Trib HSSN don’t-miss high school football matchups for 2021 Week 9

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Thursday, October 28, 2021 | 5:40 PM


Welcome to Week 9 and the final two days of the WPIAL regular season.

Fifty-seven district football teams have punched their ticket to the 2021 WPIAL playoffs with 16 more clinching this weekend.

Don’t miss the 2021 WPIAL Football Playoff Pairings Show, set for Saturday, Oct. 30 at 6 p.m. only on Trib HSSN as we unveil the brackets and break down the matchups.

A postponement update: There are none. As of this writing, all of the WPIAL football games slated for Friday and Saturday are still on as we conclude our second regular season in a pandemic with a bang.

These contests are worth checking out on Friday in Week 9, with all of them seen or heard here on HSSN.

Class 6A Conference

No. 3 North Allegheny (6-3, 4-2) at No. 4 Seneca Valley (6-3, 4-2)

7 p.m. Friday, Nextier Stadium at Seneca Valley

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

Coaches: Art Walker, North Allegheny; Ron Butschle, Seneca Valley

Last week: North Allegheny defeated Hempfield, 65-13; Seneca Valley lost to Mt. Lebanon, 38-7

Players to watch: Logan Kushner, North Allegheny (Soph., 5-10, 160, QB); Nolan Dworek, Seneca Valley (Sr., 5-10, 190, RB/DB)

Four downs

1. Since dropping two games in a row, North Allegheny has won three straight, including a 52-point victory at home over Hempfield last week. A 32-point second quarter blew the game open as sophomores Tanner Potts and Khiryn Boyd each scored twice for NA.

2. The Tigers are shining with plenty of young cats playing big roles. One of them is sophomore quarterback Logan Kushner. He was 5 of 9 passing for 125 yards and two touchdowns, plus he carried the ball four times for 81 yards and a score.

3. Seneca Valley had its two-game winning streak and any hopes of a conference championship come to an end last week at Mt. Lebanon. The Raiders fell behind 17-0 by halftime and trailed 38-0 when they finally scored in the fourth quarter to avoid being shut out for the second time this season.

4. While he was kept off the scoreboard, running back Nolan Dworek led the way on the ground for the Raiders. Dworek rushed for 63 yards on 16 carries against the top defense in Class 6A. The senior leads the team in rushing and scoring.

Extra point: The winner of this game will finish in third place and will earn a quarterfinal bye. The loser will finish in fourth place and host the fifth place team in a quarterfinal next week. These teams didn’t play in the regular season last year, but North Allegheny beat Seneca Valley in a 6A playoff game, 21-7. The Tigers have won six straight regular season games and are 31-11-2 all-time against the Raiders with NA having a 3-2 edge in WPIAL playoff meetings.

Class 5A Allegheny Six Conference

Upper St. Clair (5-4, 3-1) at Bethel Park (5-4, 3-1)

7 p.m. Friday, Black Hawks Stadium at Bethel Park

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

Coaches: Mike Junko, Upper St. Clair; Brian DeLallo, Bethel Park

Last week: Upper St. Clair defeated South Fayette in overtime, 31-28; Bethel Park lost to Moon, 30-0

Players to watch: Mateo Cepullio, Upper St. Clair (Sr., 5-9, 155, WR/CB); Troy Volpatti (Sr., 5-11, 195, RB/S)

Four downs

1. Upper St. Clair comes into this rivalry battle off an emotional high in an incredible comeback win over South Fayette. Trailing by seven, the Panthers scored on an untimed down on a great catch in the end zone by Aidan Besselman on a 25-yard score. USC won it in OT on a Bennett Henderson 29-yard field goal.

2. Mr. Versatility for the Panthers is senior Mateo Cepullio, a wide receiver by trade. Last week against South Fayette, Cepullio had four catches for 47 yards and a touchdown and five carries for 21 yards, and he connected on 12 of his 14 passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns.

3. In a memorable turnaround season in which Bethel Park went from last place a year ago to first place heading into Week 8, the Allegheny 6 showdown with Moon for the conference championship was one the Black Hawks would like to forget as they lost, 30-0.

4. The Black Hawks offense was stymied in the shutout loss as quarterback Max Blanc was held to 46 yards passing and running back Troy Volpatti was limited to 31 yards on 11 carries. The senior comes into Week 9 needing 166 yards rushing to reach 1,000 yards on the ground for the season.

