Thursday, October 2, 2014

Humbert's return highlights Week 6

Week 6 features several games that hold playoff implications, but the most intriguing will be in WPIAL Class AAA’s Big Nine Conference. Belle Vernon head coach Matt Humbert returns to Ringgold to face his former team and its new head, Nick Milchovich.

Nico Law has become the player Humber envisioned when the two started working together three years ago. Chacar Berry has developed into one of the best all-around tailbacks in Class AAA. The offensive and defensive lines are championship caliber.

What isn’t there to like about Ringgold? The loss to Thomas Jefferson? The Jaguars have done that to every team this season and that was Week 1. Every coach will tell you the biggest improvement a team makes is from the first week to the second week.

I covered Ringgold’s game two weeks ago against West Mifflin and I expected a tight game. The
Titans had a solid rushing attack with an effective quarterback and a solid defense. The Rams dominated them at the point of attack and West Mifflin was overmatched.

Expect the same thing Friday night. Humbert had Travis Snyder returning at quarterback, but the senior has thrown five interceptions. Turning the ball over is not an option against a team like Ringgold. The Rams will drain the clock and dominate time of possession against any team that is reckless with the football.

This is almost a must-win for the Leopards (2-2, 2-3). They lost two straight games to Holidaysburg and West Mifflin. Stretching that losing streak to three could be devastating for a young team like that. With Elizabeth Forward remaining on the schedule, Humbert has to be getting nervous. Belle Vernon has to win at least three out of its four final conference games.

This won’t be one of them. Law has played extremely well this season. He is playing like a Division I-caliber quarterback with leadership, effectiveness (zero interceptions) and versatility (14 total touchdowns). Berry is only a junior and paired with freshman Brandon Small, the Rams’ backfield is one of the best in the WPIAL.

Did I mention anything about the linemen? Biggest, most physically dominating group I’ve seen since Cleveland Glenville High School’s in 2007. With guys like Aaron Szakal, Gage Ivory and Bobby Duda; Ringgold wears teams down.

They’re fundamentally sound on defense and the small mistakes the team made against TJ have been cleaned up. Special teams has not been an issue, protecting Law has been seamless and they are multi-dimensional on offense.

Can you tell I’m very high on the Rams? I believe they have everything a program needs to take home the title at Heinz Field. Typing that is much easier than the grueling road to accomplish that monumental achievement.

Beth-Center at Frazier

Now that Clairton exposed Greensburg Central Catholic, this is arguably the Bulldogs’ first test of the season. Yes, the Centurions have a lot of talent, but this is a conference game on the road in Week 6 against a tough, hungry opponent.

The Commodores have seen Beth-Center dominate the Tri-County South for the last six years. Hunter Patterson brings another dimension to Frazier’s offense and they are strong up front. Beth-Center allowed GCC to stay in their Week 2 matchup by committing untimely penalties.

Head coach Ed Woods attributes that to the new way officials are calling games with an emphasis on head-to-head contact, but a penalty is a penalty. They hurt no matter how they are committed. Doing that against the Commodores will cost them this game, but the backfield led by Anthony Welsh gives B-C the edge.

Steel Valley at South Fayette

No, I don’t think the Lions are in danger of losing this game. I just think it’s worth mentioning that Brett Brumbaugh is likely to break two monumental records – WPIAL all-time leader in passing yards and passing touchdowns.

I’m disappointed I won’t be covering this game because I’m anxious to get a look at South Fayette. The top-three teams in Class AA are SF, Aliquippa and Wash High. In what order though? It’s going to be exciting to see how that unfolds.

Mapletown at Jefferson-Morgan

The third and fourth playoff spots in the Tri-County South are wide open. This is a chance for one team to create some separation. I like the Maples in this game. Call it a hunch, but the Rockets won a thrilling game over Bentworth last week after a slow start. Mapletown’s running game won’t allow J-M to pull off another late comeback.

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