A-K Valley football don’t-miss matchups for Week 4

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Wednesday, September 18, 2019 | 4:57 PM


Class 5A Big East

McKeesport (2-2, 1-1) at Plum (2-2, 1-2)

7 p.m. Friday at Mustangs Stadium, Plum

Last week: Penn-Trafford 29, McKeesport 12; Plum 49, Connellsville 14

Players to watch: Devari Robinson, McKeesport (Sr., 5-11, 180, QB/DB); Jake Miller, Plum (So., 6-0, 175, QB)

Four downs: 1. Plum broke out offensively against Connellsville after being limited to 14 combined points in losses to Franklin Regional and Gateway the previous two weeks. 2. Deamontae Diggs, a 6-foot-7 senior, is a big target when the Tigers go to the passing game. 3. Miller (161 yards passing, four touchdowns) and Billy Guzzi (136 yards rushing, receiving TD) paced Plum in the win over the Falcons. 4. McKeesport’s other loss came in Week 1 to Cathedral Prep, the No. 1 team in the state in Class 4A.

Extra point: McKeesport has won 11 in a row against Plum dating to 1998, and the Tigers scored 50 or more points in seven of those games. The Mustangs last won in 1997 with a 20-19 victory in the season finale.

Class 5A Northern

Fox Chapel (0-4, 0-2) at Hampton (2-2, 2-1)

7 p.m. Friday at Fridley Field, Allison Park

On the air: Tribhssn.triblive.com

Last week: Kiski Area 36, Fox Chapel 17; North Hills 35, Hampton 14

Players to watch: Zidane Thomas, Fox Chapel (So., 5-11, 180, RB/LB); Josh Andersson, Hampton (Sr., 5-9, 165, RB/DB)

Four downs: 1. Hampton’s victories over Armstrong in Week 1 and Shaler two weeks ago equals its win total from all of last year. 2. Shane Susnak’s 165 yards and a touchdown against Kiski Area gives him 679 yards and five touchdowns through four games. 3. Talbots quarterback Ian Andersson tossed touchdowns of 28 and 39 yards against North Hills. 4. Foxes senior Alex Wecht caught seven passes for 59 yards last Friday and caused a fumble and returned it for a score.

Extra point: Fox Chapel won just twice last year, but one of the victories was a 27-6 home triumph over Hampton. Sam Brown led the way with 19 carries for 144 yards and two touchdowns.

No. 4 Penn Hills (3-1, 2-0) at Kiski Area (2-2, 1-2)

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

On the air: Tribhssn.triblive.com

Last week: Penn Hills 14, Mars 7; Kiski Area 36, Fox Chapel 17

Players to watch: Eddie McKissick, Penn Hills (Sr., 6-2, 190, QB/FS); Jack Dilts, Kiski Area (Jr., 6-6, 230, TE/DE)

Four downs: 1. Kiski Area rushed for 245 yards last week, 68 yards over its average for the first three weeks. 2. The Penn Hills defense forced six Mars turnovers, and Germar Howard rushed for 122 yards and both Indians touchdowns. 3. The Cavaliers defense was opportunistic against Fox Chapel with an interception and four fumble recoveries. 4. The Indians, the defending WPIAL and PIAA Class 5A champions, have won three in a row, including the last two in conference play, since a 21-0 loss to Pine-Richland in Week Zero.

Extra point: Kiski Area’s next victory will be the 300th in the history of the program. Win 100 (1975) and win 200 (1990) were against Penn Hills, but the Cavaliers are 4-21 all-time against the Indians.

Class 4A Northwest 8

Highlands (0-4, 0-2) at Beaver (1-3, 0-3)

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

Last week: Knoch 24, Highlands 0; New Castle 45, Beaver 0

Players to watch: Jeremiah Saunders, Highlands (Jr., 6-2, 220, OL/LB); Anthony George, Beaver (Jr., 6-2, 215, RB/LB)

Four downs: 1. The Highlands defense was able to hold Knoch’s Matt Goodlin fewer than 100 yards rushing. He came into Friday’s game averaging 193. 2. Beaver, after a Week Zero victory, has been outscored 142-13 the past three weeks. 3. Highlands standout senior wide receiver and linebacker Johnny Crise, who left Friday’s game after helmet contact while making a tackle, was being monitored as to his playing status as the week began. 4. The Golden Rams are one of four Alle-Kiski Valley teams (Freeport, Riverview, Fox Chapel) still searching for their first win of the season.

