Monday, September 29, 2014

What we learned from Week 5

Wash High junior Kurt Adkins
Did Wash High ever really go away?

The Prexies have been one of the top programs in WPIAL Class AA over the last 25 years with two WPIAL championships and six WPIAL title game appearances. That’s five less rings than Aliquippa and tied with South Fayette, Jeannette, South Park, Seton-La Salle for second most over that span.

People tend to reflect on the down period between Guy Montecalvo’s departure and Mike Bosnic’s arrival or the tumultuous 2013 season, which had plot twists that could compete with the movie, “Friday Night Lights.”

One of the biggest knocks against Wash High is losses in big games. There’s the 1999 WPIAL Class AA title game against Waynesburg at Heinz Field. The Prexies were the top team in the state before they played the Raiders in the regular season, which ended with a Waynesburg victory.

The matchup at Three Rivers Stadium had the same outcome where Lanfer Simpson joined the many WPIAL greats to have a monumental performance in the annual championship games. What about the 18-point championship loss to Shady Side Acadmy in 1997? Most recently, Aliquippa beat Wash High and Shai McKenzie by 27 points in 2012.

The dramatic letdown after the loss to the Quips was followed by the 2013 season, which featured McKenzie’s season-ending knee injury, Zack Blystone’s transfer case and the questioning of Quorteze Levy’s eligibility. It also included a Week 7 loss to Mount Pleasant at home that cost Wash High the Interstate Conference title and a first-round home playoff loss to Seton-LaSalle.

When the 2014 season was in its infancy, the Prexies were named a contender in Class AA, but people searched for question marks when the answers were right there. The word was that there was no way Wash High could return to being great without a player like McKenzie.

Without him a year ago, the Prexies were inconsistent and loss two big home games. For some, the luster had worn off. Well, Friday night’s win over Mt. Pleasant should return hope to the illustrious program. The result was the maturity of players such as Malik Wells, Jonathan Spina, DeQuay Isbell and Jordan West.

After three quarters where Wash High allowed the Vikings to hang around, the Prexies regained the lead and held on for a 35-14 win. How did they do it?

The offensive line cleared the way for Wells and West. Spina was effective. The defense made big 
plays and limited Mt. Pleasant’s chances with a relentless pass rush. There are many reasons the game ended with the Prexies sitting atop the conference.

Wash High outplayed Mt. Pleasant. The Vikings were able to have success running the jet sweep with Trevor Salopek at times, but their linemen wore down in the second half and the Prexies capitalized by creating turnovers and putting pressure on the quarterback.

Now sitting at 5-0, there is plenty to get excited about with Wash High, but the season is far from over. Charleroi and Southmoreland are easy matchups, but New Brighton is very fast and athletic. That is an extremely tough non-conference game. What about McGuffey in Week Nine?

The Highlanders want nothing more than to knock off the Prexies and spoil their chances of winning the conference title. And McGuffey has the weapons on offense to give Wash High a game. Home field advantage in the playoffs may be secured by then, but taking that game lightly would be a mistake.

  • South Fayette rolled over Carlynton as Brett Brumbaugh and the Lions earned head coach Joe Rossi his 100th career victory. No one has touched SF so far this season and there probably won’t be much of an opponent until a Week 8 game against Seton-LaSalle.
  •   McGuffey defeated Brownsville, 42-7, behind James Duchi’s 165 rushing yards and three touchdowns.  The Highlanders play Derry and Burgettstown before facing Waynesburg and Wash High. If they can get through the next two weeks without injury, look for them to beat Waynesburg and set up a big Week 9 game against the Prexies.
  • Chariters-Houston played a nice game against Bishop Canevin on Saturday. The game featured the Crusaders’ coach being ejected and three first quarter turnovers, but it came down to the leg of the Bucs’ kicker. The Bucs’ playoff fate is likely to be decided against Fort Cherry in Week 9. After losing to the Rangers the last week of last season to miss the playoffs, C-H head coach Terry Fetsko would love to keep Ft. Cherry out of the postseason.
  • It was a slow week with uneven matchups, but Week 6 has a lot to offer. In my next post, I'll preview some of the bigger games as the playoff picture is becoming clear.



























































Friday, September 26, 2014

Week 5 Summaries

West Greene 0 0 0 0 0
Beth-Center 21 27 0 0 48
BC-Anthony Welsh 33-yard run (Frank Dreucci kick)
BC-Nico Brown 8-yard pass from Trent Cunko (Dreucci kick)
BC-Brown 40-yard interception return (Dreucci kick)
BC-Welsh 37-yard run (Dreucci kick)
BC-Jason Stay 4-yard run (Dreucci kikc)
BC-Welsh 69-yard run (Dreucci kick)
BC-Welsh 60-yard punt return (kick failed)

Mapletown 7 7 0 14 28                          
Avella         0 0 0 0 0
M-Dylan Rush 4-yard run (Matt Rush kick) 5:44 1st
M-Adam Hein 77-yard run (M. Rush kick) 6:44 2nd
M-D. Rush 11-yard run (M. Rush kick) 7:06 4th
M-Hein 1-yard run (M. Rush kick) 0:12 4th

