A-K Valley don’t miss high school football matchups for Week Zero 2021

Wednesday, August 25, 2021 | 4:02 PM


Burrell vs. Mt. Pleasant

7 p.m. Friday, Mt. Pleasant Viking Stadium, Mt. Pleasant

Burrell looks to be a running team as it prepares to replace quarterback Alex Arledge, who threw for 3,619 yards in his career. Burrell has four players vying for the quarterback spot. The Bucs threw little against Jeannette in last week’s scrimmage. … Mt Pleasant will also have a new quarterback in Tyler Reese, a dual threat as a runner and thrower. Mt. Pleasant will rely on the one-two running punch of Aaron Alakson and Robbie Labuda. The Vikings also return a strong defense.

Butler at Kiski Area

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

Butler begins its second season as an independent. The Golden Tornado, 2-4 last year, snapped a 24-game losing streak with a victory over Blackhawk before finishing its season by beating Slippery Rock. Senior 6-foot-5, 230-pound tight end Charlie Kreinbucher is an Akron commit. … Kiski Area hopes to return to the WPIAL playoffs after a one-year hiatus and attempt to win a playoff game for the first time since 1991. Senior tackle Brandon Lawhorn Moore has received more than a dozen Division I offers. The Cavaliers averaged 313.2 yards of total offense through six games (2-4) last year.

Class 3A No. 1 Central Valley at Knoch

7 p.m. Friday, Knoch Knights Stadium, Saxonburg

Central Valley hopes to capture its third straight WPIAL Class 3A title and repeat as PIAA champion. Running back Landon Alexander rushed for more than 1,400 yards last year. Lineman Sean FitzSimmons has committed to Pitt, and quarterback Matt Merritt has received Division I offers. … Knoch enters the season looking to snap an eight-game losing streak. The Knights were 0-7 last year. Gavin McGowan and Keegan Fraser are leading rushers in Knoch’s Wing-T offense. Next week, the Knights face rival Freeport.

Fox Chapel at Peters Township

7 p.m. Friday, ClearEdge Stadium, McMurray

Fox Chapel and Peters Township met in 2019 with the Indians winning 45-0. Last year’s game was canceled in the midst of covid-related scheduling changes. Foxes senior quarterback Collin Dietz threw for 649 yards last year as an injury replacement. Fellow senior Khi’Lee Patterson also saw action as the signal-caller. Zidane Thomas is top rushing target for Fox Chapel. … Peters Township has finished as the WPIAL Class 5A runner-up each of the past two seasons. The Indians were hit hard by graduation. Senior Sam Miller, a three-year starter at cornerback, will take over quarterback duties.

Hampton at Valley

7 p.m. Friday, Vikings High Memorial Stadium, New Kensington

Hampton finished third in the Class 4A Greater Allegheny Conference last year and earned a trip to the WPIAL playoffs for the first time since 2015. Talbots all-conference wideout Benny Haselrig, the cousin of the late Steelers lineman Carlton Haselrig, is expected to be a main target in the offense. … Valley hopes to break through with a winning season for the first time since 2016 (6-3). The Vikings were 2-5 last year. Domanick Simmons and Xavier Wilson have competed for the starting quarterback job. Valley coach Muzzy Colosimo said the non-starter is expected see action at running back or wide receiver.

Leechburg at Jefferson-Morgan

7 p.m. Friday, Parker Field, Jefferson

Leechburg owns the longest WPIAL playoff-appearance drought, having not qualified for the postseason since 1988. Junior Braylan Lovelace accounted for more than 1,300 combined rushing and passing yards and 13 total touchdowns last year. Lovelace and senior tight end Eli Rich both were Eastern Conference first-team all-stars in 2020. … New Jefferson-Morgan coach Brent Baker served as an assistant with the Rockets the past three years. The team is young with only one senior. That senior, Colt Fowler, will be a featured wideout after throwing for 678 yards and five touchdowns a year ago.

OLSH at Apollo-Ridge

7 p.m. Friday, Owens Field, Apollo

OLSH finished 5-3 and fell to Clairton in the WPIAL Class A quarterfinals. Chargers sixth-year coach Dan Bradley is 40-15 in his five seasons with the program. The returning starter at quarterback, junior Nehemiah Azeem, threw for 1,112 yards last year. … Apollo-Ridge lost its leading rusher, passer and receiver to graduation. The Vikings have a pair of four-year starting linemen in Greg Klingensmith and Bradey Schrock. Bradey’s brother, Karter, is the new quarterback. Apollo-Ridge finished 6-1 last year and routed Washington in the WPIAL Class 2A quarterfinals.

Plum vs. Franklin Regional

7 p.m. Friday, Franklin Regional Stadium, Murrysville

Plum is coming off one of its best seasons in recent history, going 8-1 and winning the Class 4A Greater Allegheny Conference. The Mustangs have holes to fill. Plum looks to rely in junior running back Eryck Moore, who averaged eight yards per carry and scored 13 touchdowns. The Mustangs must find a replacement at quarterback with the graduation of Ryan Hubner. … This is the start of the Lance Getsy era at Franklin Regional. The former Charleroi coach looks to continue and build on the success that legendary coach Greg Botta had in Murrysville. Franklin Regional plans to use senior wide receiver Caden Smith in its offense. The 6-foot-5 Smith hopes to get 10 to 12 touches per game. He’s also a leader on defense at safety.

Riverview at Shady Side Academy

7 p.m. Friday, Michael J. Farrell Stadium, Fox Chapel

Riverview enters the season with strong roster numbers totaling more than 40. Raiders senior Dean Cecere led the team in rushing (765 yards) and total offensive yards (886) last season. Riverview hopes to improve its defense after giving up the most points per game (50.9) in the entire WPIAL in 2020. … Shady Side Academy comes into the season with a new quarterback after Josh Castro (618 pass yards, 947 rush yards, eight total touchdowns in 2020) graduated. The Bulldogs and Raiders haven’t played since 1983 when Riverview won 10-0. Shady Side won two of its final three games last year to finish 2-4 overall.

Springdale at Deer Lakes

7 p.m. Friday, Lancers Stadium, West Deer Township

The Dynamos and Lancers met in Week Zero of 2019 with Springdale earning a close 29-27 victory. Springdale averaged 340.5 yards of total offense (193.8 rushing and 146.8 passing) last year. Senior Logan Dexter, who has recovered from injury in the offseason, was selected the Valley News Dispatch Defensive Player of the Year as a junior after recording 79 tackles, four interceptions and three forced fumbles. … Deer Lakes was one of 13 WPIAL teams to go winless last season. Sophomore Derek Burk threw for 537 yards over seven games in his varsity debut in 2020. Running back Cody Scarantine is back and healthy after a leg injury ended last season prematurely.

University Prep at Highlands

7 p.m. Friday, Golden Rams Stadium, Natrona Heights

University Prep went 2-4 overall last year and lost to Brashear in the City League consolation game. The Wildcats return an all-league player in senior WR/DB Rashan Murray, an Akron commit. University Prep has eight starters back on both sides of the ball. … Highlands finished 2020 with three consecutive victories as it made a run to the Class 4A playoffs out of the Greater Allegheny Conference. Junior Chandler Thimons returns for his third year as the Golden Rams’ starting quarterback. He threw for 1,315 yards and 16 touchdowns in seven games. Last year’s leading rusher, senior Brock White (654 yards, seven TDs), is recovering from a knee injury suffered in a seven-on-seven game in May.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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