Sunday, September 14, 2014

Wash High has work to do after win over Waynesburg

Wash High and Waynesburg ended in a thrilling 28-20 victory for the Prexies Friday night. The game lived up to the hype and a few things can be taken from the Interstate Conference match up.

The Raiders (2-1, 2-1) did exactly what they needed to do. Head coach Russ Moore schemed to stop Wash High’s running game and it worked. Senior Malik Wells finished with 44 yards on nine carries, Junior Kurt Atkins had 21 yards on eight carries and senior quarterback Jonathan Spina’s 36 yards on four carries led to two touchdowns and a pivotal 28-yard game on the game-winning drive.

Moore accounted for Wash High’s running backs, but it was the Prexies’ dual-threat quarterback who hurt them the most. Spina rushed for two touchdowns and threw a 55-yard touchdown strike to senior wide receiver DeQuay Isbell in the first quarter.

What does that say? Well, Spina can help Wash High win football games when its defense plays poorly and the running game is stagnant. He made two great throws on two-point conversions and managed the offense well.

It also says that Waynesburg has to adjust its game plan moving forward. John-Glen Davis and Hunter Cenname are great talents. Those two running backs are going to win Waynesburg games, but the Raiders’ secondary has to improve.

I see them having problems with McGuffey, which also has a quarterback that can hurt teams with his arm and his feet – Nathan Whipkey. Waynesburg allowed Spina to pick up yards when the running backs had no room to run. The Raiders should not be surprised that happened.

Spina is very athletic and can hurt you with his weapons on the outside. Wash High’s offensive line also lived up to the hype. Despite Waynesburg rushing six or seven guys almost every down, the Prexies’ front-five held on and gave Spina time to work.

Also, their defensive line is very impressive. The group created a push consistently, but Wash High’s weakness is at linebacker. Head coach Mike Bosnic might be forced to move some guys around to find a good mixture at the position.

Missed tackles were the story of the night and almost cost the Prexies (3-0, 3-0) the game. It was also concerning to see them allow Waynesburg quarterback Colby Collins complete two desperation throws on fourth down – one of which tied the game with  9:39 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Those are mistakes that can be cleaned up, but no one should be surprised this was a close game. Bosnic described the Raiders as “scrappy” and they were just that. Cenname and Davis picked up chunks of yards on the ground, while the defensive front played a great game.

The Prexies play Brownsville in Week 4, which is a great opportunity to make adjustments and prep for a Week 5 game against Mount Pleasant. The Vikings will use an almost identical game plan as Waynesburg. The Raiders and MP actually face eachother this week, which will be a tough one to pick. I don't think the Vikings have what it takes to stop Cenname and Davis.

Wash High has to be ready to improve. Knowing the talent on that team with its coaching staff, they will.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Week Three Summaries

Jeff-Morgan 0 7 0 0 7
Avella        6 8 0 12 26
A-Nick Kusich 1-yard run (kick failed) 7:16 1st
A-Santino Paris 5-yard run (Paris pass to Johnny Kelvington) 10:15 2nd
JM-Joe Headlee 80-yard kick return (Bo Ricci kick) 10:01 2nd
A-Tyler Fraysier 2-yard pass from Paris (pass failed) 5:34 4th
A-Paris 2-yard run (run failed) :48 4th

Beth-Center 20 7 20 0 47
California 0 0 0 0 0
BC-Anthony Welsh 10-yard run (John Berdar kick)
BC-Welsh 14-yard pass from Trent Cunko (kick failed)
BC-Nico Brown 66-yard run (Berdar kick)
BC-Jason Stay 10-yard run (Berdar kick)
BC-Welsh 26-yard run (Berdar kick)
BC-Brown 28-yard run (Berdar kick)
BC-Stay 18-yard pass from Cunko (kick failed)

Burgettstown 0 0 0 7 7
Mt. Pleasant 0 21 7 13 41
MP-Jake Adamrovich 41-yard run (kick failed)
MP-Kyle Halterman 1-yard run (Zach Bednar kick)
MP-Trevor Salopek 13-yard pass from Nathan Pieszak (Ethan Charlesworth pass from Peiszak)
MP-Adamrovich 31-yard run (Bednar kick)
B-Jacob McKee 2-yard run (McKee kick)
MP-Pieszak 50-yard run (pass failed)
MP-Chris Wagner 2-yard run (Bednar kick)

Serra Catholic 0 14 0 7 21
Monessen 13 22 7 8 50
M-Brandon Lenhart 55-yard pass from Noah Rullo (Alex Hyslip kick)
M-Lavelle Rush 31-yard pass from Rullo (kick failed)
M-Demond Jordan 9-yard run (Lenhart pass from Rullo)
SC-Jason Cerniglia 23-yard pass from Zac Quattrone (run failed)
M-Rullo 1-yard run (kick failed)
SC-Cerniglia 10-yard run (pass good)
M-Jaden Altimore 22-yard pass from Rullo (Altimore pass from Rullo)
M-Malik Harris 21-yard run (Hyslip kick)
SC-Cerniglia 10-yard run (Alex Grace kick)
M-Andre Bolton 17-yard run (Bolton run)

Canon-Mac 0 7 7 0 14
Peters Twp. 0 21 0 6 27
PT-Cory Owen, 13-yard run (Nick Gaudy kick) 11:53 2nd
PT-Tim Swoope, 14-yard pass from Owen (Gaudy kick) 6:10 2nd
PT-Owen, 1-yard run (Gaudy kick) 1:57 2nd
CM-Ahmad Morris Walker,, 19-yard pass from Dom Eannace (Kyra Murphy kick) :07 2nd
CM-Jordan Smith, 18-yard pass from Eannace (Murphy kick) 6:38 3rd
PT-Jonathan Despines, 5-yard run (kick failed) 9:37 4th

Knoch 0 6 0 6 12
Ringgold 0 14 6 0 20
R-Chacar Berry 1-yard run (Josh Briscoe kick) 8:39 2nd
K-Dan Farinelli 8-yard run (kick failed) 4:01 2nd
R-Berry 4-yard run (Briscoe kick) :51 2nd
R-Jake Gerard 4-yard pass from Nico Law (kick failed) 1:42 3rd
K-Jordan Geist 35-yard pass from Farinelli (pass failed) 5:35 4th

West Greene 0 0 0 0 0
Mapletown 7 0 6 14 27
M—Matt Rush, 27-yard run (Matt Rush run) :04 1st
M—Matt Rush, 8-yard run (kick failed) 3:02 3rd
M—Adam Hein, 6-yard run (pass failed) 11:20 4th
M—Dylan Rush, 8-yard run (Ben Boone run) 3:12 4th

Waynesburg 6 7 0 7 20
Wash High 12 8 0 8 28
Wash: DeQuay Isbell, 87-yard punt return (Jonathan Spina kick blocked) 4:37 1st
Wbg: Hunter Cenname, 15-yard run (Kick no good) 8:29 1st
Wash: Isbell, 55-yard pass from Spina (Spina kick blocked) 9:46 1st
Wbg: John-Glen Davis, 5-yard run (Davis kick good) 3:48 2nd
Wash: Spina, 2-yard run (Nate Swart catch from Spina) 11:43 2nd
Wbg: Dom Sarra, 16-yard pass from Colby Collins (Davis kick) 2:21 4th
Wash: Spina, 6-yard run (Isbell pass from Spina) 6:12 4th

Mohawk 6 0 0 0 6
McGuffey 14 23 12 7 –  56
McG—James Duchi, 24-yard run (Teague Nicolella kick) 10:42 1st
McG—Duchi, 63-yard run (Nicolella kick) 8:19 1st
Mo—Jessie Wolfe, 8-yard pass from Ricky Malutic (kick failed) 2:07
McG—Duchi, 15-yard run (Nicolella kick) 11:25 2nd
McG—Duchi, 6-yard run (Nicolella kick) 9:45 2nd
McG—Safety: Snap to punter went out of end zone 6:05 2nd
McG—Nathan Whipkey, 47-yard run (Nicolella kick) 2:53 2nd
McG—Duchi, 56-yard run (kick failed) 11:42
McG—Duchi, 63-yard run (kick failed) 8:08 3rd
McG—Luke Shingle, 15-yard run (Gavin Beatty kick) 6:07 4th
Duchi 9-248 yards 6 TDs

Fort Cherry 6 6 0 0 12
SS Beaver 3 7 15 6 31
SSB—Jessie Romanthek 22-yard field goal 7:04 1st
FC—Alex Babirad, 31-yard pass from Devon Brown (kick failed) :07 1st
FC—Jess McKean, 41-yard interception return (kick failed) 1:36 2nd
SSB—Nathan Block, 31-yard run (Romanthek kick) :29 2nd
SSB—Block three-yard run (Block run) 8:34 3rd
SSB—Jacob Berger, 69-yard pass Robert Heberle (Romanthek kick) 5:12 3rd
SSB—Block, one-yard run (run failed) 3:28 4th

South Fayette 40 0 13 6 59
South Park 0 13 0 7 –  20
SF—Logan Sharp, 15-yard pass from Brett Brumbaugh (Dan Trimbur kick) 10:48 1st
SF—Roman Denson, 61-yard pass from Brumbaugh (kick failed) 9:37 1st
SF—Hunter Hayes, 21-yard run (Trimbur kick) 9:08 1st
SF—Sharp, 10-yard pass from Brumbaugh (Trimbur kick) 7:13 1st
SF—Denson, 15-yard pass from Brumbaugh (kick failed) 3:07 1st
SF—Hayes, 35-tard interception return (Trimbur kick) 2:29 1st
SP—Adam Staudt, 2-yard run (Ryan Mino kick) 9:33 2nd
SP—Mino, 7-yard pass from Nick Scholle (kick failed) 3:47 2nd
SF—Denson, 10-yard pass from Brumbaugh (pass failed) 9:15 3rd
SF—hayes, 4-yard run (Trimbur kick) 5:24 3rd
SF—Tristan Tinney, 9-yard run (kick failed) 5:26 4th
SP—Damon Smith, 85-yard kickoff return (Mino kick) 5:10 4th

Westerm Beaver 0  0 0 14 14
Chartiers-Houston 0 14 0 7 –  21
CH—A.J. Meyers, 27-yard pass from Alec Ferrari (kick good) 2nd
CH—Meyers, 6-yard pass from Ferrari (kick good) 2nd
WB—John Sosack, 7-yard run (run failed) 4th
WB—Sosack, 30-yard run (two-point conversion) 4th
CH--Josh Gray, 23-yard pass from Ferrari (kick good) 4th

