MSA Sports Saturdays Scholastic Starz

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Sunday, August 28, 2016 | 10:07 AM


It was a tough Day Two of Week Zero for the WPIAL in matchups against teams from out of the district. District 7 teams were 1-3 in those matchups and winless in three games against teams from outside of Pennsylvania. Win or lose, here are the top five performances from WPIAL teams on what will be the busiest high school football Saturday of the entire 2016 campaign.

Phil Jurkovec – Pine-Richland

In what has become the standard for the young man who sets the bar high for the Pine-Richland offense, a great debut before a national television audience just wasn’t enough to bring a victory home from the Cleveland area. Junior signal caller Phil Jurkovec hit on 20 of 31 passes for 296 yards and three touchdown tosses to go along with a scoring run, but the heat and the St. Edwards defense got the last laugh as a missed extra point was the difference in the Eagles 28-27 victory over the Rams.

Cam Tarrant – Penn Hills

There are still a few schools in the WPIAL that have a history of success running the ball, even in recent years in the pass happy era filtering down to the high school football level. Penn HIlls is one of those teams. Two years ago, Billy Kisner led the team with 5 touchdown passes. Last year, Cam Tarrant threw for 9 scoring strikes. But the winds of change were evident Saturday when Tarrant began his senior year by hitting on 28 of 41 passes for 530 yards and SIX touchdowns, but the Indians still fell to Canada Prep Academy in a wild opener 50-42. 530 yards is the second most in a single game in WPIAL history. 

Marcus Czulewicz – McGuffey

Buoyed by his being named the quarterback on the 2016 MSA-Kennywood Park Preseason Team earlier this month, Marcus Czulewicz played like he still had something to prove in McGuffey’s season opener at North Allegheny High School. Czulewicz only completed 3 of 6 passes, but they went for 131 yards and a touchdown, plus he rushed for 227 yards and scored on touchdown jaunts of 1, 10 and 52 yards as the Highlanders came back to knock off the Frazier Commodores 38-28.

Avante McKenzie – Aliquippa

We are so used to Aliquippa producing many outstanding players on great teams year after year.  On Saturday night in New Castle, the defending WPIAL Double-A champions latest stud was unveiled. It didn’t take long for Avante McKenzie to burst onto the scene as the sophomore scored on a 71-yard run 33 second into the game and ended up with 171 yards rushing and three touchdowns as the young Quips began their season with a come-from-behind 44-28 triumph over the Red Hurricane.

Frank Antuono – Neshannock

In the final opening night of his high school career, senior quarterback Frank Antuono shined bright in the heat at Taggart Stadium in New Castle Saturday evening. The Robert Morris recruit was 8 of 17 passing for 162 yards and a 75-yard scoring strike to Daniel Welker, plus the versatile signal caller rushed for 123 yards and scored on touchdown runs of 1, 40 and 9 yards as the Lancers routed the defending District 10 champion Farrell Steelers 42-14.

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