Trib HSSN don’t-miss high school football matchups for 2021 Week 4

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Thursday, September 23, 2021 | 4:41 PM


For some district football teams, it’s the second week of conference play. For others, it is the final tune-up before conference play is underway for all 17 WPIAL conferences.

Welcome to Week 4 of the 2021 high school football season.

There is a pair of huge matchups as No. 1 Central Catholic takes on No. 3 North Allegheny in 6A while No. 2 Belle Vernon hosts No. 1 Thomas Jefferson in 4A.

A postponement update: Four WPIAL football games this weekend have been cancelled because of issues related to covid-19 protocols. There will be no Seneca Valley at Norwin, North Hills at Woodland Hills, Derry at Freeport or Serra Catholic at Carlynton on Friday. Added to the slate is Serra Catholic at Freeport.

These six contests stand out as matchups to check out Friday in Week 4. All six games can be seen or heard on HSSN.

Class 6A Conference

Baldwin (0-1, 0-4) at No. 5 Canon-McMillan (0-1, 2-2)

7 p.m. Friday, Big Mac Stadium, Canonsburg

On the air: Audio on WJPA-FM 95.3 and at TribHSSN.TribLive.com

Coaches: Tim Sweeney, Baldwin; Mike Evans, Canon-McMillan

Last week: Baldwin lost to North Allegheny, 61-14; Canon-McMillan lost to Mt. Lebanon, 37-7

Players to watch: Davontae Jones, Baldwin (So., 5-8, 150, WR); Michael Evans, Canon-McMillan (So., 6-1, 190, QB)

Four downs

1. After contending for a playoff spot a year ago, Baldwin is off to a rough start at 0-4 after losing big at home to North Allegheny, 61-14. Bijimung Moise rushed for 56 yards and scored the Highlanders’ only offensive touchdown on a fourth-quarter 8-yard run.

2. There weren’t a lot of splash plays made by the Highlanders in a 47-point loss, but sophomore wide receiver Davontae Jones gave host Baldwin a spark with a 91-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

3. There was no repeat of last year’s upset of Mt. Lebanon for Canon-McMillan. Last week, the visiting Big Macs trailed 28-0 at the half and lost their 6A opener to the host Blue Devils by 30 points.

4. Big Macs sophomore quarterback Michael Evans was 6 of 12 passing for 104 yards and a touchdown. Canon-Mac’s lone score came on a fourth-quarter 40-yard pass from Evans to senior Anthony Finney. Evans has thrown for 429 yards and four touchdowns in his three games played.

Extra point: Baldwin and Canon-McMillan had their game postponed last year due to covid-19 issues, the only game the Big Macs missed and one of three 6A contests that the Highlanders lost because of the pandemic. Canon-McMillan won the most recent meeting between the two, 28-14, in 2015. Before that, Baldwin had won five straight in the series. The Highlanders lead all-time, 26-17-3.

Class 5A nonconference

Penn Hills (1-2) at Upper St. Clair (2-2)

7 p.m. Friday, Panther Stadium, Upper St. Clair

On the air: Video stream at TribHSSN.TribLive.com

Coaches: Jon LeDonne, Penn Hills; Mike Junko, Upper St. Clair

Last week: Penn Hills defeated Woodland Hills, 14-13; Upper St. Clair lost to Pine-Richland, 35-14

Players to watch: Julian Dugger, Penn Hills (So., 6-2, 185, QB); Brady Erdos, Upper St. Clair (Jr., 5-11, 178, QB)

Four downs

1. After losses to Central Catholic and Gateway to start the season, Penn Hills got on the winning track with a one-point victory over rival Woodland Hills. The Wolverines jumped out to an early 7-0 lead, but the Indians countered with a pair of touchdowns before the end of the opening quarter in a 14-13 victory for Penn Hills.

2. Super sophomore Julian Dugger continues to be a threat with his arm and his legs. The Indians quarterback tossed his second touchdown of the season when he found brother Jaden Dugger on a 33-yards scoring pass, then Julian Dugger scored the winning touchdown on a 2-yard keeper.

3. Upper St. Clair continued its win-one, lose-one theme through the first four weeks of the season last Friday in a nonconference loss at Pine-Richland. The Panthers actually scored first before the host Rams rattled off 35 unanswered points.

