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.

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