McGuffey 14 21 7 0 42
Brownsville 0 0 0 7 7
M-Adam Narigan 24-yard pass from Marcus Czulewicz (Teague Nicolella kick) 3:24 1st
M-James Duchi 63-yard run (Nicolella kick) :38 1st
M-Duchi 5-yard run (Nicolella kick) 9:20 2nd
M-Czulewicz 40-yard run (Nicolella kick) 5:24 2nd
M-Duchi 5-yard run (Nicolella kick) 1:17 2nd
M-Czulewicz 1-yard run (Nicolella kick) 4:25 3rd
B-Marcellus Grooms 4-yard run (Tyler Legros kick) 1:33 4th

Canon-McMillan 0 0 6 6 12
Fox Chapel         7 13 7 7 34
FC-Thomas Smith 22-yard pass from Billy Urso (Jack Lundy kick) 7:31 1st
FC-Carrington Vaughn 2-yard run (kick failed) 5:56 2nd
FC-Smith 10-yard pass from Urso (Lundy kick) :18 2nd
FC-Sean Chitambo 30-yard run (Lundy kick) 9:01 3rd
CM-Bryan Milligan 65-yard run (kick failed) 7:50 3rd
FC-Vaughn 6-yard run (Lundy kick) 3:48 4th
CM-Jordan Smith 14-yard pass from Dom Eannace (kick failed) 2:53 4th

A. Gallatin 0 0 0 7 7
Ringgold    28 14 7 7 56
R – Jake Gerard, 39-yard pass from Nico Law (run failed) 9:56 1st
R – Law, 99-yard fumble return (Brenden Small run) 4:59 1st
R – Chacar Berry, 20-yard run (Josh Briscoe kick) 2:31 1st
R – Mayson Atkinson, 29-yard pass from Law (Briscoe kick) :51 1st
R – Dalton Holt, 18-yard pass from Law (Briscoe kick) 11:51 2nd
R – Berry, 55-yard run (Briscoe kick) 7:11 2nd
R – Brenden Small, 30-yard run (Briscoe kick) 7:47 3rd
R – Brandon Newman, 24-yard pass from George Martin (Briscoe kick) 809 4th
AG – Tristin Kaiser, 5-yard run (Cody Riggin kick)1:18 4th

Wilkinsburg 0 0 0 6 6
Monessen 0 18 14 6 38
M-Jaron Youngblood 24-yard pass from Noah Rullo (kick failed)
M-Jevante Carlock fumble recovery in end zone (pass failed)
M-Joey Lipscum 16-yard run (pass failed)
M-Lavelle Rush 23-yard pass from Rullo (Jaden Altimore pass from Rullo)
M-Derez Tyree 30-yard run (kick failed)
W-Robert Higginbotham 11-yard pass from Jonathan Carpenter (kick failed)
M-Brandon Handra 23-yard run (run failed)

Mt. Pleasant 0 8 7 0 15
Wash High 8 0 14 12 34
WH: Jonathan Spina, 2-yard run (Malik Wells run) 6:03 1st
MP: Chris Wagner, 5-yard run (Trevor Salopek run) 4:18 2nd
WH: Jarell Dates, 38-yard pass from Spina (Pass failed) 3:49 3rd
MP: Trevor Salopek, 62-yard run (Zach Bednar kick) 6:43 3rd
WH: Wells, 9-yard run (Spina pass to Jordan West) 11:52 3rd
WH: Wells, 17-yard run (Pass failed) 6:17 4th
WH: DeQuay Isbell, 75-yard interception return (Spina kick no good) 8:16 4th

California 0 8 0 14 22
Carmichaels 13 8 6 7 34
Car-Coty Allen 15-yard run (Phillip Mikalik kick)
Car-Allen 4-yard run (kick failed)
Cal-K.C. Vagicek 30-yard pass from James Bongiorno (Vagicek pass from T.J. Troutman)
Car-Mike Blasinsky 39-yard run (Shaun Dulaney run)
Car-Dulaney 2-yard run (kick failed)
Car-Nick Mundell 31-yard run (Mikalik kick)
Cal-Vagicek 48-yard pass from Troutman (Vagicek pass from Troutman)
Cal-Tyler Rothfuss 34-yard pass from Troutman (pass failed)

South Fayette 21 20 0 0 41
Carlynton          0 0 7 0 7
SF–Logan Sharp, 7-yard pass from Brett Brumbaugh (Dan Trimbur kick) 1st
SF–Roman Denson, 47-yard pass from Brumbaugh (Trimbur kick) 1st
SF–Jasper Wolfe, 20-yard run (Trimbur kick) 1st
SF–Ryan Schmider, 10-yard pass from Brumbaugh (Trimbur kick) 2nd
SF–Nick Ponikvar, 66-yard pass from Brumbaugh (Trimbur kick) 2nd
SF–Robert O’Kelly, 27-yard run (Trimbur kick) 2nd
C–Brandon Rogers 9-yard fumble return (Ted Ford kick) 3rd