4. Panthers quarterback Brady Erdos added to his touchdown pass total in the first quarter last week when he connected on a 5-yarder to junior Aidan Besselman. The USC junior quarterback has thrown five touchdowns this season.

Extra point: Upper St. Clair has won three of the last four meetings against Penn Hills, including the most recent clash, a 17-0 shutout for the Panthers over the Indians. Before that, the only other five meetings between Penn Hills and Upper St. Clair were in the WPIAL playoffs with USC holding a 3-2 edge. Twice the Indians and Panthers met in the WPIAL Class AAAA championship game. Penn Hills won in the 1995 finals, 20-13, and Upper St. Clair claimed gold in an 18-12 victory in the 2006 finals.

Class 4A Big Eight Conference

West Mifflin (0-1, 1-3) at Laurel Highlands (1-0, 4-0)

7 p.m. Friday, Mustangs Stadium, Laurel Highlands

On the air: Audio stream on WMBS-AM 590, WMBS-FM 101.1 and at TribHSSN.TribLive.com

Coaches: Rod Steele, West Mifflin; Richard Kolesar, Laurel Highlands

Last week: West Mifflin lost to Belle Vernon, 49-3; Laurel Highlands defeated Ringgold, 32-29

Players to watch: Tyrelle Ogletree, West Mifflin (Jr., 5-10, 175, RB); Rodney Gallagher, Laurel Highlands (Jr., 6-0, 170, QB)

Four downs

1. Coming off its first victory of the season two weeks ago, West Mifflin was no match at home for one of the top Class 4A teams in the state. The Titans trailed early, 7-3 in the first quarter, before Belle Vernon scored 42 unanswered points in the Big Eight Conference opener for both teams.

2. West Mifflin has struggled on offense the last two weeks, held to three points by the Leopards a week ago and only scoring one offensive touchdown in a 14-0 win over Elizabeth Forward. Junior running back Tyrelle Ogletree has the Titans’ only offensive TD since Week 1.

3. If Laurel Highlands thought it would cruise in its conference opener against upstart Ringgold, it quickly found out that would not be the case. The Mustangs trailed after each quarter until they rallied in the fourth to remain undefeated with a 32-29 road triumph.

4. Junior Rodney Gallagher hit on 11 of 16 passes for 147 yards. He connected with junior Keondre DeShields on a 9-yard scoring pass, had touchdown runs of 6 and 3 yards in the fourth quarter, plus he returned a punt 89 yards to paydirt in the three-point LH victory.

Extra point: West Mifflin beat Laurel Highlands last season, 27-20. The Titans have dominated the series against the Mustangs, going 7-2 in the last 10 years and 10-3-1 all-time. One of the Laurel Highlands victories came in 2019 when after losing on the field, the Mustangs were awarded a forfeit victory when it was later discovered the Titans had unknowingly used an ineligible player.

Class 3A Allegheny Seven Conference

East Allegheny (1-0, 2-2) at No. 2 North Catholic (1-0, 4-0)

7 p.m. Friday, Mars Athletic Complex

On the air: Video stream at TribHSSN.TribLive.com

Coaches: Dom Pecora, East Allegheny; Pat O’Shea, North Catholic

Last week: East Allegheny defeated Burrell, 30-21; North Catholic defeated Valley, 49-0

Players to watch: Michael Smith, East Allegheny (Sr., 5-9, 180, QB/S); Jason Siket, North Catholic (So., 6-2, 160, QB)

Four downs

1. After losing back-to-back nonconference games to Class 2A unbeatens Serra Catholic and Steel Valley, East Allegheny bounced back nicely with an Allegheny Seven Conference opening win. The Wildcats were nine-point winners at home against Burrell as senior Prashaun Garner scored three touchdowns for the Wildcats.

2. EA senior quarterback Michael Smith showed off his versatility in the win last week over the Bucs. Smith led the team with 74 yards rushing, plus he hit on 10 of 14 passes for 291 yards and four touchdowns as the Wildcats evened their overall record at 2-2.

3. Nonconference or conference, it doesn’t matter to North Catholic. The 4-0 Trojans cruised to a 49-point victory over host Valley last week, scoring 35 of their points in the first two quarters. The shutout was the third of the season for the Trojans, who have given up only 17 points in four games.