Extra point: Beaver started 7-2 last season, but one of the losses was a 40-19 result to Highlands at Nick J. Staresenic Stadium.

No. 3 Knoch (4-0, 3-0) at Ambridge (0-4, 0-1)

7 p.m. Friday at Moe Rubenstein Stadium, Ambridge

On the air: Tribhssn.triblive.com

Last week: Knoch 24, Highlands 0; Blackhawk 49, Ambridge 0

Coaches: Brandon Mowry, Knoch; Don Phillips, Ambridge

Players to watch: Kam Grassi, Knoch (Sr., 5-11, 160, QB/CB); Deyvon Gill-Martin, Ambridge ( Jr., 5-10, 180, RB/OLB)

Four downs: 1. Matt Goodlin was held under 100 yards for the first time this season last Friday. His 96-yard effort, however, gives him 675 through four games (168.75 avg.). 2. Ambridge was one of just three WPIAL schools (Mars, Laurel Highlands) to not play its first conference game until Week 3. 3. Knoch is 4-0 for the first time since 2012 when it went 7-3 and made the WPIAL playoffs. 4. The Bridgers have lost 11 in a row dating to last year’s Week 2 win over Waynesburg.

Extra points: Knoch blanked Ambridge, 56-0, last season. It was one of six shutout losses the Bridgers suffered in 2018.

Class 3A Big East

Mt. Pleasant (2-2, 1-1) at Deer Lakes (2-2, 2-1)

7 p.m., Friday at Lancer Stadium, Cheswick

On the air: TribHSSN.triblive.com

Last week: Derry 7, Mt. Pleasant 0; Deer Lakes 61, Yough 30

Players to watch: Jonas King, Mt. Pleasant (Jr., 6-5, 205, WR); Jake Thimons, Deer Lakes (Sr., 5-11, 204, LB)

Four downs: 1. High winds hampered the Mt. Pleasant passing attack last week against Derry. Junior Asher O’Connor completed one pass. He’ll need to complete more if the Vikings hope to earn a road win. 2. The Lancers posted consecutive conference road wins at Uniontown and Yough by a combined score of 96-43. 3. Mt. Pleasant’s defense only allowed seven points and intercepted two passes at Derry. Aaron Alakson and Zac Sellinger came up with the interceptions. 4. Deer Lakes quarterback Aris Hasley, the top passer in the WPIAL, has completed 72 of 125 passes for 1,235 yards and 14 touchdowns. He’s thrown five interceptions, lost two fumbles and has been sacked 10 times. He’s rushed for a team-high 200 yards.

Extra point: The Vikings defense, led by junior nose guard Ian Fasone (5-foot-11, 250 pounds), must put pressure on Hasley and defend the pass. The Lancers offense scored 61 points at Yough, breaking a school record.

Uniontown (0-4, 0-3) at Freeport (0-3, 0-3)

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

On the air: Tribhssn.triblive.com

Last week: Burrell 43, Uniontown 0; Elizabeth Forward 31, Freeport 13

Players to watch: Javon Davis, Uniontown (Sr., 5-8, 160, RB/DB); Ricky Hunter, Freeport (Sr., 5-9. 160, RB/LB/K)

Four downs: 1. Freeport is 0-3 for the second year in a row, but the Yellowjackets’ losses are to the No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 teams in the Trib Class 3A rankings. 2. Uniontown has lost 26 straight games dating to Week 8 of the 2016 season. 3. Garret Schaffhauser threw two touchdowns passes to give Freeport a 13-7 lead last Friday before Elizabeth Forward regained the lead and pulled away. 4. Garrett King and Hunter each recorded seven tackles to lead the Yellowjackets against Elizabeth Forward, and both are at the top of the tackles list after Week 3 at 25 and 24, respectively.

Extra point: Freeport’s run to the playoffs last year began with a 55-16 victory at Uniontown. It was the genesis for a five-game winning streak in conference play that netted the Yellowjackets the fourth and final playoff spot from the Big East.

