A-K Valley don’t-miss football matchups for Week 8

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Wednesday, October 16, 2019 | 5:51 PM


Class 5A Northern

Armstrong (1-6, 0-5) at Fox Chapel (3-5, 2-3)

7 p.m. Friday at the James Burk Athletic Complex, O’Hara Township

Last week: North Hills 42, Armstrong 0; Fox Chapel 30, Mars 28

Coaches: Frank Fabian, Armstrong; Tom Loughran, Fox Chapel

Players to watch: Cole Brown, Armstrong (Jr., 6-1, 170, QB/LB); Ryan Creehan, Fox Chapel (Jr., 6-1, 185, TE/LB)

Four downs: 1. Fox Chapel controls its destiny for a WPIAL playoff spot as wins over Armstong and Shaler will get it done. 2. Armstrong has struggled defensively, giving up an average of 45 points over its last five games. 3. Foxes quarterback Shane Susnak threw for 258 yards and three touchdowns at Mars last Friday, giving him 1,415 yards and 10 touchdowns on the season. 4. Fox Chapel has won two in a row and three of four after an 0-4 start.

Extra point: The Foxes will play only their third home game of the season. They also host Shaler next week to wrap up the regular season.

Kiski Area (3-5, 2-3) at Mars (5-3, 3-2)

7 p.m. Friday at Mars Athletics Complex, Mars

Last week: McKeesport 46, Kiski Area 0; Fox Chapel 30, Mars 28

Coaches: Sam Albert, Kiski Area; Scott Heinaur, Mars

Players to watch: Teddy Ruffner, Mars (Jr., 5-9. 195, RB); Brock Wilkins, Kiski Area (So., 6-0, 200, RB/LB)

Four downs: 1. Kiski Area returns to conference play after losses to Woodland Hills and McKeesport the past two weeks. The Cavaliers are tied for fourth in the conference with Shaler and Fox Chapel and own a tiebreaker over the Foxes. 2. Mars, upset by Fox Chapel last Friday, will clinch a playoff spot with a win. 3. McKeesport limited the Cavaliers to 20 rushing yards and 16 yards of total offense. 4. Ruffner ranks second in the WPIAL in rushing with 1,632 yards and 23 touchdowns.

Extra point: Kiski Area hopes to reverse last year’s result against Mars, a 38-0 home loss.

Class 3A Big East

No. 4 Derry (6-2, 5-1) at Deer Lakes (3-5, 3-3)

7 p.m. Friday at Lancer Stadium, Cheswick

Last week: Derry 42, Yough 6; Keystone Oaks 42, Deer Lakes 14

Coaches: Tim Sweeney, Derry; Tim Burk, Deer Lakes

Players to watch: Justin Huss, Derry (Sr., 5-9, 155, RB/DB); Jack Hollibaugh, Deer Lakes (Sr. 6-1, 220, TE/LB)

Four downs: 1. Huss has rushed for 1,097 yards and scored 20 touchdowns despite missing the North Catholic game with an injury. 2. Hollibaugh has 41 catches for 667 yards and six touchdowns. 3. Derry quarterback Paul Koontz has completed 47 of 81 passes for 555 yards and seven touchdowns. 4. Deer Lakes quarterback Aris Hasley has thrown 21 touchdowns, nine to Trey Darrah, who has 28 catches for 526 yards.

Extra point: Derry will clinch its fourth consecutive WPIAL playoff appearance with a win. Deer Lakes has dropped three consecutive games.

Freeport (3-4, 3-4) at Mt. Pleasant (3-5, 2-4)

7 p.m. Friday at Mt. Pleasant Stadium

Last week: Burrell 36, Freeport 35; Elizabeth Forward 24, Mt. Pleasant 0

Players to watch: Brodey Woods, Freeport (Sr., 5-9, 160, WR); Nick Loughner, Mt. Pleasant (5-10, 165, RB).

Four downs: 1. Woods is quarterback Garret Schaffhauser’s favorite target with 22 catches for 343 yards and six touchdowns. 2. Mt. Pleasant was shut out last week by Elizabeth Forward. 3. Schaffbauer has completed 62 of 98 passes for 995 yards and 10 touchdowns. 4. The Vikings used a solid running game led by Jake Johnson and Nick Loughner. The duo has combined for 1,280 rushing yards.

Extra point: Freeport had its three-game winning streak snapped with a double-overtime loss to Burrell. Both teams are still in the playoff hunt.

Class A Eastern

No. 2 Clairton (6-2, 4-0) at Springdale (6-2, 2-2)

7 p.m. Friday at Veterans Memorial Field, Springdale

Last week: Clairton 49, West Greene 7; Springdale 33, Riverview 0

Players to watch: Brendan Parsons, Clairton (Sr., 6-2, 179, QB); Demitri Fritch, Springdale (Jr., 6-2, 160, QB/DB)

Four downs: 1. Springdale’s victory over Riverview kept it alive for a WPIAL playoff spot in Class A. The Dynamos need to win out and get help to earn a wild-card spot. 2. Clairton, a winner of six in a row after an 0-2 start, has wrapped up a Class A playoff spot and can win the Eastern Conference title in Week 9, regardless of what it does Friday against Springdale. 3. The Dynamos defense limited Riverview to 41 yards of total offense in the shutout victory. 4. Parsons paced Clairton against West Greene with 172 passing yards (10 of 13) and a pair of TD tosses.

Extra point: Springdale will attempt to win at least seven games in a season for the first time since 2011 when it finished 8-3 and made it to the quarterfinals of the Class A playoffs.

Riverview (2-5, 1-4) at No. 1 Jeannette (8-0, 5-0)

7 p.m. Friday at McKee Stadium

Last week: Springdale 33, Riverview 0; Jeannette 48, Greensburg CC 14

Coaches: Todd Massack, Riverview; Roy Hall, Jeannette

Players to watch: Zach Hanlon (Sr., 6-2, 215, RB/LB); Bayley Molter, Jeannette (Sr., 6-4, 205, WR)

Four downs: 1. Riverview had a two-game winning streak snapped by rival Springdale last week. 2. Jeannette senior running back Imani Sanders rushed for 211 yards and five touchdowns last week against Greensburg Central Catholic. 3. Riverview relies on a running game and struggles throwing the ball. Hanlon has rushed 356 yards and three touchdowns. 4. Jayhawks quarterback Jimmy Sanders rushed for 105 yards and threw for 142 yards last week.

Extra point: You won’t blame Jeannette if its focus is on its Week 9 showdown at Clairton.

Nonconference

4A No. 3 Belle Vernon (6-1) at Plum (3-5)

7 p.m. Friday at Mustang Stadium

Last week: Belle Vernon 40, West Mifflin 7; Latrobe 28, Plum 20

Coaches: Matt Humbert, Belle Vernon; Matt Morgan, Plum

Players to watch: Devin Whitlock, Belle Vernon (So., 5-6, 150, RB/DB); Reed Martin, Plum (Jr., 5-8, 170, WR/DB)

Four downs: 1. Belle Vernon is on a hot streak and scoring points in bunches. Since a 34-7 loss to nemesis Thomas Jefferson, the Leopards have won five straight by an average score of 51-7. 2. Whitlock may have had his best game last week. The Monessen transfer caught a 23-yard touchdown and returned an interception 57 yards for a score. 3. Martin scored three touchdowns against Latrobe but was stopped on a fourth-and-goal from the 1 inside the final minute. He is a dangerous runner on direct snaps. 4. Plum lost its starting quarterback last week to injury in Jacob Miller, but backup Ryan Hubner was steady in relief, nearly leading a comeback.

Extra point: BVA senior quarterback Jared Hartman set the program’s single-season touchdown record with his 17th score last week.

Bentworth (2-6) at Leechburg (3-5)

7 p.m. Friday at Veterans Memorial Field, Leechburg

Last week: California 67, Bentworth 34; Leechburg 31, Imani Christian 6

Coaches: John Knabb, Bentworth; Mark George, Leechburg

Players to watch: Shawn Dziak, Bentworth (Sr., 6-0, 150, QB/DB); John Wagner, Leechburg (Sr., 6-2, 180, OL/DE)

Four downs: 1. The Leechburg defense recorded seven sacks against Imani Christian. Eli Rich had three, and Wagner and Dalton Hamm added two apiece. 2. Bentworth has given up 50.9 points per game, third most in the WPIAL this season (Northgate, 53.3; Butler, 51.9). 3. The Leechburg run game continues to find success. The Blue Devils racked up 276 yards against Imani, 173 coming from Jake Blumer. 4. Dziak paced Bentworth against California with 221 yards passing and four touchdowns.

Extra points: Leechburg, out of playoff contention in Class A, needs wins this week and next week to match its win total from last year.

Burrell (5-3) at Waynesburg (2-6)

7 p.m. Friday at Raider Field, Waynesburg

Last week: Burrell 36, Freeport 35 (OT); Beaver Falls 34, Waynesburg 14

Coaches: Chad Coss, Waynesburg Central; Shawn Liotta, Burrell

Players to watch: Zach Miller, Burrell (Sr., 5-10, 185, WR/LB); Trevor Stephenson, Waynesburg (Sr., 5-10, 190, RB/DB)

Four downs: 1. Burrell steps away from Big East Conference action on the cusp of clinching a WPIAL playoff spot for the first time since 2012. 2. Waynesburg is in the midst of a five-game losing streak after a 2-1 start. 3. Alex Arledge hopes to add to his school record for single-season passing yards he set last week against Freeport. He has 1,665 yards to go with 18 touchdowns. 4. Four Burrell receivers have at least 350 yards, led by Seth Fischbach’s 711 yards and nine touchdowns.

Extra point: Despite the 35 points it surrendered to Freeport last week, Burrell has given up an average of just 11 points in its five victories.

Freedom (7-1) at Apollo-Ridge (6-2)

7 p.m. Friday at Owens Field, Apollo

Last week: Neshannock 49, Freedom 21; Steel Valley 21, Apollo-Ridge 14

Coaches: Greg Toney, Freedom; John Skiba, Apollo-Ridge

Players to watch: Reiker Welling, Freedom (Jr., 6-3, 190, WR/DB); Jake Fello, Apollo-Ridge (Jr., Jr., 6-1, 190, QB/DB)

Four downs: 1. Apollo-Ridge, finished with conference play, needs Shady Side Academy to lose to either East Allegheny on Friday or Avonworth in Week 9 to wrap up a first-round home playoff game. 2. Welling recorded 142 receiving yards and a touchdown on only four catches against Neshannock. 3. Logan Harmon surpassed 1,000 rushing yards for the season in last Friday’s loss to Steel Valley. He has a combined 482 yards and six touchdowns the past two games. 4. The Bulldogs are 16-2 in the regular season the past two years.

Extra point: Apollo-Ridge will play its first game at Owens Field since Sept. 6. The Shady Side forfeit from Sept. 27 was to have been a home game.

Knoch (5-3) at Trinity (2-5)

7 p.m. Friday at Trinity-Hiller Stadium, Washington

Last week: New Castle 34, Knoch 7; Penn-Trafford 55, Trinity 14

Coaches: Brandon Mowry, Knoch; Jon Miller, Trinity

Players to watch: Keith Washington, Knoch (Jr., 5-10, 155, RB/CB); Micah Finley, Trinity (Jr., 5-7, 150, RB)

Four downs: 1. Knoch, finished with conference play, also will be scoreboard watching Friday and in Week 9 as it needs help to earn a WPIAL playoff spot. 2. Finley, his team’s leading rusher, scored both touchdowns for the Hillers in last week’s loss to 5A No. 1 Penn-Trafford. 3. The Knights will play the rest of the season without leading rusher Matt Goodlin, who suffered an elbow injury against New Castle. 4. Washington led the Knoch offense last Friday with 103 yards and the team’s lone touchdown on 12 carries.

Extra point: Knoch routed Trinity 41-14 in last year’s meeting.

Valley (3-7) at Riverside (6-4)

7 p.m. Friday at Memorial Stadium, Ellwood City

Last week: Summit Academy 14, Valley 0; Riverside 49, Ellwood City 28

Coaches: Muzzy Colosimo, Valley; Ron Sciarro, Riverside

Players to watch: Elijah Murray, Valley (Jr., 6-3, 210, WR/DB); Ben Hughes, Riverside (Sr., 6-2, 215, QB)

Four downs: 1. Valley’s loss to Summit Academy was its third by shutout this season. 2. Riverside has not clinched a 2A playoff spot in the Midwestern Athletic Conference, but it is in good shape in third place at 4-2. 3. Hughes paces the Panthers offense with 1,223 yards and 20 touchdowns against only four interceptions. 4. Riverside is fifth in scoring out of 31 teams in 2A at 37.0 points a game.

Extra point: Riverside handled Valley 43-6 in last year’s meeting at Valley’s Memorial Stadium.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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