikell Moore and Allen Wright and QB David Queen, who have combined for more than 1,400 rushing yards.

About the Tigers: McKeesport has given up the third-fewest points in Quad-A at 10.3 a contest.

About the Gators: Gateway had four games this season decided by seven points or less. ILB Zaihe Regus (121) is closing in on the team record for tackles in a season (131) set by Dorian Bell in 2007.

Prediction: McKeesport, 28-21.

Quad North

Fox Chapel (2-6, 2-5)

at Seneca Valley (6-1, 7-1)

7:30 p.m., Friday

Last week: Seneca Valley beat Bethel Park, 39-3. Fox Chapel beat Butler, 49-7.

The buzz: Seneca Valley can clinch second place in the conference with a win and a share of the conference title with a win and a Central Catholic loss.

Key players: Seneca Valley continues to be balanced with T.J. Holl throwing to Eric Mrkonja and Mason Dehart pounding the ball. Tucker Van Dyke, the defensive leader, returned an interception for a touchdown last week. Fox Chapel is led by versatile quarterback Billy Urso and the running ability of Nigel Garnett.

About the Raiders: Seneca Valley is primed for its best regular season under coach Don Holl.

About the Foxes: The team is playing spoiler as it looks for its third section win of the season.

Prediction: Seneca Valley, 42-25.

Quad North

7-AAAA N. Allegheny (5-3, 4-2) at North Hills (5-3, 4-2)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Last week: North Allegheny beat Shaler, 56-20. North Hills defeated Pine-Richland, 7-0.

The buzz: Both rivals have clinched playoff spots, but the winner takes third place in the Quad North and a potential home game in the first round. North Allegheny has won the past two matchups (42-0 in 2012 and 17-0 in 2011).

Key players: North Allegheny senior WR Elijah Zeise caught three touchdowns (51, 35 and 9 yards) and returned a kickoff 90 yards for another score last week. An 80-yard TD pass from North Hills junior QB Kindhal Taylor to senior WR Brandon Wagner were the only points needed last week.

About the Tigers: NA displayed its passing game last week, when QB Jeff Clemens threw four TDs.

About the Indians: North Hills shut out one of the WPIAL's highest-scoring teams a week ago — Pine-Richland averaged 37.8 ppg.

Prediction: North Allegheny, 28-14.

Nonconference

Norwin (1-7) at

Shaler (0-8)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Last week: Norwin lost to Hempfield, 31-7. Shaler lost to North Allegheny, 56-20.

The buzz: One of Class AAAA's lowest-scoring offenses meets a defense that is last in the class.

Key players: Norwin WR Kyle Baum caught eight passes for 81 yards last week and leads the Knights with 24 receptions. Tim Nickel leads Shaler with 355 yards rushing, averaging 5.5 yards per carry, and has two interceptions on defense.

About the Knights: Norwin is averaging just over 8 ppg and hasn't reached double digits since Sept. 27 at Connellsville, a 40-14 loss. The Knights allowed 182 rushing yards and three TDs to Hempfield RB Joey DeFloria last week. ... Norwin defeated Shaler, 20-13, last season.

About the Titans: Shaler enters the game on a 21-game losing streak dating back to the 2011 season. ... The Titans are allowing 46.6 ppg. Five opponents have reached the 40-point mark.

Prediction: Norwin, 27-7.

Pine-Richland (4-4)

at Plum (0-8)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Plum lost to Upper St. Clair, 54-0. Pine-Richland lost to North Hills, 7-0.

The buzz: The Rams need to win to maintain credibility in the eyes of the WPIAL playoff pairing committee.

Key players: Pine-Richland QB Ben DiNucci has thrown for more than 1,700 yards. Freshman RB Kevin Brown has been a bright spot in Plum's struggling offense.

About the Mustangs: Shut out four times this season, they have only 26 points in eight games. Plum was held to 49 yards of total offense last week.

About the Rams: RB Connor Slomka has rushed for more than 1,000 yards to complement Pine-Richland's vaunted passing game. Last week was the first time in 29 games that Pine-Richland failed to score.

Prediction: Pine-Richland, 28-9.

Class AAA

Big 9

Laurel Highlands (1-7, 1-6) at Uniontown (2-6, 2-5)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Last week: Laurel Highlands lost to Belle Vernon, 35-7. Uniontown lost to Thomas Jefferson, 49-6.