E. Forward 7 14 6 6 33
Trinity         7 14 0 7 28
T – Garrett Briant, 6-yard pass from Forrest Cullings (Sam Trapuzzano kick) 8:46 1st
EF – Zachary Budde, 26-yard run (Tyler Buckley kick) 2:55 1st
T – Nick Moretti, 4-yard pass from Cullings (Trapuzzano kick) 11:00 2nd
EF – Billy Miles, 50-yard interception return (Buckley kick) 6:27 2nd
T – Dajour Hull, 83-yard run (Trapuzzano kick) 6:08 2nd
EF – Jake Meyers, 5-yard run (Buckley kick) 3:52 2nd
EF – Meyers, 32-yard run (kick failed) 9:53 3rd
EF – Meyers, 6-yard run (pass failed) 7:12 4th
T – Colton Jordan, 2-yard run (Trapuzzano kick) 2:08 4th

Bentworth 0 0 0 0 0
Frazier 14 6 22 0 42
F–Hunter Patterson 38-yard run (Joshua Cox kick).
F–Alvin Ross 1-yard run (Joshua Cox kick).
F–Timothy Carson 36-yard interception return (kick failed).
F–Nathaniel Zurich 68-yard pass from Christopher Pierce (Bret Poling from \Patterson).
F–Patterson 13-yard run (Cox kick).
F–Nicholas Smalich 43-yard run (Cox kick).

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Best conference matchups of Week 3

South Fayette quarterback Brett Brumbaugh

Week 3 is finally upon us and the start of summer camps seems like months ago. Through two weeks, contenders are separating themselves from pack and a few local teams are looking as strong as ever.

A few teams are living up to expectations, while others are decimated by injuries. Week 2 was filled with big offensive performances with Beth-Center junior running back Anthony Welsh’s standing out. He led the Bulldogs to victory over Greensburg Central Catholic. Wash High looks like a real contender in Class AA and Ringgold bounced back from a Week 1 loss to Thomas Jefferson.

The best nonconference game this week is Knoch at Ringgold, but I have to give the Rams the advantage in that game.

Here’s a look at a few good conference matchups to look at in Week 3. A few teams have nonconference tests, but we’ll focus on the ones that count.

Class AAA
Big Nine Conference
Elizabeth Forward at Trinity – Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The Hillers (0-2, 0-2) showed some offensive prowess in Week Two in a loss to Laurel Highlands, but Trinity has allowed 49.5 points per game so far this season. That does not bode well and it seems like the Hillers’ lack of experience and tenacity up front is hurting their chances. They allowed almost 200 rushing yards to the Mustangs in a 55-42 loss.

The picture isn't so bleak. Senior quarterback Forrest Cullings had a bounce back game by completing 8 of 10 passes for 153 yards and two touchdowns, while receiver Zach Cain caught three passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Trinity simply needs to get better on special teams and needs production from its running game to take the pressure of Cullings.

Elizabeth Forward (1-1, 1-1) lost to Laurel Highlands in Week One and defeated Albert Gallatin, 39-
20, in Week Two. Warriors senior running back Jake Meyers is going to give Trinity trouble. He has 61 carries for 489 yards and five touchdowns through two games. This is a must-win for the Hillers and it does help that they are at home, but the defense must create turnovers to give Cullings a chance to win games.

Class AA
Century Conference
South Fayette at South Park – Friday at 7:30 p.m.
South Park (1-1, 1-1) is one of the most improved programs in WPIAL Class AA over the last five years. The Eagles limited Seton-La Salle to just 19 points in a Week One loss and defeated a Quaker Valley team in Week Two that is missing starting quarterback Dane Jackson.

I’m not going to read into the QV win too much. Jackson’s absence can’t be understated and South Fayette (2-0, 2-0) poses a different challenge than South Park’s two previous opponents. The Lions are big up front, have several playmakers on the outside and the best quarterback in the WPIAL.

This is SF’s first true test and I’m interested to see how they look against the Eagles. I’m not expecting an upset, but it’s the first measuring stick for the Lions, who have outscored their first two opponents 100-13.

Interstate Conference
Waynesburg at Wash High – Friday at 7 p.m.
 I’ve been looking forward to this match up for the past month and it shouldn’t disappoint. Waynesburg (2-0, 2-0) thinks it can knock off Wash High (2-0, 2-0), while the Prexies have looked every bit as dominant as they were when Shai McKenzie was wearing blue and black.
The Raiders have scored 75 points through two games against Burgettstown and Brownsville, but those two opponents aren’t much to write home about. Wash High destroyed the Blue Devils last week and faced a new Derry team in Week One.

The thing about this Wash High team is they aren’t one-dimensional. It looks like the Prexies can turn to four different running backs, DeQuay Isbell has been exceptional in all three phases and the offensive line looks as dominant as expected.

Waynesburg will turn to Hunter Cenname and John-Glen Davis at running back. The hope will be to successfully run the football, create turnovers and win the battle up front. I doubt they can accomplish that. That’s not an insult to them, but this Wash High team is incredibly strong and I don’t think any Class AA team can match its speed.

