5 things to watch in Week 6 of the high school football season
Thursday, October 3, 2019 | 6:30 PM
Thomas Jefferson coach Bill Cherpak likes this week’s matchup but not necessarily the timing.
The Jaguars take a break from their Big Eight schedule to visit undefeated Central Valley, the second-ranked team in WPIAL Class 3A. With the playoffs fast approaching, how should a team tackle a tough nonconference matchup that’s ultimately meaningless in the standings?
Cherpak and Central Valley’s Mark Lyons aren’t the only coaches asking that question this week.
Among the others, Mt. Lebanon visits Upper St. Clair, and Jeannette visits Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.
Those three nonconference games rank among the best matchups in Week 6.
All six teams are ranked in the WPIAL.
“It’s tough,” said Cherpak, whose Jaguars are the top-ranked Class 4A team in the WPIAL and PIAA. “Obviously, you’re going out to compete and win. That’s just what we do.
“But at the same time, you’re guarded. If a kid gets banged up or nicked up at all, he’s out. There’s not even a question. We have a few kids who probably won’t even play. It’s just not worth the risk.”
2. Wilson nears top 10
Sto-Rox quarterback Eric Wilson steadily has climbed the list of all-time WPIAL passers and soon could catch a former Vikings star.
The senior has 6,557 career yards and stands 184 behind Sto-Rox great Adam DiMichele, who graduated in 2004 as the WPIAL record holder. DiMichele’s 6,741 yards rank 10th all-time as WPIAL teams throw more than ever.
Wilson has averaged 306 yards this season, so he could catch DiMichele on Friday night when winless Rochester (0-6) visits Sto-Rox (6-0). Wilson leads the WPIAL this season with 1,839 passing yards.
3. Tri-County South clash
West Greene’s romp through the Tri-County South might face a test this week.
The Pioneers, who feature the WPIAL’s leading rusher and average 56 points, host California at 7 p.m. Friday.
California (4-2, 3-0) was the only conference team to defeat West Greene (6-0, 5-0) last season. The Trojans won 24-14.
4. Gaining an advantage
This could be an important week in Class 5A with key games in all three conferences.
The top matchups include Peters Township (6-0, 3-0) at Moon (4-2, 2-1) in the Allegheny Eight, Franklin Regional (3-1, 2-0) at Gateway (5-1, 2-1) in the Big East and Mars (4-2, 2-1) at North Hills (4-2, 3-0) in the Northern.
But it’s not only the conference title races that these matchups will impact.
Finishing first or second in Class 5A guarantees a home game in the playoffs. Finish third, and that team could start the postseason on the road.
5. Saturday night lights?
WPIAL football and Friday nights are synonymous, but that excitement sometimes carries over to the weekend.
There are 10 WPIAL teams playing a Saturday game in Week 6, an unusually large number because Beaver and McKeesport are celebrating homecoming.
Also, OLSH is playing a rare Saturday home game against Jeannette. The Chargers use Moon’s football stadium, and the Tigers play at home Friday night.
Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .