Trib HSSN don’t-miss high school football matchups for 2022 Week 9

Thursday, October 27, 2022 | 5:59 PM

We conclude the stretch run in Week 9 with 12 playoff spots up for grabs and seven games that will decide a conference championship.

Don’t forget to check out the Trib HSSN Scoreboard Show between 9:30 p.m. and midnight Friday to find out who is in and whose playoff bubble has been burst.

Then on Saturday, the 2022 WPIAL football brackets are unveiled during the Trib HSSN Football Playoff Pairings Show at 2 p.m.

Here are previews of six top games, all with conference title or playoff implications and five that can be viewed here on Trib HSSN.

Class 6A

No. 5 Canon-McMillan (5-4, 1-2) at No. 4 Mt. Lebanon (4-5, 1-2)

7 p.m. Friday, Mt. Lebanon Stadium

On the air: Video stream at with audio only on WJPA-FM 95.3

Coaches: Mike Evans, Canon-McMillan; Bob Palko, Mt. Lebanon

Last week: Canon-McMillan 26, Peters Township 7; Mt. Lebanon 41, Baldwin 0

Players to watch: Jake Kasper, Canon-McMillan (Sr., 5-9, 170, RB/S); David Shields, Mt. Lebanon (Soph., 6-1, 190, QB);

Four downs

1. For the first time this season, Canon-McMillan is over .500 with its overall record thanks to three consecutive victories. The latest win was an impressive 19-point victory over Peters Township. The Big Macs actually trailed heading into the fourth quarter before scoring 20 unanswered points thanks to senior Austyn Winkleblech’s 12-yard touchdown reception and 90-yard interception return.

2. Big Macs running back Jake Kasper continues to shine in late October, scaring opposing defenders with big game after big game on the ground. The senior galloped for 188 yards on 22 carries to go over the 1,300-yard mark for the season.

3. Mt. Lebanon picked up its second straight win with a convincing win over an old conference foe in Baldwin. The one-sided victory also was the Blue Devils’ first shutout of the season after allowing only three points to Peters Township the week before. Senior quarterback Alex Gevaudan saw some action and tossed a pair of touchdown passes.

4. The other Blue Devils quarterback also had a successful night against Baldwin. Sophomore David Shields connected on all 8 of his passes for 160 yards and a touchdown, plus he rushed for 29 yards and two short TDs.

Historic factoids: The winner of this game qualifies for the 6A playoffs. The loser could also qualify only if Seneca Valley loses to North Allegheny. Mt. Lebanon leads the all-time series 45-7 including 13 wins in the last 14 meetings. The Blue Devils won last season, 37-7. Canon-McMillan won two years ago, 24-17, ending a 12-game skid against Lebo that dated to a 35-28 win in 2008. The Blue Devils won the first meeting between the schools in 1940, 28-0. That was one of 14 shutout wins the Blue Devils have over the Big Macs. Mt. Lebanon won the only playoff game between the two, beating Canon-McMillan, 38-31, in the 2018 6A quarterfinals. These schools have squared off for 17 consecutive seasons.

Class 5A Northeast

North Hills (3-6, 3-1) at No. 2 Pine-Richland (6-3, 3-1)

7 p.m. Friday, Pine-Richland Stadium

On the air: Video stream at

Coaches: Pat Carey, North Hills; Jon LeDonne, Pine-Richland

Last week: Franklin Regional 34, North Hills 14; Pine-Richland 35, Woodland Hills 21

Players to watch: Sam Coldren, North Hills (Sr., 6-1, 205, RB); Ethan Pillar, Pine-Richland (Jr., 6-0, 200, RB);

Four downs

1. North Hills is not bringing a lot of momentum into its Week 9 showdown for the Northeast Conference crown at Pine-Richland. The see-saw season for the Indians that began with an 0-4 start and was followed up by three straight wins saw a second straight nonconference loss last week. Amazingly, the red and white could lose and end up with an overall record of 3-7 and still earn a third-place Class 5A wild card depending on what happens elsewhere Friday.

2. The Indians trailed Franklin Regional 14-0 last week at the half before senior wide receiver Cooper Thompson found the end zone twice in the third quarter, on a 7-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback John Green and on an 83-yard kickoff return, before the Panthers pulled away with two fourth-quarter touchdowns. Senior running back Sam Coldren led North Hills on the ground with 83 yards on only six carries.

3. No team has been hotter since mid-September in Class 5A than Pine-Richland, which picked up its fifth straight victory in Week 8 over visiting Woodland Hills. The Rams jumped out to a 14-0 lead after one quarter; however, the Wolverines scored 21 unanswered in the second quarter to take a seven-point lead into the locker room. P-R dominated the second half, scoring the game’s final 21 points.

