Big Game Hunting – The Football Threepack for Week Sixteen

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 | 4:13 PM





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Three WPIAL teams head to Hershey for the final week of the state of Pennsylvania’s high school football season. What a ride it has been this 2012 season, the memories will last a lifetime for players, fans, coaches and broadcasters alike. The collective record of the district seven teams heading to Hershey is 45-0. All three teams have had historical seasons. Can they continue to make history through week 16? Only one way to find out, we have to go Big Game Hunting one final time in 2012!

PIAA Class AAAA Championship:
North Allegheny Tigers (15-0) vs Coatesville Red Raiders (13-2) Saturday December 15th @ 6:00 pm at Hersheypark Stadium In Hershey broadcast on the
broadcast on the MSA Sports Network and the North Allegheny Sports Network by Randy Gore and Rick Meister

Coatesville is the District one champion. The Red Raiders have rattled off nine straight wins after a week four loss to Downington East dropped them to 2-2 on the season. Matt Ortega’s team has scored 602 points on the season and allowed 254. The math works out to 40.13 points per game scored and 16.93 points per game allowed. The Red Raiders are playing in the championship game for the first time in school history.

Senior quarterback Emmett Hunt has had a great season completing 146 of 229 passes for 2984 yards and 43 touchdowns all while throwing only three interceptions. Hunt also plays baseball and basketball for the Red Raiders. He has pair of top notch receivers in Chris Jones and Dre Boggs. Jones has 68 catches for 1490 yards and 23 touchdowns, he also has returned a pair of kickoffs for touchdowns. Boggs contributes in the passing games with 33 catches for 811 yards and a dozen touchdowns. He is also a top rusher for Coatesville with five touchdowns and 589 yards on the ground. 

Daquan Worley is the leading rusher for the Red Raiders, he has 1599 yards on 217 carries and has rushed for 19 touchdowns in his junior year.

The Coatesville defense is led by junior linebacker Tyler Burke the 6’4’’ 240 pounder has offers from Maryland, NC State and Temple. He leads the Red Raiders with 208 tackles, 70 tackles for loss and 11 sacks on the season. Junior defensive lineman Mike Boykin is having a big year as well recording 14 sacks and 41 tackles for loss.

The Tigers look to continue their unbeaten season after rolling West Lawn Wilson 45-10 in the semis. North Allegheny is scoring 40.5 points per game and allowing just 7.5 points per game on the year. The Tigers’ defense has allowed seven points or fewer in nine of their 15 games to date this season.

Senior quarterback Mack Leftwich has connected on 161 of 248 passes for 3132 yards and 43 touchdowns and he has only thrown four interceptions. Amazing how similar Leftwich’s numbers are to Hunt from Coatesville.

Gregg Garrity has caught 62 passes for 1185 yards and 17 touchdowns on the year. In the post season he has caught 29 passes for 518 yards and seven touchdowns. The only game this season that Garrity has NOT caught a touchdown pass in was against Gateway in a week six win.

Senior Alex DiCiantis leads the Tigers on the ground with 1174 yards and 13 touchdowns on 214 carries, all of which are team highs. Leftwich is also a big part of the North Allegheny rushing attack with 463 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground.

The Tiger defense is led by senior linebacker Kevin Edwards who has 88 total tackles and four sacks. Sophomore linebacker Layne Skundrich has been tremendous as well with 86 total tackles and six sacks on the year. Senior Jeremy Gonzales leads the Tigers with a dozen sacks on the season. Brett Neugebauer, and Elijah Zeise have each chipped in with three interceptions for Art Walker’s team. Coach Walker says his club is fully healthy and ready for this game he also adds of Coatesville Coatesville is fast and athletic with a lot of depth at the skilled positions.  The have big play capabilities on offense and are a fast and attacking defense.” I add, so is North Allegheny.

PIAA Class AA Championship:
Aliquippa Quips (15-0) vs Wyomissing Spartans (15-0) Saturday December 15th @ 12:00 pm
at Hersheypark Stadium In Hershey broadcast on the broadcast on the MSA Sports Network and WKPL-FM 92.1 The Pickle by Mark Schaas and Brandon Showers also broadcast on the MSA Sports Network and WBVP-AM 1230 and WMBA-AM 1460 by Bob Barrickman and Tom Hays

The Spartans are the champions of district 3 in 2012. Again in this game a WPIAL team with gobs of PIAA championship experience will face a team searching for their first ever title. In fact Wyomissing will be playing in the championship game for the first time in school history. Aliquippa is trying to win their third PIAA Championship (’91 & ’03). They were runners-up in 1988 and again in 2000. The two teams have not much in common when it comes to PIAA experience but they are actually pretty similar on the field. Wyomissing has been dominating their opponents all season long just like the Quips.

