MSA Sports Big Game Hunting – Week Six

Week six just like that and while everyone in town is thinking about baseball we need to focus on the stretch run as it is just around the corner for the WPIAL football season. It is time to start jockeying for position, wins for your team and for teams your team has already beaten become bigger and bigger now as you hope to convince the playoff seeding committee of your team’s worthiness. Take care of your business and it will matter not what others think or believe about your team. That is the best thing about high school football, we play it out, win and your ranking has no bearing whatsoever on your chance at the crown.

AAAA Southeastern Conference:
#8 Bethel Park Black Hawks (4-1)(4-1) at #9 Penn Hills Indians (4-1)(3-1) Friday October 4th at 7:30 PM @ Andrew Yuhas Stadium in Penn Hills, PA. Broadcast on the MSA Sports Network by Matt Vandriak and Mike Krcil

John Peterman’s Indians enter this game fresh off a nice non-conference win at Martorelli over North Hills last week winning 21-17. That win is a big step toward getting the taste of their week four drubbing at the hands of USC out of their mouths. Bethel Park meanwhile still has that fierce USC team looming on their schedule coming up next week. They cannot afford to overlook this Penn Hills team if they hope to have that USC game mean anything for the conference title.

Penn Hills is 4-1 but they have struggled at times, their defense is letting up 21 points per game on the year, and their passing game has at times been almost non-existent. Oddly the beating they took from USC might have brought about some good for the Indians as USC shut down the Penn Hills running game so emphatically the Indians were forced to take some steps in that passing game. Billy Kisner threw a touchdown pass in the win over North Hills in addition to running for a score. Kisner completed 9 passes for 108 yards in that loss to USC. If that number continues to improve the Indians will become a much more balanced football team and much more difficult to defend. Their running game is already top-notch.

Kisner has rushed for 661 yards and six touchdowns while Isaiah Jones has tallied another 529 yards and five touchdowns of his own.

Bethel has pretty good balance between Levi Metheny at quarterback and Alex Minton who has over 400 yards rushing. Metheny threw for a touchdown and ran for one in the Hawks’ 24-0 blanking of Peters Township last week. The sophomore southpaw has thrown for over 300 yards and three touchdowns. Danny Emma is a big-time playmaker on both sides of the ball for Bethel Park. He leads the team in receiving yards and has a tremendous nose for the football in the Bethel secondary.

Zach Enick is a tough runner and receiver as well for Jeff Metheny’s team.

This game like so many will be affected largely by the battle in the trenches. The Hawks may get a break if Penn Hills is still without defensive tackle Joe Navari who has missed significant time with a knee injury.

AAA Parkway Conference:
#4 Central Valley Warriors (4-1)(4-1) at #10 Moon Tigers (4-1)(4-1) Friday October 4th at 7:30 PM @ Moon Tiger Stadium on the campus of Moon High School. Broadcast on the MSA Sports Network by Adam Hoerner

The Central Valley defense has been splendid all season long, even in their tough 13-7 loss on the road last week to top-ranked West Allegheny. Ryan Roberson returned an interception 60 yards for the Warriors only score of the game. The offense struggled against the West Allegheny defense, they managed just three first downs and did not get their first, first down until there were only five minutes to play in the third quarter. Nate Climo did not finish out the game against West A at quarterback. There was no word on whether his absence in the fourth quarter was injury related or just an attempt to by the Central Valley coaching staff to spark their team. John George struggled as well against the swarming defense of Bob Palko’s Indians.

Moon is a team that is opening a lot of eyes around the WPIAL.  They handled Hopewell last week 40-14 behind Cole Blake’s 139 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. For the season Blake has rushed for almost 700 yards and six touchdowns.

Aleksi Yaramus handles the quarterbacking duties for Moon and has been solid completing  over 60 % of his passes, including three scoring strikes.

Ian Kelly is a dual threat for Moon both receiving and running the football.

The Tiger defense is allowing less than 19 points per game, but they did allow DiMontae Bronaugh to rush for 174 yards last week. They will need to shore up that run defense heading into this game with Central Valley.

The Warriors run game should not be judged by last week’s trouble with West Allegheny. The trio of Jordan Whitehead, JaQuan Pennington and Preston Johnson are formidable and they will combine to make for a very tough test for Moon’s defense. Both Whithead and Pennington have rushed for over 300 yards despite being held to a combined 25 last week.