Class A
Tri-County South
Jefferson-Morgan at Avella – 7 p.m.
This is not the best week for conference games. I was going to feature Canon-McMillan vs. Peters Township, but I don’t think the Big Macs can hang with the Indians and quarterback Cory Owen.

On the other hand, I’m interested to see how the Eagles (1-1, 1-1) match up against the Rockets (1-1, 1-1). Both teams lost to Frazier with wins over lesser opponents, but I’m giving the advantage in this one to Avella.

I’m very impressed with Eagles senior quarterback Santino Paris and his ability to read defenses. He can pick apart schemes and had a huge bounce back game against California Saturday night. In this conference, having good quarterback play is a rarity. That gives Avella the advantage, but I want to see where these two teams stand.

Right now, I see Beth-Center, Frazier and Mapletown as obviously playoff teams in the Tri-County South with the fourth spot up for grabs. These two are the biggest candidates to grab that spot and I think Avella positions itself nicely with a win Friday night.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

What we learned from Week Two

Beth-Center RB Anthony Welsh
Penn Hills 42, Canon-McMillan 7
Penn Hills is one of the best teams in Class AAAA and C-M is inexperienced. That’s a bad combination and the Big Macs now find themselves 0-2 in the Southeastern Conference. The tough schedule doesn’t stop with Peters Township this week and Bethel Park after that.

Upper St. Clair 35, Peters Township 13
Peters Township is the victim of a tough schedule and like C-M, inexperience. The Indians have not been able to get settled on offense with back-to-back games against Woodland Hills and USC. Sophomore running back TJ  Kpan had a nice game in Week Two, which bodes well for the success of the Indians’ offense. Now standing at 0-2 in the conference, it’s time for PT to pull off a string of wins if they want to find themselves in playoff contention. C-M waits in Week Three with a nonconference game next week against New Castle and Mt. Lebanon after that.

Class AAA
Laurel Highlands 55, Trinity 42: The Hillers fell behind early and could not gain their footing despite a 42-point outburst. The point total has to make Trinity feel good, but mistakes continue to creep up and cost them football games. Things don’t get easier with Elizabeth Forward this week. Trinity needs to beat EF and Albert Gallatin next week, which is very doable if the defense improves.

Ringgold 56, Uniontown 21: After a mistake-filled Week One loss at the hands of Thomas Jefferson, the Rams bounced back in a big way. The Rams’ offense was effective and they showed the toughness to back their size. Ringgold has Knoch in a nonconference game this week, which is a tune-up for a game at West Mifflin in Week Four. Getting defeated by TJ in Week One was discouraging, but Ringgold showed a lot with how it responded against Uniontown. This team has the potential to be great and we’ll learn where the Rams stand after they face WM.

Class AA
South Fayette 51, Keystone Oaks 7: Absolute dominance. The Lions have outscored their first two opponents by a combined 87 points and they get a nice test in Week Three against an underrated South Park squad. The Eagles defeated Quaker Valley in Week Two and are a program on the rise in Class AA. They still have to find a way to stop SF’s offense, which is highly unlikely.

McGuffey 45, Charleroi 0: The Cougars were overmatched and plagued by mental mistakes. On the other hand, McGuffey quarterback Nathan Whipkey was extremely effective and the Highlanders grabbed a huge win. Charleroi’s program is pointed in the right direction, but it ran into an angry McGuffey team that has a lot of potential if it stays healthy. The Highlanders have a nonconference match up with Mohawk this week with Southmoreland waiting in Week Four. Charleroi has Derry and is in a must-win situation after starting 0-2.

Washington 41, Burgettstown 12: What was more surprising: the Prexies only scoring 41 points or the Blue Devils avoiding a shutout? Either way, Wash High is clicking on all cylinders heading into a big game against Waynesburg. Speed and size will win that game for the Prexies. I don’t see them having much of a test with any team beside Mt. Pleasant in the Interstate Conference. Those two play in Week Five so circle that on the calendar.

Waynesburg 42, Brownsville 0: The Raiders dominated a decimated Brownsville program that is facing low numbers and has struggled mightily in recent years. Waynesburg has scored 75 points in two weeks, but facing Wash High this week is the first test. Can the Raiders match up with the Prexies’ size, strength and numbers? I don’t think so.

Class A
Brentwood 17, Fort Cherry 14: The Rangers’ inexperience showed in this game, but with how much they lost from 2013, their performance through two weeks is a testament to the coaching staff and seniors on the team. Fort Cherry escaped OLSH with a win and gave a talented Brentwood team a game. Moral victories don’t exist in a conference like the Black Hills. This week is a nonconference game against S.S. Beaver then a home game against Bishop Canevin, which is a game they must win. After that, it’s two straight against Avonworth and North Catholic.

North Catholic 49, Chartiers-Houston 0: An inexperienced Bucs team against the defending state champions. Not an easy one for Chartiers-Houston, which opened with Avonworth and NC – two of the better teams in Class A. it’s tough to measure where the team stands because of the competition it has faced. It will be interesting to see where C-H stands after a nonconference game with Western Beaver this week and a conference game against Northgate in Week Four.

Frazier 28, Jefferson-Morgan 7: The Commodores look solid again and J-M, like many other local teams, is battling inexperience. The Rockets have Avella in Week Three then a home game against California. This conference is wide open and it’s blurry where some teams stand. We should know more about J-M in two weeks.

