PIAA football quarterfinal previews for Nov. 25, 2023

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Wednesday, November 22, 2023 | 10:05 PM


While the WPIAL prepares to crown four district champions at Acrisure Stadium on Friday, the 2023 PIAA postseason continues with state quarterfinals.

Recent District 7 title winners North Allegheny in 6A and Peters Township in 5A will battle teams from Erie on Friday while City League champion Westinghouse also faces a District 10 power.

Here is a preview of the three Friday games as the March to Mechanicsburg continues.

PIAA Class 6A quarterfinals

McDowell (8-4) at North Allegheny (11-1)

7 p.m. Friday, Newman Stadium at North Allegheny

Coaches: Bo Orlando, McDowell; Art Walker, North Allegheny

2022 PIAA playoffs: McDowell defeated Allderdice in the preliminary round before losing to State College in the first round; North Allegheny defeated Central Catholic in the first round (WPIAL finals) before losing to State College in the quarterfinals

Last week: McDowell 47, State College 20; North Allegheny 44, Central Catholic 41

Up next: The winner advances to the PIAA 6A semifinals next weekend to battle the winner of the District 3 championship game between Harrisburg and Manheim Township

Players to watch: Dominic Beraducci, McDowell (Sr., 5-9, 177, RB/LB); Logan Kushner, North Allegheny (Sr., 5-10, 160, QB)

Team notes

McDowell: The Trojans avenged a state playoff loss to State College last season by knocking out the Little Lions last week in a state first-round game. The District 10 champions were led by senior running back Dominic Beraducci, who rushed for 229 yards on 28 carries and scored three touchdowns. McDowell quarterback Blayze Myers rushed for two scores and running back Stephon Porter ran for 80 yards and a touchdown.

North Allegheny: The Tigers repeated as WPIAL champions with a wild victory over Central Catholic in a classic title game with a combined 85 points scored. Senior quarterback Logan Kushner is winding down his scholastic career with a bang as he rushed for 240 yards and four touchdowns while passing for 107 yards and two more scores. Khiryn Boyd had three catches for 107 yards and two TDs and Tyree Alualu rushed for 105 yards for the Tigers.

Historic factoids

• This is the 12th meeting between McDowell and North Allegheny, and it has been a dominant series as the Tigers have won all 11 previous matchups against the Trojans. NA has two shutouts wins, including the first meeting in 1982, 31-0.

• This is the second meeting this season between the District 7 and District 10 champions. Back in Week 2, North Allegheny beat McDowell, 43-22. Evan Lyon for North Allegheny caught two touchdown passes from Logan Kushner and returned a kickoff 95 yards for a Tigers score. Blayze Myers had a touchdown pass and a scoring run for the Trojans.

• This is the second meeting between the schools in the PIAA playoffs. Eleven years ago, North Allegheny defeated McDowell in a 2012 PIAA quarterfinal, 56-6. Tigers quarterback Mack Leftwich threw for 284 yards and five touchdowns.

• McDowell’s losses this year were to Walsh Jesuit, North Allegheny, Villa Angela-St. Joseph (Ohio) and St. Francis (N.Y.). The Trojans have won two in a row. The Tigers have won seven straight since their only loss to Central Catholic in Week 4.

PIAA Class 5A quarterfinals

Peters Township (13-0) at Cathedral Prep (7-3)

7 p.m. Friday, Dollinger Field at the Hagerty Family Events Center in Erie

Coaches: T.J. Plack, Peters Township; Mike Krahe, Cathedral Prep

2022 PIAA playoffs: Peters Township did not qualify; Cathedral Prep had a first-round bye and lost to Pine-Richland in the quarterfinals

Last week: Peters Township 43, Pine-Richland 17; Cathedral Prep did not play

Up next: The winner advances to the PIAA 5A semifinals next weekend to battle the winner of District 3 championship game between Ephrata and Cocalico

Players to watch: Nolan DiLucia, Peters Township (Soph., 6-2, 175, QB/SS); Suhtaun Lewis, Cathedral Prep (Sr., 5-8, 170, RB/DB)

Team notes

Peters Township: The Indians made history last Saturday when they captured the school’s first WPIAL football championship. Peters Township defeated 2022 5A champion Pine-Richland, 43-17. Sophomore quarterback Nolan DiLucia threw for 184 yards and three touchdowns, plus he rushed for 96 yards and a score to lead the undefeated Indians. Preston Blair and Vinny Sarone combined for 194 yards and two touchdowns for PT.

