Trib HSSN don’t-miss high school football matchups for 2022 Week 4

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Thursday, September 22, 2022 | 7:50 PM


Following two straight weeks of ultra-competitive games, the opening weekend of conference play landed some big-time eyebrow raisers as the Trib HSSN top-ranked teams in Class 6A, 5A and 3A all lost.

What surprises are in store for Week 4 as we officially kick off the first weekend of autumn?

Below are six of the standout matchups around the WPIAL on Friday in Week 4, all conference games. Five of the six can be viewed or heard here on Trib HSSN.

Class 6A

No. 5 Seneca Valley (0-1, 2-2) at No. 2 Mt. Lebanon (1-0, 2-2)

7 p.m. Friday, Mt. Lebanon Stadium

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

Coaches: Ron Butschle, Seneca Valley; Bob Palko, Mt. Lebanon

Last week: Seneca Valley 13, Pine-Richland 3; Mt. Lebanon 17, Central Catholic 16

Players to watch: Graham Hancox, Seneca Valley (Sr., 6-4, 225, QB); David Shields, Mt. Lebanon (Soph., 6-1, 190, QB/LB)

Four downs

1. After losing back-to-back home games, including its Class 6A opener, Seneca Valley picked up a nice bounce-back win in Week 3 in a nonconference road victory at Pine-Richland. The Raiders defense, which had allowed 63 points in losses to Peters Township and Canon-McMillan, shut down the Rams, allowing only a 42-yard field goal in the second quarter.

2. Raiders quarterback Graham Hancox led the way on offense last Friday. The senior connected on 14 of 21 passes for 198 yards. He also threw touchdown passes to seniors Luke Lawson for 6 yards and a 54-yard scoring pass to Jackson Wetzel. In four games, Hancox has thrown for 813 yards and seven touchdowns.

3. If the NFL has taught us anything over the last few seasons, it is that when it comes to the fourth quarter, anything can happen. That was evident last Friday in the big WPIAL 6A championship game rematch as Central Catholic watched a 16-0 lead evaporate as Mt. Lebanon junior kicker Ben McAuley connected on an 18-yard field goal to give the defending champs a 17-16 win.

4. Blue Devils sophomore quarterback David Shields appears to have taken the reins of the offense after another solid performance in Week 3. Shields was 12 of 18 passing for only 120 yards, but one of those connections was to junior Fred LaSota on a 26-yard fourth quarter touchdown pass that got the ball rolling on the Mt. Lebanon comeback.

Historic factoids: Mt. Lebanon defeated Seneca Valley last fall, 38-7, on the way to a perfect WPIAL and PIAA championship run. This is the 17th all-time meeting between the schools with the Blue Devils holding the lead, 11-5. The teams have met six times in the WPIAL playoffs with each school winning three — Seneca Valley in 2016, 2012 and 1997, Mt. Lebanon in 2019, 1999 and 1991. The Raiders have only two regular season wins over the Blue Devils, the latest in 2018 and the first 20 years ago in 2002.

Class 5A Allegheny Six Conference

Peters Township (1-0, 4-0) at No. 3 Upper St. Clair (1-0, 4-0)

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

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

Coaches: T.J. Plack, Peters Township, Mike Junko, Upper St. Clair

Last week: Peters Township 42, South Fayette 28; Upper St. Clair 49, Fox Chapel 7

Players to watch: Chris Cibrone, Peters Township (Sr., 5-9, 150, QB); Jamaal Brown, Upper St. Clair (Sr., 5-11, 210, RB/LB)

Four downs

1. Peters Township’s red-hot start continued in Week 3 with an Allegheny Six Conference opening victory over South Fayette. Senior running back Rich Woods continued his strong season by rushing for 224 yards and scoring the game’s first touchdown on a 1-yard plunge. He now has 505 yard rushing with seven touchdowns on the season.

2. Another Indians offensive player who seems to put up big numbers every week now is junior quarterback Chris Cibrone. Last week in the conference opener, Cibrone was 17 of 32 passing for 296 yards with touchdown passes of 24 yards to Brendan McCullough and 35 yards to Reston Lehman. Cibrone also used his legs as a weapon on scoring runs of 2 and 9 yards in the fourth quarter to seal the win.

3. It was a 10-month wait, but Upper St. Clair picked up a revenge victory in Week 3 that keeps the Panthers perfect on the season. The USC quarterback duo of sophomore Julian Dahlem and freshman Ethan Hellman completed 9 of 15 passes for 175 yards and five touchdowns as Upper St. Clair avenged its 2021 first-round loss to Fox Chapel with a 42-point road victory.

4. While there may be some flux at the Panthers quarterback position, their ground attack is in the good hands of Jamaal Brown. The senior carried the ball 12 times last week for 158 yards, most of which came on a 73-yard scoring scamper. Brown is averaging over 12 yards per carry and has 515 yards rushing heading into Week 4.

