A-K Valley high school football matchups for 2023 Week 5
Wednesday, September 27, 2023 | 5:43 PM
Class 5A Big East Conference
7 p.m. Friday, Mustang Stadium, Plum
Last year’s result: Franklin Regional 31, Plum 28
Neighboring teams usually fight for the last word when they meet on the gridiron. … Few saw Franklin Regional beating Shaler, especially by a 49-point margin. The Panthers scored 49 unanswered points to shake off a 44-24 loss to Gateway. Big-play receiver Ayden Hudock had six catches for 142 yards and two touchdowns. … Plum takes a three-game losing streak into Friday. The Mustangs could not contain Gateway’s passing attack, giving up nearly 400 yards through the air. Kenny Lewis had eight catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns.
Class 5A Northeast Conference
7 p.m. Friday, James Burk Complex, O’Hara Township
Last year’s result: North Hills 38, Fox Chapel 6
Both teams are desperate for a victory with matchups against conference frontrunners still looming. … Jack Scarsella’s 39-yard field goal gave North Hills a brief 3-0 lead against Penn Hills last week. Kamren Hemmingway’s 10-yard run was the Indians’ other score. Connor Davis threw for 83 yards and ran for 26. … The Foxes, who are riding a 16-game losing streak, rotated three quarterbacks last week — Joe Geller (75 passing yards), Nathan Johnson (7 yards) and Max Melocchi (11 yards) — and also used 12 ball carriers in search of an offensive spark. They’ve averaged 5.6 points this season. Fox Chapel is 5-24-1 all-time vs. North Hills. The Foxes’ last win in the series was 14-0 in 1978.
Class 4A Greater Allegheny Conference
7 p.m. Friday, Mars Athletic Complex, Mars
Last year’s result: Highlands 54, Mars 22
It’s never too early to start looking at playoff positioning, and this matchup will factor greatly in the conference. … Hindered by injuries, Highlands rebounded from a loss to North Catholic with a win last week. QB Menage Lucas ran for 120 yards and two scores, and Darius Cherry added 116 yards and a TD on seven carries. Luke Bombalski also ran for 70 yards. That rushing attack will be needed against a stingy Mars defense that allows 16.39 ppg. … Mars’ Evan Wright ran for 117 yards and two scores last week. QB Luke Goodworth threw for 229 yards and a TD. Mars had won five straight games in the series until Highlands won the past two years.
7 p.m. Friday, Kuzenski Field, Indiana
Last year’s result: Indiana 47, Kiski Area 28
Both winless in the conference, Kiski Area and Indiana realize the importance of getting in the win column this week. … Carson Heinle continues to shine for the Cavaliers, completing 14 of 30 passes for 172 yards last week. Landon Kucic and Brennan Moore provided some burst out of the backfield. Kiski Area has an 11-4 lead against Indiana in the all-time series. … Indiana relies on the passing of Trevor Smith, who last week threw for 167 yards, including TD passes to Rocco Cosention and Levi Porter.
Class 3A Allegheny 6 Conference
7 p.m. Friday, Memorial Stadium, New Kensington
Last year’s result: East Allegheny 38, Valley 14
The teams have a clean slate in the conference opener and hopes of contending for a playoff berth. … East Allegheny has put up 40-plus points in back-to-back wins after starting 1-2. The Wildcats also beat Jeannette, 33-30, in overtime. Senior QB Michael Cahill threw for nearly 1,900 yards and ran for more than 900 last season. East Allegheny holds a 7-4 lead in the series. Valley’s last win was 47-12 in 2013. … Valley is trying to get its offense on track after averaging 17.2 points through five games. Chuck Perkins (81 yards, TD) and Darnell Coaston (59 yards, 2 TDs) carried the rushing load in last week’s win. Coaston also caught three passes for 59 yards.
7 p.m. Friday, Freeport Area Athletic Stadium, Buffalo Township
Last year’s result: Freeport 12, Shady Side Academy 7
These were the top two teams in the Allegheny 6 last season, and both have hopes of regaining that winning form in the conference opener. … Shady Side Academy has averaged 36.2 points, second in Class 3A (Avonworth, 37.4 ppg). Devin Harris is a dual-threat QB who threw for 116 yards and ran for 110 last week. Deacon Durham returned two punts for touchdowns in Week 4. … Freeport is coming off back-to-back losses where it was outscored 97-39. QB Drew Ross threw for a TD and ran for one last week. Colton Otterman ran for 82 yards and a score. Freeport leads the series 15-10.
