Hounds brace for desperate Bucs
Chartiers-Houston comes into Friday's game at Monessen as a desperate team.
The Buccaneers (3-4, 3-4) have been playing for their playoff lives, winning the past two weeks after a 1-4 start in Black Hills Conference play.
“We know what our scenario is,” Bucs coach Terry Fetsko said. “We knew going in that, with our conference, there was going to be a couple quality football teams that didn't make the playoffs. We're trying not to be one of those teams.”
“Chartiers-Houston is the best 3-4 team in the WPIAL,” Monessen coach Andy Pacak said. “A break or two and they could be looking at 5-2 or 6-1 right now. They are good and they are desparate, which makes them dangerous.”
The Greyhounds (6-1, 6-1), meanwhile, are trying to at a minimum earn a home game in the first round of the playoffs and keep slim hopes alive of at least being conference co-champs.
“We definitely would like to nail down a home game in the playoffs,” Pacak said. “The way to do that is keep winning. So, we want to win, too.”
Friday's game will feature a pair of quarterbacks who are among the WPIAL's best.
Monessen's Chavas Rawlins, a West Virginia University recruit, comes into the game with 818 yards through the air and nine touchdown passes. The Bucs are led by junior Kaleb Susko,who has thrown for 835 yards on 55-of-100 attempts. He's thrown for seven touchdowns, but has been picked off nine times.
Susko will be tested by a very athletic Monessen defensive backfield that picked off Imani Christian quarterback Khari Hicks four times. Hicks came into last week's game against Monessen as the second ranked passer in the WPIAL. Monessen won the game, 17-12.
“He's really going to have to make good decisions,” Fetsko said of his quarterback. “He's on pace to throw for over 1,000 yards and he's been pretty consistent. He can't afford to make mistakes against their defense.”
As for his team's defense, Fetsko knows that Rawlins is going to be a force to deal with.
“Everything starts with Rawlins. He's a gifted, talented athlete,” Fetsko said. “It's not all him, though, He has some weapons. There's good speed at the skill positions for him to work with.”
If Susko is going to have a big game, he'll need production from his top running backs and receivers. David Kincaid (468) and Javon Hairston (434) have combined for 902 yards on the ground for the Bucs. Hairston is averaging over 8.5 yards per carry. When he airs it out, Susko will be looking for Miles Williamson (19 catches for 306 yards, four TDs) and Garrett Vulcano (16 catches for 287 yards, two TDs).
“They've beaten some really good football teams already and they're playing with a lot of confidence,” Fetsko said of the Greyhounds. “It's going to be a good challenge for us. If we want to make the postseason, we have to beat them.”
Jeremy Sellew is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2667 or firstname.lastname@example.org.