A-K Valley don’t-miss football games for Week 5
Wednesday, September 25, 2019 | 4:16 PM
Class 5A Big East
Plum (2-3, 1-3) at No. 1 Penn-Trafford (4-1, 3-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday at Warrior Stadium
Last week: McKeesport 62, Plum 40; Massillon, Ohio 42, Penn-Trafford 21
Coaches: Matt Morgan, Plum; John Ruane, Penn-Trafford
Players to watch: Jacob Miller, Plum (So., 6-0, 175, QB); Gabe Dunlap, Penn-Trafford (Sr., 6-1, 170, QB)
Four downs: 1. Penn-Trafford returns to Harrison City after a game in Ohio last week. The Warriors gave national power Massillon all it could handle in the first half and racked up yardage despite some key injuries. 2. Dunlap completed 16 of 25 passes for a career-high 260 yards and a touchdown and also ran for two scores. 3. Plum has been in some games early but has not been able to slow teams down. The Mustangs are allowing 33.6 points a game. 4. Miller threw for 215 yards and Logan Brooks caught a touchdown pass and returned a kickoff for another score against McKeesport.
Extra point: Ruane and Morgan both were assistants at Gateway but just missed coaching together.
Class 5A Northern
Kiski Area (2-3, 1-3) at Hampton (2-3, 2-2)
7 p.m. Friday at Fridley Field, Allison Park
On the air: TribHSSN.triblive.com
Last week: Penn Hills 7, Kiski Area 3; Fox Chapel 16, Hampton 13
Coaches: Sam Albert, Kiski Area; Jacque DeMatteo, Hampton
Players to watch: Lebryn Smith, Kiski Area (Fr., 6-2, 150, QB/ATH/FS); Luke Lindgren, Hampton (Sr., 6-1, 195, RB)
Four downs: 1. The Cavaliers ran the ball 42 times Friday against Penn Hills. It was two carries shy of its season high of 44 against Allderdice in Week Zero. 2. Hampton’s run defense allowed Fox Chapel to pile up a season-high 160 rushing yards. 3. Cavaliers sophomore kicker Cody Dykes’ 40-yard field goal against the Indians was his first attempt of the season. He was 6 for 6 on extra points through the first four games. 4. Lindgren tallied 162 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries to lead Hampton against Fox Chapel.
Extra point: Kiski Area again is looking for win No. 300 in school history.
Class 4A Northwest 8
Ambridge (0-5, 0-2) at Highlands (1-4, 1-2)
7 p.m. Friday at Golden Rams Stadium, Natrona Heights
Last week: Knoch 34, Ambridge 6; Highlands 27, Beaver 0
Coaches: Don Phillips, Ambridge; Dom Girardi, Highlands
Players to watch: Deyvon Gill-Martin, Ambridge (Jr., 5-10, 180, RB/OLB); Jeremiah Saunders, Highlands (Jr., 6-2, 220, OL/LB)
Four downs: 1. Johnny Crise, injured in the second half against Knoch two weeks ago, was cleared to play against Beaver, and he caught four passes for 65 yards and two touchdowns in the victory. 2. The Bridgers have lost 12 in a row dating to last year’s Week 2 win over Waynesburg. 3. Highlands earned its first shutout win since blanking Albert Gallatin in Week 5 of 2016. 4. Ambridge is averaging 4.0 points through five games, the lowest in all of Class 5A.
Extra point: Brock White’s 178 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries against Beaver gave the sophomore 467 yards and three scores on 92 carries for the season.
Montour (1-4, 0-2) at Knoch (5-0, 4-0)
7 p.m. Friday at Knights Stadium, Saxonburg
On the air: TribHSSN.triblive.com; 680 AM
Last week: Blackhawk 29, Montour 21; Knoch 34, Ambridge 6
Coaches: Lou Cerro, Montour; Brandon Mowry, Knoch
Players to watch: George Padezanin, Montour (Sr., 6-4, 285, OT/DT); Tyler Buterbaugh, Knoch (Jr. , 6-2, 185, WR/LB).
