Trib HSSN don’t-miss high school football matchups for 2022 Week 8
Thursday, October 20, 2022 | 5:28 PM
We continue the stretch run of the 2022 football regular season with four games with teams fighting for their playoff lives, one with a conference crown at stake and another that is a nonconference tuneup between rivals gearing up for showdowns in Week 9.
Coming into Week 8, one team has clinched in 6A, one team in 5A, nine teams in 4A, five in 3A, nine in 2A and nine in Class A.
Here are previews of six top games, five of which are conference clashes, five on Friday and one on Saturday, and all six can be viewed or heard here on Trib HSSN.
Class 6A vs. 5A nonconference
Peters Township (3-1, 6-2) at Class 6A 5-Canon-McMillan (1-2, 4-4)
7 p.m. Friday, Big Mac Stadium, Canonsburg
On the air: Audio stream at TribHSSN.TribLive.com and on WJPA-FM 95.3
Coaches: T.J. Plack, Peters Township; Mike Evans, Canon-McMillan
Last week: Mt. Lebanon 6, Peters Township 3; Canon-McMillan 28, Upper St. Clair 24
Players to watch: Chris Cibrone, Peters Township (Jr., 5-10, 165, QB); Jake Kasper, Canon-McMillan (Sr., 5-9, 170, RB/S)
1. For Peters Township, it has become a simple formula through eight games this fall. When the offense puts up points, victory will soon follow. However, when the team struggles to score, it also struggles to win. In the Indians’ six wins, they have averaged 44 points per game. In their two losses, including their Week 7 loss in which they only managed a Joe Bedillion 38-yard field goal, they are averaging 6.5 points per game.
2. Even though the Indians’ offense was kept out of the end zone last week by Mt. Lebanon, quarterback Chris Cibrone continued to rack up the yards. The junior was 15 of 28 passing for 134 yards, leaving him 142 yards passing shy of 2,000 yards for the season.
3. In a season in which they have already registered a couple of signature road wins over Seneca Valley and South Fayette, Canon-McMillan notched another one in Week 7. Trailing by three points heading into the fourth quarter, Big Macs quarterback Michael Evans threw a touchdown pass and ran for another in an impressive four-point victory over host Upper St. Clair.
4. Big Macs running back Jake Kasper was the focus of the blue and gold offense in Week 7 against USC. The senior carried the ball 29 times for 194 yards and scored the team’s first touchdown in the second quarter on a 2-yard run. Kasper now has over 1,100 yards rushing for the season with 10 touchdowns.
Historic factoids: Peters Township leads the all-time series between the Washington County rivals, 13-10. The Indians won seven straight in the series between 2009-2015. Last year, Peters defeated Canon Mac, 29-7. The last Canon-McMillan victory in the series was in 2018, 35-26. These teams have played each other every year since 2008 with the exception of 2020 when their game was cancelled due to covid-19. The first meeting was in 1979 when the Indians shut out the Big Macs, 14-0.
Class 5A Northeast Conference
Woodland Hills (2-1, 4-4) at 2-Pine-Richland (2-1, 5-3)
7 p.m. Friday, Pine-Richland Stadium
On the air: Video stream at TribHSSN.TribLive.com
Coaches: Tim Bostard, Woodland Hills; Jon LeDonne, Pine-Richland
Last week: Woodland Hills 43, Fox Chapel 14; Pine-Richland 42, Shaler 7
Players to watch: Brandon Jones, Woodland Hills (Jr., 5-7, 180, RB/S); Ryan Palmieri, Pine-Richland (Sr., 5-11, 175, QB/S);
1. Woodland Hills picked a good time to end its two-game losing streak with a win in a Class 5A Northeast Conference game to stay alive for a playoff spot and the conference crown. Freshman quarterback Cameron Walter threw a touchdown pass in the win over host Fox Chapel, plus freshman Will Smith and senior Frankie Keyes combined for four rushing touchdowns for the Wolverines.
2. The Wolverines had a big night on the ground against the Foxes, with four running backs rushing for at least 49 yards. Woody High was led by junior Brandon Jones, who carried the ball 13 times for 130 yards and got the scoring started in the first quarter on a 59-yard touchdown run.
3. Pine-Richland continued playing winning football in Week 7 with a big conference road win at Shaler. The Rams won their fourth straight game thanks in part to the efforts on the ground from senior Luke Rudolph and junior Ethan Pillar. Rudolph rushed for 79 yards and a touchdown while Pillar gain 76 yards and scored twice.
4. Once again, the Rams offense racked up the points thanks to the arm and the legs of quarterback Ryan Palmieri. The senior was 10 of 16 passing for 173 yards and a 14-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Brad Gelly, plus he rushed for 173 yards on 13 carries and scored on runs of 45 and 12 yards, both in the second quarter.
Historic factoids: This is only the fourth meeting between Woodland Hills and Pine-Richland. The last time these two met was in the district postseason nine years ago when the Wolverines beat the Rams, 35-14, in a 2013 WPIAL Class 4A first-round playoff game. The schools split their other two regular season meetings in 2010 and 2011. The Wolverines won big in 2010, 35-0, while the Rams won a year later, 26-7. While the winner of this game puts itself in a much better situation heading into Week 9, it might not clinch a playoff spot in the wild and tight 5A Northeast Conference.
Class 4A Greater Allegheny Conference
Hampton (2-2, 4-4) at Mars (2-2, 5-3)
7 p.m. Friday, Planets Stadium, Mars
On the air: Video stream on TribHSSN.TribLive.com
Coaches: Steve Sciullo, Hampton; Eric Kasperowicz, Mars
Last week: Hampton 42, Indiana 7; Armstrong 55, Mars 31
Players to watch: Joey Mayer, Hampton (Sr., 5-10, 160, QB/S); Evan Wright, Mars (Jr., 5-9, 175, RB/CB)
1. Week 7 was a nice rebound performance for Hampton after losing two of its previous three games, including a conference heartbreaker in overtime to North Catholic in Week 6. Against visiting Indiana, junior running back Brock Borgo rushed for 118 yards on only 11 carries and scored twice on the ground on runs of 70 and 13 yards to forge a three-way tie for third place in the Class 4A Greater Allegheny Conference.
2. The Talbots relied on quarterback Joey Mayer for a big chunk of their offense against the Little Indians last week. The senior signal caller was 9 of 17 passing for 170 yards and three touchdown tosses, two of them to Brock Borgo of 30 and 56 yards, plus a scoring pass of 5 yards to senior Benny Haselrig. Mayer also rushed for 53 yards, including a 20-yard scoring jaunt in the 35-point win.
3. Mars was able to score points in its big showdown at Armstrong last week; however, the Fightin’ Planets allowed Cadin Olsen to throw for nearly 350 yards as the River Hawks produced 55 points. Sophomore quarterback Eric Kasperowicz was 12 of 19 passing for 104 yards and ran for a 24-yard touchdown.
4. In suffering their second Class 4A Greater Allegheny Conference and third overall loss of the season, the Fightin’ Planets got a big game from running back Evan Wright. The junior rushed for 253 yards on 19 carries and scored three times on touchdown runs of 2, 94 and 81 yards.
Historic factoids: While the all-time series is tight, the Fightin’ Planets have dominated in recent matchups. Mars leads the all-time series, 17-16-2, thanks for 11 wins in a row from 2010-2020. Hampton ended that streak last fall with a convincing win, 48-14, its first victory in the series since 2009. The first meeting was 70 years ago when Hampton defeated Mars, 26-7, in 1952. The Talbots won the first 10 meetings between 1952-1970. The two deadlocks in the series were scoreless ties three years apart in 1972 and 1975.
