Big Game Hunting – Week Nine
By: Don Rebel
Wednesday, October 25, 2017 | 7:28 PM
I often think how funny it is to see all the work that goes into figuring out playoff scenarios, especially some of the deep-down tiebreaker stuff. The procrastinator in me just says, “week nine is coming, it will all be sorted right out there, so why bother doing the actual math?” Once again, as it has every year, the procrastinator in me is set to reap the benefits of my patience, or laziness, depending on how you want to look at it. Some meaningful football will be played Saturday this week nine, but when you put your head on your pillow Friday night, you will have been given all the answers that you seek from Don Rebel in the TribLiveHSSN postgame show. Let’s go Big Game Hunting!
6-A Southeastern Conference
#2 Bethel Park Black Hawks (7-1)(5-0) vs #6 Mt. Lebanon Blue Devils (6-3)(5-0) Friday October 27th @ 7:30 PM at Blue Devil Stadium on the campus of Mt. Lebanon High School; broadcast on AM 1320 WJAS and The TribLiveHSSN by Lanny Frattare and Sean Meyers
Bethel Park has been nearly perfect on the season, with its only blemish coming against Pine-Richland. On paper, Jeff Metheny’s club looks like a clear favorite to win this game and a Southeastern Conference title along with it. But, this is a huge rivalry game. It is also a very good Mt. Lebo team that, despite its non-conference record, has been perfect it had to be to get this shot.
The Blue Devils platoon system at quarterback has worked well. James Stocker and Seth Morgan have combined for 168 completions in 278 attempts for 2,553 yards and 21 touchdowns.
The leading receiver for Lebo is the leading receiver for the entire WPIAL – Aidan Cain has 81 catches for 1,447 yards and has scored 13 touchdowns. Luca DeCaro has 32 catches for 540 yards and three scores of his own.
On the ground, Antonio LaSota has 138 carries for 647 yards and has scored six times. John Naylor has 98 carries for 417 yards, and eight touchdowns.
Junior Mike Palmer leads the Blue Devil defense with 63 total tackles, defensive end Coleman Coco has a team-high seven sacks, while Palmer also adds five interceptions.
The Hawks, meanwhile, just keep churning along since that hiccup versus PR back in week four. Their defense is allowing a best-in-the-conference 17.1 points per game, and if you remove the loss to PR, they are allowing just 11.86 points per game; every other 6 A team is all for removing Pine-Richland, but that cannot be done.
Anthony Chiccitt has completed 38 of 70 passes for 802 yards and six scores. Jon Doleno and Austin Lewis have been the favored targets for Chiccitt – the duo has 26 catches for 440 yards.
The Hawks would prefer to pound the football on the ground. Tanner Volpatti has 120 carries for 911 yards and a team-high 20 touchdowns on the season. Doleno has 52 carries for 620 yards and 11 scores. He is averaging a whopping 11.9 yards per carry.
5-A Big East Conference
#1 Penn-Trafford Warriors (9-0)(7-0) vs #3 McKeesport Tigers (6-2)(5-2) Friday October 27th @ 7:00 PM at McKeesport High School; broadcast on The TribLiveHSSN by Josh Rowntree and Rob McKinney
The Warriors have been absolutely perfect, and at times, absolutely dominant here in the 2017 campaign. They have outscored their opponents 326 to 66 on the season, meaning they are allowing 7.3 points per game, by far the best mark in 5 A. In fact, no other 5 A team is within a touchdown and a two-point conversion of that number. McKeesport, meanwhile, comes in after losing a heartbreaker late to Gateway last week, 21-18. The Tigers hope to regroup emotionally and do so quickly, getting set to face the top dog in the class. Some are saying this might be a preview of the 5 A Championship.
Cam Laffoon has been splendid for the Warriors this year at quarterback. The senior has completed 65 of 122 passes for 1,063 yards and a dozen touchdowns. He has also rushed for 463 yards and four touchdowns.
Dimitri George leads the Warriors with 20 catches for 290 yards and a pair of scores. Cam Suman also has a pair of scores in his 12 catches and 221 yards.