Four downs: 1. Mowry said running back Matt Goodlin, who left Friday’s game with an ankle injury, should be good to go against Montour. Fellow senior running back Jim Johnston, however, is done for the season after suffering multiple lower leg injuries in the game. 2. Padezanin is a force in the trenches for the Spartans and owns offers from Ball State, Duquesne, Fordham, Harvard and Princeton. 3. Knoch, 5-0 for the first time since 2011, can clinch a spot in the WPIAL playoffs with a win over the Spartans. 4. Montour quarterback Luke Persinger threw for 233 yards and a touchdown against Blackhawk.
Extra point: The Knoch defense has given up just 6.6 points per game over the first five contests. That is the best in the Northwest 8 by a touchdown and the second best (Thomas Jefferson, 4.6) in all of Class 5A.
Class 3A Big East
Freeport (1-3, 1-3) at Yough (1-4, 1-3)
7 p.m. Friday at Cougar Mountain, Herminie
Last week: Freeport 56, Uniontown 14; Burrell 40, Yough 6
Coaches: John Gaillot, Freeport; Scott Wood, Yough
Players to watch: Garret Schaffhauser, Freeport (Sr., 6-1, 190, QB); Russell Pytlak, Yough (Sr., 6-2, 225, TE)
Four downs: 1. Freeport qualified for the playoffs last season, and its three losses have been against the top three teams in the conference. The schedule will get a little easier. 2. Yough QB Gamal Marballie tossed three touchdown passes against Deer Lakes; two went to C.J. Waldier, the Cougars’ leading receiver with 33 catches for 462 yards. 3. Ricky Hunter scored three touchdowns against Uniontown, two on punt returns. He also scored on a 10-yard run. 4. Pytlak, who recently visited Seton Hill, has eight catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns.
Extra point: Injuries to its starting QB forced Wood to move Marballie from wide receiver.
Class A Eastern
No. 2 Clairton (3-2, 2-0) at Leechburg (2-3, 1-2)
7 p.m. Friday at Veterans Memorial Field, Leechburg
Last week: Clairton 33, Laurel 7; Leechburg 47, Riverview 0
Coaches: Wayne Wade, Clairton; Mark George, Leechburg
Players to watch: Brendan Parsons, Clairton (Sr., 6-2, 179, QB); Dalton Hamm, Leechburg (Jr., 5-8, 195, RB/DL)
Four downs: 1. Leechburg rolled from beginning to end against Riverview after the three-overtime heartbreaker against Greensburg Central Catholic two weeks ago. 2. After an 0-2 start with setbacks to Class 3A No. 1 Aliquippa and Class 2A No. 3 McGuffey, the Bears have won three in a row by a combined score of 112-21, including Friday against Class A No. 4 Laurel. 3. Blue Devils freshman Braylan Lovelace continues to produce with 101 yards rushing and two scores against the Raiders. 4. Parsons was lethal with his arm and legs against Laurel with 230 yards passing and a touchdown to go along with 57 rush yards and a score.
Extra point: Four Leechburg running backs — Lovelace, Hamm, Blumer and Alex Stramaski — combined for 299 yards rushing against Riverview.
Springdale (4-1, 1-1) at Greensburg C.C. (4-1, 3-1)
7 p.m. Friday at Centurion Stadium
On the air: TribHSSN.triblive.com
Last week: Jeannette 43, Springdale 0; Greensburg CC 41, Imani Christian 0
Coaches: Seth Napierkowski, Springdale; Bret Colbert, GCC
Players to watch: Cavin Kindler, Springdale (Jr., RB/LB); Brandon Brown, GCC (Sr., 5-10, 165, WR/DB)
Four downs: 1. Springdale was limited to 1 yard passing last week against visiting Jeannette, the No. 1-ranked team in the WPIAL and No. 2-ranked team in the state in Class A. 2. The Dynamos started 4-0 but have had to deal with the loss of quarterback Legend Ausk, who is out with a broken collarbone. 3. GCC was efficient in dismantling once-strong Imani Christian. Junior David Altimore returned at quarterback and threw for a touchdown and ran for another. Luke Mazowiecki added a 51-yard interception return for a score. 4. The Centurions have spread the wealth. Eight players have scored touchdowns in five games.
