A-K Valley don’t-miss football matchups for Week 9

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019 | 5:34 PM


Class 5A Northern

Armstrong (1-7, 0-6) at Kiski Area (4-5, 3-3)

7 p.m. Friday at Richard J. Dilts Field, Allegheny Township

Last week: Fox Chapel 41, Armstrong 14; Kiski Area 10, Mars 7

Coaches: Frank Fabian, Armstrong; Sam Albert, Kiski Area

Players to watch: Cole Brown, Armstrong (Jr., 6-1, 170, QB/LB); Kenny Blake, Kiski Area (Jr., 6-2, 180, RB/DB)

Four downs: 1. Kiski Area, which qualified for the WPIAL Class 5A playoffs with Friday’s win over Mars, can finish anywhere from third to fifth in the conference based on how scenarios play out. 2. Armstrong has given up 38.6 points a game, second worst in 5A (Connellsville, 41.3). 3. Blake carried the ball 45 times against Mars, totaled 198 yards and scored his team’s lone touchdown. He has 742 yards and eight rushing scores on the season. 4. In six conference games, the Cavaliers are surrendering an average of 17.5 points.

Extra point: Kiski Area is hoping to win consecutive games for the first time this season. The Cavaliers have victories in Weeks Zero, 3, 5 and 8.

Shaler (3-6, 2-4) at Fox Chapel (4-5, 3-3)

7 p.m. Friday at Fox Chapel’s James M. Burke Stadium

On the air: TribHSSN.triblive.com

Last week: North Hills 19, Shaler 12; Fox Chapel 41, Armstrong 14

Coaches: Jim Ryan, Shaler; Tom Loughran, Fox Chapel

Players to watch: Jake Miller, Shaler (Sr., 6-2, 220, RB/LB); Shane Susnak, Fox Chapel (Sr., 5-10, 175, QB)

Four downs: 1. This game will go a long way to determining what teams will clinch berths in the WPIAL Class 5A playoffs. Basically, the winner is in. Nearly 10 scenarios exist that will complete the playoff picture. The Titans, Foxes and Hampton all remain alive for a Northern Conference playoff berth. 2. Susnak has developed into one of the WPIAL’s top passers this season, completing 125 of 201 passes for 1,604 yards and 12 touchdowns. Lorenzo Jenkins (27 catches, 403 yards, 6 TDs) and Alex Wecht (25 catches, 161 yards, 8 TDs) have been his top targets. 3. Quarterback Darin Mizgorski (159 of 246 for 1,385 yards, 10 TDs) leads the Shaler offense, but has Joey Impavido (42 catches, 586 yards) and Jake Miller (757 rushing yards, 259 receiving yards) as primary weapons. Miller has scored 13 times. 4. The Foxes, who started 0-4, are riding a three-game winning streak in which they have outscored Connellsville, Mars and Armstrong, 106-62.

Extra point: Shaler defeated Fox Chapel, 62-0, in their 2018 meeting in the season finale.

Class 3A Big East

Deer Lakes (3-6, 3-4) at No. 3 North Catholic (7-1 7-0)

7 p.m. Friday at the Mars Athletic Complex

Last week: Derry 42, Deer Lakes 0; North Catholic 48, Yough 13

Coaches: Tim Burk, Deer Lakes; Pat O’Shea, North Catholic

Players to watch: Jack Hollibaugh, Deer Lakes (Sr., 6-1, 220, TE/LB); Zack Rocco, North Catholic (Sr., 6-3, 235, QB/S)

Four downs: 1. Deer Lakes clinches the fourth playoff spot from the conference on Gardner Points if it upsets North Catholic, Mt. Pleasant beats Uniontown and Burrell loses to Derry. 2. The Trojans have won five in a row after losing to Class 3A No. 2 Central Valley in Week 3 and wrapped up the conference title with last week’s win over Yough. 3. Lancers senior Aris Hasley threw for 232 yards against Derry, putting him at 2,088 yards for the season. 4. Rocco threw for 200 yards and three touchdowns against Yough, and he has 1,628 yards and 18 touchdowns through eight games.

