Big Game Hunting – The Football Fourpack for Week 15

Wednesday, December 4, 2013 | 8:04 PM

State semifinals week is here and three district seven teams remain with a seat at the table. We will break down their opponents here in Big Game Hunting week 15. Kudos to West Allegheny as they bow out in week 14 losing to Erie Cathedral Prep here on the MSA Sports Network. Hearing that score and seeing the Indians throughout the regular season makes you just marvel at how good the Ramblers must be. The WPIAL banner remains high aloft, can one, two, or even all three teams, reach week sixteen?

Pittsburgh Central Catholic Vikings (14-0) vs. Lower Dauphin Falcons (13-1) Saturday December 7th at 1:00 PM @ Mansion Park in Altoona, PA broadcast on the MSA Sports Network by Josh Rowntree and Lou Rood

Lower Dauphin is the district three champion of 2013 they have never won a PIAA championship in football. Central is seeking their fourth state crown to go with wins in 1988, 2004 and 2007.

If you like the passing game, look elsewhere for your entertainment Saturday, neither of these teams throws much, and that is understating it. They almost don’t throw at all.

Lower Dauphin’s leading passer Troy Spencer has attempted 50 passes all season long, and the Vikings attempted two passes in the WPIAL championship win over Woodland Hills.

If running and defense are more to your taste, this is the game for you.

Lower Dauphin’s senior quarterback Troy Spencer is much more likely to run, in fact he has more than five times the rushing attempts (256) than he does passing attempts (50) for the year. Spencer is the leading rusher for the Falcons with 1574 yards and 24 touchdowns on the ground.

Senior running back Dalton Yentsch has carried the ball 199 times for 1092 yards and seven touchdowns on the season.

Yentsch is also a big part of a staunch Falcons defensive unit, he leads the team with 109 tackles for the year. Trey Klock has recorded 21 tackles for loss for Lower Dauphin including a team-high 9.5 sacks for the season. Junior defensive back Adam Domovich has six of the Falcons’ 16 interceptions. He won’t get many chances against the Vikings to add to that total.

J.J. Cosentino the senior quarterback for the Vikings has completed 38 of 82 passes on the year, for 704 yards and a dozen scores. The attempts work out to just under six attempts per game for the year and the last two weeks he has averaged exactly four attempts per game.

The Vikes are like the Falcons in that they prefer to get it done in a big way on the ground they also have a pair of 1000+ yard rushers for the 2013 season. Luigi List-Brinza has 202 carries for 1487 yards and Riley Redman has collected 1109 yards and 14 touchdowns on the year. Cosentino is a threat to run as well he has a dozen rushing touchdowns on the season. Often overlooked in the powerful Vikings rushing attack is fullback Devin Faloon who bangs away at the interior of opposing defenses and takes their will.

Central’s defense continues to be their calling card as they held McDowell to 64 total yards on offense in the quarterfinals.

South Fayette Lions (14-0) vs. Hickory Hornets (12-1) Saturday December 7th at 1:00 PM @ Mihalik-Thompson Stadium on the campus of Slippery Rock University broadcast on the MSA Sports Network and WJPA-AM 1450 by Bob Gregg and Mark Uriah

The Hickory Hornets were the PIAA AA Champions in 1989, South Fayette played runner-up to West Philadelphia Catholic in 2010. That is the extent of the PIAA championship experience for these two teams.

If you like the passing game, this is the game for you. The Hornets and Lions both love to wing it all over the lot.

Both teams have four receivers with double digit catches on the season. Hickory quarterback, Matt Voytek has completed 111 of 180 passes for 1914 yards and 27 touchdowns on the year. Voytek is a great double threat as well running the ball with great success all season long. He has 692 rushing yards and has scored eight touchdowns on the ground.

Junior running back Lou Derloni has carried the load on the ground for the Hornets with 960 yards and a dozen touchdowns on 118 attempts. Freshman Chuck Carr is over 500 yards rushing on the season as well.

Sophomore Andrew Pryts leads the Hornets solid receiving corps with 35 catches for 787 yards and eight scores on the year.

Senior linebacker Daulton Linton is a force at inside linebacker for Hickory. Linton has totaled a team high 124 tackles including 16 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks on the year.

As a team the Hornets have 16 interceptions, 29 sacks and have recovered nine opponents fumbles for the season.

South Fayette rolled Karns City in the quarterfinals behind another fantastic Brett Brumbaugh passing performance. Brumbaugh threw for 340 yards and five scores in the win. For the season he has now completed 206 of 334 passes for 3436 yards and 38 touchdowns. He enters this semi-final 515 yards shy of the Pennsylvania state record for passing yards in a single season (Matt Bodamer, Port Allegany 3951, 2012). He is also closing quickly on the WPIAL single-season record held by his brother Christian Brumbaugh of 3726 yards, set in 2010 when the Lions lost in the state championship game.

Brett Brumbaugh will catch his brother for certain if the Lions advance to the championship game in the humble opinion of this reporter. The state record is very achievable as well, with Brumbaugh needing to average 257.5 yards per game if the Lions can find a way to win this game.

Conner Beck, Justin Watson, Logan Sharp and Hayden Orler will, I think all be vying to be the guy who makes the catch that establishes a new WPIAL record. That corps of receivers has been huge for the Lions all season long with Watson catching three touchdown passes in the state quarterfinals last week.

North Catholic Trojans (14-0) vs. Clarion Bobcats (14-0) Friday December 6th at 7:00 PM @ E.J. Mansell Stadium on the campus of DuBois high school broadcast on the MSA Sports Network by Mike Kalinowski and Bob Dunkle on WCCR-FM 92.7

Both of these teams are searching for their first ever PIAA championship in football. This will be a match-up of two outstanding defenses.

District nine champion Clarion has been absolutely dominant in every phase of the game all season long. The Bobcats have posted an incredible nine shutouts on the season. As a team they are allowing just 5.07 points per game on the year. Junior linebacker Destin Strauser leads the Bobcat D with 151 tackles on the year. Ethan Straffin and Ian Corbett have each recorded 12 sacks on the season and sophomore defensive back Brendan Miller has a team high seven interceptions.

Offensively the numbers a just as impressive for Clarion, senior quarterback John Katis has completed 96 of 149 passes for 2083 yards and 23 touchdowns, and only a single interception on the year.

The Bobcats also feature a pair of thousand yard rushers. Senior Damien Slike leads them with 1869 yards and 37 touchdowns on the ground with his 146 carries, while junior Ian Corbett has 1247 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Senior wide receiver Cody Hearst has over a thousand yards and 12 touchdowns as the main pass catching threat for the Bobcats.

The Trojans defense is super stout as well, allowing just 10 points per game on the year and they have turned it up a notch here in the playoffs blanking Sto-Rox and holding very good Avonworth and Tussey Mountain teams to single digits. In fact in the playoffs they are allowing just more than five points per game as a team.

Jared Fragapane, Thad Benson, Ryan Long and Ronnie Meder have a combination of size speed and strength that most single A teams just have difficulty matching up with.

Freshman running back Mario Latronica had a breakout performance in the Trojans quarterfinal win over Tussey Mountain rushing for very near 200 yards and a touchdown in the win. Adding his speed and versatility to an already potent Trojan backfield with quarterback P.J. Fulmore and running backs Jerome Turner and Jared Fragapane gives that Trojan rushing game yet another dimension.  

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