Extra point: GCC’s only loss is to No. 3 Clairton, 21-14.
Imani Christian (0-5, 0-4) at Riverview (0-4, 0-3)
Noon Saturday at Riverside Park in Oakmont
Last week: Greensburg Central Catholic 41, Imani Christian 0; Leechburg 47, Riverview 0
Coaches: Ronnell Heard, Imani Christian; Todd Massack, Riverview
Players to watch: Sean McCaskill, Imani Christian (Sr., 5-9, 165, WR/DB); Zach Hanlon, Riverview (Sr., 6-2, 215, RB/LB)
Four downs: 1. Riverview’s scoring drought had reached 12 quarters. The Raiders last put points on the board in the fourth quarter of their Week 1 game against Greensburg Central Catholic. 2. Imani also has struggled offensively with just six points scored over the past three weeks. 3. The Raiders were limited to 111 total yards, 87 of it rushing, against Leechburg. 4. Heavy graduation losses hit the Saints after last year’s trip to the playoffs. Pharoh Fisher, a receiver last season, now leads the offense under center.
Extra point: This year’s matchup is expected to be closer than last year when Imani Christian won 54-0.
Fox Chapel (1-4) at Upper St. Clair (4-1)
7 p.m. Friday at Upper St. Clair Panther Stadium
Last week: Fox Chapel 16, Hampton 13; Upper St. Clair 35, West Allegheny 33
Coaches: Tom Loughran, Fox Chapel; Mike Junko, Upper St. Clair
Players to watch: Alex Wecht, Fox Chapel (Sr., 5-8, 175, WR/FS); David Pantelis, Upper St. Clair (Jr., 6-1, 182, WR/CB)
Four downs: 1. Sam Brown helped carry Fox Chapel to its first win of the season last Friday with a season-best 135 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries. 2. USC quarterback Ethan Dahlem is third in the WPIAL in passing with 1,414 yards and 12 touchdowns against only one interception through five games. 3. Fox Chapel jumped to a 13-0 halftime lead Friday and held on as Zakaria Essaouab’s 23-yard field goal in the fourth quarter was the difference. 4. Over the past three weeks in victories over Baldwin, Woodland Hills and West Allegheny, Upper St. Clair averaged 38.3 points.
Extra point: Friday’s win over Hampton was Loughran’s 200th of his WPIAL coaching career. Of those 200, 15 have come in four-plus seasons with the Foxes.
No. 4 Freedom (5-0) at Valley (1-4)
7 p.m. Friday at Valley High School, New Kensington
Last week: Freedom 40, Ellwood City 0; Steel Valley 19, Valley 7
Coaches: Greg Toney, Freedom; Muzzy Colosimo, Valley
Players to watch: Brett Boyd, Freedom (Jr., 5-10, 175, RB/LB); Cayden Quinn, Valley (5-9, 160, QB)
Four downs: 1. The Valley defense forced four Steel Valley turnovers Friday but were unable to turn any of them into points. 2. Boyd led Freedom with 105 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s win over Ellwood City as the Bulldogs racked up 265 total yards on the ground. 3. Vikings quarterback Cayden Quinn threw his first career touchdown against the Ironmen, a 23-yard strike to Vaun Ross with just over a minute until halftime. 4. Freedom’s defense has consecutive shutouts, outscoring Mohawk and Ellwood City by a combined 68-0. The Bulldogs held Ellwood City to 65 total yards and two first downs.
Extra point: Valley is 5-11 at home dating back to the start of the 2016 season.
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .