MSA Sports Friday Night HighLights for Week Four

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Saturday, September 24, 2016 | 10:10 AM


When it comes to arithmetic, I am at about the same level as Jethro Bodine from the famed Beverly Hillbillies. It’s all about ‘Gozintas’. If you are left scratching your head at the first sentence, let me explain. three Gozinta six two times. Four Gozinta 24 six times. And so on and so forth. Last night around the WPIAL, high school football teams were putting up numbers as if they were playing Techmo Bowl (pre Madden for you youngsters) instead of actual football on actual playing fields. The first Autumn Friday of the season saw scoreboards lighting up like it was a Christmas tree on the first day of winter. Needless to say, the more points scored, the more players were ‘Gozinta’ the end zone. We salute the aftermath of a busy night of superlative achievements on the field with a record breaking edition of the HighLights.

Darius Wise – Beaver

A Wise man once said, the bigger the game, the larger the performance by a true shining star. OK, I just made that up, but Darius Wise of Beaver seems to be living up to that fantasy mantra. It seems every time BHS is in a dog fight, Wise says give me the ball and watch the magic happen. Friday in a Class 3-A Non-conference instant classic, Wise threw for 98 yards and a scoring pass but was simply incredible with his legs, finishing with 401 yards and SEVEN long touchdown runs of 58, 34, 61, 47, 62, 15 and 29 yards as the Bobcats remained undefeated with a thrilling 77-49 conquest the the host Keystone Oaks Golden Eagles.

Alex Smith – Keystone Oaks

As a rule of thumb, the Friday Night HighLights weekly article is a tip of the cap to those players who helped lead their team to a victory. Well, rules are made to be broken…as are records. In one of the highest scoring games in WPIAL history, Alex Smith can rest well knowing he did all that he could to keep Keystone Oaks undefeated. Smith hit on 25 of 48 passes for 450 yards and four touchdown tosses, plus he rushed for 203 yards and scored on runs of 8, 30 and 26 yards, but it wasn’t enough as the Golden Eagles fell for the first time, 77-49 to the top ranked Beaver Bobcats.

Jake Cortes – Peters Township

A week ago, Peters Township was in great shape for a big conference win when visiting Altoona scored 13 points late in the fourth quarter to pull out a 40-37 victory. On Friday, PT saw another lead slipping away, but prevailed on a controversial call of a potential game winning touchdown fumbled through the end zone before time expired. The Indians are much improved thanks to the play of quarterback Jake Cortes, who connected on 12 of 21 passes for 291 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-35 triumph over the host Hempfield Spartans in a Class 6-A Southeastern Conference contest.

Nick Ross – West Allegheny

West Allegheny is ranked number one in the WPIAL Class 5-A and entered Week Four with a perfect 3-0 record, but were quietly getting wins in those first three weeks. That all ended Friday when quarterback Nick Ross showed who was boss when he hit on 15 of 19 passes for 220 yards, plus he connected on a pair of touchdown tosses of 31 and 9 yards as the Indians cruised to an impressive 43-0 whitewash of the host Baldwin Highlanders in an Allegheny Nine Conference contest to improve to 4-0.

Drew Saxton – South Fayette

Quarterbacks Drew Saxton of South Fayette and Mac Christy of Knoch wasted very little time jump starting their respective offenses with long touchdown passes of 70 and 74 yards early Friday as this Class 4-A Northwest Nine Conference game looked like it was going to be a back and forth slugfest. But while the fireworks continued to sizzle for Saxton and SF, they fizzled for the visiting Knights. Saxton finished the night with 17 of 22 passing for 391 yards and five more long scoring strikes as the Lions remained undefeated with a 49-14 triumph.

Conor Selinger – Freeport

It has been a looong season already for traditional power Shady Side Academy as they were winless through Week Three. However when SSA jumped out to a 10-0 lead after one quarter against visiting Freeport, the smell of upset was in the air. Conor Selinger made sure that scent would not last as he rushed for 207 yards and scored on a second quarter run of 4-yards that broke the ice as the Yellow Jackets scored 33 unanswered points in the middle two quarters en route to a 40-23 win over the Indians in Class 3-A Allegheny Conference action.

Tyler Balega – Derry

1983. Ronald Reagan was President of the United State, Maryland was celebrating a Super Bowl win by the Washington Redskins and a World Series victory fro the Baltimore Orioles, and the Derry High School football team was 5-0. 33 years later, Derry is finally 5-0 again. Tyler Balega continued the storybook season with 206 yards on the ground and three touchdowns including bookend scoring with first and fourth quarter end zone jaunts as the Trojans took over sole possession of first place in the 3-A Interstate Conference with a 35-23 win over the visiting South Park Eagles.

Lionel Deanes – Seton-LaSalle

Seton-LaSalle has a rich history of quarterbacks putting up big numbers through the air. However they have transitioned the last few years to gobbling up the yards on the ground by traveling on the ‘Deanes Train.” Running back Lionel Deanes enjoyed another big game Friday as he rushed for 241 yards three first half touchdowns on runs of 1, 74 and 84 yards as the visiting Rebels rolled to a 35-21 victory over the Serra Catholic Eagles in a Class 3-A non-conference battle of Catholic schools.

Ben Sowinski – Springdale

In the first four weeks of the regular season, it has been Gentle Ben toting the pigskin for Springdale with only two 100-yard games and a high water mark of 125 yards in Week Three on the ground as the team split with a record of 2-2. But that changed in Week Four as Big Ben returned, rushing for 240 yards and scoring three touchdowns on runs of 5, 11 and 9 yards as the Dynamos exploded to the tune of 57-28 over the host Leechburg Blue Devils in a Class 1-A Eastern Conference matchup.  

Zach Pettit – West Greene

In Week Three, we tipped our cap to a pair of teams who ended the second and third longest current losing streaks that lasted over two years when both Carlynton and Summit Academy picked up victories. Last night, we wipe away another long losing skid. Zach Pettit rushed for 190 yards and scored four touchdowns (that nearly matched the teams yearly total coming in) on runs of 9, 33, 68 and 37 yards as the West Greene Pioneers ended an 18-game losing streak with a 41-6 victory over the visiting Jefferson-Morgan Rockets in a Class 1-A Tri-County South Conference tilt.

Bonus:  DeWayne Murray – Steel Valley

For the game, it was a pedestrian night at the office for Steel Valley stud running back DeWayne Murray as he rushed for 150 yards four touchdowns. However those totals pushed the senior running back over 5,000 yards for his career (5,014), joining Zane Dudek of Armstrong and Lamont Wade of Clairton to cross that magical number this year as he became the 19th runner in WPIAL history to eclipse 5K in his career as the Ironmen rolled to a 65-8 rout of the South Allegheny Gladiators.

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