Southmoreland travels to Derry for 10th game
For the members of the Southmoreland and Derry varsity football programs, there will be no Friday night lights this week.
There will be no playoff games played in front of packed stadiums full of crazed fans hoping their team makes its way to Heinz Field on Nov. 23 to play for a WPIAL championship.
What there will be is two programs that believe the addition of a 10th game following their respective regular season finales will give each team an opportunity to get their players that all important game experience.
Southmoreland will travel to Derry tonight following a disappointing 3-6 regular season, 3-5 in the Class AA Interstate Conference.
The Scotties coaching staff feels this year's team could have been 5-4 with a couple of lucky breaks. But, those breaks went in the other direction, and now the players will be trying to gain some momentum to build upon heading into the offseason and hopefully have that momentum carry over into next season.
Derry comes into the game without a victory this season. The Trojans compete at the Class AAA level and have taken their lumps along the way.
The Trojans have registered double-digit scoring in only one game this season, while their defense has given up an average of more than 40 points per contest.
The Scotties will turn junior Jake Pisula loose against a defense that allows more 175 yards rushing per game.
Three weeks ago, Pisula became only the fourth running back in Southmoreland history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a single season. Since then, Pisula has registered back-to-back 100-yard games and could add to that total against a porous Derry defense.
Aaron Bailey also has turned his game up a few notches in the past three weeks and has become a very viable option in the Scotties' running game. Bailey has scored at least one touchdown in four of his last five games, including a pair of scores in the Scotties' 14-13 win over Waynesburg on Sept. 27.
On defense, the Scotties will look to put the clamps on the Derry offense with an assortment of blitzes and zone defenses designed to confuse the opposing quarterback. Against an anemic Trojan offense, it may be just what the doctor ordered. Derry has been shut out three times this season, and the Scotties defense would like nothing better than to pitch a shutout against the Trojans.
Brady King and Chas King are the leading tacklers for the Scotties, while Jake Beistel, Joe Espey and Doug Leighty all have played well recently. Tommy Pisula has emerged as a capable corner, while Justin Livengood, Sean Bollinger and Jake Pisula have covered some of the Interstate Conference's leading receivers thus far.
Mark King is a contributing writer.