- High School
The WPIAL Football Fourpack for 10/12 and 10/13
The “stretch-run” is here. The final third of the 2012 season starts this weekend and you can be sure MSA will provide the finest escort to you as you get set to embark on your own personal “Highway to Heinz”. With the two largest classifications each taking a wild-card into the post season the super –knowledge that Don Rebel doles out each Friday night will save you tons of sleep. The games just keep getting bigger so let’s don’t waste any more time on the opening paragraph. Instead, let’s go Big Game Hunting.
AAAA Northern Eight Conference
#5 Seneca Valley Raiders (4-1)(5-1) at #4 North Hills Indians (3-1)(5-1) Friday October 12th at 7:30 pm @ Martorelli Stadium broadcast on the MSA Sports Network and WPIT-AM 730 by Rick Smith
Seneca Valley’s lone loss is to North Allegheny. North Hills’ lone loss is to Central Catholic. This is a huge game for both of these teams in their effort to get a good seed in the playoffs. Perhaps even a home playoff game is on the line.
This one sets up a great matchup between a Seneca Valley offense that is scoring more than 37 points per game and a North Hills defense that is only allowing slightly more than ten points per game.
Interesting to note this rivalry has been the epitome of back and forth. The teams have split the last six games in the series dating back to 2006 with the weird stat of North Hills winning in every even numbered year and Seneca Valley winning in every odd numbered year including a 21-14 victory last season over the Indians.
That Raider offense can get you in a number of ways with Jordan Brown through the air or on the ground, and with Forrest Barnes on the ground. Brown has completed 58 of 15 passes for 878 yards and eight touchdowns. He has also rushed for more than 300 yards on the year. Defenses have to keep those rushing numbers in the back of their mind every time he drops back.
Speaking of rushing numbers Forrest Barnes has a bunch of those he has 104 carries for the season for 823 yards and has scored 14 touchdowns. The Raiders have other threats as well in R.J. McCauley and wide receiver Jonathan Dorogy. The depth of talent is what makes them so very hard to defend you cannot as a defense allow yourselves to focus too much on one guy or someone else will burn you big time.
North Hills can bring you a little balance too if you like that sort of thing, although; they are a little more run heavy. The Indians do get solid quarterback play from senior Brian Johnson, witness his performance last Friday night in a win over Fox Chapel he completed 10 of 16 attempts for 125 yards. For the season his numbers are 32 out of 73 for over 401 yards and a pair of scores.
On the ground the Indians have balance as well including two big-time playmakers in Josh Hulbert and Jordan Blackmon. For the year Hulbert has compiled 611 yards and nine scores in 77 attempts while Blackmon has amassed 234 yards and five touchdowns.
AAA Big Nine Conference
#9 Ringgold Rams (4-2)(4-2) at Elizabeth-Forward Warriors (3-3)(3-3) Friday October 12th at 7:30 pm @ Elizabeth-Forward high school broadcast on the MSA Sports Network by Paul Paterra and Josh Rowntree
Ringgold has won two straight in the series with the Warriors, and has built a 4-2 record going back to 2004 in games against Elizabeth-Forward.
Coach Humbert’s Rams come into this game off a rolling of Albert Gallatin last week 34-6 behind sophomore quarterback Nico Law and senior wingback Joey Wall. Wall scored three times, on a fumble return, on a 51 yard run, and was on the receiving end of a 36 yard touchdown pass from Law. Law meanwhile added a 48 yard scoring run in addition to throwing for more than a hundred yards in the win.
For the season Law has completed 21 of 43 passes for 390 yards and three scores. He has also rushed for nearly three hundred yards and six touchdowns as well. Wall is into double digits in receptions and is one of the team leaders in scoring for the season for Ringgold. The Rams have also gotten a great season from senior running back Demetrius Louis who has amassed 723 yards rushing, 140 yards receiving and scored ten touchdowns. Louis though has been slowed by an ankle injury and missed last week entirely. Good news for Rams fans he is expected to be back for this huge game Friday at E-F.
Mike LeDonne’s Warriors got shutout by one of the top teams in the WPIAL last Friday night losing to West Mifflin, 27-0. There is no shame in losing to the Titans, in fact E-F should probably be encouraged that they were very much in the game most of the time including only trailing 7-0 at the half. But there is bad news in the loss as well, as second leading rusher Rex Pearse who entered the game with 528 yards and seven touchdowns left with an apparent ankle injury in the first half and his status for this game is unknown as we go to press. He would be sorely missed by E-F if he is unable to play. That possibility would openly invite the Rams to key on the top rusher for the Warriors, a transfer from West Mifflin, junior quarterback, JaQuan Davidson. Davidson has wracked up 100 carries and 631 yards on the ground, and scored ten times rushing it. He has not had much success throwing the ball though, completing less than a third of his passes for just over three hundred yards.
The Warriors defense entered the game against the Titans last week as one of the top-ranked teams in the WPIAL and they will look to return to that form Friday night. A form that has allowed them, even after allowing 27 points Friday night, to be averaging only allowing slightly more than 13 points per game.