The buzz: Neither team can qualify for the playoffs, but it's a big game regardless because the Mustangs and Red Raiders represent a big rivalry in Fayette County.

Key players: Jason Leone has developed into a primary scoring threat for the Mustangs. Lyric Ellis has shown plenty of versatility as a wide receiver for the Red Raiders.

About the Mustangs: Sophomore quarterback Jimmy Pierce continues to develop, which could bode well for future seasons.

About the Red Raiders: Despite the possibility of finishing with the same record as several other teams gunning for the Class AAA wild card position, Uniontown cannot qualify for the postseason due to a lack of Gardner Points. Last year, Uniontown beat Laurel Highlands, 20-14.

Prediction: Uniontown, 27-25.

Greater Allegheny

6-AAA Franklin Regional (7-1, 6-1) at Derry (0-8, 0-7)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Franklin Regional beat Hampton, 33-12. Derry lost to Greensburg Salem, 56-6.

The buzz: Franklin Regional looks to clinch at least a share of the Greater Allegheny Conference title with a win over last-place Derry.

Key players: Franklin Regional RB/LB Brett Zanotto passed and rushed for a touchdown last week, and his 93 tackles lead the defense. Derry QB Kyle Holmes has 507 passing yards and three rushing TDs.

About the Panthers: Franklin Regional has held five of its eight opponents below 10 points, including three shutouts. ... Four players have returned interceptions for touchdowns, including DB Casey Colagrande last week.

About the Trojans: Derry can rescue a lost season with an upset. The Trojans have been outscored, 458-53. The Trojans allowed Greensburg Salem's Dom McKinley to rush for 336 yards last week.

Prediction: Franklin Regional, 40-12.

Greater Allegheny

Highlands (6-2, 6-1)

at Knoch (3-5, 2-5)

7 p.m., Friday

Last week: Highlands lost to Ringgold, 45-20. Knoch lost to Indiana, 28-7.

The buzz: Highlands rested almost all of its starters during last week's non-conference loss in order to remain as healthy as possible for this regular-season finale and the playoffs. It is tied with Mars and Franklin Regional for first in the conference.

Key players: Elijah Jackson surpassed 1,000 yards rushing during a Week 7 win for Highlands. Knoch RB Cody Milsom needs less than 200 yards to hit 1,000 for the year.

About the Golden Rams: They've lost four in a row to Knoch. They last won a conference title in 2008.

About the Knights: They've dropped four straight and struggled to generate offense, scoring more than 19 points just twice.

Prediction: Highlands, 20-10.

GREATER ALLEGHENY

Indiana (3-5, 3-4)

at Hollidaysburg (3-5, 3-4)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Indiana defeated Knoch, 28-7. Hollidaysburg was beaten by Mars, 69-14.

The buzz: The winner qualifies for the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs. The loser could still make the playoffs as a wild card, but certain scenarios must occur. Indiana defeated Hollidaysburg, 17-13, in last year's meeting at Indiana.

Key players: Hollidaysburg running back Colton Ruggery rushed for 132 yards in a loss to Mars. Indiana quarterback Sean Thompson completed 9 of 14 passes for 101 yards in a win against Knoch.

About the Indians: The receiver tandem of Riley Stapleton and Darrious Carter has combined on 50 catches. DeQuan West is a Temple recruit.

About the Golden Tigers: QB Josh Bickley has thrown five touchdown passes. Ryan Waltz is the leading receiver with 18 catches and five touchdowns.

Prediction: Indiana, 27-26.

PARKWAY

Montour (5-3, 4-3) at

Moon (5-3, 4-3)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Last week: Montour lost, 37-17, at West Allegheny. Moon lost to New Castle, 43-42.

The buzz: Both teams have clinched playoff berths, but Montour and Moon will look to avoid two-game losing streaks entering the postseason. Montour topped Moon, 42-21, behind 302 passing yards and five TDs by air last year.

Key players: Moon RB Cole Blake racked up 343 yards and five touchdowns on 31 carries against New Castle. Spartans QB Tynen Greer (586 yards, nine TDs) is a running threat. RB Cole Macek is a load to bring down and has 567 yards and six scores.

About the Spartans: Young Montour clinched its seventh consecutive playoff berth.

About the Tigers: Moon's back in the playoffs for the first time since 2005. Blake has nine TDs to past two weeks, one coming on an interception return.