4. While senior quarterback Ryan Palmieri enjoyed another big evening with 100 yards passing and 120 yards rushing and two touchdowns, most of the damage on the ground was dished out by running back Ethan Pillar. The junior rushed for 131 yards and scored three touchdowns on runs of 1, 1 and 8 yards.

Historic factoids: This is only the 11th meeting between North Hills and Pine-Richland with the Indians holding the edge, 7-3. This has been a series of runs. North Hills won the first six meetings, Pine-Richland won three straight in 2014, 2015 and 2020, and then the Indians edged the Rams last season, 13-7. In that Rams’ three-year run of wins, Pine-Richland outscored North Hills, 138-35. The first meeting was in 2008 when the Indians beats the Rams, 22-21.

Class 4A Greater Allegheny

North Catholic (5-4, 3-2) at Mars (5-4, 2-3)

7 p.m. Friday, Planets Stadium, Mars

On the air: Video stream on

Coaches: Pat O’Shea, North Catholic; Eric Kasperowicz, Mars

Last week: North Catholic 41, Indiana 0; Hampton 49, Mars 42

Players to watch: Jason Siket, North Catholic (Jr., 6-1, 163, QB); Eric Kasperowicz, Mars (Soph., 5-10, 180, QB)

Four downs

1. North Catholic did what it needed to do to stay alive for a postseason berth with a Week 8 victory at Indiana. The blanking of the host Little Indians gave the Trojans their first shutout of the season and kept them in control of their own destiny heading into their Week 9 game against Mars.

2. Trojans quarterback Jason Siket didn’t have to throw much in his team’s 41-point victory, but he enjoyed great success when he did. Siket connected on 10 of 13 passes for 190 yards and tossed a third-quarter touchdown of 40 yards to junior Jack Fennell.

3. Mars had conference title hopes dancing in its head at the start of October; however, the Fightin’ Planets are now in the fight for their postseason lives after losing three of four Greater Allegheny Conference games. Hard to blame the offense, which has scored 95 points in those three losses; however, the defense has yielded 158 points against Highlands, Armstrong and Hampton.

4. Fightin’ Planets quarterback Eric Kasperowicz had success passing and running last week in a loss to Hampton. The sophomore threw for 146 yards and rushed for 108 yards and scored on touchdown runs of 14 and 5 yards. He now has 12 touchdown passes and eight scoring runs for the season.

Historic factoids: This is only the sixth all-time meeting between these now-neighboring schools in the Wexford area, separated by only 5.4 miles. Mars holds a slim lead, 3-2. The last meeting was nearly 20 years ago when Mars rolled past North Catholic, 41-3, in the 2003 season. The Fightin’ Planets also won the first meeting in 1998, 32-27. The only postseason meeting was in 2001 when the Trojans blanked the Planets, 13-0, in the Class 2A quarterfinals. If North Catholic wins, it will likely finish in third place and Mars would be eliminated. If Mars wins, there is still a scenario where it could miss the postseason based on tiebreaker points if Hampton loses to Highlands. However, a Hampton win would clinch a berth for Mars if the Fightin’ Planets also win.

Class 3A Western Hills

Hopewell (3-6, 2-3) at Beaver (6-3, 3-2)

7 p.m. Friday, Gypsy Glen Stadium, Beaver

On the air: No broadcast

Coaches: Matt Weiss, Hopewell; Cort Rowse, Beaver

Last week: West Mifflin 50, Hopewell 15; Beaver 48, Quaker Valley 9

Players to watch: Dayveon Jackson, Hopewell (Sr., 5-10, 170, RB); Isaac Pupi, Beaver (Sr., 6-0, 165, QB)

Four downs

1. Thoughts of ending a decade-long playoff drought are starting to fade for Hopewell following a third straight loss last week. The Vikings have managed only 15 points in losses to Keystone Oaks and back-to-back Ls in the Western Hills Conference to South Park and West Mifflin.

2. The two October touchdowns for Hopewell both came last week in the home loss to the Titans. One was on a Thomas Pipkens to Cam Fedorka 38-yard scoring pass and the other was on a 19-yard scoring run by senior running back Dayveon Jackson, who leads the Vikings in rushing and scoring.

3. Back-to-back Western Hills Conference wins for Beaver over the bottom two teams in the conference still has not been enough to clinch a playoff berth heading into Week 9. A third straight win Friday, though, will put the Bobcats in the district football playoffs for a second straight season.

4. Bobcats quarterback Isaac Pupi delivered when called upon last week in a 39-point victory over Quaker Valley. The senior hit on 7 of 9 passes for 81 yards and tossed three touchdowns passes, an 11-yard strike to senior Gerrell Leeper, 8 yards to senior Jack Kohrmann and a 15-yard scoring pass to senior Dylan Porto.