Climo or George, whichever one starts at quarterback will do their level best to get the ball to that threesome in the passing game as well. 

AA Century Conference:
#3 South Fayette Lions (5-0)(5-0) at #10 Quaker Valley Quakers (5-0)(5-0) Friday October 4th at 7:00 PM @ Chuck Knox Stadium on the campus of Quaker Valley High School. Broadcast on the MSA Sports Network by Troy Clardy and Brandon Showers

South Fayette keeps rising to the occasion, and by rising I mean throwing. Quarterback Brett Brumbaugh is 6th in the WPIAL in passing yards with 986. He has completed 60 of 92 passes, and tossed a dozen touchdowns already this year.

He has spread the ball around very nicely with three receivers in double digits led by Justin Watson;s 20 catches for 469 yards and seven touchdowns.

Running back Grant Fetchet gets the bulk of the work on the ground to the tune of 56 carries for 577 yards, he has scored ten touchdowns on the year.

The Lions are scoring 52.2 points per game and only allowing 6.2 both of those numbers are tops in the conference for the year.

Quaker Valley is 5-0. The Quakers are finding a way to win some pretty close games including squeaking out a 14-7 win against a pretty tough Steel Valley team last Friday.

The Quakers have benefitted greatly from the co-op with Cornell. They have benefitted even more from the emergence of junior quarterback Dane Jackson who is flat out spectacular with the ball in his hands. Jackson gets it done primarily on the ground for Quaker Valley with 663 yards rushing on the season and five touchdowns.

The Quakers have spread the ball around with Trewon Marshall, Gennaro Travato and Aaron Cunningham all having scored at least five times on the year.

Quaker Valley is very strong up front with experience and size in the trenches helping to get that ground game going. Matt O’Neil (5’9’’ 235 pound center) and Sebastion Gordon (6’2’’ 265 pound tackle) exuding the senior leadership and toughness that has Quaker Valley on the verge of making the playoffs for just the fifth time in school history.

The test gets very tough against South Fayette, Quaker Valley will find out just where they stand in their quest to become one of the best teams in the WPIAL. Find a way to hang with the Lions and the heads will really start turning towards Leetsdale.

A Eastern Conference:
#2 Cardinal Weurl North Catholic Trojans (5-0)(5-0) at #4 Avonworth Antelopes (5-0)(4-0) Friday October 4th at 7:30 PM @ Lenzner Field in Pittsburgh, PA. Broadcast on the MSA Sports Network by Greg Warnock and Greg Kuntz

We all knew North Catholic was going to have a great running back heading into this 2013 campaign. We all thought it was going to be P.J. Fulmore who has battled an ankle injury all season long and has just 7 carries for the season including none since week one. The Trojans though have answered the bell with junior Jerome Turner stepping up in a big way. Turner has 548 yards and 14 touchdowns on the year to go with his 52 carries. After a tight win in week one over Apollo-Ridge the Trojans have rolled all-comers in the Eastern conference. For the year they are scoring 43 points per game and allowing just under 13.

Quarterback Adam Sharlow has completed 37 of 68 passes for 701 yards and five touchdowns. His favorite target is last years starting quarterback Ryan Kirby who has a dozen catches for 181 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Sharlow is also a threat to run the ball with 463 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.

Ryan Long anchors both sides of the line of scrimmage for North, with tremendous help from Ronnie Meder.

Avonworth’s story is very similar to North Catholic’s. The Lopes have rolled all-comers and had one close game, it was last week against Apollo-Ridge, a 35-27 Avonworth win.

Make no mistake this game is for the Eastern conference title, and the very nice seed that will come with being the undefeated champion of a solid conference.

Avonworth is getting all they could ask for from senior quarterback Matt Donovan who has hooked up on 44 of 76 passes for 707 yards and ten touchdowns while only tossing two interceptions. He has also rushed for over a hundred yards.

Donovan is always looking for Jesse Zubik who has caught a team high 17 passes for 244 yards and has also scored six touchdowns on the year.

On the ground Moses Giles, who is also a huge contributor to the Lopes defense has carried the ball an impressive 96 times for 489 tough yards and scored 10 touchdowns. He also has eight receptions for 166 yards.

Giles, Dalton Day, Andrew Broadus and Andrew Cleary anchor a tough ‘Lopes defense that is allowing an Eastern conference low of just 9.2 points per game.