Burgettstown 0 0 7 6 13
Ellwood City 6 15 6 13 40
EC–Nick Ioanelli, 39-yard run (kick failed) 4:26 1st
EC–Ioanelli, 15-yard run (Ioanelli run) 8:33 2nd
EC–Ioanelli, 8-yard run (Devin Cortz kick) 1: 07 2nd
EC–Ioanelli, 46-yard run (kick failed) 7:42 3rd
B–Brandon Brandon Sell, 23-yard pass from Brad McLaughlin (Dylan Dhans kick) 4:01 3rd
EC–Ioanelli, 5-yard run (kick failed) 10:58 4th
EC–Norm Ballard, 9-yard run (Logan Gibbons kick) 6:21 4th
B–Brandon Krynak, 93-yard fumble return (kick failed) 2:00 4th

Waynesburg 14 21 14 0 49
Charleroi           0 7 0 0 –   7
W–John-Glen Davis, 12-yard pass from Colby Collins (Davis kick) 7:28 1st
W–Dom Sarra, 12-yard pass from Davis (Davis kick) 5:29 1st
W–Hunter Cenname, 14-yard run (Davis kick) 9:54 2nd
C–Brock Shannon, 28-yard run (Sean Cole kick) 4:19 2nd
W–Davis, 70-yard pass from Sarra (Davis kick) 4:00 2nd
W–Cenname, 63-yard run (Davis kick) 2:06 2nd
W–Cenname, 4-yard run (Austin Herrod kick) 10:42 3rd
W–Cenname, 87-yard run (Herrod kick) :22 3rd

Peters Township 0 6 0 0  6
Mt. Lebanon       28 7 0 7 42
ML–Joey Stabile, 4-yard run (Rob Constantino kick)
ML–David Harvey, 69-yard run (Constantino kick)
ML–Ed Jenkins, 15-yard run (Constantino kick)
ML–Jack Young, 20-yard pass from Jenkins (Constantino kick)
PT–T.J. Kpan, 40-yard run (kick failed)
ML–Stabile, 1-yard run (Constantino kick)
ML–Harvey, 25-yard run (Constantino kick)

Thomas Jefferson 20 15 7 0 42
Trinity                   0 0 0 7 –   7
TJ–Austin Kemp, 13-yard run (kick failed)
TJ–kemp, 2-yard run (Derek Rothey kick)
TJ–Kemp, 26-yard interception return (Rothey kick)
TJ–Kemp, 15-yard run (Rothey kick)
TJ–Kemp, 65-yard run (Kemp run)
TJ–Quinton Hill, 9-yard run (Thomas Campbell kick)
T–Hall, 9-yard run (Sam Trapuzzano kick)

Jeff-Morgan 0 0 28 21 –  49
Bentworth 7 7 3 12 –  29
Bent–Felix Hernandez, 6-yard run (Levi Jordan kick) 4:25 1st
Bent–Phil Stahlman, 9-yard pass from Alex Rios-Lopez (Jordan kick) 8:19 2nd
JM–Joe Headlee, 7-yard run (Bo Ricci kick) 8:24 3rd
JM–Ian Wolfe, 30-yard fumble return (Ricci kick) 3rd
Bent–Jordan, 30-yard field goal 5:59 3rd
JM–Jakob Bissett, 58-yard pass from Austin Clark (Ricci kick) 3rd
JM–Headlee, 6-yard run (Ricci kick) 1:32 3rd
JM–Headlee, 30-yard pass from Clark (Ricci kick) 11:43 4th
JM–Brennan Kozich, 20-yard fumble return (Ricci kick) 6:22 4th
JM–Trevor Kniha, 4-yard run (Ricci kick) 3:48 4th
Bent–Rios-Lopez, 9-yard run (Jordan kick) 3:27 4th
Bent–Rios-Lopez, 4-yard run (pass failed) 1:00 4th

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wash High set to face balanced Mt. Pleasant Friday night

The setting and match up could not be scripted more perfectly.

Well, obviously a Week 9 game would hold a little more weight, but you can’t understate how important Friday night is for Wash High (4-0, 4-0).

The Prexies are coming off a 51-12 victory over Brownsville and are trying to grab hold of the Interstate Conference. They can do that with a victory over Mt. Pleasant (4-0, 4-0).

Two weeks after Wash High struggled against Waynesburg’s run-heavy offense, it faces a similar test with the Vikings. The big difference is that while the Raiders run right at you, Mt. Pleasant uses sweeps and counters to throw a defense off balance.

When their opponent bites on a counter, senior quarterback Nate Piesczak keeps it and darts through the line for a large gain. He can also throw the football better than any of Wash High’s opponents so far. Piesczak has completed 26 passes for 318 yards and three touchdowns. He’s also rushed for 175 yards and two scores. MP is averaging 37.3 points per game, while the Prexies are sixth in WPIAL Class AA with 168 points.

The one thing that stands out about the Vikings is they are fundamentally sound. Their defense will adhere to its assignments in a 4-4 set and will likely try to stop Prexies senior running back Malik Wells. Mt. Pleasant isn’t the biggest team, but they are well-coached.

The Vikings have allowed 20 points per game, but that number is clouded with two wins over Derry and Burgettstown where they only allowed seven points. In wins over McGuffey and the Raiders, MP allowed a combined 66 points.