Mapletown  30, Carmichaels 2: The Maples looked impressive in a Week One loss to Beth-Center and answered with a big win over the Mikes. Mapletown looks like a playoff team in the Tri-County South and has an easy game against West Green this week. Then comes a test against Frazier, which will be a game to watch.

Bentworth 35, West Greene 6: The result shows how far the Pioneers have fallen. WG was seen as a contender in the conference this season, but injuries have decimated the offense, which has lacked creativity through two games.

Avella 33, California 6: This is a big win for the Eagles and senior quarterback Santino Paris, who bounced back from an injury in Week One to lead Avella to a big win. Rumors circulated that he could have suffered a season-ending injury, but it was good to see Paris air it out Saturday night. He’s an impressive pro-style quarterback, who will garner Division II offers. I like Avella to make the playoffs, but as I said, it’s too early to tell where everyone stands in the conference.

Beth-Center 29, Greensburg C.C. 20: The Bulldogs almost lost this game because of missed opportunities and mental errors, but Beth-Center earned a huge win. This win shows that the Bulldogs are a top-five team in Class A with a deep backfield and a line that plays bigger than its size. Clairton and North Catholic are still the obvious top two teams in the classification, but Beth-Center is showing that it belongs.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Looking at Week Two matchups

Penn Hills at Canon-McMillan, 7:30 p.m.
Penn Hills is one of the top-five teams in Quad-A and the Big Macs are a young, inexperienced group. Canon-McMillan’s new offense is going to take a while for the players to grasp and Penn Hills is loaded offensively. Quarterback Billy Kisner and running back Te’Shan Campbell combined for 256 rushing yards and three touchdowns in a Week One victory over Upper St. Clair.
This is a mismatch, but I do see C-M improving every week. Switching from pro-style to a pure spread is a massive change and the team is not lacking talent.

Peters Township at Upper St.Clair, 7:30 p.m.
One of the best games this week. The Indians were unlucky by drawing Woodland Hills in Week One. Limiting the Wolverines to 27 points was better than expected, but the offense was stagnant. That will change this week. Both teams are young, but PT has the advantage with Cory Owen at quarterback.
Class AAA
Trinity at Laurel Highlands, 7:30 p.m.
The Hillers struggled in all three phases in their opening loss to Belle Vernon, while Laurel Highlands escaped with a 14-13 win over Elizabeth Forward.
Jimmy Pierce is workhorse in the backfield for the Spartans, but I like Trinity’s chances in this game. Forrest Cullings always gives them a chance to win, but they cannot continue to struggle on special teams and the defense has to be better.

Uniontown at Ringgold, 7:30 p.m.
It’s time for Ringgold’s potential to show. The Rams showed a few flashes of brilliance against Thomas Jefferson, but they were over matched at the point of attack and played poorly on special teams. The improvement from Week One to Week Two will be dramatic and look for the Rams to earn a statement win.

Class AA
Keystone Oaks at South Fayette, 7 p.m.
Keystone Oaks has a new head coach and a young team. That’s a recipe for disaster when facing defending state champion South Fayette at home. The Lions are great in all three phases and are loaded with talent yet again.
This won’t be much of a game.

McGuffey at Charleroi, 7 p.m.
Truly a game of contrasting styles. McGuffey runs an option spread and Charleroi runs a pass-happy spread offense. The Highlanders made a drastic second-half comeback that came up short at Mt. Pleasant after they failed to make adjustments to the Vikings’ wing-t. It also helped that Trevor Salopek sat out most of the second half with cramps. The Cougars lost a close one to Southmoreland because of an inability to stop the run and dropped passes. Those are things that can be cleaned up, but personnel wise, McGuffey has the advantage. They are big up front and look for Nathan Whipkey to have a big rushing performance.

Washington at Burgettstown, 7 p.m.
Another mismatch. This game will help the Prexies prepare for Waynesburg in Week Three. Wash High needs to clean up missed assignments, but all teams experience rust in Week One. Another big rushing performance for Malik Wells and Burgettstown is no match for Wash High’s speed.

Waynesburg at Brownsville, 7 p.m.
Brownsville is lacking numbers, athleticism and size up front. Waynesburg has all three and they are 
well-coached by Russ Moore. The Raiders use a stable of backs to exploit opponents and wear them down.

Brentwood at Fort Cherry, 7:30 p.m.
Brentwood has depth, which is an issue for Fort Cherry, but the Rangers showed a lot with their late comeback over OLSH. The Spartans have reached the WPIAL playoffs for six consecutive seasons and return Connor McWilliams at quarterback.
Fort Cherry is strong again this season, but I like Brentwood’s speed at the skill positions. Rangers head coach Jim Shiel has to feel great about the play of running back Nick Cook and receiver Alex Babirad in Week One. Those two will help ease the loss of Koltan Kobrys.

Chartiers-Houston at North Catholic, 7 p.m.
North Catholic is loaded. I have them ranked as the second best team in Class A behind Clairton and I fully expect the two to face each other at Heinz Field in November. Chartiers-Houston has some promising young talent, but this is a brutal Week Two game.

California at Avella, 7 p.m.
I’m picking Avella to win this game if senior quarterback Santino Paris is able to play. He got banged up in the Eagles’ Week One loss to Frazier. I don’t think anyone can give you a real opinion on California after a 70-0 loss to Clairton in Week One. This game will tell us where both teams stand in the Tri-County South.

Frazier at Jefferson-Morgan, 7 p.m.
Jefferson-Morgan caught a West Greene team in Week One that only has 18 healthy players and was without its top two running backs. The Rockets won because of a nice performance by running back Trevor Kniha, who had 143 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown. Frazier is big up front and Hunter Patterson is solid and the Commodores look like they have reloaded after losing quarterback Charles Manack.

West Greene at Bentworth, 7 p.m.
Right now, these might be the two weakest teams in the Tri-County South. The Pioneers are struggling with injuries and the Bearcats are lacking in several areas. I picked the Pioneers to win because of size and maybe they are healthier. Maybe.

Greensburg Central Catholic at Beth-Center, 7 p.m.
Beth-Center is loaded on both sides of the ball and GCC has the size advantage in the trenches. The Centurions’ backfield had no varsity experience before last Friday’s win over Monessen, while Beth-Center is easing a new quarterback in with Anthony Welsh and Nico Brown running the football.

This is as even a matchup you will find in Week Two. Beth-Center will need to create some turnovers and control time of possession to beat GCC, which dropped down from Class AA.

Monday, September 1, 2014

What did we learn from Week One?

DeQuay Isbell
Week One's slate of games is in the books and we finally have a clearer picture of what teams have and what question marks still remain.

I went out on a limb last week and picked Ringgold to end Thomas Jefferson's 51-game home winning streak. My thought process was the Rams had everything on both sides of the ball, while the Jaguars had a major question at quarterback and unproven talent on defense.

The game started with a poor kick return by Brandon Thomas where he did not take the ball up the field and gave the Rams poor field position. Ringgold went three-and-out and a bad punt gave TJ the ball in Rams territory.

It did not take long for Austin Kemp and the Jaguars to use a power running game for an early 7-0 lead. The way the Rams responded was perfect. Nico Law made a tremendous throw to Mayson Atkinson for a long touchdown.

That throw should show Ohio University and James Madison, Law's two scholarship offers, that the kid can play quarterback. He stood in the pocket and delivered a perfect strike.

Thomas Jefferson won this game by controlling the line of scrimmage and exploited Ringgold's run defense. Rams head coach Nick Milchovich was curious how his defense would respond against a rushing attack like TJ's. While Ringgold has speed, could they dig deep when teams ran right at them?

They failed the first test, but the season is far from over. Mistakes will be corrected and now the question is how will Ringgold respond? They face an improve Uniontown team this week at home.

South Fayette: I didn't have many concerns about the Lions and they did nothing in Week One to raise questions.

Roman Denson showed how deadly he is going to be in all three phases, Brett Brumbaugh was extremely efficient and the defense was stout. Facing Keystone Oaks this week will be a better challenge, but I don't see South Fayette having much of a challenge with them. Watch out for South Park in Week Three, but the Lions have the makings to repeat as WPIAL champs.

Wash High: Head coach Mike Bosnic limited Jordan West's touches because the junior is still getting accustomed to the large cast he is wearing from breaking a bone in his left hand.

It did not matter.

Malik Wells was tremendous, Jonathan Spina's experience is showing and DeQuay Isbell's big play ability was on display as the Prexies rolled to a Week One win. Yes, Derry was a bad team last season, but Tim Sweeney has improved the Trojans.

Wash High did not have much tape of Derry and the Trojans had so much to analyze, but talent won this game. Bosnic wants to see the Prexies clean up some mental mistakes. Burgettstown won't pose much of a threat this week, but Waynesburg will be a nice test in Week Three.

Beth-Center: I kept hearing about how improved Mapletown is from a year ago, but the Bulldogs showed they are the class of the Tri-County South.

Anthony Welsh and Nico Brown had big games and Beth-Center's defense put the Maples away. This was probably the Bulldogs' biggest test until they face Frazier in Week Six. Beth-Center will likely go undefeated in conference play, but facing Greensburg Central Catholic this week is a nice measuring stick.

McGuffey: This is the game I covered and I thought the Highlanders were done at halftime. They could not stop Mt. Pleasant's Trevor Salopek, had trouble running the football in the first half and they looked slow on defense.

McGuffey's second-half performance came up short, but James Duchi and Nathan Whipkey played great. Whipkey is a much better passer than I anticipated, which bodes well for the Highlanders' hopes of making the playoffs.

The defense has to improve though. The Vikings ran the jet sweep over and over again. When McGuffey finally adjusted, MP would run a counter for a substantial gain. It will be interesting to see how the Highlanders look against an improved Charleroi team this week.

Fort Cherry: A lot can be said about a late comeback against a heavily favored opponent on the road. I've heard conflicting reports on how this game actually ended, but the Rangers picked up a huge Week One victory over OLSH.

Nick Cook seems to be Koltan Kobrys' replacement in the backfield and Alex Babirad showed why he is one of the best receivers in the Black Hills Conference.

