- High School
The WPIAL Football Fourpack for 10/26
The regular season finale is here. That means it’s time for our annual shout out to those who will not be merging onto the “Highway to Heinz”. If your season ends this weekend, whether you are a player, a coach or a fan, we salute you and thank-you for all the effort you have put into the 2012 regular season to make it as memorable as it was. We also invite you to join us at MSA as we bring you wall-to-wall coverage of the post season. First things first though, a lot on the line in week nine, should be fine, if we find a nice place to dine, oh I’ll stop, don’t whine. Four teams will say “this title is mine”, in Big Game Hunting. Email me your complaint if you’ve got the…..backbone.
AAAA Southeastern Conference
#4 Mount Lebanon Blue Devils (7-1)(7-0) at #5 Upper Saint Clair Panthers (7-1)(6-1) Friday October 26th at 7:30 pm @ Upper Saint Clair high school broadcast on the MSA Sports Network and KDKA-FM 93.7 The Fan by Lanny Fratarre and Bob Orkwis
As rivalries go this has actually been pretty lopsided in favor of the Upper Saint Clair Panthers. The Panther have won seven of the eight games played between the two teams dating back to 2004, outscoring the Blue Devils 217-104 in that span. The only Mt. Lebanon win came in 2010, a week nine Blue Devil win at home 14-10.
The Blue Devils have rattled off seven straight wins since a week one loss to North Allegheny. Upper Saint Clair’s only stumble of the season came at Bethel Park in week seven where they outnumbered the Hawks everywhere except on the scoreboard.
Mike Melnyk’s first season at the helm of Mount Lebanon has been fruitful, and he has unearthed the best passing game combination in the storied history of the school. Quarterback Tyler Roth and wide receiver Troy Apke have combined to rewrite the record books for the Blue Devils. Roth has completed 103 of 194 passes for 1720*yards and 23* touchdowns while only throwing one interception. He threw for 359* yards and five* touchdowns in week five against Woody High. Apke has caught 36 passes for 812* yards and 11* touchdowns on the year. Against Woody High he caught 12* passes for 273* yards. Everything with an asterisk next to it is the all-time school record for that category.
Lebo plays some hard nosed defense to go along with that passing attack, the big guys up front are dominating their competition so far this season. Will Gladden, Aaron Pavlick and Alex Bookser have made life miserable for opposing quarterbacks and running backs but they will get a good test from the Panthers Friday night.
Panther quarterback Pete Coughlin is having a very good, very balanced season for Jim Render. Coughlin can hurt you with his arm or his legs. He has completed 59 of 79 passes for 886 yards and 11 touchdowns while only throwing a single pick. He has also rushed for 373 yards and seven touchdowns on the year.
Tim Witenske leads them with nine catches, while Ben Southorn, Mac Pope and Ben Haus all have eight. Steve Mackowick has been the main ball carrier of late rushing for 369 yards and three touchdowns on the year. Fullback Mac Pope is always a threat on the ground along with Phil Saracco.
AAA Big Nine Conference
#3 West Mifflin Titans (8-0)(7-0) at #2 Thomas Jefferson Jaguars (8-0)(7-0) Friday October 26th at 7:30 pm @ Thomas Jefferson high school broadcast on the MSA Sports Network by Paul Paterra and Josh Rowntree
Well it’s here, this is the game that everyone has been waiting for in the Big Nine, and kind of holding their breath hoping both teams would still be sporting perfect records when it arrived. They are. This is a continuation of a nice rivalry. The two teams have met 11 times since 2003, with Thomas Jefferson winning eight times in that span including a 20-0 win in the 2004 WPIAL Championship game. West Mifflin does have the most recent victory taking the regular season match up last year at Titan Stadium 27-14.
The Titans junior running back Jimmy Wheeler has been running roughshod over the entire WPIAL this year. He is second in the entire league in rushing with 1543 yards on the season just 35 yards behind leading rusher Shai McKenzie from Washington. Wheeler has also scored 19 touchdowns on the year.
Defenses have to be careful not to over-focus on Wheeler though because senior quarterback Derrick Fulmore can be just as dangerous. Fulmore does not throw much but when he does it is very successful. He has completed 25 of 41 attempts for 659 yards and seven scores and one interception. That is an impressive 16.07 yards per attempt. Plus he is a great rusher as well toting it 54 times for 500 yards and another dozen scores. Tight end Marcus Martin is the leading receiver for the Titans with ten catches for 356 yards and four touchdowns.
The Titans don’t throw it much but that’s ok because the Jaguars throw it plenty. Senior quarterback Joe Carroll throws it well too, completing 86 of 135 passes for 1633 yards, the yardage is good for third best in the WPIAL. Carroll’s completion percentage of 63.70 is third as well. He leads the entire WPIAL with 31 touchdown passes for the season.
TJ senior wide receiver Zach Schademan is fourth in the WPIAL with 44 catches, he leads the WPIAL with 926 receiving yards. He leads the Jaguars with 20 touchdowns scored for the year.
On the ground junior Jake Farrell gets the bulk of the work for the Jags with 84 carries for 664 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season.