Historic factoids: Hard to believe this will only be the 18th all-time meeting between these South Hills neighbors. Upper St. Clair cruised to a win over Peters Township last fall, 31-3. That Panthers’ win actually ended an Indians two-game streak in the series after Peters Township won in 2019 and 2020. Those two wins though were the only victories for the Indians in this series, as the 2019 triumph ended a run of 14 straight Panthers wins. The first meeting between the schools took place 58 year ago when USC cruised to a win, 41-6, in the fall of 1964.

Class 4A Parkway Conference

West Allegheny (1-0, 4-0) at No. 1 Aliquippa (1-0, 3-0)

7 p.m. Friday, Jimbo Covert Field, Freedom

On the air: Audio stream on TribHSSN.TribLive.com and on WMBA-AM 1460, WMBA-FM 95.7

Coaches: Dave Schoppe, West Allegheny; Mike Warfield, Aliquippa

Last week: West Allegheny 52, New Castle 14; Aliquippa 33, Montour 0

Players to watch: Gage Upton, West Allegheny (Sr., 5-9, 155, QB); Tiqwai Hayes, Aliquippa (Soph., 6-0, 190, RB/)

Four downs

1. In 2021, West Allegheny began the season 3-0 before injuries took their toll and the Indians lost five of their final six games. So West Allegheny was more than satisfied to follow their 3-0 start with a 38-point victory over New Castle in their Parkway Conference opener, improving to 4-0 for the first time since 2017.

2. Indians senior quarterback Gage Upton fed off the ground success of sophomore running backs Brock Cornell and Roman Police (221 yards rushing combined) to have success through the air. Upton was 8 of 10 passing for 197 yards and fired three touchdowns to seniors Nick Longo and Nico Taddy, as well as to Police, as the West Allegheny offense continues to hum, averaging over 45 points per game.

3. Defending WPIAL and PIAA Class 4A champion Aliquippa opened up Parkway Conference play last week with a very business-like 33-point road win at Montour. Junior quarterback Quentin Goode connected on 21 of 30 passes for 212 yards as the Quips picked up a second straight shutout victory.

4. There does not appear to be a sophomore slump for one of the top freshman in the district from a year ago. Running behind a dominating line, Tiqwai Hayes rushed for 159 yards on 21 carries and scored on touchdown runs of 1 and 13 yards, giving him 486 yards and seven touchdowns for the season.

Historic factoids: This is only the fourth meeting between West Allegheny and Aliquippa. The last meeting was in 1990 when the Indians picked up their lone win in the series, 20-14. The teams met in back-to-back seasons 10 years earlier when the Quips won 47-14 in 1982 and again in 1983, 39-0. These tradition-rich programs both hoisted WPIAL gold in the same year twice. West Allegheny defeated West Mifflin in the 3A championship while Aliquippa edged Waynesburg, 14-6, in the 2A finals at Three Rivers Stadium in 2000. That same season, both reached the PIAA title game where the Indians lost to Strath Haven while the Quips fell to Mt. Carmel. A dozen years later, both were district champs again. West Allegheny, once again beat West Mifflin in 3A while Aliquippa rolled past Washington in 2A to win the 2012 WPIAL title.

Class 3A Western Hills Conference

West Mifflin (0-0, 1-3) at No. 4 Beaver (1-0, 3-1)

7 p.m. Friday, Pat Tarquinio Field at Gypsy Glen Stadium, Beaver

On the air: None

Coaches: Rod Steele, West Mifflin; Cort Rowse, Beaver

Last week: West Mifflin 35, Ringgold 0; Beaver 25, South Park 7

Players to watch: Shai Newby, West Mifflin (Sr., 5-10, 171, QB); Isaac Pupi, Beaver (Sr., 5-11, 165, QB/FS);

Four downs

1. West Mifflin finally got a taste of victory in Week 3 when it won by 35 points over former Class 4A Big Seven Conference rival Ringgold. Before dismissing this Titans team as they prepare for their 3A Western Hills Conference opener, know that their three losses came against McKeesport, Elizabeth Forward and Thomas Jefferson, who have a combined record of 11-1.

2. The Titans have found a dual-threat weapon on offense in senior Shai Newby. The wide-receiver-turned-quarterback completed 10 of 12 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns, one to sophomore Damarius Day from 50 yards and the other to senior Ty’Jeir Williams from 41 yards. Newby also rushed for 66 yards and scored two touchdowns.

3. Beaver continued its roll in Week 3 with a third straight victory, more importantly coming in the Class 3A Western Hills Conference opener at South Park. Senior running back Liam Gibson scored on a 2-yard run and junior kicker Evan Baker booted a pair of 32-yard field goals in the win.

4. The Bobcats again turned to quarterback Isaac Pupi to lead the way and he did not disappoint. The senior hit on 8 of 17 passes for 125 yards and threw a pairing of scoring passes of 28 yards to senior Gerrell Leeper to open the scoring and a 20-yard strike to senior Josiah Santiago that put Beaver up for good.