What does that say? Well, Wash High should be able to put some points on the scoreboard. How they do that will be the biggest question. You know that Vikings head coach Bo Ruffner will be watching the Prexies’ game film against Waynesburg. He’s going to look for answers on how to stop Wash High’s running game and senior wide receiver DeQuay Isbell.

While he may be able to come up with a few packages to stack the box to contain Wells, it’s not going to be simple. Wash High runs a balanced attack and the Prexies are no longer one-dimensional. 

Senior quarterback Jonathan Spina can hurt teams with his arm and legs. Isbell is one of the best offensive weapons in WPIAL Class AA. Plus, there are other players such as fullback Kenya Davis and tight end Nate Swart that have to be accounted for. Don't forget that junior running back Jordan West is returning from a broken hand and will probably go back to sharing carries with Wells, which makes the Prexies even stronger.

That means doubling Isbell every play won’t be the answer. The Vikings will leave themselves susceptible to the running game and could leave the other passing weapons open.

On offense for Mt. Pleasant, Wash High will need to closely watch wide receiver L.J. Sutton. While Waynesburg head coach Russ Moore didn’t know who Sutton was after he burned them last week, I bet Mike Bosnic is aware of Sutton. Also, the Vikings have a pair of tailbacks in Jake Adamrovich and Trevor Salopek that can do some damage.

Adamrovich is a hard-nosed, between-the-tackles runner, while Salopek does most of his damage on the jet sweep to the outside.

This is going to be a game where points will be scored, but the winner will be decided on who can make a big stop when its needed or create a big turnover to shift momentum. I still don’t see any team in the Interstate Conference knocking off Wash High’s combination of size and speed.

Yes, the win over Waynesburg showed they aren’t perfect, but outside of Clairton and South Fayette, what team is perfect in Week 3? It won’t take perfect to beat the Vikings, but it will take discipline and tackling.


If the Prexies can’t contain MP’s running game, it’s going to be a long night for them at Wash High Stadium. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Waynesburg strong in loss and other notes from Week 4

Waynesburg senior Hunter Cenname
Wow, Ringgold made a statement Friday night. After losing to Thomas Jefferson in Week 1, few people thought the Rams were a contender in Class AAA. How could you blame them? The Jaguars dominated the line of scrimmage, Ringgold could not generate much offensively and TJ ran all over the Rams.

Yes, West Mifflin is not the same team without Jimmy Wheeler. I did think that DiAngelo Mitchell is a solid tailback with a great burst of speed, but Wheeler could do it all. He led the WPIAL in rushing yards and scoring last season.

Mitchell did rush for 113 yards against Ringgold, but Titans head coach Ray Braszo was forced to shy away from the run as the Rams’ offense kept putting points on the scoreboard in a 40-6 win. If its defense were able to get a few stops, West Mifflin could have stuck to giving Mitchell the football and the game would have been much different.

Ringgold was aided greatly by offensive and defensive lines that controlled the line of scrimmage. WM junior quarterback Karlyn Garner was under pressure all night and when he was able to scramble, the Rams’ linebackers did a nice job with open-field tackling.

When you look at Ringgold’s schedule, there isn't much of a test the rest of the way. Belle Vernon in Week 6 will be interesting because it is Matt Humbert’s return to Joe Montana Stadium, but the Rams are the far superior team.

It will be exciting to see what they can do in the playoffs.

Mt. Pleasant 28, Waynesburg 27

The Raiders are the best 2-2 team in Class AA. I’m pretty confident with that statement. Once again, Waynesburg running backs Hunter Cenname and John-Glen Davis had big games, but the defense could not get a stop and the passing game failed to produce first downs.

You have to love the way Waynesburg plays. Their linemen are tough and those two running backs are very hard to tackle. You often see opponents trying to tackle high with no success then going low just to have the duo hurdle over them.

The Raiders have a great chance to make the playoffs, but they need to win their next three conference games. Charleroi and Southmoreland shouldn't be much of a challenge, but a win over McGuffey would go a long way.

Burgettstown 41, Charleroi 26

What did we learn from this game? Well, the Blue Devils ended the WPIAL’s longest losing streaks in a game where no one gave them a chance to win. You have to tip your hat to Terry Havelka and the Blue Devils.

They won’t be making the playoffs, but this a big win for that program. Charleroi is improved from last year, but needs to develop linemen and improve defensively. The Cougars have a long way to go.

McGuffey 42, Southmoreland 14

I expected this to happen. Southmoreland struggled against Charleroi in Week 1, while McGuffey has been on a roll since losing to Mt. Pleasant.

This was a big win for the Highlanders. They want to make the playoffs for the first time since 2009 and have a great chance to do that. Nathan Whipkey is playing great and James Duchi should be drawing attention from college coaches with his play on both sides of the ball.

The next three games will be fairly easy before McGuffey finishes the season with Waynesburg and Wash High. They cannot afford to lose both of those games.

Fort Cherry 35, Bishop Canevin 31

I haven’t given Fort Cherry enough credit, but it’s hard to measure teams in the Black Hills Conference. The balance of power is a mess with North Catholic and Avonworth on top then everybody else is fighting for the final playoff spots.