Extra point: The winner of this game will finish in second place behind Moon in the conference standings and earn a first-round home playoff game. The loser will finish in third place. Upper St. Clair defeated Bethel Park in the season opener last year, 34-7. That Panthers’ win ended a run of four straight wins in the series for the Black Hawks. USC leads the all-time series, 30-16-1. The lone tie came 50 years ago when Bethel Park and Upper St. Clair played to a 6-6 draw in 1971.

Class 4A Parkway Conference

Montour (3-6, 1-3) at Chartiers Valley (4-5, 1-3)

7 p.m. Friday, Chartiers Valley Stadium

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

Coaches: Lou Cerro, Montour; Dan Knause, Chartiers Valley

Last week: Montour lost to Beaver in overtime, 14-7; Chartiers Valley lost to New Castle, 28-21

Players to watch: Caleb Williams, Montour (Sr., 6-0, 205, RB/LB); Gavin Owens, Chartiers Valley (Jr., 6-1, 166, QB/WR)

Four downs

1. After winning three of four games, Montour has now dropped two straight. The Spartans’ defense really shined in Week 8, liming second-place Beaver to one second-quarter touchdown until the Bobcats scored in overtime. Montour has dropped conference games to New Castle and Beaver by a combined 11 points.

2. The Spartans leaned on the ground game against last week against Beaver and running back Caleb Williams answered the call. He rushed for 153 yards on 17 carries and scored the team’s only touchdown on a 44-yard romp in the second quarter.

3. Chartiers Valley had the halftime lead on the road at New Castle, fell behind in the fourth quarter and tried to come back but fell by seven points. Patrick Mulligan led the Colts with 55 yards rushing and scored a touchdown.

4. Playing without senior quarterback Anthony Mackey, the Colts Gavin Owens stepped in and did well. The junior was 14 of 24 passing for 199 yards and a touchdown to fellow junior Lamont Payne, plus he rushed for 51 yards and a score.

Extra point: This is an old-fashioned win-and-you’re-in game. The winner clinches a playoff berth and will finish in fourth place in the 4A Parkway Conference. Chartiers Valley rolled past Montour last year, 34-7, for a second straight win for the Colts in the series. However, the Spartans have doubled CV in the all-time series, winning 28 and losing 14. Since it will be like a playoff atmosphere Friday, 10 years ago marked the only postseason game between the two teams as Montour beat Chartiers Valley in a 2011 Class AAA first-round contest, 55-20.

Class 2A Allegheny Conference

No. 2 Serra Catholic (10-0, 4-0) at No. 5 Steel Valley (8-0, 4-0)

7 p.m. Friday, Campbell Field in Munhall

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

Coaches: Jose Regus, Serra Catholic; Ray Braszo, Steel Valley

Last week: Serra Catholic defeated Summit Academy, 46-0; Steel Valley defeated Apollo-Ridge, 57-6

Players to watch: Max Rocco, Serra Catholic (Sr., 6-2, 195, QB); Nijhay Burt, Steel Valley (Sr., 5-10, 160, RB/DB)

Four downs

1. Serra Catholic has the most wins of any district team thanks to a BOGO in Week 4 when they won a forfeit game over Carlynton and beat Freeport in a quickly scheduled game between open teams. The latest win, a 46-0 whitewash of visiting Summit Academy, was the Eagles’ second shutout of the season.

2. Eagles quarterback Max Rocco didn’t have to do much last week against the Knights. He completed 5 of his 6 passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns. For the season, the senior has thrown for over 1,500 yards and has 23 touchdowns, 13 of them to senior Terrell Booth.

3. Twenty-eight points in the first quarter and 21 more in the second quarter at Apollo-Ridge last week proved there would be no getting caught looking ahead to this Week 9 showdown for Steel Valley. Junior Cruce Brookins rushed for 147 yards for the Ironmen and scored on touchdown runs of 28 and 71 yards.

4. When it comes to WPIAL players of the year, Ironmen senior running back Nijhay Burt has to be part of the discussion. Last week against the Vikings, Burt gained 194 yards on only seven carries while scoring four touchdowns, giving him a WPIAL high 29 TDs in eight games.

Extra point: The winner of the game is the Allegheny Conference champion and has a strong shot at the No. 2 seed. The loser will finish second and still host a first-round playoff game. The game between the Eagles and Ironmen in 2020 was postponed. This is only the sixth all-time meeting between the programs and Steel Valley has never lost to Serra Catholic, outscoring them in the five previous wins, 210-28. The Ironmen beat the Eagles in 1971, 1987, 1990, 2016 and 2017.