Prediction: Montour, 34-21.

NONCONFERENCE

10-AAA Elizabeth Forward (5-3) at Greensburg Salem (3-5)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Elizabeth Forward defeated Albert Gallatin, 47-8. Greensburg Salem defeated Derry, 56-6.

The buzz: Elizabeth Forward has clinched a WPIAL playoffs berth in the Big 9 Conference. Greensburg Salem has been eliminated from the postseason.

Key players: QB JaQuan Davidson and WR/KR Matt Bernadowski have been a stellar duo all year for Elizabeth Forward. Davidson gained 240 yards rushing and scored three times Friday. He also scored on an interception return and threw a touchdown pass to Bernadowski, who returned the opening kickoff 90 yards for a TD.

About the Warriors: Elizabeth Forward got back on track last week after a pair of losses to No. 3 West Mifflin and No. 8 Ringgold.

About the Golden Lions: Dom McKinley leads Greensburg Salem with 652 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns.

Prediction: Elizabeth Forward, 28-27.

Class AA

Allegheny

Burrell (3-5, 2-5)

at Deer Lakes (0-8, 0-7)

7:30 p.m., Friday

Last week: Burrell lost to East Allegheny, 48-17. Deer Lakes lost to Ford City, 38-21.

The buzz: Burrell, which fell out of playoff contention last week, has won three of its past four against Deer Lakes.

Key players: Burrell's Ryan Sowol carried the ball 46 times for 175 yards last week. Deer Lakes QB Josh Plocki understands Sowol's plight — he has provided the vast majority of the Lancers' offense.

About the Bucs: With a win, Burrell can avoid tying its lowest win total since 2008, when the team went 3-6.

About the Lancers: Deer Lakes last had one win in 2007 and last finished winless in 2000. The Lancers scored a season-high 21 points last week.

Prediction: Deer Lakes, 22-20.

Freeport (2-6, 2-5) at

Summit Academy (4-4, 4-3)

12:30 p.m., Saturday

Last week: Freeport lost to Washington, 36-7. Summit Academy lost to Shady Side Academy, 38-8.

The buzz: Freeport will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2007. Summit Academy, a WPIAL member since 1998, is a playoff qualifier for the first time in its history.

Key players: Yellowjackets QB Andrew Romanchak threw for a season-high 106 yards last week. Summit Academy's J'Ron Hill-Phillips excels as a run-first quarterback.

About the Yellowjackets: They need to win this and a Week 10 game to avoid finishing with less than four victories for the first time since 1994.

About the Knights: They've won three of their past four. With a win, they'll secure third place in the conference.

Summit Academy, 25-8.

Ford City (3-5, 2-5)

at Valley (5-3, 4-3)

7:30 p.m., Friday

Last week: Ford City beat Deer Lakes, 38-21. Valley lost to Kittanning, 36-21.

The buzz: Both teams entered this matchup last year facing similar circumstances, and the Sabers pulled off a 22-21 upset.

Key players: Ford City QB Anthony Falsetti threw for 149 yards and one TD in his first varsity start last week. Valley RB Demetrius Houser rushed for 159 yards and two touchdowns a week ago.

About the Sabers: Ford City finished with at least four wins each of the past 12 seasons. The Sabers had a season-high point total last week.

About the Vikings: To take third in the conference, Valley must win, and Summit Academy must lose. The Vikings allowed 38 points in their first five games and 94 in their past three.

Prediction: Valley, 27-13.

8-AA Kittanning (8-0, 7-0) at 5-AA S.S. Academy (8-0, 7-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Last week: Kittanning beat Valley, 36-21. Shady Side Academy beat Summit Academy, 38-8.

The buzz: The conference title and a potential top-four seed is on the line between preseason favorite Shady Side and upstart Kittanning.

Key players: Kittanning QB Braydon Toy is 35 yards shy of 2,000 yards of total offense. Shady Side Academy's leading rusher, Jarred Brevard, showed his two-way talent with a 31-yard interception return for a touchdown last week.

About the Wildcats: Junior WR/LB Nick Bowers is getting D-I attention and leads Kittanning with 636 receiving yards. A win would complete Kittanning's first undefeated regular season since 1976.

About the Indians: Normally a run-first outfit, Shady Side let QB Tucker Gillman air it out last week for three touchdowns, two to WR Tyrel Hill. The Indians have won the last four meetings.