Class 3A Western Hills Conference
Beaver (2-2, 5-3) at Quaker Valley (1-3, 1-6)
7 p.m. Friday, Chuck Knox Stadium, Quaker Valley
On the air: Audio stream at TribHSSN.TribLive.com and on WMBA-AM 1460, WMBA-FM 95.7
Coaches: Cort Rowse, Beaver; Jason Cappa, Quaker Valley
Last week: Beaver 59, Seton LaSalle 13; West Mifflin 42, Quaker Valley 0
Players to watch: Liam Gibson, Beaver (Sr., 6-0, 180, RB); Troy Kozar, Quaker Valley (Sr., 6-0, 180, QB)
1. After losing to the best team in the Class 3A Western Hills Conference at Avonworth in Week 6, Beaver bounced back big in Week 7 against the conference basement dwellers in Seton LaSalle. The Bobcats scored 45 points in the first half thanks in part to senior quarterback Isaac Pupi, who threw for two touchdowns and ran for another score.
2. The Bobcats didn’t need to use running back Liam Gibson much, but he still ended up with some impressive numbers. The senior carried the ball 11 times for 184 yards (16 yards per carry) while he scored on runs of 2, 12 and 40 yards.
3. Quaker Valley lost its fourth consecutive game last week and saw its playoff hopes in the Western Hills take a hit with a third straight conference loss in falling to host West Mifflin. The Quakers defense has yielded over 40 points in all four of its recent losses.
4. Quakers quarterback Troy Kozar wasn’t able to lead his offense to any points in Week 7 at West Mifflin thanks in part to three interceptions, The QV signal caller had 110 total yards of offense for a team that mustered only 122 yards on offense. Kozar has thrown for over 700 yards this season.
Historic factoids: Beaver has dominated the all-time series, 19-3. The series has been its most competitive in the last four meetings with the Bobcats winning in 2018 and 2021 and the Quakers picking up victories in 2017 and 2019. QV’s 45-21 win in 2017 ended the Bobcats’ 14-game win streak in the series that lasted between 1984-2016. The only other Quakers win in the series was 20-12 in 1983. The first meeting between the Bobcats and Quakers took place in 1957 with Beaver winning, 7-6.
Class 2A Century Conference
Washington (3-1, 6-2) at Keystone Oaks (3-1, 6-2)
7 p.m. Friday, Dormont Stadium
On the air: Video stream at TribHSSN.TribLive.com with audio only on WJPA-AM 1450
Coaches: Mike Bosnic, Washington; Steve McCormick, Keystone Oaks
Last week: Washington 61, Charleroi 0; Keystone Oaks 32, McGuffey 30
Players to watch: Zach Welsh, Washington (Sr, 6-0, 185, QB/S); Nick Buckley, Keystone Oaks (Sr., 6-2 170, QB);
1. After being shut out 36-0 by Sto-Rox in Week 6, Washington bounced back big on both side of the ball in a Week 7 Class 2A Century Conference victory over Charleroi. The Little Prexies racked up 61 points, (one off their season high of 62 against Brentwood) and blanked the Cougars for Wash High’s first shutout of the season.
2. The Little Prexies scored 34 first-quarter points on their way to the 61-point rout last week. There were many contributors for Washington, including senior running back Zack Welsh with touchdown runs of 5, 12 and 13 yards and a scoring reception and touchdown run by junior running back Ruben Gordon.
3. Keystone Oaks picked up its third straight win, but the one in Week 7 was a little different than the previous two. Following comfortable shutout wins over Charleroi and Hopewell, the game at McGuffey last week went down to the wire with KO’s Nick Buckley connecting with junior wide receiver Clinton Robinson on a 29-yard touchdown pass for the winning score in a 2-point win.
4. Buckley, the Golden Eagles quarterback, continues to have a big senior season. Against McGuffey, Buckley connected on 15 of 22 passes for 237 yards and four touchdowns, plus he scored on a 1-yard plunge to keep Keystone Oaks’ playoff hopes alive.
