Trib HSSN don’t-miss high school football matchups for 2021 Week 5

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Thursday, September 30, 2021 | 5:25 PM


WPIAL football now enters prime time.

October football begins in Week 5 and yes, nearly all of the games are played in the evening. But prime time in this instance is conference play.

For the final five weeks of the regular season starting on Friday, all 17 conferences in WPIAL football are wall-to-wall conference games. Finally, conference play begins in all three Class 5A sections, in the 4A Parkway Conference, 3A Northwestern Conference and 2A’s Three Rivers and Allegheny Conferences.

A postponement update: Two WPIAL football games this weekend have been canceled and are considered forfeits. Beth-Center forfeits to Washington in the Class 2A Century Conference and Avella forfeits to California in Class A Tri-County South Conference.

These six contests stand out as matchups to check out on Friday in Week 5. Four of them can be seen or heard on HSSN.

Class 6A Conference

No. 4 North Allegheny (1-1, 3-2) at No. 2 Mt. Lebanon (2-0, 5-0)

7 p.m. Friday, Blue Devils Stadium, Mt. Lebanon

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

Coaches: Art Walker, North Allegheny; Bob Palko, Mt. Lebanon

Last week: North Allegheny lost to Central Catholic, 24-7; Mt. Lebanon defeated Hempfield, 48-14

Players to watch: Kolin Dinkins, North Allegheny (Sr., 6-1, 170, RB/DB); Eli Heidenreich, Mt. Lebanon (Sr., 6-0, 180, WR/DB)

Four downs

1. It is becoming clear at the 2021 midway point that the key to success for North Allegheny is scoring lots of points. In the Tigers’ three wins, they have scored a combined 128 points. In their two losses, they have been limited to a grand total of seven points.

2. Senior running back Kolin Dinkins led the Tigers on the ground last week with 66 yards against a strong Central Catholic defense. However, 62 of those yards came on a second-quarter scoring run that, at the time, pulled NA to within one score at 14-7.

3. The only undefeated team in Class 6A in the WPIAL kept on rolling in Week 4 with a 34-point victory over the Spartans in a “found” home game for Lebo. The contest was moved to Mt. Lebanon due to construction issues at Hempfield and the Blue Devils cruised on home cooking with senior quarterback Joey Daniels throwing for 145 yards and three touchdowns.

4. Two of the three Blue Devils touchdown passes went to senior wide receiver Eli Heidenreich. Daniels and Heidenreich hooked up on scoring passes of 72 and 17 yards in the first half. The senior wide receiver leads Mt. Lebanon with eight touchdowns this season.

Extra point: North Allegheny edged Mt. Lebanon a year ago, 14-11, marking the 10th straight win for the Tigers over the Blue Devils. NA is a perfect 5-0 against Lebo since the expansion to six classifications in 2016, which includes a 38-14 win for the Tigers in the 2017 Class 6A quarterfinals. The teams have split their four playoff games against each other while North Allegheny now has a 16-15 edge in the all-time series. The last time the Blue Devils beat the Tigers was in 2005, 27-7.

Class 5A Allegheny Six Conference

No. 3 South Fayette (0-0, 4-1) at No. 1 Moon (0-0, 5-0)

7 p.m. Friday, Tigers Stadium, Moon

On the air: Video stream at TribHSSN.TribLive.com with audio on WMBA-AM 1460

Coaches: Joe Rossi, South Fayette; Ryan Linn, Moon

Last week: South Fayette defeated Latrobe, 35-7; Moon defeated Fox Chapel, 42-28

Players to watch: Landon Lutz, South Fayette (Sr., 6-5, 225, QB); Dylan Sleva, Moon (Sr., 6-3, 225, RB/LB)

Four downs

1. South Fayette scored the first 35 points of the game in cruising to their fourth win in five contests last week. Sophomore running back Nate Deanes rushed for 106 yards and scored the opening touchdown on a 30-yard run in the win over visiting Latrobe.

2. Lions senior quarterback Landon Lutz had another strong game against the Wildcats. He connected on 16 of 27 passes for 184 yards and three touchdowns of 26, 8 and 8 yards, with all three scoring passes going to senior wide receiver Ryan Kovatch.

3. The Moon machine keeps chugging out victories, the latest in Week 4 was a 14-point win over host Fox Chapel. The Tigers broke open a close game with 28 second-quarter points. The Foxes scored 21 fourth-quarter points after the game had already gone to the mercy rule.

