MSA Sports Friday Night HighLights for Week Ten

Saturday, November 5, 2016 | 11:47 AM

Last weekend, all of the ciphering and dissecting of the district tiebreakers determined the 64 teams that would qualify for this years postseason. Then on Monday, the powers that be in the district put together the brackets that mapped the course of the playoff over the next three to four weeks. Finally on Friday, the games kicked off and a few hours later, the playoff field was sliced in half to 32 still alive for one of six golden footballs. Here are the players that came up large in Primetime in leading their teams to either the Semifinals or the Quarterfinals next Friday. 

Max Devinney – Pine-Richland

Lets face it, anybody who loses a player with the talent of Phil Jurkovec is not going to be the same moviing forward, however Pine-Richland has continued to shine on offense with the stellar play of Max Devinney. The quarterback connected on 19 of 28 passes Friday for 243 yards while tossing a pair of touchdown passes and orchestrating a game winning field goal drive as the Rams advanced with a 35-32 victory over the host Bethel Park Black Hawks in a Class 6-A Quarterfinals thriller.

Jack Cook – Seneca Valley

Anytime you can top the combined 90 point plateau in a high school football playoff game, you got some offenses that are Cooking. That was the case in the Seneca Valley at Mount Lebanon Class 6-A Quarterfinals shootout last night as SV quarterback Jack Cook led the way with 17 of 19 passing for 229 yards and two touchdown passes of 12 and 39 yards along with three scoring runs of 8, 7 and the eventual game winning 35-yard run as the visiting Raiders edged the Blue Devils 49-43.

Brady Walker – Gateway

Whether you like it or not, football fans are used to seeing a monster game under center by a man named Brady leading his team to victory. While Tom Brady was no where near Armstrong County last night, unfortunately for the hosts, Brady Walker was. The Gateway quarterback hit on 24 of 36 passes for 464 yards and two touchdowns of 18 and 36 yards, plus he scored on a pair of one yards plunges as the Gators stunned the second seed Armstrong River Hawks 38-20 in a Class 5-A Quarterfinals surprise.

Jayvaun Shears – McKeesport

Meeting for the second time in the last month, the site may have changed between perennial powers Upper St. Clair and McKeesport, but the end result did not.  Quarterback Jayvaun Shears carved up the USC defense with 182 yards on the ground out of the flex-bone offense and like a successful black jack dealer, he scored two fourth quarter touchdowns on a pair of 21-yard runs to lead his Tigers to a 31-10 triumph of the Panthers in a Class 5-A Quarterfinals contest.

Geno Stone – New Castle

To pull off an upset over an undefeated team that not only was vying for a fifth straight trip to the district title game, but had also beat you soundly four weeks ago 37-13, you need to play near perfect football. That is what New Castle quarterback Geno Smith did. He connected on 9 of 10 passes for 256 yards and threw four touchdown tosses of 6, 33, 79 and 25 yards, plus he scored on touchdown runs of 14 and 1 yard as the Red Hurricane stunned the host South Fayette Lions 51-43 in a Class 4-A Quarterfinals dandy.

Tyler Balega – Derry

Earlier in the week, Derry head coach Tim Sweeney talked about the conference championship team he played for a Derry back in the early 80’s and said this time was better. He also said if this is the best team in school history, than Tyler Balega was the best player. Balega did not disappoint his coach as he rushed for 220 yards and scored four touchdowns on runs of 11, 6, 4 and 67 yards as the Trojans made a believer out of many with a thrilling 33-20 win over the visiting Central Valley Warriors in a 3-A Quarterfinals game.

Alex Smith – Keystone Oaks

it may not have been his best game of the season, but it was good enough to lead Keystone Oaks into the rare air of the Final Four. KO quarterback Alex Smith connected on 14 of 25 passes for 256 yards with four of those passes going all the way to the house from 13, 11, 86 and 5 yards, plus he scored three times on runs of 18, 41 and 4 yards as the Golden Eagles flew by the visiting Apollo-Ridge Vikings for a second time this season 56-20 in a Class 3-A Quarterfinals game.

Sean Doran – Neshannock

There was a musical phenomenon in the 80’s when the group Duran-Duran started hitting the charts and driving young female fans wild. He may not generate that same excitement that band did 30 years ago, but the play of Sean Doran has Neshannock fans popping big. Doran eclipsed the 200 yard mark by one yard Friday as he also scored a pair of touchdowns on runs of 1 and 5 yards as the host Lancers rocked the Serra Catholic Eagles to the tune of 60-21 in a Class 2-A First Round smash hit.

Dean Ward – Freedom

In a campaign where our nation has had plenty of questions with a lot of ill will spewed about, the last two days has given fans of Freedom plenty to celebrate. The Freedom High School girls soccer team won a first ever district title on Thursday, then on Friday, the football team pulled off a major surprise thanks to the 171 yards rushing by Dean Ward and his three touchdown runs of 7, 1 and 21 yards as the Bulldogs started quick en route to a 28-21 Class 2-A First Round upset of the host and fifth-seed East Allegheny Wildcats.

Sammy Carey – Springdale

The legend of Hall of Fame baseball announcer Harry Carey was on display in the recent world series with the traditional singing of Take Me Out to the Ballgame at Wrigley Field. Now Springdale fans will have a great memory of another Carey going forth after Sammy Carey connected on 9 of 11 passes for 230 yards and FIVE touchdown passes and a scoring run as the usually run oriented Dynamos opened things up through the air en route to a wild 50-44 Class 1-A First Round victory over the host Carmichaels Mighty Mikes. 

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