Big Game Hunting for Week Seven 2016

Wednesday, October 12, 2016 | 4:36 PM

And now we enter the stretch run on the MSA sports network. Week seven, time to separate the pretenders from the contenders for WPIAL championships. Monster games, not just this Friday night, but all weekend long and, over the next month as we head on the Highway’s to Heinz and Highmark, let’s go Big Game Hunting

6 A Northern Seven Conference:
#3 Seneca Valley Raiders (2-2)(4-2) vs #2 North Allegheny Tigers (3-1)(5-2) Friday October 14th @ 7:30 at Newman Stadium on the campus of North Allegheny high school broadcast on the MSA Sports Network and the North Allegheny Sports Network by Randy Gore and Rick Meister 

Seneca Valley has won two straight and three of their last four, including last week’s dramatic come from behind victory over the Bethel Park Black Hawks.
North Allegheny meanwhile has rebounded from a 1-2 start to rattle off four straight victories including this past Friday over Penn Hills 28-21.

With Phil Jurkovec out for the rest of the season for Pine Richland it looks like there might be a home playoff game which is really a quarter-final, up for grabs in the Northern Seven. Who is going to go get it? One of these two teams most likely.

Quarterback Ethan Maenza for the North Allegheny Tigers has completed 33 of 59 passes for 548 yards five touchdowns and just one interception.

Maenza’s top target is Niko Mermigas with 23 catches for 392 yards, in fact no other Tiger has caught more than three passes all season long so almost an exclusive target is Niko Mermigas.

Maenza is also the leading rusher for the Tigers with 744 yards on 87 carries and a dozen touchdowns.

Mike Pope gets the bulk of the handoffs with 66 carries for 324 yards Pope has  scored four times on the year. Mermigas will also run the football he has scored six

touchdowns and accumulated nearly 200 rushing yards. Turner White is big part of the rushing game as well.

The Tigers have struggled at times this year on defense allowing 20.3 points per game on the season, not your typical North Allegheny defense.

They will face a Seneca Valley offense that is scoring more than 30 points per game.

Senior quarterback Jack Cook is a very good dual threat. Cook has completed 65 of 113 passes for 1103 yards and nine touchdowns, he has thrown five interceptions on the year.

The top receiver for the Raiders is Payton Skalos with 34 catches for 400 yards and four scores on the year. Also Hank Royal and Jake Holl each have 16 catches on the season the duo has combine for 455 yards receiving.

On the ground, Hank Royal is the leading ball carrier for Seneca Valley with 123 attempts for 706 yards. Royal has scored a team-high 10 touchdowns.

Pine Richland may recover from the loss of Jurkovec, but if they don’t, the winner of this football game will step up and fill the gap left by the Rams.

5 A Big East Conference:
#8 Penn Trafford Warriors (3-2)(5-2) vs #4 Armstrong Riverhawks (4-1)(6-1) Friday October 14th @ 7:00 PM on the campus of Armstrong high school broadcast on the MSA Sports Network by Matt Vandriak and Brandon Showers

Since starting 5-0 the Penn Trafford Warriors have dropped two straight. Armstrong has rebounded nicely from a week four tough loss to Franklin-Regional with two straight victories.

The Zane Dudek show continues for Armstrong. Dudek has 210 carries on the year for 2206 yards and 31 touchdowns, this kid has been other-worldly in his domination of WPIAL competition. He is, by almost 600 yards, the leading rusher in the WPIAL and he is by 58 points the leading scorer in the WPIAL.

Penn Traffic defense is stout allowing less than 14 points per game on the year, but this will be an absolute brutal test for the Warriors.

Armstrong quarterback Michael Lhote has completed 23 of 37 passes for 347 yards and three touchdowns he has though, tossed four interceptions on the year.

Sean Giddings has 11 catches for 133 yards but make no mistake the Riverhawks will go as far as Dudek takes him not just in this game, but in this season.

Offensively Penn Trafford is more balanced, Cam Laffoon has completed 70 of 128 passes for 1124 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Laffoon’s top three receivers are Anthony Cervone, Cam Suman, and Brendan Kelly. The trio has combined for 36 catches and 650 yards through the air along with seven touchdowns.