FC will face Brentwood this week, which will be one of the better games in Week Two.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Week One Results

Beth-Center 7 14 13 0 34
Mapletown 0 6 0 0 6
BC-Anthony Welsh 16-yard run (John Berdar kick) 4:45 1st
M-Dylan Rush 10-yard pass from Ben Boone (kick failed) 11:52 2nd
BC-Nico Brown 2-yard run (Berdar kick) 6:37 2nd
BC-Welsh 73-yard run (Berdar kick) 3:42 2nd
BC-Welsh 10-yard run (kick failed) 6:47 3rd
BC-Brown 33-yard run (Berdar kick) 3:23 3rd

Jeff-Morgan 0 7 7 0 14
West Greene 0 0 0 0 0
JM-Trevor Kniha 53-yard run (Bo Ricci kick) 3:17 2nd
JM-Aaron Weaver 84-yard run (Ricci kick) 3:05 3rd

Avella 0 0 0 0 0
Frazier 14 14 6 9 43
F-Hunter Patterson 5-yard run (Cox kick) 6:14 1st
F-Patterson 15-run (Cox kick) 4:16 1st
F-Alvin Ross 51-yard run (Cox kick) 6:18 2nd
F-Nate Zurcich 49-yard pass from Patterson (Cox kick) 2:345 2nd
F-Patterson 11-yard run (pass failed) 8:55 8:55 3rd
F-Caleb Cox 1-yard run (Cox kick) 5:42 4th
F-Safety, punt blocked :47 4th

Charleroi           0 14 10 0 24
Southmoreland 6 6 6 7 25
S-Jake Pisula 7-yard run (kick failed)
C-Rashaad Hairston 20-yard pass from Matt Carr (Sean Cole kick)
C-Brock Shannon 6-yard run (Cole kick)
S-Mateo Garner 4-yard run (run failed)
C-Shannon 83-yard kick return (Cole kick)
S-Brennan Brunner 3-yard run (kick failed)
C-Cole 32-yard field goal
S-Tommy Pisula (Kyle Rhodes kick)

Fort Cherry 7 7 6 7 27
OLSH 7 6 7 6 26
OLSH-Billy DePaul 30-yard pass from Joey Sabbs (John Truskowski kick) 6:13 1st
FC-Alex Babirad 14-yard pass from Anthony Panizza (Anthony Campion kick) 2:55 1st
FC-Nick Cook 14-yard run (Campion kick) 10:35 2nd
OLSH-Truskowski 8-yard run (kick failed) 9:19 2nd
FC-Cook 70-yard run (kick failed) 11:37 3rd
OLSH-Ryan Babot 26-yard pass from DePaul (Truskowski kick) 6:17 3rd
OLSH-DePaul 59-yard pass from Sabbs (kick failed) 3:18 4th
FC-Brian Carnegie recovered fumble in end zone (Campion kick) :17 4th

Monessen       0 6 0 6 12
Greesburg CC 6 6 0 3 15
GCC-Brian Pervanik 4-yard run (pass failed)
M-Demond Jordan 2-yard run (kick failed)
GCC-Pervanik 10-yard run (run failed)
M-Lavelle Rush 17-yard pass from Noah Rullo (pass failed)
GCC-Pervanik 26-yard FG

McGuffey    6 7 6 20 39
Mt. Pleasant 14 17 7 7 -– 40
McG: Nathan Whipkey, 5-yard run (Teague Nicolella kick no good) 3:30 1st
MP: Trevor Salopek, 12-yard run (Zach Bednar kick) 5:17 1st
MP: Salopek, 72-yard run (Bednar kick) 11:22 1st
MP: Salopek, 3-yard run (Bednar kick) 7:15 2nd
MP: Bednar 25-yard field goal 10:49 2nd
MP: Salopek, 52-yard interception return (Bednar kick) 11:37 2nd
McG: Steven Clemens, 90-yard kick-off return (Nicolella kick) 11:53 2nd
McG: Clemens, 5-yard run (Run failed) 5:01 3rd
MP: Chris Wagner, 13-yard run (Bednar kick) 9:57 3rd
McG: Whipkey, 9-yard run (Pass fail) 0:50 4th
MP: Brian Prinkey, 88-yard kick-off return (Bednar kick) 1:05 4th
McG: Shaun Sanders, 43-yard pass from Whipkey (Bednar) 3:34 4th
McG: James Duchi, 14-yard run (Nicolella kick) 8:53 4th

Burgettstown 0 0 0 6 –  6
Waynesburg 0 14 12 7 – 33
W—John-Glen Davis 9-yard run (Davis kick) 6:37 2nd
W—Dom Sarra, 40-yard pass from Davis (Davis kick) 1:49 2nd
W—Hunter Cenname, five-yard run (kick failed) 7:26 3rd
W—Cenname, 12-yard run (kick failed) 2:15 3rd
W—Cenname, seven-yard run (Davis kick) 7:50
B—Robert Dupain, 35-yard run (run failed) 1:18 4th

Clairton 32 16 14 8 – 70
California 0 0 0 0 –  0
Cl—Lamont Wade, 70-yard run (Aaron matthews run) 11:48 1st
Cl—Matthews, 29-yard run (Harrison Dreher run) 7:46 2nd
Cl—Dreher, 13-yard run (Wade run) 1:31 1st
Cl—Matthews, 61-yard pass from Ryan Williams (James Hines pass from Williams) :10 1st
Cl—Matthews, 72-yard punt return (Hines pass from Williams) 10:06 2nd
Cl—Dreher, 18-yard run (Dreher run) 6:30 2nd
Cl—Wade, 69-yard punt return (run failed) 7:57 3rd
Cl—Hines, 53-yard pass from Williams (Matthews pass from Williams) 3:21 3rd
Cl—Dreher, 70-yard run (Matthews pass from Williams) 7:11 4th

