Greetings, folks, and happy Thursday to you. Should be a good one tonight ... heading out to Monessen to see the Greyhounds play Clairton, as the Bears look to extend their unbeaten streak to 51 games.
But before that, here's a little snapshot of Week 4. Also, should say that I talked to Mike Kovak for awhile this week. The Legend is doing well, says hi to all you folks. I picked Kovak's brain on a couple things, a lot on how to get some direction on this blog.
So, you might notice a few changes: more themed posts, with certain categories, etc. For example, the weekend preview will now include several components: Five to watch, Game to watch (other than the GOTW), Team with the most to gain, Team with the most to lose and Sleeper pick of the weekend (i.e. the team that will probably give me a loss in the weekly picks).
Before we get started, please let me know if you'd like to see something else here -- or things organized differently. But I thought we lacked some format, instead of my free write posts.
Five to watch:
RB Shai McKenzie, Washington -- McKenzie has dominated every week, including running for 213 yards and four touchdowns during last week's 64-14 home win over Charleroi. Total of 551 and 10. But I'm guessing Mike Bosnic would like to see McKenzie carry a heavier load this week at Yough, more than his typical average of 10 carries per game.
RB Donnie White, West Greene -- West Greene hosts Frazier Friday night, and the Commodores gave up 17-107-1TD to Josh Mundell of Carmichaels in Week 2, 107 to Ben Carlisle of Bentworth last week. Good news for White, who has been over 100 yards each week with totals of 335 yards and four touchdowns.
RB James Duschi, McGuffey -- Duschi helped McGuffey end a 12-game losing streak with 228 yards and a TD during a 29-20 win at Quaker Valley in Week 3. The Highlanders have another winnable game this week at home against Freedom (1-2 Class AA Midwestern, 1-2).
QB Nico Law, Ringgold -- Quad Law's younger brother made his first career start last week during a 34-2 win at Belle Vernon. He completed 6 of 10 for 62 yards and ran 10 times for 83 yards and a score. The youngster should have some of those first-game jitters out of the way when Ringgold plays at Uniontown on Friday night.
RB Koltan Kobrys, Fort Cherry -- Kobrys has carried the ball 76 times for 568 yards and four touchdowns the first three weeks, more than all but two RBs in the WPIAL: P.J. Fulmore of North Catholic, 81; and Brentwood's Justin Vickless, with 89. Fort Cherry has a huge game this week at Brentwood (see below), who will no doubt be expecting -- and rightfully so -- Kobrys to run it a lot. But, if you're Fort Cherry, do you care? Can they stop him?
Game to watch (other than the GOTW): Imani Christian at Chartiers-Houston, Friday, 7:30 p.m.
The Bucs have been tough to read thus far, with losses to Clairton and Bishop Canevin by two and six points. Imani surprised a lot of folks with a 25-14 win at Brentwood last Saturday. Where does Imani Christian fit into the Class A Black Hills, top or bottom? Your guess is as good as mine. Same goes for whether Chartiers-Houston belongs in the same class as Clairton, Monessen and Bishop Canevin. Someone -- Brentwood, Fort Cherry or Char-Houston -- will have to step up and take that No. 4 spot, and this week could go a long way toward determining who that will be. Bucs will need a big game from QB Kalib Susko (21 of 39, 344 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT).
Team with the most to gain: Peters Township (at Shaler, Friday, 7:30 p.m.)
Peters Township won its first two games against Baldwin and Penn Hills. Good wins, sure. But the Indians got clobbered by Upper St. Clair last week, 42-14. Then again, a lot of teams get clobbered by Upper St. Clair. Here's a winnable game against an 0-3 Shaler team that was blown out, 42-8, by North Hills last week. A win puts the Indians at 3-1 in in the Class AAAA Southeastern Conference and 3-1 overall, with games the next two weeks against Bethel Park and Plum, teams that are a combined 1-5 so far. Expect RB Mike Minjock to run for more yards than the xx he did against the Panthers.
Team with the most to lose: Fort Cherry (at Brentwood, Friday, 7:30 p.m.)
Fort Cherry opened with wins over Carlynton and California, but as things move along it looks more and more like those are games a program like Fort Cherry should -- has to -- win. In Brentwood, the Rangers get a team that has lost two straight, to Monessen and Imani Christian. Brentwood, mind you, is a team many thought would be one of the top three teams in the Black Hills. Guessing the Spartans are none too happy about dropping two straight. And the kicker: Fort Cherry has to travel to Clairton next week. A loss here could possibly mean a three-game losing streak, destroying any momentum generated early on.
Sleeper pick of the weekend: Monessen (vs. Clairton, Thursday, 7 p.m.)
If Clairton is going to lose to anyone in the regular season, this appears to be the time. There aren't too many tougher places to play than Monessen, though it appears the Greyhounds weren't exactly running on all cylinders offensively last week despite putting up 49 points in a win over Fort Cherry. You also have to figure that few teams have the athletes and team speed to match up with Clairton; Monessen is one of those. If Chavas Rawlins can make some plays with his arm -- no one doubts his running ability -- I think Monessen has a chance. I nearly took Monessen in my weekly picks, but it's awfully tough to pick against a team that has won 50 straight games.