On the ground, John Gay gets the bulk of the carries with 76 touches for 438 yards, Gay has scored four touchdowns. Christian Jantz contributes mightily as well, Jantz has 55 carries for 464 yards leads the team in rushing yards and has  scored four touchdowns.

Here in the Big East, six teams are very much alive for four spots, this is going to be fun down the stretch run.

4 A Big Nine Conference:
#3 Belle Vernon Leopards (6-0)(6-0) vs #2 Thomas Jefferson Jaguar (5-0)(6-0) Friday October 14th @ 7:00 PM at Thomas Jefferson high school broadcast on the MSA Sports Network and 1320 AM WJAS by Lanny Frattare and Bob Orkwis

Both of these teams enter this game with perfect records on the year. Belle Vernon had to come from behind at Trinity last week to win 21-15. The leopards also maybe without Logan Pfrogner, one of their better players who suffered a late injury in that win, no update on Pfrogner is available as of press-time.

The Leps may have been looking past the Hillers at this contest with the T.J. Jaguars, we will find out.

Belle Vernon senior quarterback Mike fine has completed 43 of 68 passes for 646 yards and nine touchdowns, he has also thrown six interceptions including three last week in the rain against Trinity.

Fine also contributes mightily on the ground with 58 runs for 362 yards and eight scores this kid is tough as nails.

His top receivers are Tim Labuda with 20 catches for 272 yards and Logan Pfrogner, again Pfrogner’s  health may be an issue on both sides of the football for the Leopards.

Nick Hall is a very tough runner of the football for Bell Vernon, he has 55 carriage for 581 yards on the year he has scored eight touchdowns, he is a monster defensive back for the Belle Vernon Leopards as well.

Belle Vernon’s defense has been stout allowing just 10 points per game on the season.

TJ meanwhile continues to be T.J. the Jaguars allow 6.3 points per game defensively on the year, they rolled a pretty good Mars team last week 48-10.

Quarterback Bobby Kelly has completed 38 of 62 passes for 822 yards and 16 touchdowns while only throwing two interceptions.

Zane Zandier continues to be the leading receiver for the Jags with 18 catches for 465 yards Zandier has scored a dozen touchdowns. John Muehlbauer has 12 catches for 159 yards.

The Jags have five players who have rushed for more than 100 yards on the year led by Quinton Hill who has 84 carries for 754 yards and 15 touchdowns on the season. Justin Vigna has 37 carries for 366 yards. West Mifflin, perfect still, and remains in the future for the winner of this game here in the 2016 season.

3 A Allegheny Conference:
#4 Keystone Oaks Golden Eagles (4-0)(5-1) vs #7 Apollo-Ridge Vikings (4-1)(5-2) Friday October 14th @ 7:00 PM at Apollo-Ridge high school broadcast on the MSA Sports Network by Sean Meyers and Jake Holmes also video streamed live on the MSA Sports Network.

Since starting 1-2 the Vikings have rattled off four straight wins, and gotten one of the best players in the WPIAL back into their offense.

Duane Brown’s senior season might be abbreviated, but it is very impressive already. Since returning to the line-up in week four Brown has scored 11 touchdowns, he has rushed for 92 yards and has a dozen catches for 274 yards.

Quarterback Kyle Fitzroy has completed 54 of 109 passes for 919 yards and 10 scores without throwing a pick. Fitzroy also has 246 yards rushing.

Brett Coleman has carried the ball 65 times for 399 yards and six scores.

The Vikings defense will be tested by K.O., Apollo-Ridge has allowed 25.6. points per game on the year.

They will need to be better against one of the best offenses in the entire WPIAL.

Senior quarterback Alex Smith has completed 91 of 152 passes for 1455 yards and 13 touchdowns on the year he has also rushed for 476 yards and 10 scores, this kid is something special.

Top receiver on the year is Nick Hrivnak with 37 catches for 572 yards and four touchdowns. Dylan Knorr will also get involved he’s got 23 catches for 369 yards and five scores.

Devin Thomas is the leading rusher aside from Smith. Thomas has 36 carries for 288 yards and seven touchdowns.

The winner of this game gets a big leg-up on Allegheny conference championship and one of the top seeds in the postseason.

