Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Week 5 wrap

So this much we know after Week 5:

*South Fayette could be the best team in Class AA. To make such short work of Seton-La Salle, a team many had pegged as at least a WPIAL semifinalist -- still could be, of course -- says a lot. Plus, how do you cover South Fayette's receivers? SLS didn't figure it out.

*Wash High turned a major corner Friday. Beat the teams you should beat, like the Prexies did en route to an 8-3 season last year, great. Builds morale. Fun to watch. All that stuff. But they're now solidly in the conversation with Aliquippa, South Fayette, Seton-La Salle, all the Class AA's best.

*Monessen isn't done yet. The O-R sports staff laughed at me when I picked them to beat Bishop Canevin, but this team is too good to have a poor performance followed by another poor performance. Now the Greyhounds have the inside track on the No. 2 slot in the Black Hills.

*We also watched two teams get their first win of the season: Canon-Mac and Bentworth. Canon-Mac hadn't won for 20 games, and Bentworth won for the first time in five, though the Bearcats' lone victory last season came in Week 9. Always happy to see a goose egg erased.

Here's what else you should remember about Week 5:

Game balls, 10 of 'em (little different this week):

QB Chavas Rawlins, Monessen -- Monessen needed to bounce back from an ugly loss to Clairton, and Rawlins made that happen, completing 9 of 20 passes for 197 yards and three touchdowns during a 28-21 upset of Bishop Canevin.
WR Clintell Gillespie, Monessen -- Caught two of those touchdown passes -- part of an eight-catch, 171-yard day -- and also ran 11 yards for the winning score in the fourth quarter.
QB Brett Brumbaugh, South Fayette -- Playing his older brother, Luke, lil' bro' completed 21 of 34 passes for 378 yards and four touchdowns during a 51-12 win over Seton-La Salle.
WR Zach Challingsworth, South Fayette -- Pitt recruit caught nine of those passes for 136 yards and a touchdown. Part of a South Fayette receiving corps that had three players eclipse 100 yards.
RB Josh Mundell, Carmichaels -- I said I thought Mundell would have a big game, and he made me look like I know what I'm doing: 10 carries, 142 yards and four TDs during a 36-8 win over Mapletown. Much appreciated, Josh.
RB Ben Carlisle, Bentworth -- Scored five touchdowns three different ways -- rushing, receiving and a blocked punt recovery -- during the Bearcats' 57-28 win over Vincentian. Had an area-best 263 yards on the ground.
DB Daron Whitaker, Washington -- Blocked the punt that Shai McKenzie returned that delivered one of the more improbable victories in Wash High history: 18-15, over visiting Jeannette.
WR/DB Corey Hunsberger, Trinity -- Kid's as versatile as they come. During Trinity's 50-14 win over Laurel Highlands, Hunsberger caught a touchdown, ran for another and returned an interception for a third score.
RB Jules Gdovic, Canon-McMillan -- Caught a touchdown pass and also threw one, as Canon-Mac snapped a 20-game losing streak with a 16-13 victory over Plum.
Avella OL  -- Allowed the Eagles back to pile up 338 rushing yards during a 59-6 win over Geibel on Saturday. Those fellas, left to right: LT Joey Yates, LG Jerad Saffell, C Derek Allen, RG Shawn Carl, RT Andrew Haskakis/Kaleb Ware.

Team of the week: South Fayette
Coach Joe Rossi talked after South Fayette's 51-12 thrashing of Seton-La Salle about how his team was grateful to be in the position that it was in. Not sure the Rebels were all that grateful to be in the way Friday night. SF led, 21-0, before the game was four minutes old, and South Fayette displayed an aerial attack that few teams around here will be able to hand. A strong, mobile and accurate quarterback, two solid backs and four receivers who don't seem to drop anything and are always open. Yikes. Good luck opposing teams. A statement of dominance if ever there were one.

Runner-Up: Monessen
This one is on Chavas Rawlins. And I mean that in a good way, too. I walked the Monessen sideline for the second half of the Clairton loss and saw Rawlins [not pleased]. Can't blame him. A tough loss, for sure. But what a response. Nearly 200 yards through the air, three touchdowns and a key road win that I don't think a lot of people thought Monessen could pull off. As a result, Monessen now has some nice momentum at the season's midpoint.

Game of the week: Jeannette at Wash High
A blocked punt that provides the winning score with less than 30 seconds left generally gives your game a leg up in this category. I'm glad I got to see South Fayette and how explosive the Lions can be, but I'm also kind of kicking myself for not going to this one. Oh well. Live and learn. Something tells me I'll have a few more chances with Wash High this season. My question about this game, though, was this: Less than 30 seconds left, fourth down, had a 6-yard punt already, at midfield ... what would you do? Jeannette chose punt. I think I would do the same, though I'm not in love with that decision. Tough decision either way.

Hot and cold (three of each):
Trinity -- 3-1 in the conference with games the next two weeks against 1-4 teams? Should be some fun practices for first-year head coach Ryan Coyle.
South Fayette -- Can someone besides Aliquippa beat South Fayette? Me thinks not. Dominant every week ... 252-24 score differential, with half of those coming Friday.
Avella -- As I tweeted earlier, The New York Times is working on a follow-up to the 2008 story about the once-downtrodden program. Good things happen when you're 5-0.

Peters Township - After Friday's 29-6 loss to Bethel Park -- a game that meant a lot when it comes to the No. 4 spot in the Class AAAA Southeastern Conference, the Indians have now lost two of their past three.
Chartiers-Houston -- Another close loss sends the Bucs to 1-4, this one an overtime loss to Brentwood for a second straight year.
Fort Cherry -- 65-0 to Clairton made three straight Ls, the last two by a combined 100-7. Oh, and Canevin this week. Trouble in Ranger Land.

Quote of the week: "We've had a couple of miracles here, but nothing this dramatic in such a big game. We got lucky at the end," Wash High coach Mike Bosnic.

Weird stat of the week: Trinity WR/RB/KR/PR/DB/P Corey Hunsberger has scored seven touchdowns this season ... five different ways. Two interception returns for a touchdown; two receiving scores; one kick return; one fumble recovery; and one rushing touchdown. He also punts, averaging 33.4 yards per kick.

Looking ahead: Sort of a letdown after this week. Peters Township, Ringgold, Wash High, South Fayette and Monessen all have games that, at least on paper, should not be close. Beth-Center should finally be challenged, as it travels to Jefferson-Morgan, a 20-13 winner over Frazier. After scoring 60-plus two straight weeks and getting a forfeit win in Week 2, Beth-Center has the Tri-County South's top teams the next three weeks: at J-M, vs. Frazier, vs. Avella.

Trinity welcomes Belle Vernon in a game that many thought would decide the No. 4 spot in the Big Nine. Now it appears Trinity (3-1 in conference), Elizabeth Forward (3-2) and Ringgold (3-2) will slug it out for two of the final three spots, with Trinity and Ringgold meeting in Week 9.

This week we had Canon-Mac and Bentworth earn First Wins. Same could happen for Charleroi when the Cougars travel to Waynesburg (1-4). 

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