Cathedral Prep: The Ramblers have won nine straight District 10 championships but have only played one game since Oct. 27. Cathedral Prep defeated District 6 champion Hollidaysburg in a PIAA 5A preliminary round game on Nov. 11, 63-35. Senior running back Suhtaun Lewis rushed for 209 yards and five touchdowns for the Ramblers while quarterback Luke Costello was 16 of 21 passing for 261 yards and two scores.

Historic factoids

• This is the first meeting between Peters Township and Cathedral Prep. This is Peters Township’s first PIAA football playoff game.

• The Ramblers have met the WPIAL champion in the state playoffs for eight of the last nine seasons. Cathedral Prep beat Thomas Jefferson in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and defeated South Fayette in 2018. The Ramblers lost to Thomas Jefferson in 2019 and Pine-Richland in 2020 and 2022.

• This is the 92nd time in the 100 years of Cathedral Prep football that it has played a WPIAL team. The Ramblers are 40-49-2 in the previous matchups against District 7 teams.

• The Ramblers lost to Archbishop Hoban (Ohio), Clarkson North (Canada) and McDowell this season and have won five straight coming into Friday’s game. After missing out on the WPIAL playoffs last season, the Indians have a 13-game winning streak.

PIAA Class 2A quarterfinals

Westinghouse (11-0) at Farrell (11-1)

7 p.m. Friday, Paulekas Stadium at Farrell

Coaches: Donta Green, Westinghouse; Anthony Pegues, Farrell

2022 PIAA playoffs: Westinghouse defeated Chestnut Ridge in the regional semifinals, Berlin-Brothersvalley in the regional finals, Central Clarion in the first round, Farrell in the quarterfinals and Steel Valley in the semifinals before losing to Southern Columbia in the PIAA 2A championship game; Farrell defeated Sharpsville in the first round (District 10 finals) before losing to Westinghouse in the quarterfinals

Last week: Westinghouse 46, Central Clarion 30; Farrell 16, Mercyhurst Prep 9

Up next: The winner advances to the PIAA 2A semifinals next week to play the winner of the WPIAL championship game between Steel Valley and Beaver Falls

Players to watch: Khalil Green, Westinghouse (Jr., 5-9, 175, QB); Brandon Chambers, Farrell (Sr., 6-2, 190, RB/S)

Team notes

Westinghouse: The City League champion Bulldogs are following the same script they did a year ago, defeating Berlin-Brothersvalley in the 2A preliminary round and Central Clarion in the first round before facing Farrell. Last week against D-9 champion Central Clarion, Westinghouse dominated the ground when running back Ty Abraham rushed for 154 yards and three touchdowns while quarterback Khalil Green ran for 120 yards and two scores.

• Farrell: The Steelers have been like the pro football team with the same nickname in relying on defense in the D-10 playoffs. Farrell beat Wilmington in the semifinals, 16-7, then claimed district gold with a win over Mercyhurst Prep, 16-9. Steelers running back Brandon Chambers rushed for 124 yards, 80 in the second half, and the game-winning touchdown on a 54-yard run.

Historic factoids

• This is the third meeting all-time between Westinghouse and Farrell and the previous two matchups have come in the last two PIAA playoffs with each team winning once.

• In the 2022 PIAA quarterfinals, the Bulldogs won, 34-6. Khalil Taylor rushed for 121 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns while quarterback Keyshawn Morsillo threw for a pair of touchdowns for the ‘House. Farrell running back Brandon Chambers needed only 29 yards rushing to reach 1,000 yards for the season, but he was limited to only 7 yards on 13 carries.

• In the 2021 PIAA first round, the Steelers rolled to victory, 24-7. Running back Anthony Stallworth rushed for 118 yards and a touchdown while Farrell teammate Kylon Wilson had 108 total yards and three touchdowns. Quarterback Keyshawn Morsillo scored the lone Bulldogs touchdown on a 21-yard run.

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