On the ground, John Gay has 105 carries for 911 yards and a team-high 15 touchdowns for Penn- Trafford. Caleb Lisbon will get a lot of rushing done, as well – he has 51 carries for 639 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Speaking of getting a lot of work done on the ground, McKeesport has attempted only 25 passes all season long; don’t look for that to change this week.
John Harper has completed eight of 18 passes for 165 yards and a score.
Branson Smith has four catches for 136 yards on the year.
The Tigers are the Tigers, and that means the option is their main option.
Layton Jordan leads them with 81 carries for 968 yards and 12 touchdowns, Harper is right behind him, with 825 yards and a dozen scores. Carlinos Acie has 64 carries for 618 yards and eight touchdowns.
Devin Sims is the anchor for the Tigers defense. The outside linebacker leads the team in tackles and tackles for loss; Marcquis Butler is their number one sack man. The defense for the Tigers has turned the football over to its offense an amazing 18 times already this season, recovering 14 fumbles and coming up with four interceptions.
4-A Northwest Nine Conference
#2 South Fayette Lions (9-0)(7-0) vs #4 Montour Spartans (7-1)(6-1) Friday October 27th @ 7:30 PM at Montour High School; it is the Chick-Fil-A Robinson Game of The Week broadcast on the TribLiveHSSN by Sam Hall and Steve Nagler
Since a week three loss to Mars, the Spartans have rattled off five wins in a row, including outscoring their last two opponents 73-7. Montour had to win to keep pace and make this a meaningful game, because South Fayette just keeps rolling down the highway. The Lions regular-season win streak is now at 55. A win Friday at Montour would make it six straight unbeaten regular seasons for Joe Rossi and the Lions.
The Lions will rely on a very diverse, fast-paced offense led by senior signal-caller Drew Saxton. Saxton has completed 114 of 178 passes for 1,861 yards and 24 touchdowns.
Saxton spreads the ball around – four Lions have reached double digits in receptions, and 16 different Lions have receptions on the season. Leading the receiving corps is tight end Noah Plack with 33 catches for 529 yards. Rayquin Glover has 26 catches for 309 yards, while Mike Trimbur has 21 catches for 430 yards and six scores on the year.
Johnny Beck helps keep the offense balanced with 105 carries for 844 yards and a team-high 17 scores on the season.
In the trenches on both sides of the ball, Ray Eldridge and Ben Coyne have at times taken over football games completely for South Fayette,
Montour has a senior quarterback of its own. Kavon Morman is a member of the new-age dual threat high-school quarterback club. Morman has completed 63 of 91 passes for 1,158 yards and a dozen touchdowns. Morman has also rushed for 417 yards and another 10 scores.
Brandon Lipford has 17 catches for 384 yards and five touchdowns. Jaxon Schrenker has 13 catches for 188 yards and a score.
On the ground, Brayden Jones is the leading ball-carrier for Montour with 570 yards and five scores on 88 carries.
Defensively, Dustin Snyder leads the Sparty in total tackles with 93, while Jones has a team-high four tackles for loss. The Spartans have four interceptions and four fumble recoveries on the season defensively.
3-A Interstate Conference
McGuffey Highanders (6-3)(4-2) vs #5 Derry Trojans (8-1)(5-1) Friday October 27th @ 7:00 PM at Derry High School; broadcast on the McGuffey Sports Network and The TribLiveHSSN by Rusty Petit and Ty Bedillion
A lot is still undecided in this classification and this conference. Rather than confuse the issue with my thoughts, here is the breakdown as provided by Don Rebel on our website.
“Elizabeth Forward (6-1) and South Park (5-1) have both clinched. Elizabeth Forward cannot finish lower than second and even if South Park falls to third place, they would earn a wild card with Gardner Points. Elizabeth Forward is done with conference play, South Park is at Yough and Derry (5-1) hosts McGuffey (4-2) on Friday. If South Park and Derry win, tiebreaker points will determine 1st. Coming into Week Nine, Elizabeth Forward is +56, Derry +40 and South Park +29. EF would be 1st, Derry 2nd and SP 3rd. If South Park and McGuffey win, South Park would be 1st, Elizabeth Forward 2nd and McGuffey 3rd. If Yough and Derry win, Elizabeth Forward is 1st, Derry 2nd and South Park 3rd. If Yough and McGuffey win, Elizabeth Forward is 1st, South Park is 2nd based on Gardner Points and McGuffey is 3rd.”
The Highlanders will roll with dual-threat quarterback Marshall Whipkey, who has accounted for 673 yards of offense and 11 touchdowns on the season.
Brendan Crowe is a player the Highlanders want touching the ball as much as possible; he has 433 yards of total offense and has scored five touchdowns.
Christian Clutter is the main rusher and scorer for McGuffey with 911 yards on the ground and a team-high 14 touchdowns scored.
Derry’s defense is allowing a best-in-the-conference 9.3 points per game on the season. Its offense is putting up nearly 40 per game. That is a recipe for success. The Trojans only loss of the 2017 campaign was way back in week one to Elizabeth-Forward.
2-A Century Conference
#2 Wash High Prexies (8-0)(6-0) vs #9 Beth-Center Bulldogs (7-2)(4-2) Friday October 27th @ 7:00 PM at Beth-Center High School; broadcast on AM 1450 WJPA and The TribLiveHSSN by Bob Gregg and Jared Burton
Washington can let the numbers speak for it – unbeaten, number one in the classification in terms of scoring offense at 44.1 points per game, and number one in the classification in terms of scoring defense at 6.5 points per game allowed. Beth-Center lost a shootout with Charleroi last week, 49-44.
The Prexies Zack Swartz has thrown for over 100 yards on the year. His top targets are Isaiah Schoonmaker and Dan Walker. The duo has over 30 catches for over 700 yards and approaching 20 touchdowns.
On the ground, Nick Welsh has over 1,200 yards rushing and has scored 18 touchdowns.
The Bulldogs offense has been great all season. It is scoring nearly 40 points per game behind quarterback Bailey Lincoski, who has thrown for 849 yards and rushed for 903 yards and accounted for 21 touchdowns in one way or another.
Trevor Anderson has 19 catches and has scored a dozen touchdowns in this 2017 campaign.
Dom Fundy is the Bulldogs leading rusher with 1,384 yards and 13 scores on the season.
1-A Eastern Conference
#1 Jeannette Jayhawks (9-0)(6-0) vs #5 Clairton Bears (6-2)(5-1) Friday October 27th @ 7:00 PM at Neil C. Brown Stadium in Clairton, Pennsylvania; broadcast both audio and video on The TribLiveHSSN by Sean Saputo and Lou Rood with Jess Levo on video
The Bears have put their rare two-game slide behind them with a two-game win streak in which they outscored their opponents 96-7. Jeannette, meanwhile, has yet to be challenged really in the 2017 campaign, unless you count its 18-point win over Imani back in week four.
The Bears get a chance at home to clap back at those saying this will not be their year, and nobody wants to approach an angry bear in their own familiar territory. That is the task for the Jayhawks, who look to remain perfect on the season.
Clairton quarterback Brendan Parsons has completed 52 of 96 passes for 706 yards and eight scores.
Tre’Sean Howard is the Bears number one receiver, with 24 catches for 265 yards; he is also their leading rusher with 617 yards on the ground. Howard is also Clairton’s leading scorer with a dozen touchdowns on the year.
Anthony Pruitt has 10 catches for 85 yards, and he has found the end zone twice.
Aaron Thompson will contribute in the ground game as well, as he has rushed for 475 yards and nine scores.
The ‘Hawks look for the capper on a regular season that has seen them lead the conference in scoring, defense and wins.
Quarterback Robert Kennedy continues his remarkable season; he has thrown for 1,070 yards and rushed for 718 yards for Jeannette, and he is responsible for 40 touchdowns on the year – 21 throwing and 19 rushing.
Top receivers Marcus Barnes and Tre Cunningham have combined for 38 catches for 597 yards and 13 touchdowns for the ‘Hawks.
In addition to Kennedy, Imani Sanders will help in the rush game, as he has rushed for 249 yards and eight touchdowns.
Don Rebel hosts the Rebel Yell podcasts for HSSN.