Yough (1-3, 1-2) at Burrell (2-2, 1-2)

7 p.m. Friday at Burrell Buccaneers Stadium, Lower Burrell

Last week: Deer Lakes 61, Yough 30; Burrell 43, Uniontown 0

Players to watch: CJ Waldier, Yough (Jr., 6-2, 185, WR/DB); Trent Valovchik, Burrell (Sr., 5-6, 140, WR/DB)

Four downs: 1. Yough has surrendered 116 combined points the past two weeks in losses to Mt. Pleasant and Deer Lakes. 2. Burrell’s passing game was limited last week because of windy conditions at Uniontown. Mikey Scherer led the ground game with 175 yards and a touchdown. 3. Gamal Marballie, who took over at quarterback after Tristan Waldier suffered a knee injury in Week Zero, threw for 292 yards and three touchdowns against Deer Lakes. 4. Bucs quarterback Alex Arledge threw two touchdown passes last week to give him eight for the season.

Extra point: Burrell hopes to win games in consecutive weeks for the first time since 2015 when it won four in a row from Week 3 to Week 6.

Class 2A Allegheny

Valley (1-3, 0-2) at Steel Valley (0-3, 0-3)

7 p.m. Friday at Campbell Field, Munhall

Last week: Valley 22, Imani Christian 6; Shady Side Academy 29, Steel Valley 6

Players to watch: Ricardo Simmons, Valley (Sr., 5-8, 145, WR/DB); Riont’e Carter, Steel Valley (Jr., 5-9, 230, OL/LB)

Four downs: 1. Valley rallied for its first win of the season last Friday on the strength of second-half rushing scores from Vaun Ross, Ricardo Simmons and Justin Hooper. 2. Steel Valley’s Ronnell Lawrence, who threw for 1,000 yards and 12 scores last year, made his season debut against SSA and threw a touchdown pass. 3. The Ironmen are averaging only 2.0 points over their first three games. That is tied for the worst in the WPIAL (Fort Cherry). 4. Freshman Jayden Richter recorded a safety on a sack in the end zone to add to the Vikings’ win over the Saints.

Extra point: Valley is hoping to turn the tables on Steel Valley after the Ironmen scored a 42-0 win last year en route to the WPIAL championship.

Class A Eastern

No. 1 Jeannette (4-0, 2-0) at Springdale (4-0, 1-0)

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

Last week: Jeannette 54, Avella 0; Springdale 41, Bishop Canevin 6

Players to watch: Jackson Pruitt, Jeannette (Sr., 6-1, 185, WR/DB); John Utiss, Springdale (So., 6-0, 160, WR/DB)

Four downs: 1. Cavin Kindler took most of the snaps under center for Springdale last Saturday in its first game without starting quarterback Legend Ausk (broken collarbone). 2. Jeannette left no doubt last week as it scored five touchdowns in the first nine minutes against Avella. 3. Dynamos running back Christian Vokes kept rolling against Bishop Canevin with 211 yards and three touchdowns. 4. The Jayhawks have won 48 of 52 regular-season games since the 2014 season.

Extra point: Springdale will be looking for its first 5-0 start since 2003, but the Dynamos are 0-11 all-time versus Jeannette.

Leechburg (1-3, 0-2) at Riverview (0-3, 0-3)

Noon Saturday at Riverside Park, Oakmont

Last week: Greensburg Central Catholic 42, Leechburg 41 (OT); Clairton 58, Riverview 0

Players to watch: Jake Blumer, Leechburg (Sr., 6-2, 190, RB/LB); Forrest Steele, Riverview (Sr., 6-0, 215, OL/DL)

Four downs: 1. Blumer’s six touchdowns last Friday, one short of the school record, gives him four rushing and four receiving scores through four games. 2. Riverview is hoping to snap an eight-quarter scoreless streak. The Raiders have been outscored 114-0 the past two weeks. 3. Leechburg rallied from a 21-7 deficit late in the fourth quarter against GCC to force overtime. 4. The Raiders were limited to 25 yards of total offense against Clarion.

Extra point: Riverview holds a 29-10-2 advantage in the all-time series with Leechburg. The Blue Devils got the better of the Raiders 41-12 last year after Riverview pitched a 16-0 shutout in 2017.

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

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