Predicting area football winners
Taking a look at this weekend's area football games after another 8-0 showing upped the season record to 48-2:
JEFF-MORGAN AT MONESSEN
Carmichaels took a lot of the luster out of this game by belting Jefferson-Morgan, 47-0, after the Rockets suffered their first loss to unbeaten California, 24-15, the previous week. Jeff-Morgan opened by outscoring its first three opponents, 150-2, in blowouts over Frazier (47-0), Geibel (75-0) and West Greene (28-2). The Rockets are led by running back Bryan Lorence, who's averaging 120 yards a game. Last year with coach Jack Scarvel in the hospital, Monessen b the Rockets, 48-12, with Shawn Martin running for 129 yards on eight carries and scoring three touchdowns. With 243 points, Monessen is the second highest scoring WPIAL Class A team behind Carmichaels' 250. Defensively, the Greyhounds lead the WPIAL by allowing 14 points. Monessen leads the all-time series, 13-2. Make that 14-2 by three touchdowns.
RINGGOLD AT TRINITY
Big Quad West Conference matchup. Trinity was tabbed as one of the teams to beat but is coming off a surprising 42-21 loss at Fox Chapel after losing two weeks earlier to co-leading Upper St. Clair (24-19). The Hillers opened with wins over Indiana (34-0), Baldwin (12-3) and Albert Gallatin (42-21) and also downed Peters Township (30-12). Trinity has some strong offensive weapons in running back Brian Kimutis (722 yards and nine TDs), quarterback Josh Baker (37 of 71 for 696 yards and eight TDs) and receiver Jason DeMeo (27 catches for 504 yards and eight TDs). The Rams may be without leading rusher Joe Webb, who ran for 185 yards and two touchdowns in last year's 28-9 Ringgold victory. With Upper St. Clair up next, the Rams could be ripe for an upset. Go with Ringgold in a close one by two points.
CARMICHAELS AT CALIFORNIA
Attractive Tri-County South Conference matchup. Carmichaels rebounded from opening 15-13 loss at Mapletown by routing Bentworth (54-6), Frazier (42-8), Geibel (41-16), West Greene (53-0) and Jefferson-Morgan (47-0). The Mikes' running back duo of senior Justin Mattei (532) and junior Coby Giles (531) have combined for more than 1,000 yards and 19 touchdowns. Junior quarterback Jono Menhart, whose father John is in his 13th year as head coach, has thrown for 672 yards and eight TDs. The last time Carmichaels played at California, it returned home a 28-7 winner in 1998. In a repeat, Carmichaels by two touchdowns.
MT. PLEASANT AT BELLE VERNON AREA
Final Keystone Conference game for Belle Vernon Area. The last time Mt. Pleasant visited Jim Weir Stadium in 1998, the Vikings handed the Leps their lone conference loss, 17-14, in overtime in seven years under coach Gary Dongilli to snap a 34-game conference winning streak. The Leps remembered by pounding the Vikings, 62-7 and 40-13, in their last two meetings, The Vikings are struggling under former Monaca coach Mark Lyons. Mt. Pleasant has been outscored 150-31 with the lone win over Valley (21-14). The Vikings are coming off a 40-3 defeat to District 10 unbeaten Wilmington and also bowed to Elizabeth Forward (41-0), Yough (13-0), Derry (14-7) and Highlands (28-0). The Leps' Aaron Krepps set a school record with a 74-yard punt return for a touchdown against Derry. It was his seventh return for a score. Nick Norelli held the old mark of six. The Leps clobber the Vikings again by four touchdowns.
BROWNSVILLE AT CHARLEROI
The scenario has changed since Brownsville's last visit to Charleroi. Three years ago, the Falcons dropped a 21-18 decision at Charleroi for its lone conference defeat and had to settle as Century Conference co-champs with the Cougars. Fourth place in the Interstate Conference and a final playoff spot could be on the line for the Falcons (1-3) and Cougars (2-2). Brownsville's wins have come over Southmoreland (34-28) and winless Quaker Valley (47-14) with losses to two unbeatens - Class AAA West Mifflin (42-0) and Washington (42-17) - and Seton-LaSalle (3-0) and Carlynton (22-14). Justin Samol, who's run for 400 yards, scored two second half touchdowns in the Falcons' 21-0 win over the Cougars last year. A shaky nod to Charleroi by two points.
BENTWORTH AT GEIBEL
Geibel has won only one of its last 47 games. The victory came at Ellsworth last year when the Gators snapped a 40-game losing streak with a 25-20 triumph over Bentworth. The Gators are back to their losing ways with a 0-6 record including lopsided losses to West Greene (33-7), Jefferson-Morgan (75-0), California (35-12), Carmichaels (41-16), Monessen (53-0) and Mapletown (46-6). Bentworth ended its skid at 15 with a 32-0 romp at winless Frazier. Bentworth makes it two-in-a-row by 13 points.
ELIZABETH FORWARD AT KEYSTONE OAKS
With five straight defeats, Elizabeth Forward is looking at its first losing season since 1995. Keystone Oaks rebounded from losses to unbeaten West Mifflin (21-00 and West Allegheny (14-7) with road victories over Thomas Jefferson (17-13) and Montour (30-6). The Golden Eagles beat Pine-Richland (28-10) and lost to Class AA power Steel Valley (24-14) in their other games. Keystone Oaks quarterback Greg Dapper has already thrown for 1,139 yards with Dan Vagni showing 28 receptions. The slumping Warriors may be without defensive end Chris Anderson (concussion). KO knocks out Elizabeth by three TDs.
YOUGH AT GREENSBURG SALEM
Both Keystone Conference teams trying to snap two-game los-ing skids. After starting out 2-1, Yough has bowed to Belle Vernon Area (27-14) and unbeaten Uniontown (32-19). Greensburg went down to Uniontown (43-40) and Kittanning (30-16), which routed the Cougars, 35-0. Akeem Vance, who's averaging 116 yards a game, and receiver Charles Dawson gives the Golden Lions two big offensive threats. Last year Dawson had four receptions for 121 yards and a touchdown in Greensburg's 35-0 win at Yough. It will be closer this time. The Golden Lions by eight points.
SLIPPERY ROCK AT CALIFORNIA UNIVERSITY
With three straight losses, Slippery Rock is riding its longest losing skid since 1993. After opening with convincing victories over Florida Atlantic (40-7) and Tiffin (45-13), the Rockets have lost to three PSAC West foes Ð Edinboro (14-7), Indiana (23-7) and Shippensburg (32-20). The contest features two of the PSAC's premier runners in California's Wes Cates and the Rock's Dorrian Glenn. Cates leads the conference in rushing (774 yards) and Glenn is sixth (572). Last year Glenn outshined Cates, 170-112, in the Rockets' 38-20 romp. Slippery Rock owns 11 straight wins over the Vulcans and hasn't lost at Adamson Stadium since 1986. California rebounds from its first loss with a seven-point win.