Class 2A Century Conference

McGuffey (5-4, 4-1) at No. 3 Washington (8-0, 5-0)

7 p.m. Friday, Wash High Stadium

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

Coaches: Ed Dalton, McGuffey; Mike Bosnic, Washington

Last week: McGuffey defeated Beth-Center, 35-8; Washington defeated Frazier via forfeit, 1-0

Players to watch: Kyle Brookman, McGuffey (Jr., 5-8, 175, RB); Tayshawn Levy, Washington (Sr., 6-0, 190, RB)

Four downs

1. McGuffey was one of the first district teams to clinch a playoff spot after it beat Waynesburg in Week 6. After losing the following week to Chartiers-Houston, the Highlanders bounced back with a victory over Beth-Center in Week 8, keeping them alive for a share of the conference title.

2. Running back Kyle Bookman’s fast start last week against the Bulldogs helped the Highlanders to their fifth win of the season. The junior rushed for 65 yards with most of the damage coming in the first quarter on touchdown runs of 18 and 30 yards.

3. Washington is having another great season, sitting in first place in the Century Conference with a perfect 8-0 record. However, coach Mike Bosnic has to be concerned with the fact the Little Prexies have only played one game since September. They had a nonconference game postponed and have picked up two conference wins over Beth-Center and Frazier via forfeit since Oct. 1.

4. The closest margin of victory for the Little Prexies in their six games played was a 24-point Week 2 win over Clairton. Wash High has dominated thanks in part to the play of running back Tayshawn Levy. The senior has 551 yards rushing, 52 yards receiving and even 29 yards passing. He has eight touchdowns and has kicked two extra points.

Extra point: If Washington wins, it is the Century Conference champion outright and McGuffey will finish in third place. If the Highlanders win, there will be tri-champions between these two schools and Chartiers-Houston. McGuffey edged Washington in the season opener last season, 7-6. That Highlanders win snapped a four-game losing streak in the series. The Little Prexies hold the all-time edge, 16-7-1 with the lone tie coming 35 years ago, a 14-14 deadlock in 1986.

Class A Tri-County South Conference

West Greene (7-2, 6-0) at Mapletown (6-3, 4-2)

7 p.m. Friday, Mapletown Stadium

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

Coaches: Brian Hanson, West Greene; George Messich, Mapletown

Last week: West Greene defeated Jefferson-Morgan, 56-8; Mapletown defeated Bentworth, 50-15

Players to watch: Colin Brady, West Greene (Soph., 6-2, 185, RB/LB); Landan Stevenson, Mapletown (Jr., 5-10, 175, RB/DB)

Four downs

1. Quietly, West Greene has turned a nightmarish start into another dream season. After losing to Cameron (W. Va.) and Burgettstown, the Pioneers have won seven straight games, including a rout of Jefferson-Morgan in Week 8 in which West Greene exploded for 34 first-quarter points.

2. Following in the footsteps of a 2019 Pioneers graduate, the great Ben Jackson, Colin Brady is having a breakout sophomore season. Last week in a win over the Rockets, Brady soared for 184 yards on eight carries with four touchdowns, leaving him one yard shy of 1,200 yards for the season.

3. It has been a tale of three seasons for Mapletown. The Maples won their first two games, then lost three straight and have since won four in a row. Last week, the Maples hit their highest point total of the season in a 50-15 drubbing of Bentworth. Sophomore A.J. Vanata scored two touchdowns.

4. It was another day at the office for super sophomore Landan Stevenson against the Bearcats last week. The Maples running back rushed for 216 yards and scored three touchdowns on runs of 50 and 11 yards, plus an 8-yard fumble return for a score. He is third in the WPIAL in rushing and scoring with 1,505 yards and 25 touchdowns.

Extra point: West Greene can clinch the Tri-County South Conference outright championship with a win. Mapletown has clinched and can finish third with a win and a California loss to Bentworth. Otherwise, it will finish in fourth place in the TCS. The Pioneers won this meeting last year, 48-8. It was the fourth straight win for West Greene over Mapletown after the Maples had won four in a row from 2013-2016. Mapletown leads the all-time series, 39-22-1. The only tie came 65 years ago when the Maples and Pioneers played to a scoreless draw in 1956.

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