Historic factoids: This is the first meeting between West Mifflin and Beaver on the football field. This is an anniversary year for both of these successful programs. Forty years ago, Beaver defeated Jeannette to win the 1982 WPIAL 2A crown, 18-13. Fifty years ago, the Bobcats struck gold for the first time, knocking off Freeport to win the 1972 Class 2A championship, 20-14. Ten years ago, West Mifflin played in its most recent WPIAL title game, losing to West Allegheny in the 2012 Class 3A finals, 34-8.

Class 2A Midwestern Athletic Conference

No. 2 Beaver Falls (1-0, 3-1) at No. 1 Neshannock (1-0, 4-0)

7 p.m. Friday, Bob Bleggi Stadium, Neshannock

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

Coaches: Nick Nardone, Beaver Falls; Fred Mozzocio, Neshannnock

Last week: Beaver Falls 48, New Brighton 0, Neshannock 48, Western Beaver 20

Players to watch: Jaren Brickner, Beaver Falls (Sr, 6-1, 172, QB/S); Jonny Huff, Neshannock (Sr., 6-1 180, RB/DB)

Four downs

1. Following its only loss of the season in Week 1 to Beaver, Beaver Falls has roared back with two straight wins, outscoring opponents 92-6. Last week, the Tigers dominated their Class 2A Midwestern Athletic Conference opener by scoring 24 second-quarter points to take a 32-point lead into the locker room against New Brighton. Sophomore Drey Hall, freshman Kenny Jewell and junior Brixx Rawls scored touchdowns on the ground for BF.

2. Even though the defense was stout, the Tigers were once again led on offense by Jaren Brickner. The senior quarterback hit on 9 of 16 passes for 183 yards and a touchdown to Isaiah Aeschbacher of 87 yards, plus he led Beaver Falls in rushing with 103 yards on 11 carries and touchdown jaunts of 26 yards and 1 yard.

3. Neshannock is off to a perfect 4-0 start thanks to an offense that is humming to the tune of 44 points per game. The Lancers have been in some tight games because they have allowed an average of 29 points per game. Their most impressive win came Saturday in a 28-point victory over previously undefeated Western Beaver. Freshman quarterback Jino Mozzocio threw for 139 yards in the road win for the red and white.

4. Whether on offense or defense, this big bad wolf will huff and puff and blow the doors down on opposing teams. We speak of Lancers senior running back Jonny Huff, who rushed for 86 yards and scored three touchdowns on runs of 4, 16 and 8 yards as Neshannock won its conference opener.

Historic factoids: This is only the third meeting between Beaver Falls and Neshannock, with the first two contests coming in the last two years. Beaver Falls beat Neshannock last fall, 28-23. The Tigers were also winners in the first meeting in 2020, 46-27. Six years ago, these teams reached the WPIAL championship game. Beaver Falls beat Aliquippa, 35-22, to win the 2016 Class 3A championship while Neshannock lost big to Steel Valley in the 2A finals, 49-14.

Class A Tri-County South Conference

Carmichaels (1-0, 3-1) at Mapletown (1-0, 4-0)

7 p.m. Friday, Mapletown Stadium

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

Coaches: Ron Gallagher, Carmichaels; George Messich, Mapletown

Last week: Carmichaels 46, West Greene 27, Mapletown 42, Bentworth 9

Players to watch: Alec Anderson, Carmichaels (Sr., 5-10, 155, QB/LB); Landan Stevenson (Sr, 5-10, 160, RB/LB)

Four downs

1. Carmichaels bounded back nicely in Week 3 from its only loss of the season with a 19-point home win over West Greene in its Tri-County South Conference opener. Senior wide receiver Tyler Richmond put up big numbers in the win with six receptions for 188 yards and three touchdowns.

2. Tossing all those passes to Richmond was fellow senior Alec Anderson. The Mighty Mikes quarterback hit on 11 of 16 passes for 244 yards and four touchdowns, plus he led the team on the ground with 160 yards and two more scores.

3. The last time Mapletown was 4-0 in football was 25 years ago. The Maples defeated Geibel Catholic by nine points to move to 4-0. Last week, they rolled past Bentworth by 33 points in winning their Tri-County South Conference opener. Senior quarterback Brody Evans threw for a touchdown and ran for two more scores.

4. Maples stud running back Landan Stevenson ran wild again. He rushed for 222 yards on 17 carries and scored touchdowns on runs of 27, 4 and 5 yards. For the season, Stevenson is third in the district in rushing with 728 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Historic factoids: These old Greene County rivals have played every year since 1964 — 58 consecutive seasons. Carmichaels holds a big series advantage, 60-21-4. The Mighty Mikes have won 13 of the last 14 clashes, including a win last season, 44-18. The only win for the Maples in the last 14 years was in 2014, 30-2. The first meeting between Carmichaels and Mapletown was in 1925, a game won by the Mighty Mikes, 14-0.

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