AA Interstate Conference
#4 Washington Prexies (6-0)(6-0) at #7 Mount Pleasant Vikings (5-1)(5-1) Friday October 12th at 7:00 pm @ Mount Pleasant high school broadcast on the MSA Sports Network and WLSW-FM 103.9 by T.J. DiStefano and WJPA-AM 1450 by Bob Gregg
There are three teams at the top of the Interstate conference there can be no question about that. One of them is Jeannette, these are the other two. In consecutive games leading to this week both have had their crack at the Jayhawks. Washington got a late blocked punt on the Jayhawks and Shai McKenzie returned it for the touchdown and the win in week five. Then in week six Mount Pleasant took their turn in a thriller losing in double overtime to Jeannette when they elected to go for the two-point conversion and the win and came up short. It only stands to reason that this game will be a thriller Friday in Mount Pleasant.
These teams have met three times since 2008, with Mt. Pleasant holding a 2-1 edge in victories, but Washington winning the most recent contest, a first round playoff win 30-14 last season.
The Prexies bring a perfect record into this game and, other than that win over Jeannette, for the most part they have been dominant as well; outscoring opponent by an average of 32 points per game on the season.
Running back Shai McKenzie has been the offensive firepower for Wash High. McKenzie is third in the WPIAL with 1026 yards, he is also tied for third in touchdowns scored with 18 on the season, and here is the kicker he only has 81 carries on the year. The 6’ 215 pound junior is really turning heads, look for him to be one of the most highly recruited players in the WPIAL in the coming year.
Senior quarterback Josh Wise is an unsung hero on this club he does not put up amazing numbers, completing 16 of 31 passes for 280 yards and a pair of scores and rushing for 45 yards and another three scores, but he is a veteran calming presence that the Prexies really rely on and look to when big moments arise.
Daron Whitaker will get some key carries of the football for Mike Bosnic’s team as well the senior has rushed for 235 yards and scored four touchdowns, he also blocked the Jeannette punt that McKenzie returned for a touchdown in the dramatic win over Jeannette.
Bo Ruffner’s Vikings will be looking to rebound from that loss to Jeannette last week at home against the Prexies. The Vikes are scoring almost 40 points per game on the season and allowing exactly 16 points per game. They are very very good and their two best skill players are only juniors.
Junior quarterback Ryan Gumbita has completed 25 of 45 passes for nearly 500 yards and four touchdowns on the season, he has also rushed for 154 yards and a pair of scores on the year.
Their key guy though is junior running back Tyler Mellors he ranks right behind McKenzie at fourth in the WPIAL rushing race with 966 yards and 16 touchdowns on exactly 100 carries for the season.
Senior Joey Paul leads the Viking with 11 catches on the year for 202 yards and three touchdowns scored.
Wash High’s defense will be focused on Mellors, Mount Pleasant’s defense will be focused on McKenzie. It could be that the defense that stops the star will win this game or, it could be that the quarterback that steps up and is able to take the pressure off the star running back, ends up winning this game for his team, either way this will be a great one to watch or listen to on Friday night on the MSA Sports Network.
A Eastern Conference
Springdale Dynamos (4-1)(4-2) at Avonworth Antelopes (3-2)(3-3) Friday October 12th at 7:30 pm @ Lenzner Field broadcast on the MSA Sports Network by Adam Hoerner and Brandon Showers
This is a huge game in the Eastern Conference, especially for the ‘Lopes who really are in a battle for their playoff lives coming in off of back-to-back close losses. Falling to North Catholic last week and Apollo-Ridge in week five means they really cannot afford another loss, especially with section leader Northgate on the slate for them in week nine.
Springdale meanwhile has won two straight and they are a very confident 4-1 football team right now, although Northgate looms for them as well in week nine.
The Dynamos are all about senior tailback Sean Dugan whose 241 yards rushing this past weekend has vaulted him into the top five in the WPIAL with 999 yards on the season as well as 11 touchdowns. Senior Jacob Helman is having a solid year at quarterback. The offensive and defensive lines and Dugan are making quarterback for the Dynamos a great place to be right now.
Let’s give some love to those offensive linemen. Left tackle Robbie Korzon, left guard Zach Mtklar, center Tyler Igo, right guard Hunter Stiehler, right tackle James Murray and tight end Adam Lock get a big shout out from the Big Game Hunting crew for the work they have done up front for first year head coach David Leasure.
The ‘Lopes meanwhile have their backs firmly against the wall for what has become a big rivalry game in the Eastern conference. Since 2008 Avonworth has a 3-1 edge in wins in the series and the game have been close, very close in fact the average margin of victory has been just 4.75 points per game including three one point games.
The ‘Lopes had a shot against North Catholic with a pass into the end zone falling incomplete last week in the loss to North Catholic. They have to shake that heartbreaking loss off quickly to get set to roll here Friday night. Freshman quarterback Zach Chandler has completed 33 of 60 passes for 336 yards and five touchdowns on the season playing in place of injured junior Matt Donovan who broke his collarbone earlier in the season.
Ryan Welsh and Jesse Zubik are big time play makers for Avonworth and the freshman will try to get the ball into their hands as much as possible.
But the offense for the ‘Lopes will begin and end with junior running back Andrew Broadus who has 672 yards and six touchdowns on the season, the 6’3’’ 210 pound junior is big, strong, fast, and has all the moves he will be the offensive key for Avonworth in this game.
Defensively Avonworth is staunch, led by Andrew Cleary, Dalton Day and Anthony Tomasino the defense has kept the club in games all season long, allowing just 13.8 points per game.