Historic factoids: Washington has clinched a Class 2A playoff spot, and Keystone Oaks is in with a win over Wash High or a Brentwood loss at Charleroi. This is only the seventh meeting between the Little Prexies and Golden Eagles with Washington leading the all-time series, 5-1. The last meeting was in 2011 when Washington won, 41-16. Keystone Oaks’ only win in the series came the previous season when they blanked the Little Prexies, 37-0, in 2010. The first meeting was in 1950 when the Little Prexies blanked the Golden Eagles, 21-0. Four of the five Wash High wins in the series came in the 1950s: 1950, 1951, 1956 and 1957.
Class A Black Hills Conference
4-Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (4-1, 7-1) at 1-Bishop Canevin (5-0, 7-1)
7 p.m. Saturday, Dormont Stadium
On the air: Video stream at TribHSSN.TribLive.com
Coaches: Don Militzer, OLSH; Richard Johnson, Bishop Canevin
Last week: OLSH 1, Avella 0 (forfeit); Bishop Canevin 33, Chartiers-Houston 6
Players to watch: Nehemiah Azeem, OLSH (Sr., 5-9, 160, QB); Kole Olszewski (Soph, 5-10, 165, QB)
1. It will be two weeks since Our Lady of the Sacred Heart last took the field after being awarded a forfeit win in Week 7 when Avella could not field a team with a healthy roster of only 12 players. The Chargers did try to line up a replacement game against idle Perry, but PIAA rules stated the Chargers would have to give up the conference forfeit win if they had played against the Commodores. Not wanting to jeopardize their place in the Black Hills standings, OLSH decided to take the forfeit and not play a replacement game.
2. The Chargers all season have relied on quarterback Nehemiah Azeem, and why not? He’s the second-leading passer in the WPIAL. The senior has hit on 122 of 196 passes for 1,952 yards with 20 touchdown passes. Azeem is second in the district only behind Cadin Olsen of Armstrong, who has 2,045 yards passing entering Week 8.
3. Since losing its season opener against state power Steelton-Highspire, Bishop Canevin has ripped off seven straight wins, including all five Black Hills Conference games. Its latest conference win came last week at Chartiers-Houston when junior Jason Cross had a touchdown pass and TD reception while senior wide receiver Xavier Nelson had 211 yards in receptions and three touchdown catches in the 27-point win.
4. Crusaders quarterback Kole Olszewski enjoyed a big game last week. The sophomore connected on 5 of 7 passes for 177 yards and three touchdowns tosses of 18 yards to Cross and 44 and 63 yards to Nelson to help set up the 2021 WPIAL Class A championship game rematch with the Chargers in a Saturday night special at Dormont Stadium.
Historic factoids: Bishop Canevin has clinched a playoff berth and can win the Black Hills Conference title with a win. Our Lady of the Sacred Heart can clinch a playoff berth with a win or a Cornell loss to Chartiers-Houston on Friday. Bishop Canevin leads the all-time series, 4-3, thanks to a victory in the 2021 WPIAL Class A championship game last fall, 42-7. The Crusaders’ three others wins were all shutout victories coming in 2015 (35-0), 2011 (40-0) and in the first meeting between the schools in 2010 (54-0). The Chargers’ wins came in 2014 (42-21), 2018 (42-0) and a forfeit win over BC in 2019.
Tags: Beaver, Bishop Canevin, Canon-McMillan, Hampton, Keystone Oaks, Mars, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Peters Township, Pine-Richland, Quaker Valley, Washington, Woodland Hills
More Football• Armstrong’s Cadin Olsen repeats as Willie Thrower Award winner
• ‘Emotional leader’ Gavin Moul caps Bethel Park career with Big 33 appearance
• Armstrong’s Olsen, the 2022 winner, leads candidates for Thrower Award
• Hempfield hires Nick Keefer as football coach
• Westmoreland high school notebook: PIHL Class A final could feature 2 local teams