2 A Century Conference:
#2 Washington Prexies (4-0)(6-0) vs #4 Chartiers-Houston Buccaneers (5-0)(6-1) Friday October 14th @ 7:00 PM at Chartiers-Houston high school broadcast on WJPA AM 1450 and the MSA Sports Network by Bob Gregg

Since a week one loss at home against Jeanette the Bucs have rattled off five straight victories in impressive fashion. Heading into last week T.J. Johnson, senior quarterback had completed 60 of 107 passes for nearly 900 yards.

A.J. Myers is his top target through the air with 17 catches for 364 yards heading in to week six.

Spencer Terling, senior running back has 79 carries for 577 yards for the Bucs. Terling has also scored a team-high eight touchdowns along with Myers. Again all of those stats were prior to week six.

Chartiers-Houston’s defense has been pretty stout allowing 16.4 points per game on the year. The defensive line does a nice job occupying blockers and freeing up a solid linebacking corps led by terling and Matt Whitfield to make a bunch of tackles, but they will get a stiff test from the Prexies.

Washington scores almost 46 points per game nearly double anyone else in the conference. Again, these stats are heading into last week’s games.

Connor Bedillion has completed 30 of 56 passes for nearly 600 yards and 11 scores.

Isaiah Robinson is his top receiver with 16 catch and 296 yards on the year.

On the ground three different Prexies have rushed for 200 yards or more already on the season. Ronnie Paith, Nick Welsh and Zyan Wallace have combined to rush for 658 yards.

Robinson has scored a combined seven touchdowns and, the trio of running backs, 11 touchdowns on the year for Mike Bosnic’s team. Winner here get a leg up on a century conference title.

1 A Eastern Conference:
#4 Bishop Canevin Crusaders (3-2)(4-2) vs #8 Springdale Dynamos (2-2)(4-3) Friday October 14th @ 7:00 PM at Dynamo Stadium in Springdale Pennsylvania Broadcast on the MSA Sports Network by Sam Hall and Cory Campano

Winner here has a shot at a home playoff game, as both of these clubs are most likely to make the postseason but nothing is set in stone.

The Crusaders got a dramatic 33-30 went over Imani Christian last Friday night at Dormont stadium when Austin Scott tossed a 26 yard touchdown pass to Maleik Hemingway with six seconds to play.

Both of these teams have struggled at times defensively, Canevin allows Canada allows more than 24 points per game and Springdale is allowing about 23, could this be a shootout in Springdale?

Canevin will come at you were in several ways with a power rushing attack, a wildcat look, and a solid passing attack from two good quarterbacks.

Austin Scott and Brian DeSchon have played well at quarterback for the Crusaders all season long.

DeSchon has completed 22 of 49 passes for 353 yards and four scores but did not play quarterback last week. Scott has completed 17 of 37 for 186 yards and two scores through the air.

Maliek Hemingway runs the wildcat offense for the Crusaders as does Scott sometimes.

Kellen Gustine has 12 catches for 184 yards and a pair of touchdowns on the year he is the leading receiver for the Crusaders.

Hemingway on the ground is impressive 72 carries on the year 451 yards and nine touchdowns. Zach Trusky is the power back for Bishop Canevin with 52 carries for 303 yards and he has scored three times.

Austin Scott is the X factor for Bishop Canevin rushing the football, catching the football, and throwing the football. This kid is the play maker in the WPIAL he has seven catches for 100 yards, he has rushed for nearly 100 yards and he has scored three touchdowns in addition to throwing for a couple.

Up front the Crusaders are big Cam Rush, Mike Nalepa, and Louis Worrall are tough and strong and athletic.

Springdale meanwhile get solid play from Sam Carey at quarterback who has thrown, heading into weeks six, for 578 yards and five touchdowns completing 27 of 53 attempts.

His top receiver is Josh Harmon with a dozen catches for 237 yards and five scores on the year.

On the ground Ben Sowinski will get the bulk of the carries 130 to be exact for 743 yards and five touchdowns.

Ethan McFarland has 270 yards on the ground 56 carries and a team-high six touchdowns for the dynamos.

I am excited to get back to Dynamo country it has been too long since my last visit, traveling to Springdale for a football game is the ultimate slice of small-town Amercana. Seriously I think someone should make a movie about it. See you next week for more Big Game Hunting.

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