The ground attack versus the air strike sets up for a great Big Nine Championship game, but don’t be fooled this could turn into a tremendous defensive battle. The Jags are allowing less than ten points per game and the Titans are only allowing 10.3 points per game. With all this talk of offensive firepower it might be the defenses that decide the champion.
AA Midwestern Conference
#3 Beaver Bobcats (8-0)(6-0) at #1 Aliquippa Quips (8-0)(6-0) Friday October 26th at 7:00 pm @ “The Pit” in Aliquippa broadcast on The MSA Sports Network and WKPL-FM 92.1 The Pickle by Jim Frederick and Rob Matzie and on WMBA-AM 1460 by Lacey Collins and Bruce Frey
These two teams meet for the 11th time in a ten year span with Aliquippa winning seven of the previous ten including a 34-0 quarter finals victory over Beaver in the 2010 WPIAL playoffs. The Quips have won four in a row in the series.
A pair of junior running backs are carrying the offensive load for the Quips here in 2012. Terry Swanson and Dravon Henry have combined to rush 123 times for 1468 yards they have scored a combined 26 touchdowns and converted four two-point conversion attempts.
Senior quarterback Malik Shegog has had a very productive year as well for the top-ranked Aliquippa team. Shegog has completed 19 of his 34 pass attempts for 410 yards and sevem touchdowns. He has also been a force on the ground rushing for 209 yards and five touchdowns.
The Quips are big strong and athletic up front as well, they have also been playing phenomenal defensive football. They are allowing a second best in the WPIAL 3.6 points per game for the season having pitched four shutouts in 2012.
Beaver meanwhile rides the high of the 600th victory in the program’s history last Friday night in a 35-13 win over Elwood City at home. The Bobcats have scored less than 30 points only once all season long, a 21-14 win over Freedom in week three. They are averaging 39.0 points per game offensively, and allowing just 19.6.
Senior quarterback Austin Ross has returned after missing nearly half of the regular season with an ankle injury and seems to be rounding into solid form completing 23 of 49 passes since week five for 398 yards and six touchdowns without throwing an interception. Junior Alex Rowse played so well in place of Ross early on he still sees some action at the position, in addition to sliding over and improving the club at the receiver position. For the season Rowse had completed 35 of 63 passes for 331 yards.
On the ground the Bobcats are led by senior Darian Bradley with 756 yards on 115 attempts he has totaled 25 touchdowns for the year and is a threat in the passing game as well with a team-high 16 catches. Senior Anthony Fidurski is a dual threat player as well for head coach Jeff Beltz. Fidurski has caught seven passes for 51 yards, and rushed 47 times for 367 yards while scoring four touchdowns on the season. Nobody would get much running done were it not for a solid core of returning lettermen up front for the Bobcats. Colin Reese, Tyler Weeks, Zac Yates and Dustin Rogalla lead that offensive line averaging nearly 290 pounds between them.
Defensively, the Bobcats get great play from the edge with senior defensive ends Jeremy Teams and Alan Potter having tremendous seasons. Potter leads the team with ten sacks on the year. Their job will be to contain Swanson and Henry, how well they do that will have a lot to do with the outcome of this contest.
A Big Seven Conference
#3 Sto-Rox Vikings (7-1)(6-1) at #2 Rochester Rams (8-0)(7-0) Friday October 26th at 7:30 pm @ Rochester high school broadcast on the MSA Sports Network and WBVP-AM 1230 by Bob Barrickman and Tom Hays
This is the third meeting between these two teams since Sto-Rox moved into the Big Seven in 2010. They have split the two previous meetings with Rochester winning 35-32 in 2010 and Sto-Rox winning last year 48-27. It is quickly developing into a very nice rivalry for the WPIAL and the Big Seven Conference.
The Vikings have just one blemish on their record as they watched a dramatic 4th quarter comeback by Neshannock in week three turn into a signature win for the Lancers 35-34. Rochester has been quietly perfect on the 2012 season thanks in large part to the streak that is ongoing for the Clairton Bears.
Junior quarterback Lenny Williams is enjoying a marvelous season at the helm of the Vikings offensive ship. He has completed 86 of 144 passes for 1538 yards good for 5th on the WPIAL passing yardage leader board. He has also tossed 19 touchdowns without throwing an interception, much to the delight of head coach Dan Bradley. Williams is also the leading rusher for the Vikes with 638 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.
His favorite target through the air is senior wide out Ben Shackelford who has 32 catches for 600 yards and seven touchdowns on the season.
Brandon Blair is the second leading rusher for the Vikes with 564 yards on 77 carries and he has scored 14 touchdowns on the season.
Geno Matsook’s Rams just keep rolling behind senior quarterback Ben Richko and senior running back Dante Marsick. Ricjko has completed 34 of 67 passes for eight touchdowns and 712 yards on the year while tossing a pair of interceptions.
Marsick has been making opposing defenses sick with his tremendous skills. He has carried it 135 times for 1282 yards and has scored 27 touchdowns on the year. He is the fifth leading rusher in the WPIAL, and leads the entire league in scoring.
A powerful offensive line is a huge weapon for the Rams as Todd Weischedel and Mike Bittenbender open holes for Marsick and company.
Neshannock will be cheering for the Vikings here, if the Rox can knock off the Rams, and the Lancers take care of their business in week nine with Union we will have tri-champions in the Big Seven in 2012.