Prediction: SSA, 35-28.

Century

2-AA South Fayette (8-0, 8-0) at South Allegheny (1-7, 1-6)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: South Fayette beat South Park, 49-0. South Allegheny lost to Steel Valley, 31-21.

The buzz: The Lions are looking to wrap up an undefeated season and a top seed in the WPIAL playoffs with a win. The Gladiators hope to avoid a second one-win season in three years.

Key players: South Fayette QB Brett Brumbaugh has thrown for 1,820 yards with 21 touchdowns and only four interceptions. South Allegheny QB Ty Cook has more than 1,000 all-purpose yards with 10 touchdowns.

About the Lions: RB Grant Fetchet has 904 yards and 13 touchdowns. ... LB Jared Walker leads the defense with 67 tackles. ... South Fayette is allowing 5.8 points per game, lowest in Class AA.

About the Gladiators: WR Kordell Thompson has 302 receiving yards and four touchdowns. … DaVonte Johnson leads the team in rushing yards with 403. ... The offense is one of the lowest scoring in Class AA, averaging 16.4 ppg.

Prediction: South Fayette, 49-7.

Steel Valley (3-5, 3-4) at McGuffey (4-4, 3-4)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Steel Valley defeated South Allegheny, 31-21. McGuffey defeated Keystone Oaks, 41-40.

The buzz: Steel Valley can end a disappointing season on a two-game winning streak. McGuffey remains in the running for a winning record.

Key players: RBs Dwayne Murray, a freshman with more than 1,300 yards rushing, and Tyrone Freeman have meshed nicely since an injury has kept senior RB D'Andre Pickens on the sidelines for much of the season. RBs James Duchi and Patrick Frey lead McGuffey??s run-oriented offense with a combined rushing total of more than 1,600 yards.

About the Ironmen: Steel Valley has struggled with injuries, the most notable Pickens' ailing foot. The Ironmen rode Murray's career-high 325 yards rushing to a victory on Friday over South Allegheny.

About the Highlanders: McGuffey has won three games in a row and four of its past five. Frey gained 177 yards rushing and returned a kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown, and Duchi had 149 yards rushing and scored four TDs on Friday against Keystone Oaks.

Prediction: Steel Valley, 28-25.

10-AA Seton-La Salle (6-2, 5-2) at South Park (5-3, 5-2)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Last week: Seton-La Salle defeated Mohawk, 28-14. South Park lost to South Fayette, 48-0.

The buzz: The winner of this game will enter the WPIAL Class AA playoffs as the third-place team in the Century Conference. The losing team will advance as the fourth-place team.

Key players: Seton-La Salle RB/WR Dequay Broadwater rushed for 100 yards and scored twice on 11 carries last week. He also caught an 18-yard TD. QB Tyler Perone has passed for 1,364 yards and 15 TDs. South Park's ground game is powered by tailback Greg Pantuso.

About the Rebels: Seton-La Salle started 4-0 but is 2-2 over the past month. The Rebels, who are averaging 30.3 ppg, defeated South Park last season, 19-7.

About the Eagles: South Park rebounded from a 0-2 start to win five games in a row before falling to undefeated South Fayette last week.

Prediction: Seton-La Salle, 28-14.

Interstate

Southmoreland (4-4, 4-3)

at Yough (5-3, 5-2)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Southmoreland beat Charleroi, 30-27. Yough beat GCC, 38-31.

The buzz: Because of Washington being forced to forfeit six games, both Southmoreland and Yough have a shot at the playoffs. The Cougars can clinch a playoff spot with a victory. Southmoreland must win to have a shot at the playoffs. The Scotties will also likely need GCC to beat Jeannette or rely on tiebreaker points.

Key players: Jake Pisula and Aaron Bailey have keyed a strong running attack for the Scotties. QB Tyler Donahue is a playmaker for Yough.

About the Scotties: The Scotties will be trying to pick up their third victory in a row. Brennan Bunner has played well under center in recent weeks.

About the Cougars: Sophomore Jordan Bryan is a top target in the Yough passing game. Yough defeated Southmoreland last season, 35-14.

Prediction: Yough, 27-22.

Nonconference

East Allegheny (4-4) at 3-AA Mt. Pleasant (8-0)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: East Allegheny beat Burrell, 48-17. Mt. Pleasant beat Brownsville, 55-13.

