A-K Valley don’t miss high school football matchups for 2022 Week 10

Wednesday, November 2, 2022 | 5:40 PM

Class 3A

First round

10-Deer Lakes (4-6) at 7-Beaver (7-3)

7 p.m. Friday, at Gypsy Glen Stadium, Beaver

Winner plays: At 2-Avonworth (9-1) in quarterfinals 7 p.m. Nov. 11

Players to watch: Derek Burk, senior, QB/DB, Deer Lakes; Liam Gibson, senior, RB/WR/LB, Beaver

Extra points: Deer Lakes and Beaver met in the first round of the 2010 WPIAL Class AA playoffs. The Bobcats won 34-21. The teams split two previous games, with Deer Lakes winning in 1996 and Beaver in 2000. … The Lancers, who finished fourth in the Allegheny 6 Conference, are in the playoffs for the third time (2010, 2015) in program history and seek their first postseason win. Burk has thrown for more than 1,300 yards and owns nine touchdowns this season. Deer Lakes hopes to snap a three-game losing streak (East Allegheny, Shady Side Academy, Freeport). … Beaver hopes to build on a three-game winning streak. The Bobcats scored 48 or more points in all three victories. Against Hopewell last week, Gibson got Beaver off to a strong start with TD runs of 50, 5 and 49 yards and finished with 10 carries for 149 yards. Senior quarterback Isaac Pupi and senior wideout Dylan Porto also connected for a pair of touchdowns. Beaver has won three WPIAL titles (1972, 1981 and 1982). The Bobcats are in the WPIAL playoffs for the 29th time and own a 23-25 playoff record.

Class 2A

First round

11-Apollo-Ridge (6-4) at 6-Keystone Oaks (8-2)

7 p.m. Friday, at Dormont Stadium, Dormont

Winner plays: Winner of 3-Sto-Rox (7-2)/14-Riverside (5-4) in quarterfinals Friday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m. (site TBD)

Players to watch: Nick Curci, senior, RB/LB, Apollo-Ridge; Nick Buckley, senior, QB, Keystone Oaks

Extra points: Apollo-Ridge and Keystone Oaks have met in the playoffs once, with the Golden Eagles winning 56-20 in 2016. Overall, the Vikings are 1-3 versus Keystone Oaks. … Apollo-Ridge is 4-16 over 16 previous WPIAL playoff appearances. One of those wins came in 2020 — 42-6 over Washington — as it advanced to the Class 2A semifinals. The Vikings controlled their own destiny for a WPIAL playoff berth last Friday at Burrell, and they clinched with a 28-14 victory. Curci rushed for 144 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. Seniors Gage Johnston and Jake Mull connected on a 66-yard TD pass, and Mull returned a kickoff 86 yards for a score. In nine games, Curci has totaled 1,427 yards and 20 touchdowns on 209 carries. … The Golden Eagles are in the playoffs for the 13th time and are 7-12 in 19 postseason games. Keystone Oaks dropped from Class 3A to 2A this year. The Golden Eagles made the quarterfinals last year, beating South Allegheny, 34-0, in the first round before falling in a 48-41 shootout against North Catholic. Shawn Reick has rushed for a team-best 925 and 12 touchdowns on 155 carries, and Buckley has thrown for 1,206 yards (100 of 144) and 11 touchdowns against six interceptions. The Golden Eagles have won five in a row with three coming by shutout.

13-Burrell (6-4) at 4-Neshannock (9-1)

7 p.m. Friday, at Bob Bleggi Stadium, Neshannock Township

Winner plays: Winner of 5-Serra Catholic (7-3)/12-Washington (6-4) in quarterfinals at 7 p.m. Nov. 11 (site TBD)

Players to watch: Chase Fenner, senior, QB/LB, Burrell; Jonny Huff, senior, QB/FS, Neshannock

Extra points: This is the first meeting between Burrell and Neshannock. … The Bucs will attempt to punch their ticket to the quarterfinals and also win the 300th game in program history. Neshannock is the 80th school Burrell has played. The Bucs are in the playoffs for the 20th time and own a 16-15 record with four WPIAL titles. Burrell qualified for the postseason for the second year in a row after an eight-year drought. The Bucs are the fifth-place team from the Allegheny Conference. Burrell was without leading rusher Devin Beattie and leading tackler Tristan Brothers for most of last week’s 28-14 loss to Apollo-Ridge in the conference finale. Burrell coach Shawn Liotta said both are late-week decisions to play. … Neshannock is a playoff qualifier for the 13th time and owns an 11-12 postseason record. The Lancers never have won a WPIAL title but did finish runner-up to Steel Valley in the 2016 Class 2A tournament. Neshannock’s only loss this season was a 22-0 loss to Midwestern Conference champion Beaver Falls in Week 4. The Lancers average 39.2 points. Huff is a dual-threat quarterback. He rushed for 286 yards and six touchdowns at Mohawk last Friday. He owns 1,610 rushing yards and 23 scores to go along with 967 passing yards and eight TDs.

Class A

First round

13-Leechburg (7-3) at 4-Mapletown (10-0)

7 p.m. Friday, at Mapletown High School Stadium, Greensboro

Winner plays: Winner of 5-South Side (9-1)/12-California (8-2) in quarterfinals at 7 p.m. Nov. 11 (site TBD).

Players to watch: Jayden Floyd, sophomore, QB/DB, Leechburg; Landan Stevenson, senior, RB/LB/S, Mapletown

Extra points: Leechburg and Mapletown never have met. … Leechburg is in the playoffs for the second year in a row after a 31-year absence. The Blue Devils made the quarterfinals last year. Leechburg finished third in the Eastern Conference behind Greensburg Central Catholic and Clairton. Blue Devils coach Randy Walters said star running back and linebacker Braylan Lovelace, a senior Pitt commit, was banged up and didn’t play against GCC last Friday. Sophomore tight end/linebacker Jake Cummings will miss the rest of the season because of a hand injury. Leechburg is 5-4 all-time in WPIAL playoff games. The Blue Devils scored 56 or more points six times in the regular season and are averaging 47.7 points. … In its 99th year of football, Mapletown has yet to win a playoff game, losing eight times in the past. The Maples are coached by George Messich, who played on Pitt’s 1976 national championship team. He is in his 41st year at the helm. Mapletown finished a regular season undefeated for the second time. The Maples were 8-0 in 1968 but didn’t have enough Gardner Points to play for the WPIAL title. This year’s team is averaging 46.5 points and surrendering just 9.2. Stevenson is the fuel that makes the Mapletown high-octane machine go. The senior has rushed for 2,031 yards and 39 touchdowns on 190 carries with a season high of 314 yards against Jefferson-Morgan on Oct. 7. He also surpassed 5,000 career yards in that game.

Michael Love is a TribLive reporter covering sports in the Alle-Kiski Valley and the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. A Clearfield native and a graduate of Westminster (Pa.), he joined the Trib in 2002 after spending five years at the Clearfield Progress. He can be reached at mlove@triblive.com.

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