The Rangers had to win this game. They travel to Avonworth in Week 5 then host North Catholic before two road games at Northgate and Chartiers-Houston. Winning the final two games would likely make Fort Cherry a playoff team.

Bentworth 42, Avella 26

Bentworth is a perfect example of the impact an established head coach can have on a young program. Ron Skiles returned to the program for the third time and has the Bearcats playing great offensively. While the loss to Carmichaels in Week 1 is a concern, defeating Avella is big for trying to capture one of the playoff spots in the Tri-County South.

If Bentworth can win two of the next three games against Jefferson-Morgan, California and Mapletown; I see them as a playoff team. The Bearcats scored 83 points in nine games last season and 43 of those came in a win over Geibel, which dropped its football program. Through four games in 2014, Bentworth has scored 90 points. 

A round of applause for the players and Skiles.



Friday, September 19, 2014

Week 4 Summaries

Carmichaels 0 0 7 0 7
Beth-Center 26 20 7 6 59
BC-Nico Brown 73-yard run (kick failed)
BC-John Sofran 2-yard run (John Berdar kick)
BC-Anthony Welsh 39-yard run (pass failed)
BC-Jason Stay 37-yard pass from Trent Cunko (Berdar kick)
BC-Welsh 15-yard run (Berdar kick)
BC-Welsh 6-yard run (Berdar kick)
BC-Welsh 92-yard run (kick failed)
BC-Stay 19-yard run (Berdar kick)
C-Josh Mundell 3-yard run (Phillip Mikailk kick)
BC-Trevor Anderson 1-yard run (run failed)

New Castle 2 0 0 12 14
Peters Twp. 0 10 14 6 30
NC-Safety, ball snapped through end zone 4:18 1st
PT-TJ Kpan 10-yard run (Nick Gaudi kick) 7:58 2nd
PT-Gaudi 20-yard FG 5:44 2nd
PT-Kpan 2-yard run (Gaudi kick) 6:57 3rd
PT-Tim Swoope 20-yard pass from Cory Owen (Gaudi kick) :15 3rd
NC-Curtis Allie 12-yard run (run failed) 10:28 4th
PT-Michael McAleavey 4-yard run (kick failed) 7:43 4th
NV-Daykuan Fuqua 24-yard run (kick failed) :09 4th

Bishop Canevin 6 13 12 0 31
Fort Cherry 0 21 7 7 35
BC-Amman Bridgett 15-yard run (run failed)
BC-Giovanni Demarzo 36-yard pass from Reed Reloski (pass failed)
FC-Nick Cook 52-yard run (Anthony Kampian kick)
FC-Alex Babirad 23-yard pass from Anthony Panizza (Kampian kick)
FC-Cook 65-yard run (Kampian kick)
BC-Reloski 5-yard run (Ryan Durbin kikc)
BC-Reloski 5-yard run (kick failed)
FC-Cook 36-yard run (Kampian kick)
BC-Bridgett 3-yard run (kick failed)
FC-Cook 46-yard run (Kampian kick)

Bethel Park        14 14 13 7 48
Canon-McMillan 0 0 0 0 0
BP-Levi Metheny 1-yard run (Matt Monte kick) 6:21 1st
BP-Connor McGinnis 2-yard run (Monte kick) 3:40 1st
BP-Charlie Davis 10-yard run (Monte kick) 9:31 2nd
BP-Davis 31-yard pass from Metheny (Monte kick) 1:12 2nd
BP-Alex Minton 2-yard run (kick failed) 7:46 3rd
BP-Terron Murphy 59-yard run (Monte kick) 3:37 3rd
BP-Joe Weston 6-yard run (Monte kick) 1:50 4th

Avella 6 14 0 6 26
Bentworth 7 14 0 21 42
A-Nick Kusich 56-yard punt return (kick failed) 10:15 1st
B-Phillip Stahlman 22-yard pass from Angelo Rios-Lopez (Levi Jordan kick) 2:01 1st
A-Kusich 5-yard run (Kusich run) 11:36 2nd
B-Nixon 7-yard pass from Rios-Lopez (Jordan kick) 10:24 2nd
B-Felix Hernandez 2-yard run (Jordan kick) 3:19 2nd
A-Paris 1-yard run (pass failed) 1:14 2nd
A-Kusich 5-yard run (pass failed) 10:01 4th
B-Hernandez 10-yard run (Jordan kick) 7:38 4th
B-Hernandez 42-yard run (Jordan kick) 2:40 4th
B-Hernandez 21-yard run (Jordan kick) 1:39 4th

McGuffey       7 7 14 14 –  42
Southmoreland 0 0 7 7 –  14
McG–James Duchi, 64-yard pass from Nathan Whipkey (Teague Nicolella kick) 3:32 1st
McG–Adam Narigon, 68-pass from Whipkey (Nicolella kick) 6:19 2nd
McG–Whipkey, 2-yard run (Nicolella kick) 8:43 3rd
S–Jake Pisula, 3-yard run (Kyle Rhodes kick) 4:41 3rd
McG–Duchi, 38-yard run (Nicolella kick) 2:27 3rd
McG–Shaun Sanders, 29-yard pass from Whipkey (Nicolella kick) 9:04 4th
McG–Duchi, 1-yard run (Nicolella kick) 4:17 4th
S–Pisula, 6-yard run (Rhodes kick) 1:29 4th