The buzz: Mt. Pleasant will be trying to finish the regular season undefeated as it looks forward to the upcoming WPIAL Class AA playoffs. East Allegheny has been eliminated from playoff contention in the Allegheny Conference.

Key players: Quarterback Kyle Whipple has shown the ability to make big plays for East Allegheny. Quarterback Ryan Gumbita and running back Tyler Mellors have given Mt. Pleasant a lethal one-two punch all season.

About the Wildcats: Taizjon Brown gives East Allegheny a solid running game.

About the Vikings: Mt. Pleasant will hope to get through this game healthy and will be hosting a first-round playoff game next week. Mt. Pleasant beat East Allegheny last year, 58-21.

Prediction: Mt. Pleasant, 34-14.

Class A

Black Hills

Serra Catholic (1-8, 1-7) at Bishop Canevin (2-7, 1-7)

7 p.m. Saturday

Last week: Serra Catholic lost to Clairton, 61-13. Bishop Canevin lost to Brentwood, 42-6.

The buzz: Both teams enter the game with their only WPIAL wins this season being a forfeit over Imani Christian. The Crusaders defeated the Eagles, 42-6, last season.

Key players: Serra Catholic's offense is led by quarterback Zac Quattrone. The junior has more than 1,500 all-purpose yards with 13 touchdowns. Bishop Canevin quarterback Reed Relosky has thrown for more than 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns.

About the Eagles: Leading receiver Joe Satira has 487 receiving yards and four touchdowns. … The team's last win on the field was in 2011. … The defense has surrendered 147 combined points the over the last two games.

About the Crusaders: Sophomore linebacker Austin Liebro leads the team with 46 tackles. ... The offense is one of the lowest scoring in Class A, averaging just 9.9 points per game. ... Canevin is on its longest losing streak (seven games) since 2007.

Prediction: Bishop Canevin, 21-14.

Eastern

North Catholic (8-0, 7-0)

at Leechburg (2-6, 2-5)

7 p.m, Friday

Last week: North Catholic beat Neshannock, 21-14. Leechburg lost to West Shamokin, 36-6.

The buzz: The Trojans, one of three unbeaten teams left in Class A, can secure a perfect regular season for the first time since 1997.

Key players: Trojans RB P.J. Fulmore missed the first four weeks with an ankle sprain but remains a major Division I prospect. Leechburg RB Alex Kalmar gained 119 yards on 19 carries last week.

About the Trojans: They're going for their second perfect regular-season record. QB Adam Sharlow left last week's game early with an injury.

About the Blue Devils: They've established some late-season momentum with an efficient ground game led by Kalmar and fellow senior RB Kris Smith.

Prediction: North Catholic, 35-8.

Springdale (2-6, 2-5) at Riverview (1-7, 1-6)

Noon, Saturday

Last week: Springdale lost to Northgate, 28-14. Riverview lost to Apollo-Ridge, 41-16.

The buzz: For the first time since 1993, both programs will miss the playoffs in the same year.

Key players: Springdale freshman QB Sammy Carey has stepped in for Dan Franskousky, who suffered concussion symptoms. Riverview RB Keir Barber rushed for 144 yards on 36 carries last week.

About the Dynamos: After enduring back-to-back shutout losses, they scored their second-highest point total of the season last week. Matt Mikus and John Nicholson ran for the touchdowns.

About the Raiders: Barber is Riverview's premier playmaker. When defenses try to stop him, the Raiders turn to RB Raymar McCombs and versatile QBs Zach Hanus and Tyler Nigro.

Prediction: Riverview, 19-18.

West Shamokin (6-2, 5-2) at 9-A Apollo-Ridge (6-2, 5-2)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: West Shamokin beat Leechburg, 36-6. Apollo-Ridge beat Riverview, 41-16.

The buzz: Both teams are playoff bound, but the winner of this game will claim third place in the conference and earn a boost for its seeding.

Key players: West Shamokin RB Andrew Wingard has a team-leading 899 yards. Apollo-Ridge QB Jesse Zelonka has thrown for more than 1,000 yards but is coming off a 238-yard rushing performance.

About the Wolves: Junior RB Zac Horner missed some time with an injury, but he has 579 yards and a team-high nine rushing TDs. West Shamokin clinched its first playoff berth last week, and it did so with just five seniors on the team.

