Big Game Hunting: The Football Fourpack for Week 14

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010 | 12:00 AM


Four teams hit the on ramp moving away from Heinz field and head toward Chocolate-town U.S.A. carrying the district seven banner this weekend and the MSA Sports Network is there to bring you all the action. Monday's first day of buck season is in the past, now it's time for the real-thing. How will the WPIAL fare against the rest of the State of Pennsylvania? Get your orange hat and vest and let's go Big Game Hunting. Here are the top games for each classification in the state quarterfinals.

PIAA CLASS AAAA Quarterfinals:
North Allegheny Tigers (12-1) vs State College Little Lions (7-6) AT Pine-Richland High School Friday, December 3rd @ 7:00pm Broadcast on msasports.net and the North Allegheny Sports Network by Randy Gore and Rick Meister

After winning their second WPIAL Championship this past Saturday by defeating Woodland Hills 21-14 at Heinz Field, the North Allegheny Tigers will go to the next round of the PIAA playoffs against State College without the services of their star running back Alex Papson who will miss the rest of the season with an injured shoulder. Papson was hurt early in the second half of the district-seven championship game. The Tigers also might be without Papson's number one back up Matt Steinbeck who was also hurt in the WPIAL championship game and spent much of the second half on crutches. His ankle injury keeps his ability to play in the state quarterfinals questionable.

The Tigers will likely turn to junior Vinnie Congedo in the quarterfinals as the replacement for Papson if Steinbeck is also unavailable, Congedo has 32 carries on the season for 181 yards and a touchdown, he will be getting a baptism by fire in trying to replace Papson's over 300 carries, over 2500 yards and over 30 touchdowns. Luckily for Congedo the fantastic offensive line for the Tigers is intact.

Quarterback Mike Buchert had a big game throwing the ball for the Tigers when these two teams met in the first week of the regular season. Buchert completed six of eight passes for 155 yards and a touchdown. On the season Buchert is 54 of 111 for 999 yards and 11 touchdowns, he has also thrown eight interceptions. Senior wide receiver Dan Slivka leads the Tigers with 25 catches for 599 yards and six touchdowns.

The State College Little Lions started the season 0-5 but have clearly righted the ship winning seven of their last eight games to improve to 7-6 on the season coming into the state quarterfinals.

The Lions are led by junior quarterback Josh Weakland who has completed 182 of 267 pass attempts for 2001 yards and 21 touchdowns on the season, he has thrown 12 interceptions. Senior Luke Jones is the leading rusher for the Little Lions with 88 carries for 677 yards and four touchdowns.

Defensively the Little Lions depend on leading tackler senior linebacker Matt Baney who leads them with over 90 tackles on the year.

State College ousted the district-seven champion Woodland Hills Wolverines last year in the quarterfinals 14-3 and advanced all the way to the state championship game before falling to La Salle College 24-7.

PIAA CLASS AAA Quarterfinals:

Central Valley Warriors (10-3) vs Erie Cathedral Prep Ramblers (8-4) AT Veterans Memorial Stadium in Erie on Friday, December 3rd @ 7:00pm broadcast on msasports.net and WBVP AM 1230 by Bob Barrickman and Tom Hays

Cathedral Prep got their 17th District-10 championship with a 28-16 win over Grove City Saturday on the campus of Slippery Rock University. Running Back Anthony Jordan paced the Ramblers in that win as he has all season, Jordan scored a pair of first quarter touchdowns to stake the Ramblers to an early lead they would never relinquish. Jordan also injured a hamstring in the win his status for this quarterfinal is day-to-day.

If Jordan is healthy look for him to be a big part of the offense for the Ramblers, if not a bigger load will fall on sophomore quarterback Damion Terry. Terry can hurt you with his arm or his feet, the 6'4'' 197 pounder has thrown for over a thousand yards and rushed for nearly 400 on the season he has also been a part of 20 touchdowns on the year.

6'1'' 185 pound senior linebacker Mario Sanders leads the Ramblers in both tackles and sacks on the season.

Central Valley carries a six game winning streak and a first ever dictrict-seven championship banner, in their first year of existence into this quarterfinal bout with the Ramblers. The Warriors have found a tremendous one-two punch in the backfield offensively as senior Lukas Turley pounds teams into submission and sophomore Robert Foster lights them on fire with blazing speed and lightning quick moves.

