MSA Sports Big Game Hunting – Week Seven

Wednesday, October 9, 2013 | 3:48 PM

What a neat year it has already been. The Pirates reached the playoffs and it appears so will the Avella Eagles and the West Shamokin Wolves! All three are tremendous stories this fall. The stretch run is here and all of those teams control their own destinies. That is all their fans have been hoping and praying for. Some teams don’t control their own fate. Some need help, and some need a lot of help. The time has come for scoreboard watching and more importantly listening to the MSA Sports Scoreboard show every Friday night with Don Rebel. But you should have been doing that all along. Let’s go Big Game Hunting.

AAAA Southeastern Conference:
Mount Lebanon Blue Devils (2-4)(2-3) at Peters Township Indians (3-3)(2-3) Friday October 11th at 7:30 PM @ Peters Township Stadium on the campus of Peters Township high school. Broadcast on the MSA Sports Network by Mike Sackley and Greg Kuntz

This is a monster game for a shot at the playoffs coming out of the Southeastern, even though I think the AAAA Wildcard may come out of this conference as well. This still comes down to three teams (Peters, Lebo and Baldwin) fighting for twp playoff spots (the fifth in the conference and the Wildcard). In that three way scenario Peters has a win over Baldwin and Baldwin has a win over Mt. Lebanon. That makes this game incredibly important to the hopes of the Mount Lebanon Blue Devils. It is surprising to me as I thought Lebo might contend for the Conference title here in 2013 and now they are fighting for their playoff lives in week seven.

Mike Melnyk might have found a gem late in the season as sophomore quarterback Eddie Jenkins has completed now 11 of 12 passes for 126 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The bulk of that coming last week in the Blue Devils' thumping of Canon-MacMillan 49-7.

On the ground Mt. Lebanon has gotten big contributions from senior running back Jake Rolfsen who has piled up 536 yards and four touchdowns on 95 carries for the year. Sophomore Brian Ward is averaging almost six yards per carry on the year as well.

The Blue Devils are solid in the trenches led by senior Alex Bookser and junior Matt Hoffman on both sides of the ball. Bookser (6'6'' 295 pounds) is a big time D-1 recruit and Hoffman certainly seems headed that way.

Peters likes to do their damage on the ground. Junior quarterback Corey Owen, though, can be a dual threat. Owen has rushed for 523 yards and five scores while throwing for almost 400 yards and another score.

The leading rusher for the Indians is senior Marcus Ubinger who has wracked up 538 yards and an impressive nine touchdowns on the ground.

This game will feature a pair of defenses that frankly, are still trying to find themselves. The Blue Devils have allowed 24.2 points per game on the season while Peters has just barely been better than that, allowing 22.7.

The team that improves most dramatically on their poor defensive performance to date in this game will get a big leg up on a berth in the 2013 post season Friday night in Washington County.

AAA Big Nine Conference:
Elizabeth-Forward Warriors (4-2)(4-2) at Ringgold Rams (4-2)(4-2) Friday October 11th at 7:30 PM @ Joe Montana Stadium on the campus of Ringgold high school. Broadcast on the MSA Sports Network by Bruce Sakalik and Chris Lackner

Weirdly I found there to be a bit of a shortage in AAA with regard to really imprtant games in week seven. The Parkway and Big Nine have sorted themselvs out for the time being. The GAC has a log-jam of teams in the hunt for the final playoff spot and the AAA Wildcard but none of the involved teams are playing each other in week seven. So I have elected to put in a match-up featuring two of the very special palyers in the WPIAL that are worth the price of admission all by themselves, and a game that could have bearing on whether or not one of these teams might get a home game in round one of the playoffs.

Nico Law of Ringgold and JaQuan Davidson of E-F are the "show" for their respective football teams, and it is a show that is getting two enthusiastic thumbs up all around the WPIAL.
Law is having an fantastic junior year as one of the top, dual threat quarterbacks in the league. The 6'1'' 185 pounder has rushed for 709 yards and seven touchdowns while completing 59 of 115 passes for 1049 yards and a dozen touchdowns. His decision making skills are impeccable and his athleticism gives opposing defenses fits.

Senior Wide receivers Alan Pritchett and Dayshore Majors are the top pass catchers for the Rams both in double digits and they have combined for almost 700 yards and more than ten touchdowns on the year.
If Law does not run it and the Rams keep it on the ground, most likely the ball-carrier will be sophomore Chacar Berry who has rushed for over 200 yards and four scores on the year.

The Warriors have a dual threat big time show of their own in JaQuan Davidson a 6'4'' 185 pound senior can do it all. He has completed 24 of 52 passes for 581 yards and nine touchdowns on the year. He has also rushed for 561 yards and five scores.

Davidson has definitely picked a favorite amongst the Warrior receivers, 6'2'' 180 pound senior Matt Bernadowski is by far the leading receiver for Elizabeth-Forward over 400 yards catching, He has also scored 15 toucdowns on the year and is averaging over 11 yards per carry on the ground. Yes Bernadowski is also a dual threat.

E-F also spreads around the rushing duties. A pair of seniors in Jalen French and Ryan Wardropper have combined to rush for five touchdowns and nearly 900 yards rushing, they are over 100 carries as a duo as well.

AA Interstate Conference:
Mount Pleasant Vikingas (6-0)(6-0) at Washington Lil Prexies (6-0)(6-0) Friday October 11th at 7:00 PM @ Washington High School Stadium in Washington, PA. Broadcast on the MSA Sports Network and WJPA-FM 95.3 by Bob Gregg. Also broadcast on the MSA Sports Network and WSLW-FM 103.9 by T.J. DiStefano and Aaron WIlls

Credit and kudos must be given to Mike Bosnic and the Prxies who lost maybe the best running back in the WPIAL in week three when Shai McKenzie finished his high school career with a knee injury. The Prexies have responded with three straight wins and convincing wins at that, to remain unbeaten in 2013. Mount Pleasant is also perfect through the first six games of the season and that sets up the defacto Interstate conference Championship Game in Washington Friday night.

The loss of McKenzie has been the trigger for the emergence of great coaching, great line play, and what turns out to be some very good back-up running backs coming to the fore in my hometown.

Junior Malik Wells and sophomores Jordan West and Kurt Adkins have all seen their roles in the Washington running game expand dramatically with the absence of McKenzie and the response of these younger guys has the Prexies right back on track. The trio has combined for nearly a thousand yards rushing and 13 touchdowns on the season. Not only does that bode well for now but also for next season as all three will return for Mike Bosnic.

Also returning for the Prexies next year will be junior quarterback Jonathan Spina who, heading onto last week had completed 17 of 32 passes for 316 yards and three touchdowns. Spina, who also does the kicking for the Prexies added a pair of touchdown runs to his resume in a week six clobbering of Brownsville.

Mt. Pleasant has not suffered the loss of their great running back. Senior Tyler Mellors has carried the ball for the Vikings 93 times this year for 860 yards and 13 touchdowns.

The Vikes also have a stable of back-up running backs that are performing at a high level. Ryan Ballew and Brett Fess have combined for over 600 yards and almost double digits in touchdowns on the ground.
The Vikes don't stop there though, senior quarterback Ryan Gumbita can run and throw with success he has combined yardage totaling near 700 and has had a hand in six touchdowns so far this season.

This game features the two top scoring Interstate offenses against the two best Interstate defenses. Should be a dandy on Tyler Avenue Friday night.

A Black Hills Conference
California Trojans (3-3)(3-3) at Chartiers-Houston Buccaneers (5-2)(4-2) Friday October 11th at 7:00 PM @ Buccaneer Stadium on the campus of Chartiers-Houston high school. Broadcast on the MSA Sports Network and WJPA AM-1450 by Mark Uriah

The Bucs got a huge come from behind win Friday night at Honus Wagner Field beating Carlynton 16-13 with a 25 yards touchdown pass from Caleb Susko to Miles Williamson saving the day with 1:48 remaining in regulation.

Meanwhile California was watching and wining. The Trojans never got a make-up game to fill for the loss of Imani Christian and they were idle this past Friday night.

This game is very big for the playoff hopes of both of these teams, winner gets a huge leg-up, the loser faces a very tall task to have any hopes of post season play.

Following an 0-3 start California has turned it around in a big way for first year head coach coach Bo Teets. The Trojans have rattled off three straight wins including last Friday night's forfeit from Imani.

The Trojans run has them thinking about the playoffs as they finish with Carlynton and Brentwood in weeks eight and nine.

The Bucs would just about sew up a spot with a win in this game at home. They finish the season with tough games against Monessen and Ft. Cherry.

Chartiers-Houston has a nice balance with a passing and rushing attack that can hurt you. Caleb Susko is completing over 50% of his passes, he has thrown for almost 600 yards and six touchdowns. Miles Williamson is the leading receiver for the Bucs with over 20 catches and five touchdowns. He is averaging nearly 16 yards per catch. His combination of size, speed and great hands creates a very tough match for opposing secondaries.

On the ground freshman running back Spencer Terling is having a breakout season but has been slowed the last couple games by a shoulder injury. The freshman has over 400 yards on 85 carries and has scored five touchdowns. Senior Derek Hull gets a bunch of carries as well with nearly 200 yards and he has scored a pair of touchdowns.

California is led by senior, dual-threat quarterback Austin Hunter, who has thrown for 360 yards and rushed for 285 yards and a pair of scores. He has also thrown six picks on the season. He has to take better care of the football down the stretch for the Trojans to have sustained success.

A three pronged rushing attack follows Hunter in the Trojan backfield. Demetri Clements, Jim Bongiornio and Corey Adams have combined for 508 yards and eight touhcdowns on the ground.

Lester McGriff is a big play receiver for Cal with 18 catches and five touchdowns he is averaging over 18 yards per catch.

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