Woodland Hills       7 20 0 0 – 27
Peters Township       0 0 0 0 –  0
WH—Miles Sanders, 20-yard run (Darren Cooper kick) :51 1st
WH—Arthur Tompkins 80-yard interception return (Cooper kick) 9:21 2nd
WH—Sanders, 30-yard run (kick failed) 7:30 2nd
WH—Arthur Tomkins, 47-yard run (Cooper kick) 1:03 2nd

Canon-McMillan 0 0 0 0 –  0
Mt. Lebanon       21 19 0 0 – 40
ML–Eddie Jenkins, 19-yard run (Robbie Constantino kick)
ML–Alex Englert, 4-yard pass from Jenkins (Constantino kick)
ML–Shanbe Lefebvre, 18-yard pass from Jenkins (Constantino kick)
ML–Englert, 45-yard pass from Jenkins (kick failed)
ML–Lefebvre, fumble return for touchdown (kick failed)
ML–Joye Stabile, 95-yard run (Constantino kick)

Belle Vernon 19 6 20 0 – 45
Trinity 0 7 0 7 – 14
BV–Marcel McKaskill 96-yard kick return (Derek Verkleeren kick) 11:46 1st
BV–Anthony Levis three-yard run (kick missed) 7:50 1st
BV–Zac Spate 10-yard run (run failed) 0:00 1st
BV–Verkleeren 16-yard pass from Travis Snyder (run failed) 4:24 2nd
T–Sam Trapuzzano 13-yard pass from Forest Cullings (Trapuzzano kick) 0:45 2nd
BV–Luke Durigon 10-yard run (run failed) 7:06 3rd
BV–Levis 11-yard run (Verkleeren kick) 5:12 3rd
BV–Timmy Labuda 12-yard pass from Snyder (Verkleeren kick) 1:04 3rd
T–Robert West two-yard run (Trapuzzano kick) 9:05 4th

E. Allegheny   6 0 0 0 –  6
South Fayette 28 7 14 0 – 49
SF – Roman Denson, 57-yard pass from Brett Brumbaugh (Dan Trimbur kick) 9:52 1st
SF – Ryan Schmider, 23-yard interception return (Trimbur kick) 9:36 1st
SF – J.J. Walker, 5-yard run (Trimbur kick) 7:02 1st
SF – Hunter Hayes, 1-yard run (Trimbur kick) 5:34 1st
EA – Taizjon Brown, 1-yard run (pass failed) :53 1st
SF – Hayes, 5-yard run (Trimbur kick) 5:02 2nd
SF – Logan Sharp, 2-yard pass from Brumbaugh (Trimbur kick) 10:29 3rd
SF – Hayes, 14-yard run (Trimbur kick) 3:05 3rd

Derry       0 6 0 0 – 6
Washington 7 20 21 0 – 48
WHS-Jonathan Spina, one-yard run (Spina kick) :05 1st
Derry-Jaymie Howe, 7-yard pass from Trey Friedline (kick failed) 8:03 2nd
WHS-Dequay Isbell, 72-yard kickoff return (Spina kick) 7:52 2nd
WHS-Malik Wells, four-yard run (Spina kick) 1:57 2nd
WHS-Kenya Davis, 30-yard pass from Spina (kick failed) 1:40 2nd
WHS-Kurt Adkins, 34-yard run (Adkins run) 9:47 3rd
WHS-Wells, 41-yard run (kick failed) 7:14 3rd
WHS-Wells, 36-yard run (Spina kick) 1:56 3rd

Bentworth    6 7 0 0 – 13
Carmichaels 0 12 6 12 –  30
Bent–Phillip Stahlman, 42-yard pass from Josh Hughes (kick failed) 10:00 1st
Car–Mike Blasinsky, 4-yard run (kick failed) 11:20 2nd
Car–Blasinsky, 1-yard run (run failed) 5:10 2nd
Bent–Stahlman, 13-yard pass from Hughes (Levi Jordan kick) :07
Car–Blasinky, 6-yard run (run failed) 1:17 3rd
Car–Brody Blaker, 61-yard pass from Coty Allen (run failed) 8:31 4th
Car–Allen, 13-yard run (run failed) 2:52 4th

Avonworth 7 7 13 10 – 37
Char-Houston 0 6 0 7 –  13
A–Kevin Simpson, 4-yard run (Cole Pappas kick) 1st
A–Paul Heflin, 27-yard interception return (Pappas kick) 2nd
CH–Spencer Terling, 6-yard run (kick failed) 2nd
A–Jamal Hughley, 52-yard run (Pappas kick) 3rd
A–Simpson, 3-yard run (kick failed) 3rd
A–Brandon Wasko, 7-yard run (Pappas kick) 4th
CH–Austiin Warchol, 22-yard pass from Alec Ferrari (Cushma kick) 4th
A–Pappas, 25-yard field goal