4. Tigers senior running back Dylan Sleva only rushed for 41 yards against the Foxes, but two of those carries ended up in the end zone on a pair of 5-yard scoring jaunts. Sleva is averaging 5.3 yards per carry this season and is tied for the team lead with senior Ian Foster with four touchdowns.

Extra point: Last year, South Fayette knocked Moon from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 28-13 victory. Nolan Alameda threw for 237 yards and three touchdowns for the Lions. The 2020 contest was only the fifth football meeting all-time between the two schools. South Fayette leads the series, 3-1-1. Moon’s lone victory came 76 years ago when the Tigers beat the Lions, 25-0, in 1945.

Class 4A Parkway Conference

Chartiers Valley (0-0, 3-2) at Blackhawk (0-0, 2-3)

7 p.m. Friday, Blackhawk Stadium

On the air: None

Coaches: Dan Knause, Chartiers Valley; Zack Hayward, Blackhawk

Last week: Chartiers Valley defeated Hopewell, 49-7; Blackhawk defeated Ambridge, 28-6

Players to watch: Anthony Mackey, Chartiers Valley (Sr., 6-0, 171, QB); Zach Ours, Blackhawk (Jr., 5-9, 170, RB/DB)

Four downs

1. Chartiers Valley is on a win-one, lose-one run this season. The Colts’ Week 4 win was their biggest margin of victory thus far this season. CV won their first two games by a combined margin of eight points, while cruising to a 42-point victory at home over Hopewell.

2. Colts senior quarterback Anthony Mackey stood out with his passing and running against the Vikings. He was 8 of 10 passing for 122 yards and two touchdowns, plus he led CV in rushing with 56 yards and a score.

3. Blackhawk snapped a three-game losing streak with a road win at Ambridge last week. The Cougars picked up their second win of the season with 14-point quarters in both the second and third quarters against the Bridgers. Keep in mind: Two of the Cougars three losses were to the No. 1 team in the state in Class 3A, Central Valley.

4. Junior running back Zach Ours ran for what seemed like hours to Ambridge defenders. Ours rushed for 149 yards and scored on TD runs of 41 and 14 yards in the third quarter. Ours has an average of over six yards per carry this season and has scored six touchdowns for the Cougars.

Extra point: This is the Class 4A Parkway Conference opener for both teams. Chartiers Valley beat Blackhawk in Week 4 last season, 41-14. The victory last year has given the Colts three straight wins over the Cougars, including triumphs in 2014 and 2015. However, the Cougars lead the all-time series, 13-4, including a 2006 Class AAA first-round playoff victory for Blackhawk. Chartiers Valley’s only other win over Blackhawk prior to 2014 was a 23-0 whitewash in 1984.

Class 3A Interstate Conference

South Park (2-0, 2-2) at No. 5 Elizabeth Forward (1-0, 3-2)

7 p.m. Friday, Warrior Stadium, Elizabeth Forward

On the air: Audio on WJAS-AM 1320 and at TribHSSN.TribLive.com

Coaches: Marty Rieck, South Park; Mike Collodi, Elizabeth Forward

Last week: South Park defeated Brownsville, 54-0; Elizabeth Forward defeated Beth-Center, 40-7

Players to watch: Adam Johnson, South Park (Sr., 5-9, 180, RB/S); Zion White, Elizabeth Forward (Jr., 6-3, 232, QB)

Four downs

1. After losing their first two games of the season by a combined score of 66-21, South Park has done an about face, winning their last two games by a combined 68-0 score. Most of the damage was done in racking up 54 points last week against winless Brownsville. Five Eagles scored, including a pair of touchdowns from freshman running back Eric Doerue.

2. Another Eagles running back who ended up in the end zone twice in Week 4 was Adam Johnson. The senior led South Park on the ground with 83 yards on 10 carries and scored on runs of 15 and 1 yard. Johnson is averaging over four yards per carry and leads the team with four touchdowns.

3. After dropping two straight games earlier this season, Elizabeth Forward picked up its second straight win last week, a 33-point triumph over visiting Beth-Center. Freshman Charlie Nigut led the Warriors with 91 yards rushing and a touchdown while senior Kyle Lournoy scored a pair of touchdowns in the win over the Bulldogs.

