Alle-Kiski Valley notebook: Records fall in Highlands football loss to New Castle
By: Doug Gulasy
Saturday, September 9, 2017 | 11:54 PM
When the dust settles and the statistics are compiled, Highlands' 48-47, double-overtime loss Friday to New Castle will go down as one of the more entertaining contests in recent Alle-Kiski Valley history.
In the losing effort, Highlands junior quarterback Seth Cohen set school records with 412 passing yards and seven touchdowns.
Mike Lanosky held the previous, unofficial record with 329 yards in a 2009 loss to Knoch.
That Cohen's performance came in a game against New Castle standout and highly touted Ohio State recruit Marcus Hooker, the brother of Indianapolis Colts safety Malik Hooker, only added to the theater.
With an ankle injury limiting him to playing mostly offense, Hooker had his own virtuoso performance with 262 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 40 carries.
Highlands (1-1, 1-1 Northwest Nine) needed Cohen's performance as star running back Jermaine Jett missed Friday's game. Cohen spread the ball around, with Ryan Signorella finishing with 143 yards and two touchdowns, Romello Freeman 138 yards and two scores, Gabe Booker 69 yards and two scores and Johnny Crise 35 yards and a score.
Some of the Golden Rams' defensive players stuffed the stat sheet as well, with junior Noah Gillette piling up 24 tackles and two sacks and senior Tyler Sportelli recording 19 tackles.
Deer Lakes coach Steve Sciullo had high praise for Freeport's defense, and more specifically senior Austin Kemp, after the Yellowjackets' 31-0 shutout of the Lancers on Friday.
Sciullo called Kemp, a 5-foot-11, 220-pounder, the best lineman in the Allegheny Conference.
“Austin Kemp's a heck of a player, but you make him even better when you don't block him,” Sciullo said. “The kid was all over the field tonight. He's a tough, physical, hard-nosed kid, and I think he's been the best lineman in the conference the past two years.
“(He's) a special ballplayer. He may not be the biggest kid, he may not have Division I offers and he may not be the one carrying the rock, but that kid can play football.”
Told of Sciullo's comments, Kemp said: “It means a lot. I try not to let it get to my head because I don't want to play below my ability.”
Earlier in the week Sciullo compared another Freeport player named Austin — junior quarterback Austin Romanchak — to Josh Cribbs and Julian Edelman, both former college quarterbacks at Kent State who later became star wide receivers and/or kick returners in the NFL.
‘The Pit' is it
Coming off its shutout of Deer Lakes, Freeport faces a stark challenge Friday with a nonconference game against Class 3A No. 1 Aliquippa at legendary Carl A. Aschman Stadium, also known as “The Pit.”
The Yellowjackets are playing the Quips for the third consecutive season after losing in the 2015 WPIAL Class AA semifinals and 21-3 in a nonconference game last season at Freeport Area Athletic Stadium.
Aliquippa (3-0) is seeking its 10th consecutive trip to Heinz Field for the WPIAL championships and features one of the most talented teams in the WPIAL, headlined by four-star recruit Kwantel Raines.
“That's going to be very, very difficult,” Freeport coach John Gaillot said. “They're an extremely talented team. We'll put our players in the right position, hopefully, to make plays. They're Aliquippa for a reason. They're No. 1 in the state, so that should be a huge test to see what we can do.”
Deer Lakes to South Side
For the second consecutive season, the Deer Lakes girls soccer team will play under the lights at Highmark Stadium.
The Lancers (2-1-1) will play Beaver at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Highmark, home of the Riverhounds and site of the WPIAL championship games. Coach Frank Accetta is the public-address announcer for the Riverhounds.