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.

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