Ringgold         7 7 13 13 40
West Mifflin 0 0 0 6 6
Ring: Nico Law, 38-yard run (Matt Cannon kick) 5:47 1st
Ring: Chacar Berry, 5-yard run (Cannon kick) 10:16 2nd
Ring: Dalton Holt, 21-yard pass from Law (Cannon kick) 2:41 3rd
Ring: Jordan Briscoe, 6-yard pass from Law (Run failed) 8:33 3rd
Ring: Law, 54-yard run (Kick failed) 0:51 4th
Ring: Berry, 5-yard run (Cannon kick) 5:44 4th
WM: Karlyn Garner, 25-yard run (Kyle Griffin kick blocked) 8:32 4th

Trinity         7 10 14 13 – 44
A. Gallatin 0 14 0 0 – 14
T–Robert West, 34-yard run (Sam Trapuzzano kick) 1st
AG–Dante Jamison, 14-yard run (kick good) 1st
T–Colton Jordan, 3-yard run (Trapuzzano kick) 2nd
AG–Hunter Moody, 1-yard run (kick good) 2nd
T–Trapuzzano, 43-yard field goal 2nd
T–Nick Moretti, 4-yard pass from Forrest Cullings (Trapuzzano kick) 3rd
T–Dajur Hall, 22-yard run (Trapuzzano kick) 3rd
T–Joe Koroly, 52-yard run (Trapuzzano kick) 4th
T–Koroly, 17-yard run (kick failed) 4th

Northgate        0 0 13 0 – 13
Char-Houston 6 7 0 6 – 19
CH–Wyatt Kincaid, 23-yard pass from Alec Ferrari (kick failed) 8:05 1st
CH–A.J. Myers, 29-yard pass from Ferrari (Mike Cushma kick) 2:41 2nd
N–Romello Snyder, 37-yard run (Cam Kosak kick) 9:57 3rd
N–Rodney Burrow, 30-yard pass from Brett Howell (kick failed) 1:59 3rd
CH–Dylan Briggs, 2-yard run (pass failed) :42 4th

South Allegheny 0 0 0 6 6
South Fayette        7 28 7 6 48
SF–Roman Denson, 28-yard pass from Brett Brumbaugh (Dan Trimber kick) 5:33 1st
SF–Hunter Hayes, 8-yard run (Trimber kick) 11:36 2nd
SF–Hayes, 1-yard run (Trimber kick) 7:05 2nd
SF–Logan Sharp, 15-yard pass from Brumbaugh (Trimber kick) 5:14 2nd
SF–Geovonie Love, 1-yard run (Trimber kick) 1:18 2nd
SF–Love, 9-yard run (Trimber kick) 1:41 3rd
SA–Joe Tokar, 30-yard run (kick failed) 7:17 4th
SF–Robert O’Kelly, 3-yard run (kick failed) 2:27 4th

Frazier         7 26 0 6 39 
Mapletown 0 7 7 0 14
F–Tim Carson, 53 pass from Hunter Patterson (Josh Cox, kick) 2:21 1st
F–Nick Smalich, 34-yard pass from Patterson (Cox, kick) 8:59 2nd
F–Smalich, 30-yard pass from Patterson (Cox, kick) 8:33 2nd
M–Dylan Rush, 79-yard kickoff return (Matt Rush, kick) 8:15 2nd
F–Nate Zurich, 4-yard pass from Patterson (kick failed) 6:05 2nd
F–Carson, 11-yard pass from Patterson (kick failed) 0:40 2nd
M–Matt Rush, 2-yard run (Matt Rush, kick) 3:23 3rd
F–Smalich, 25-yard run (kick failed) 10:21 4th

Washington 13 25 7 6 51
Brownsville 0 0 6 6 12
W-Dequay Isbell 12-yard pass from Jonathan Spina (Spina kick)
W-Isbell 50-yard pass from Spina (Kick fail)
W-Kurt Adkins 3-run (run fail)
W-Isbell 48-yard pass from Spina (kick fail)
W-Adkins 20-run (Spina kick)
W-Malik Wells 56-yard run (kick fail)
W-Adkins 21-yard run (Spina kick)
B-Marcellous Grooms 8-yard run (kick fail)
W-Zyan Wallace 6-yard run (run fail)
B-DaVante Stafford 4-yard run (pass fail)

Charleroi           0 13 7 6 – 26
Burgettstown 12 8 7 14 –  41
Burg–Jacob McKee, 1-yard run (kick failed) 6:26 1st
Burg–Jacob Shipley, 5-yard pass from Brad McLaughlin (pass failed) 1:27 1st
Charl–Greg Arnold, 6-yard pass from Matt Carr (kick failed) 11:07 2nd
Burg–McKee, 1-yard run (pass failed) 9:05 2nd
Burg–Safety, Punter tackled in end snap 8:04 3rd
Charl–Arnold, 4-yard pass from Carr (Sean Cole kick) :04 2nd
Charl–Blake Carmello, 5-yard pass from Carr (Cole kick) 8:20 3rd
Burg–Cole LaRocka, 3-yard run (Leroy Camp kick) 2:39 3rd
Charl–Carr, 10-yard run (kick failed) 11:55 4th
Burg–McLaughlin, 4-yard run (Camp kick) 1:27 4th
Burg–Camp, 35-yard interception return (Camp kick) :25 4th