Extra point: North Catholic has won 24 of its past 28 regular-season games.

Class 2A Allegheny

East Allegheny (6-3, 3-2) at Valley (1-8, 0-5)

7 p.m. Friday at Valley Memorial Stadium, New Kensington

Last week: East Allegheny 42, Shady Side Academy 27; Riverside 24, Valley 14

Coaches: Dom Pecora, East Allegheny; Muzzy Colosimo, Valley

Players to watch: Tyler Padezan, East Allegheny (Sr., 6-2, 185, WR/DB); Justin Hooper, Valley (Jr., 5-9, 180, RB/LB)

Four downs: 1. An East Allegheny win or a Shady Side Academy loss Friday places the Wildcats as the third-place team from the conference. 2. Valley is hoping to snap a six-game losing streak. 3. Tyler Padezan, a Division I prospect, leads East Allegheny receivers with an average of more than 20 yards a catch. 4. Valley struck first against Riverside with a Cayden Quinn first-quarter run, but the Panthers answered with 24 straight point to take control.

Extra point: East Allegheny won last year’s meeting 35-20 in a battle for the fourth and final playoff spot in the conference.

Class A Eastern

Springdale (6-3, 2-3) at Leechburg (4-5, 2-3)

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

Last week: Clairton 43, Springdale 7; Leechburg 46, Bentworth 13

Coaches: Seth Napierkowski, Springdale; Mark George, Leechburg

Players to watch: Christian Vokes, Springdale (Sr., 5-8, 150, RB/DB); Jake Blumer, Leechburg (Sr., 6-3, 195, RB/LB)

Four downs: 1. Eliminated from WPIAL playoff contention with last week’s loss, Springdale now turns its attention to winning seven games in a season for the first time since 2011. 2. Leechburg, coming off its big win over Bentworth, seeks to finish .500 for a second year in a row. 3. Vokes tallied Springdale’s lone points against Clairton with a 51-yard scamper in the first quarter. That gives him 16 rushing TDs for the season. 3. Blumer, with his 242 rushing yards and four scores against Bentworth, now has season totals of 822 yards and 14 touchdowns on 131 carries.

Extra point: Springdale leads the all-time series, 42-34. It is the oldest current A-K Valley rivalry, having begun in 1932. The Dynamos have won 19 of the past 21 meetings. The Blue Devils won in 2014 and last year.

Nonconference

Charleroi (6-2) at Apollo-Ridge (7-2)

7 p.m. Friday at Owens Field, Apollo

Last week: Charleroi 63, Brownsville 0; Apollo-Ridge 27, Freedom 19

Coaches: Lance Getsy, Charleroi; John Skiba, Apollo-Ridge

Players to watch: Legend Davis, Charleroi (Sr., 5-11, 185, WR/SS); Klay Fitzroy, Apollo-Ridge (Jr., 6-4, 195, WR/DB)

Four downs: 1. This game will serve as a playoff tune-up for both teams. Charleroi is the third-place finisher in the Century Conference, while Apollo-Ridge will finsh second in the Allegheny. 2. Davis caught TD passes for 6 and 66 yards from Alex Conrad in last week’s blowout win for the Cougars. He has 25 catches for 308 yards this season. 3. Fitzroy has caught 23 passes for 354 yards as the top target for the Vikings’ Jake Fello, who has completed 49 of 81 passes for 697 yards and five scores. 4. Charleroi won this matchup 34-24 a year ago.

Extra point: Apollo-Ridge will host a first-round playoff game next week at Owens Field.

Highlands (3-6) at Latrobe (4-5)

7 p.m. Friday at Latrobe Memorial Stadium

On the air: TribHSSN.triblive.com; 97.3 FM, 1480 AM

Last week: Highlands 28, New Castle 22 (OT); Latrobe 35, Midd-West 7

Coaches: Dom Girardi, Highlands; Jason Marucco, Latrobe

Players to watch: Johnny Crise, Highlands (Sr., 6-6, 200, WR/DB); Logan Gustafson, Latrobe (Sr., 5-9, 145, RB/DB)

Four downs: 1. Highlands played another thriller against New Castle as Crise, an athletic pass-catcher, pulled in four receptions for 152 yards and touchdowns of 34 and 76 yards. 2. Scoring has been an issue for Highlands, which has suffered three shutouts and managed just 13.8 points a game. 3. Latrobe will play its second straight nonconference game after visiting Midd-West in Middleburg last week. 4. The Wildcats are playoff-bound for the second straight season and will be on the road for the first round next week.

Extra point: Latrobe is trying to win its final three regular season games for the second straight year. The Wildcats won at Highlands last year, 39-13.

Knoch (6-3) at Freeport (3-5)

7 p.m. Friday at Freeport Area Athletic Field, Sarver

On the air: TribHSSN.triblive.com; 680 AM

Last week: Knoch 17, Trinity 14; Mt. Pleasant 25, Freeport 7

Coaches: Brandon Mowry, Knoch; John Gaillot, Freeport

Players to watch: Keith Washington, Knoch (Jr., 5-10, 155, RB/CB); Brodey Woods, Freeport (Sr., 5-9, 160, WR/DB)

Four downs: 1. Knoch, finished with Northern Conference (4A) play, is still alive for a playoff spot and needs New Castle to lose this week against winless Ambridge to have a chance. 2. Entering Week 9, Freeport is the only team in the WPIAL to not have played a nonconference game. 3. The Knights snapped a three-game losing streak last Friday with a nonconference win over Trinity behind a rushing touchdown from Washington and a passing TD from Kam Grassi to Scott Fraser. 4. Garret Schaffhauser was 12 of 18 for 129 yards and a touchdown in last week’s loss to Mt. Pleasant.

Extra point: Separated by just 9.3 miles, Knoch and Freeport resumed their neighboring rivalry last year with the Knights scoring a 26-7 victory.

Plum (3-6) at Hempfield (3-6)

7 p.m. Friday at Spartan Stadium

Last week: Belle Vernon 58, Plum 17; Hempfield 55, Butler 28

Coaches: Matt Morgan, Plum; Rich Bowen, Hempfield

Players to watch: Reed Martin, Plum (Jr., 5-8, 170, WR); Nathan Roby, Hempfield (Sr., 5-7, 155, RB/DB)

Four downs: 1. Plum dropped its second straight game to a Westmoreland team as it gets set to face another opponent from the county this week. 2. Max Matolcsy and Logan Brooks had touchdowns for the Mustangs last week, the former on a pass from quarterback Ryan Hubner, who came in for starter Jake Miller in the Latrobe game. 3. Roby was practically unstoppable last week, running for 313 yards and six touchdowns in the victory. He had a 70-yard score. 4. Brendan Sliwoski, the younger brother of former Spartans quarterback Justin Sliwoski, caught his first career scoring pass from Blake Remaley.

Extra point: Martin is a dangerous runner in the wildcat for Plum, but he kicked a 51-yard field goal last week to break Jake Chapla’s school record.

Riverview (2-6) at Chartiers-Houston (6-3)

7 p.m. Friday at Bucaneer Stadium, Houston

Last week: California 40, Chartiers-Houston 12; Jeannette 61, Riverview 6

Coaches: Terry Fetsko, Chartiers-Houston; Todd Massack, Riverview

Players to watch: Anthony Lento, Chartiers-Houston (Sr., 5-11, 175, QB/CB); Dean Cecere, Riverview (Soph., 6-0, 175, RB/DB)

Four downs: 1. Riverview has been outscored 94-6 the past two weeks. 2. Chartiers-Houston, despite a 6-3 overall record and a 5-2 mark in the Tri-County South, has been eliminated from Class A playoff contention. 3. Zach Hanlon and Dean Cecere, Riverview’s leading rushers, combined for 63 yards on 17 carries against Jeannette. 4. Lento threw for 269 yards and two touchdowns last Friday against California. He also threw three interceptions.

Extra point: The teams are meeting for the first time since 1990. The Buccaneers lead the series 4-1. In 1968, Chartiers-Houston beat Oakmont, a predecessor to Riverview, 31-0, in the WPIAL Class B title game at Gateway.

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

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