The Spartans emphasize the rushing attack just like the Quips and they are also diversified in that rushing attack like Aliquippa. As a team the Spartans have rushed for 4688 yards on the season. They have four players with 629 yard rushing or more. The leading ground gainer for Wyomissing is Notre Dame recruit Alex Anzalone. Anzalone has carried it 151 times this year for 1404 yards and 30 touchdowns. Justin Causa has 816 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns this season for the Spartans.

Quarterback Joe Cacchione has completed 35 of 66 passes for 664 yards and nine touchdowns this season.

Cacchione is one of four All-Berks league representatives on the Wyomissing defense. The headliner there is Anzalone who will play linebacker for Notre Dame next season.

How will that Wyomissing defense handle the top scoring offense in the state of Pennsylvania? That battle will have much to say in the outcome of this championship tilt.

The Quips lead the state in points scored per game at 49.7, and they are also the number one team in the state in terms of points allowed at just 5.7 per game.

Senior quarterback Malik Shegog is the signal caller for the Quips and contributes both on the ground and through the air. In 2012 Shegog has completed 33 of 64 passes for 639 yards and eight touchdowns. He has also rushed for 629 yards and a dozen more scores.

Make no mistake though Aliquippa’s offense will rely heavily on junior running backs Dravon Henry and Terry Swanson. Henry has rushed 175 times for 1796 yards and 29 touchdowns. Swanson has carried it 126 times for 1420 yards and 21 touchdowns on the year. 

In the passing game look for big contributions from Hassahn Thompson, Shaquere McBride and Jyier Turner for the Quips.

Aliquippa’s defense is obviously very stout, and that starts up front, with guys like Jaleel Fields and Malik Akins. The defense has produced six shutouts on the season including a pair in the post season. Keep an eye on Donovan Cobb and Khalil Seaburn, these are guys who always seem to be around the ball and making big time plays for Mike Zmijanac.

PIAA Class A Championship:
Clairton Bears (15-0) vs Dunmore Bucks (14-1) Friday December 14th @ 1:00 pm at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey broadcast on the MSA Sports Network by Mark Schaas and Josh Rowntree

Tom Nola’s are Bears going for their 63rd straight win, and their 4th straight PIAA championship. Frankly I have run out of things to say about them, and that might be the biggest compliment of all, they are the first team ever to render me speechless. “The Streak” is the longest in Pennsylvania history and the longest current active winning streak in the nation. I am obligated to mention that each passing week. In the semifinals the Bears were forced to play Pennsylvania’s all-time leading passer, minus one of their best defensive backs in Titus Howard, (Howard will miss this championship game with the same elbow injury), and they responded by crushing Port Allegany 44-12.

Instead of trying to capture all the amazing numbers that have been recounted time and time again by this column and so many others regarding the greatness that is the Bears. I would like to use this space to thank Tom Nola, who I have bothered countless times over the last four years, and who every time is always pleasant and helpful.

I would also like to list each senior on this Bears roster Tyus Booker, Santeaun Sims, Bryon Clifford, Terrish Webb, Titus Howard, Nick Boswell, Vinny Moody, Robert Boatright, Armani Ford, Ian Giles, Tyler Boyd, Sedrick Nash, Shaquan Reddick, Devonte Harvey, Damond Flowers, Jordan Gressam, and Kyuss Jeter. They have not all gotten their fair share of the ink. Yes some might get more yards and touchdowns than others, but they have all had their part in this streak, even if that part just consists of showing up at practice everyday to push the guys who will be getting more game day action, that is still a significant part. These guys have not lost a football game since the opening week of their freshman year in high school. We salute you fellas, you will draw on these memories and lessons learned for the rest of your life. Congratulations, and good luck!

 I would also like to mention the Bears fans, they are many and they are faithful and they are not shy, I love that about them. They have been that way since way before the streak began and they will be that way long after the streak has ended. #BoutDat Folks, I salute you as well!

So you all know who you are facing a little about the Dunmore Bucks. The Bucks are the champions of district two and they have only a single blemish on their 2012 campaign. That blemish was a week four road loss 21-0 at Old Forge, a loss they avenged with a 7-6 win in the playoffs. The Bucks are strictly a running team averaging only 58 yards per game throwing the football. The offense is led by a pair of thousand yard rushers. Junior Daiqwon Buckley has carried it 197 times for 1755 yards and 23 touchdowns. Senior Austin Seamon has 190 carries for 1295 yards and 17 touchdowns. To give you an idea of how little they throw, they have attempted 10 passes in the last two games, including just three in last weeks 40-19 win over Bellwood Antis. 

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