Serra         0 10 6 7 8 0 6 6   –  43
W.Greene 3 12 0 8 8 0 6 7  –      44
WG–Harry Inghram, 21-yard field goal 4:08 1st
S–Joe Satira, 7-yard pass from Jason Cerniglia (Alex Braysin kick) 11:18 2nd
WG–Cale Miller, 70-yard run (kick failed) 9:52 2nd
S–Brayson, 27-yard field goal 5:36 2nd
WG–Owen Main, 4-yard run (pass failed) 3:52 2nd
S–Satira, 19-yard pass from Cerniglia (pass failed) 11:31 3rd
WG–Tyler Baker, 22-yard pass from Main (Bray Jackson run) 3:48 4th
S–Satira, 9-yard pass from Cerniglia (Braysin kick) :36 4th
WG–Jackson, 9-yard run (Jackson run) 1st OT
S–Cerniglia, 7-yard run (Brian Holland, pass from Cerniglia) 1st OT
WG–Miller, 8-yard run (run failed) 3rd OT
S–Satira, 10-yard pass from Cerniglia (kick failed) 3rd OT
S–Satira, 10-yard pass from Cerniglia (pass failed) 4th OT
WG–Miller, 9-yard run (Inghram kick) 4th OT

California 0 0 0 8 8
Jeff-Morgan 7 0 13 7 –  27
JM–Austin Clark, 1-yard run (Bo Ricci kick) :34 1st
JM–Clark, 4-yard run (Ricci kick) 5:20 3rd
JM–Josh Bisset, 59-yard pass from Clark (kick failed) 3:32 3rd
JM–Clark, 6-yard run (Ricci kick) 9:56 4th
Cal–Zajicek, 22-yard pass from Cory Phillips (pass good) 9:34 4th

Mt. Pleasant 7 7 3 11 – 28
Waynesburg 7 0 13 7 27
MP—Jake Adamrovich, 19-yard run (Zach Bednar kick) 2:32 1st
W—Hunter Cenname, 48-yard run (John-Glen Davis kick) 2:10 1st
MP—Trevor Salopek, 3-yard pass from Nathan Pieszak (Bednar kick) :15 2nd
W—Davis, 1-yard run (Davis kick) 6:07 3rd
MP--Bednar 36-yard FG 2:25 3rd
W—Cenname, 4-yard run (kick failed) :26 3rd
MP—Bednar, 23-yard FG 8:17 4th
W—Davis, 6-yard run (Davis kick) 3:20 4th
MP—L.J. Sutton, 38-yard pass from Pieszak (Brian Prinkey pass from Pieszak) :27 4th


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ringgold at West Mifflin headlines Week 3

Trinity quarterback Forrest Cullings

Wash High’s 28-20 win over Waynesburg was the highlight of Week 3 with senior quarterback Jonathan Spina’s breakout performance and a late defensive stand that clinched the win for the Prexies.

One game that was overlooked was Ringgold’s win over Knoch, which is a big non-conference victory. Over the past five years, the Rams have not had many games that were a close, physical battle, but they passed the test.

Avella won its second straight game, McGuffey running back James Duchi had six touchdowns and Mapletown continues to assert itself as one of the top teams in the Tri-County South Conference.

This week does not have the flashy rivalry games, but there is plenty to get excited about

Ringgold at West Mifflin

This is the game of the week. There’s no question that the winner of this game will finish in second place behind Thomas Jefferson in the Big Nine Conference. The Jaguars are the second-best team in Class AAA right now behind West Allegheny, but the Rams and Titans are battling for the number two spot.

Ringgold has bounced back nicely since its opening night loss to TJ. They beat a Uniontown team that almost upset West Mifflin in Week 1 and took down Knoch last week. The Rams are finding balance on offense with senior quarterback Nico Law and junior running back Chacar Berry. The offensive line has improved since being overpowered in against TJ, but the biggest test will come on defense.

If Ringgold is going to win, it will have to stop the West Mifflin senior running back DiAngelo Mitchell, who has 513 yards on 60 carries with 10 touchdowns – good for third in the WPIAL in scoring. The Titans aren’t pretty. Under head coach Ray Braszo, the offense looks the same now as it did 17 years ago, but that doesn’t mean teams can stop it.

West Mifflin is averaging 35 points per game in wins over Uniontown, Gateway and Albert Gallatin. Not much can be taken from the win over the Gators, who are in a transition year under Tom Nola, but only beating Uniontown by five points is a concern.

Mitchell has had trouble being too flashy of a running back, which is not the answer against Ringgold. Jaguars running back Austin Kemp had success running straight ahead and trusting his linemen. The Titans do not have the linemen that Thomas Jefferson does, but they are big and inexperienced.

On another note, West Mifflin’s defense has six interceptions in three games and has allowed just 17 points per game. In the two teams’ last two meetings, the Titans have averaged 45 points per game in two wins.