Class 2A Allegheny Conference
7 p.m. Friday, Buccaneers Stadium, Lower Burrell
Last week: Burrell 28, Yough 12; Imani was idle
Last year’s result: Burrell 41, Imani Christian 30
The Bucs are trying to stay atop the conference standings where they are tied with Steel Valley and Derry at 2-0. … Burrell has averaged just 15.8 points offensively but has been tough to score against, allowing just 15.2 ppg. The Bucs running game piled up 280 yards last week, including 151 and a touchdown from Devin Beattie. Esau King-Buchak returned an interception for a TD. Burrell won the only meeting between these teams last season en route to a 5-1 start. … Imani Christian is one of the highest scoring teams in Class 2A at 31.5 ppg but lost to Steel Valley, 17-6, in the conference opener. Sophomore David Davis and junior Dayshaun Burnett are Division I prospects.
Class 2A No. 2 Steel Valley (3-1, 2-0) at Apollo-Ridge (1-4, 0-2)
7 p.m. Friday, Owens Field, Apollo
Last year’s result: Steel Valley 42, Apollo-Ridge 7
Steel Valley’s rushing attack will provide a stiff challenge for Apollo-Ridge, which is seeking its first conference victory. … The Ironmen leaned on Donald Barksdale in a big way last week. The junior ran for 221 yards and five touchdowns and added five extra points. Steel Valley has scored 26.75 points per game and allowed 7.25 ppg, best in Class 2A. … Apollo-Ridge QB Karter Schrock threw a TD pass, caught a TD pass and ran for a score in last week’s loss. He has thrown for 337 yards and run for 535 this season. Apollo-Ridge is 1-5 against Steel Valley.
Class A Eastern Conference
7 p.m. Friday, Frazier Stadium, Perryopolis
Last year’s result: Leechburg 56, Frazier 0
Frazier has struggled to score points this season, managing only 49 through five games, while Leechburg is averaging a conference-best 33.0 points. … After winning three straight, Leechburg was humbled by Clairton last week, but Jayden Floyd shined with 123 rushing yards and two TDs, along with 104 passing yards. … Derek Diamond ran for 89 yards and two TDs for the Commodores last week. Frazier, which has been shut out three times this season, leads the all-time series 3-2.
7 p.m. Friday, McKee Stadium, Jeannette
Last week: Riverview 46, Frazier 30; Jeannette 35, Charleroi 7
Last year’s result: Jeannette 38, Riverview 6
Jeannette knows the run is coming, and if the Jayhawks can stop it, they can stretch their winning streak to four. … Carlo Buzzatto ran for 245 yards last week for the Raiders, who have given up 65 points in two conference games. … Jeannette, which has allowed the fewest points in the conference (73), hasn’t started 5-1 since 2020 when it won a WPIAL title and finished second in the state. Payton Molter and Kymon’e Brown hooked up for three touchdowns last week.
7 p.m. Friday, Veterans Memorial Field, Springdale
Last week: Union 33, Laurel 14; Greensburg C.C. 60, Springdale 14
Last year’s result: Union 48, Springdale 13
There will be two WPIAL championship teams in attendance Friday night — Union won the Class A title last season, and Springdale will recognize members of its 1973 title team celebrating its 50th anniversary. … Union is led by all-state quarterback Braylon Thomas, who threw for 163 yards and two scores and also ran for 111 yards last week. The Scotties bounced back from a 30-14 loss to Cornell with back-to-back wins where they outscored opponents 73-22. … Chase Weihrauch threw for 92 yards and two TD passes to Colton Gent last week for the Dynamos. Their offense will need to possess the ball to keep Union’s attack off the field. Union leads the all-time series 6-5-1.
Bill Hartlep is the sports editor of the Tribune-Review. You can contact Bill at email@example.com or via Twitter @BHartlep_Trib.
Tags: Apollo-Ridge, Burrell, East Allegheny, Fox Chapel, Frazier, Freeport, Highlands, Imani Christian, Indiana, Kiski Area, Leechburg, Mars, North Hills, Plum, Riverview, Shady Side Academy, Springdale, Steel Valley, Union, Valley
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