4. Trojans backup quarterback Jason Siket continues to shine after replacing Joey Prentice. Siket was 10 of 12 passing for 234 yards and five touchdown tosses last week, with three scoring passes going to senior Liam Straub and two to senior Kyle Tipinski.

Extra point: This is only the fifth meeting between these two schools. They split the first two with North Catholic winning in 2001 and winning last season, 35-14. East Allegheny won in 2000 and 2003. Next year will be the 30th anniversary of the Wildcats’ lone WPIAL football championship in 1992 while in two years, the Trojans will celebrate the 10th anniversary of their lone district crown in 2013.

Class 2A Century Conference

Chartiers-Houston (1-0, 3-0) at No. 3 Washington (1-0, 4-0)

7 p.m. Friday, Wash High Stadium, Washington

On the air: Audio on WJPA-AM 1450 and at TribHSSN.TribLive.com

Coaches: Terry Fetsko, Chartiers-Houston; Mike Bosnic, Washington

Last week: Chartiers-Houston defeated Beth-Center, 29-0; Washington defeated Waynesburg Central, 57-14

Players to watch: Jordan Irson, Chartiers-Houston (Sr., 5-10, 165, RB); Tayshawn Levy, Washington (Sr., 6-0, 190, RB)

Four downs

1. Chartiers-Houston finished 3-4 last season, so it has already matched its win total this year in only three games. The Buccaneers opened up Century Conference play last week with a 29-0 whitewash of visiting Beth-Center. The Bucs defense has only allowed 21 points in three victories.

2. Senior running back Jordan Irson grinded out 46 yards on 14 carries last week but scored three of the Bucs’ four touchdowns on runs of 12, 3 and 5 yards.

3. Conference play began for Washington much the same as its three previous nonconference games: convincingly for the Little Prexies. Waynesburg Central returned the opening kick for a touchdown, and then Wash High ripped off 35 points before the first quarter ended. The closest margin of victory for the Little Prexies this season was 24 points in a Week 2 victory over Clairton.

4. Little Prexies running back Tayshawn Levy enjoyed another big day at the office. The senior only carried the ball five times but ended up with 122 rushing and two first-quarter touchdowns on jaunts of 64 and 27 yards in Wash High’s 43-point win.

Extra point: Washington rolled over Chartiers-Houston last year, 45-14. The win improved the Little Prexies’ record against the Buccaneers to 8-2 and was Wash High’s sixth straight win in the series. The last Chartiers-Houston win over Washington came 40 years ago when the Bucs won, 20-0, in 1981.

Class A Big 7 Conference

Fort Cherry (1-0, 3-1) at No. 2 Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (1-0, 3-0)

7 p.m. Friday, Moon Tigers Stadium, Moon

On the air: Audio stream at TribHSSN.TribLive.com

Coaches: Tanner Garry, Fort Cherry; Dan Bradley, OLSH

Last week: Fort Cherry defeated Shenango, 35-7; OLSH defeated Burgettstown, 33-13

Players to watch: Shane Cornali, Fort Cherry (Fr., 5-10, 160, WR/DB); Stephen Greer, OLSH (Sr., 5-8, 240, RB)

Four downs

1. Fort Cherry matched its win total from a year ago with a third straight victory after suffering a season-opening loss to Chartiers-Houston. The Rangers scored the game’s first 35 points in cruising to a Big 7 Conference opening win last week at home over Shenango.

2. Freshman wide receiver Shane Cornali had a memorable Week 3 thanks to his work as a defensive back. In the third quarter, Cornali picked off a Shenango pass and raced 61 yards for a touchdown. On the next possession, he picked off another pass and returned it 50 yards for a score.

3. After OLSH had its Week 2 nonconference game against Beaver Falls canceled because of covid issues, the Chargers showed no signs of rust as they rolled to a 20-point win at Burgettstown. OLSH scored 19 third-quarter points to pull away after the Blude Devils had tied the game 7-7 early in the second half.

4. Chargers running back Stephen Green ran wild in the Big 7 conference opener. The senior carried the ball eight times for 176 yards and scored twice on touchdown runs of 6 and 49 yards as OLSH improved to 3-0 overall.

Extra point: Our Lady of the Sacred Heart defeated Fort Cherry last fall, 35-13, in the first conference game between the teams. The Rangers won both previous nonconference meeting, beating the Chargers 27-26 in the first game of the 2014 season and 28-14 in the 2015 season opener.

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