Trinity at Albert Gallatin

The Hillers cannot play worse defensively, right? That was my thought process when picking them to beat AG this week. Trinity has allowed 44 points per game in its three losses, while the Colonials have been equally as bad during their 0-3 start.

So what does this game come down to? Limiting mistakes and quarterback play. The Hillers have played their worst football through the first three weeks. That’s a bit harsh, but it’s the reality when 
you have an inexperienced line and skill players struggling with consistency.

Senior quarterback Forrest Cullings can take over a football game and I believe he’s going to do that Friday night.

Mt. Pleasant at Waynesburg

The toughest game to pick this week. The two teams run a very similar, wing-t offense that relies heavily on running the football. The Vikings have a stable of backs, while the Raiders have found success handing the football off to seniors Hunter Cenname and John-Glen Davis.

Waynesburg is a scrappy football team. The Raiders may not be as big as Mt. Pleasant, but height and weight listed on a roster does not dictate wins and losses. Wash High almost found that out the hard way last Friday.

Colby Collins is a much better passer than I anticipated and Dom Sarra is a nice receiver for him to rely on, but Waynesburg will win this game if Cenname and Davis are at their best. Stopping the Vikings is also paramount.

No one has been able to do that so far as MP is averaging over 40 points per game. The Vikings don’t do anything fancy. It’s read option, jet sweep and counters, so being disciplined on defense is the key.

McGuffey at Southmoreland

The Highlanders are averaging 45 points per game behind Duchi and senior quarterback Nathan Whipkey. McGuffey (1-1, 2-1) has outscored its last two opponents 101-6 and Southmoreland struggled against Charleroi in its season opener.


Week 1 games should be taken with a grain of salt, but not that one. It doesn’t bode well for the Scotties and the Highlanders are a tough, physical football team.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Replacements making immediate impact for local teams


In high school football, programs are faced annually with the task of replacing talented players who have graduated.

Some voids are more difficult to fill than others, especially in the lower classifications, but a few local teams lost talent and have already found a capable replacement. Through three weeks, there have been some surprises, while a few of these players were expected to have big seasons.

Here’s a quick list of how the mostly new faces are leading their teams through three weeks.

Wash High senior wide receiver DeQuay Isbell

There weren't many question marks surrounding the Prexies entering the season and Isbell was not one of them, but his emergence as a top target for senior quarterback Jonathan Spina will help Wash High down the stretch.

The Prexies lost Quorteze Levy and Chase Caldwell from last season. The duo combined for nine touchdowns and helped in the secondary, but Isbell has stepped in and filled the void.
Through three games, Isbell has caught seven passes for 204 yards and four touchdowns. He has also returned two punts for touchdowns.

Isbell is the perfect target for Spina. His combination of size and speed makes him a match up nightmare for opponents. Waynesburg put two corners on Isbell, but all it took was a pump fake from Spina to freeze the two players as Isbell broke away to catch a 55-yard touchdown pass in last week’s win.

There is room to improve on defense, but on offense and special teams, Isbell has been incredible for Wash High. He leads the team in scoring and opponents are going to stop punting to him.

South Fayette senior wide receiver Roman Denson, senior tight end Logan Sharp and junior wide receiver Nick Ponikvar

Count me as one of the people who thought it would be nearly impossible for the Lions to replace Justin Watson and Conner Beck. Those two were unstoppable during South Fayette’s state championship run, but these three have made things easy for senior quarterback Brett Brumbaugh.
Denson has caught six passes for 195 yards and four touchdowns. Sharp has a team-high 11 receptions for 193 yards and four touchdowns. Ponikvar has added 86 yards on eight catches with one touchdown.

This group is only going to improve and Sharp is arguably the best tight end in the WPIAL, while Denson is one of the top corner backs. The three have moved into a large role on offense without any hiccups for the Lions. With the team’s passing game excelling and Hunter Hayes averaging almost nine yards per carry with seven touchdowns, I don’t see any team in Class AA beating SF.

Monessen junior running back Demond Jordan

Jordan has the biggest shoes to fill of any player in the area. Okay, that may be a stretch, but replacing Clintell Gillaspie is a tall task. Gillaspie finished second in the WPIAL in scoring and was an all-state selection as a defensive back.

So far, Jordan has led the Greyhounds to wins over Riverview and Serra Catholic with 166 yards and four touchdowns.

It will be a long time before Monessen has a senior class like last year’s, which also included Justice Rawlins and Javon Brown, but the school has a reputation for developing athletes and they rarely rebuild.

This is one of those rebuilding years, but Jordan will be a player to watch.

McGuffey senior running back James Duchi

Well, no one is surprised by this. Duchi was part of a two-pronged attack with Pat Frey for McGuffey the past two seasons. He had to wait for Frey to graduate to gain the bulk of the carries, but it only took nine carries for him to gain 248 yards and score six touchdowns in a 56-6 win over Mohawk last week.


Duchi is one of the most talented backs in the area and is already halfway to the 1,000-yard mark on the season with nine touchdowns. With senior quarterback Nathan Whipkey and Duchi, McGuffey is a tough team to stop.