4. Warriors quarterback Zion White wasn’t asked to do much in Week 4, but when called upon, he came up big. The junior connected on 6 of 8 passes for for 75 yards, but half of his completions went for touchdowns. White ended up throwing short scoring passes of 10, 6 and 5 yards in the EF win.

Extra point: On their way to an 8-1 season and a spot in the WPIAL Class 3A title game, Elizabeth Forward blanked South Park last year, 30-0. It snapped a South Park four-game winning streak in the series and was the Warriors’ first win over the Eagles in 70 years. Another EF win would even the all-time series at 5-5.

Class 2A Three Rivers Conference

No. 1 Sto-Rox (0-0, 5-0) at South Side (0-0, 3-2)

7 p.m. Friday, Richard J. Ashcroft Stadium, South Side

Coaches: LaRoi Johnson, Sto-Rox; Luke Travelplace, South Side

Last week: Sto-Rox defeated Shady Side Academy, 65-12; South Side lost to Avonworth, 12-7

Players to watch: Josh Jenkins, Sto-Rox (Jr., 6-2, 160, QB/WR); Parker Statler, South Side (Jr., 6-1, 175, RB/DB)

Four downs

1. The top-ranked green machine kept on rolling to a fifth victory in Week 4. Sto-Rox senior running back Jaymar Pearson rushed for 126 yards and scored on runs of 28 and 21 yards as the Vikings traveled to Shady Side Academy and crushed the Bulldogs, 65-12.

2. Vikings wide receiver Josh Jenkins got the start at quarterback and completed 9 of 20 passes for 204 yards, but five of those nine completions went for touchdowns. The junior threw scoring passes of 28, 19, 50, 20 and 21 yards.

3. South Side saw a two-game winning streak come to an end last week with a road loss at Avonworth. The Rams fell behind 13-0 by halftime and pulled to within a touchdown on senior Cam Knox’s scoring run but could not get any closer against the No. 3-ranked team in Class 3A.

4. Rams running back Parker Statler led a balanced rushing attack at Avonworth with 58 yards. The junior has over 440 yards rushing for the season and has a team-high eight touchdowns. The versatile Statler also leads South Side in receiving yards.

Extra point: Sto-Rox defeated South Side last year in McKees Rocks, 23-15. The win was the second straight for the Vikings over the Rams and gave Sto-Rox a 7-4 lead in the all-time series. South Side beat Sto-Rox in 2018, the Rams’ first win in the series since 2000.

Class A Eastern Conference

No. 3 Bishop Canevin (2-0, 5-0) at No. 1 Clairton (2-0, 2-2)

7 p.m. Friday, Neil Brown Stadium, Clairton

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

Coaches: Richard Johnson, Bishop Canevin; Wayne Wade, Clairton

Last week: Bishop Canevin defeated Greensburg Central Catholic, 20-14; Clairton defeated Riverview, 38-0

Players to watch: Jason Cross, Bishop Canevin (Soph., 5-10, 150, QB); Brooklyn Cannon, Clairton (Sr., 5-11, 160, WR/DB)

Four downs

1. Bishop Canevin continued its best start in over a decade with a Eastern Conference win over Greensburg Central Catholic on Saturday. Senior Keyshawn Harris led the Crusaders on the ground and scored what proved to be the game-winning touchdown on a 2-yard run in the third quarter.

2. Crusaders quarterback Jason Cross continues to improve. The sophomore hit on 7 of 15 passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns, a 22-yarder to freshman Jayden Lindsey and a 10-yard connection to junior Xavier Nelson, both in the second quarter of BC’s six-point victory.

3. After an 0-2 start that included losses to Class 2A powers Steel Valley and Washington, Clairton seems to have righted the ship with two straight Eastern Conference wins. After beating Leechburg for their first win of the season, the Bears headed to Oakmont and rolled to a 38-point triumph over host Riverview last week.

4. The Bears made quick work of the Raiders in Week 4, scoring all 38 points in the first two quarters. Senior wide receiver Brooklyn Cannon has scored four touchdowns in two conference games after scoring twice Saturday. Seniors Kameron Lewis and Christian Wade also had two touchdowns for Clairton.

Extra point: The Clairton at Bishop Canevin game scheduled for last fall was postponed due to covid-19 protocols. This will be the sixth meeting between the schools, and the Bears have won the previous five by a combined score of 232-30. The first meeting was 11 years ago when Clairton defeated Bishop Canevin, 47-0, in a WPIAL Class A quarterfinals game.

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