Turley on the year has rushed for 835 yards and seven touchdowns while Foster has rushed for nearly 400 yards. Foster is also a big part of the Warriors passing game he leads them in catches with 23, including eight touchdowns.

Senior quarterback Matt Bradford has been splendid since being called on midway through the season to take over at quarterback after an injury sidelined Curtis Lewis. Bradford is 39 of 82 for 747 yards and 12 touchdowns, and has only thrown three interceptions.

Defensively the Warriors get big time play from both Turley and senior defensive back Mike Kupper, they held a very good Montour offense to seven points in the WPIAL championship game.

PIAA CLASS AA Quarterfinals:

South Fayette Lions (13-0) vs Brockway Rovers (12-0) AT West Allegheny High School Friday, December 3rd @ 7:00pm broadcast on msasports.net and WJPA FM 95.3 by Bob Gregg and Mark Uriah

If you like the passing game make your way to Imperial Friday night as two of the best quarterbacks in the state will air it out in the PIAA quarterfinals match up between South Fayette and Brockway.

Brockway senior quarterback Derek Buganza has the bulk of the state's passing records for prep-players. Buganza has the all-time state records for yards in a season (3,824 in 2009), yards in a game (594 versus Otto-Eldred week four 2009) and yards in a career (9,412 and counting). This year Buganza has completed 159 of 234 passes for 2665 yards and 29 touchdowns in leading the Rovers to the district-nine championship, and an unbeaten record.

The Rovers have other great athletes as well, senior Mike Vervoort (5'9'' 195 pounds) is an absolute triple threat, he has 922 yards rushing on the year, he has also accumulated 815 yards receiving on the season and he has had a part in 28 touchdowns. Defensively he has wracked up over 40 tackles and four interceptions on the year.

South Fayette likes to wing it as well Christian Brumbaugh has had a tremendous senior season for the Lions tossing for 2,875 yards and 39 touchdowns on the year, for his career Brumbaugh has thrown for 6,311 yards.

The Lions, just like the Rovers can also run the football senior tailback Jeff Davis has had back-to-back seasons of over one thousand yards rushing. They have four receivers with more than 20 catches on the season as well.

South Fayette's defensive backfield is likely to be amongst the best that Buganza has faced on the season. The Lions have picked off 17 passes on the year led by Tyler Challingsworth's six.

PIAA CLASS A Quarterfinals:

Clairton Bears (13-0) vs North Star Cougars (9-3) AT Somerset Area School District Stadium in Somerset on Friday, December 3rd at 7:00pm broadcast on msasports.net by Dan Zangrilli and Mark Schaas

I can't really think of anything else to say about the Bears defense that has not already been said or written. They are one of the best defenses on paper in the history of high school football in the state of Pennsylvania.

The Bears posted their 9th clean sheet of the season defensively when they shut out the Rochester Rams in the WPIAL championship game 12-0 at Heinz Field Saturday. The Bears have allowed the fewest points in the entire state of Pennsylvania at 26 which works out to two points per game allowed. Their team speed, size, and athleticism is unmatched in single A. They are a prohibitive favorite to roll to another state championship.

Quarterback / defensive end Desimon Green has been splendid on both sides of the ball all season long, including a 26 yards touchdown run and a 21 yards touchdown pass in the championship game, defensively he gives quarterbacks fits while always maintaining contain and also getting up the field and into opponents backfields to disrupt offenses.

Trenton Coles and Josh Page are speedy deep threats for Green to throw to, the Bears also do a great job running the football with Green and Tyler Boyd both a threat to take it to the house from anywhere on the field.

North Star is a fairly balanced team led by the passing of junior quarterback Max Strasiser, and the rushing of senior Dylan Friedline.

Strasiser has completed 112 of 185 passes for 1967 yards and 21 touchdowns, but easily the most impressive stat he has posted on the year is having only thrown three interceptions, that is a fabulous touchdowns to interceptions ratio. Strasiser has also rushed for almost 500 yards and 11 touchdowns on the year.

Friedline has totted the rock 144 times for 1015 yards on the ground including a dozen touchdowns for the Cougars who are the champions of district-five for the third time in the last four years. Sophomore Tony Strasiser is the leading receiver for the Cougars with 47 catches for 947 yards on the year including 10 touchdowns.

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