About the Vikings: Senior WR Alex Smith leads the team with 419 receiving yards on 21 catches. Tre Tipton has the team's most catches on both sides of the ball with 31 receptions and five interceptions.

Prediction: Apollo-Ridge, 28-14.

Tri-County South

Frazier (6-2, 5-2) at Mapletown (5-3, 4-3)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Frazier beat Vincentian Academy, 46-12. Mapletown beat Jefferson-Morgan, 36-21.

The buzz: The Commodores are locked into third place in the conference, but the Maples still have a shot at the playoffs. Mapletown can clinch a playoff spot with a win and a loss by Avella to Bentworth.

Key players: Charles Manack is coming off a big week in which he threw four touchdown passes and also ran for a score in Frazier's win over the Royals. Colby Kincell rushed for three scores to help the Maples keep their playoff hopes alive with a win over the Rockets.

About the Commodores: Frazier has qualified for the playoffs for the third straight season. The Commodores defeated Mapletown, 43-0 last year.

About the Maples: Mapletown's four wins represent the most by the team since the 2007 season. The Maples are hoping to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2005.

Prediction: Frazier, 31-19.

CITY LEAGUE playoffs

Brashear (4-4, 3-2) at Allderdice (4-4, 4-1), Cupples Stadium

7 p.m. Thursday

Last week: Brashear defeated Allderdice, 23-18.

The buzz: The Bulls and Dragons lock up for the second consecutive week. Allderdice reached the City League final a season ago.

Key players: Brashear RB Ty Powe has breakaway speed, and QB Angelo Reed gives the Bulls a downfield threat. Dragons RB Marquis Martin ran for 104 yards and a pair of TDs on 27 carries last week.

About the Bulls: Last week's loss snapped a three-game winning streak for Brashear, the best of those wins probably a 19-6 decision over Perry on Oct. 11. Brashear lost to Allderdice, 6-2, in the City League semifinals in 2011. Brashear has won 11 of 14 games against ‘Dice.

About the Dragons: Allderdice hasn't won a City title since 1967. Twin brothers James and Timothy Jackson, a QB-WR combo, lead Allderdice. Timothy Jackson has 17 catches for 583 yards and three TDs.

Prediction: Allderdice, 21-14.

CITY LEAGUE playoffs

Perry (3-5, 2-3) at USO (7-0, 5-0), at Cupples Stadium

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: USO topped Perry, 36-6.

The buzz: Perry couldn't contain USO's high-powered offense last week, but the Commodores will get a second crack with a trip to the City League championship game on the line.

Key players: USO QB Ronald Brown threw for 184 yards and six TDs in the blowout of Perry. Marcus Johnson had seven catches for 103 yards and three TDs. Perry's Gary Reid ran for 126 yards on 27 carries, and Kevin Mahdi returned a fumble for a score.

About the Commodores: Perry is the defending City champion after defeating Allderdice, 13-7, in the semifinals and USO, 9-6, in the championship game. Perry has lost two straight, scoring 12 total points against Brashear and USO.

About the Panthers: Brown has completed 122 of 195 passes for 2,491 yards and 24 TDs. His primary target is Marcus Johnson, who has 27 catches for 728 yards and 12 TDs.

Prediction: USO, 28-14.

DISTRICT 6 HERITAGE

Penns Manor (8-0, 7-0) at Homer-Center (8-0, 7-0)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Penns Manor defeated Purchase Line, 28-12. Homer-Center beat Ligonier Valley, 40-22.

The buzz: The winner captures the conference title and has the inside track at the top seed in District 6 Class A playoffs.

Key players: Penns Manor QB Lucas Kowalski has thrown for 350 yards and rushed for 841. Homer-Center QB Aaron Berezansky rushed for three TDs against Ligonier Valley and has thrown only one interception.

About the Comets: Kowalski and RB Louie Tate (569 yards) lead a strong running attack. The Comets also return four starting offensive linemen. RB Bailey Mumau averages 8.39 yards per carry.

About the Wildcats: Running back Mike Newhouse rushed for 199 yards and two touchdowns against Ligonier Valley. The Wildcats rushed for 462 yards. Running back Ean Lee had 164 yards and Berezansky 96 yards.

Prediction: Homer-Center, 22-20.

 

 
 


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