Historic factoids: Beaver has dominated the all-time series and leads Hopewell, 24-6. The Bobcats won the three most recent meetings, 55-14 in 2016, 35-14 in 2017 and 46-9 last fall. The most recent meeting between the teams before that was also a Beaver victory, 21-6, in 1995. Beaver has won seven straight in the series. The Vikings victories in the series came in 1952, 1955, 1959, 1965, 1990 and 1991. The first meeting was in 1943 when Beaver blanked Hopewell, 14-0. Beaver wins, it is in. Hopewell is in with a win and a South Park victory over West Mifflin. If Hopewell and West Mifflin win, it will come down to tiebreaker points and no guarantee that the Vikings get in.

Class 2A Allegheny

No. 1 Steel Valley (8-0, 6-0) at No. 5 Serra Catholic (7-2, 5-1)

7 p.m. Friday, Eagles Stadium, Serra Catholic

On the air: Video stream at

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

Last week: Steel Valley 56, Yough 7; Apollo-Ridge 43, Serra Catholic 36 in overtime

Players to watch: Cruce Brookins, Steel Valley (Sr, 6-2, 180, QB); Elijah Ward, Serra Catholic (Sr., 5-10 150, QB);

Four downs

1. The beat goes on for Steel Valley as it remained perfect in conference and overall with a Week 8 win over Yough. While the Ironmen are averaging 48.5 points per game on offense, their defense has been dominant all season. Since winning in Week 1 over Sto-Rox, 27-24, the Ironmen have yielded 27 points in seven games with three shutouts.

2. In its final home game of the regular season, Steel Valley took the suspense out of the game early with 35 first-quarter points against Yough. Senior quarterback Cruce Brookins was magnificent again, hitting on 4 of 6 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns, plus rushing for two scores on his only two carries of the night for a combined 41 yards.

3. Some of the shine came off this Allegheny Conference showdown when Serra Catholic was stunned in overtime by host Apollo-Ridge for the Eagles’ first conference loss of the season. The game was tied five times, but Serra never had the lead. After the Vikings scored in overtime, an Eagles pass was deflected and picked off as Apollo-Ridge stayed alive for the postseason.

4. The Eagles utilized two quarterbacks again in the loss to Apollo-Ridge last week. Sophomore Quadir Stribling threw for 30 yards and rushed for 41 yards while senior quarterback Elijah Ward hit on 5 of 8 passes for 170 yards and three touchdown tosses to senior Amire Spencer, junior Jaden Banks and junior Jesere Young, plus he scored on a 17-yard run.

Historic factoids: This is the seventh all-time meeting between the schools and Steel Valley is a perfect 6-0 against Serra Catholic. The Ironmen won the season finale last fall for the Allegheny Conference championship, 28-7. The other five Ironmen victories over the Eagles: 39-14 in 2017, 72-7 in 2016, 27-0 in 1989, 37-0 in 1987 and 20-7 in 1971. If Steel Valley wins, the Ironmen are outright conference champions and the Eagles are second. If Serra Catholic wins, the schools are co-champions, but the Eagles are first and the Ironmen second for Class 2A playoff seeding purposes.

Class A Black Hills

Cornell (4-5, 3-3) at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (7-2, 4-2)

7 p.m. Friday, Moon Stadium

On the air: Video stream at

Coaches: Ed Dawson, Cornell; Don Militzer, OLSH

Last week: Cornell 52, Chartiers-Houston 7; Bishop Canevin 40, OLSH 0

Players to watch: Raequan Troutman (Sr, 6-0, 175, RB); Nehemiah Azeem, OLSH (Sr., 5-9, 160, QB)

Four downs

1. With its back to the wall following three straight conference losses that jeopardized its playoffs hopes, Cornell answered in a big way in Week 8. Facing a must win in their home finale, the Raiders scored 13 first-quarter points then exploded for 27 more in the second quarter to take a 33-point lead into the locker room against Chartiers-Houston.

2. Raiders running back Raequan Troutman was honored on senior night then did the honors of leading his team on the ground and in the end zone. The senior rushed for 164 yards on 12 carries and scored four touchdowns on runs of 47, 1, 22 and 60 yards, plus he caught a 10-yard scoring pass from senior E.J. Dawson.

3. Following a perfect 6-0 September, October has been a struggle for the 2021 WPIAL Class A runners-up. OLSH is 1-2 in October with the only win coming on a forfeit by Avella. The Chargers got whitewashed in their Week 8 showdown for the Black Hills Conference championship against the same team that beat them in the district finals, Bishop Canevin.

4. The Chargers hope to rely on quarterback Nehemiah Azeem on Friday after the second-leading passer in the WPIAL had to sit out the Crusaders game on Saturday after suffering a pregame injury. The senior has hit on 122 of 196 passes for 1,952 yards with 20 touchdown passes this year.

Historic factoids: This will be the seventh meeting between the schools from the Coraopolis area with Our Lady of the Sacred Heart holding a decisive lead, 5-1. While the first three games between 2016-2018 were Chargers blowout wins, the last three games have been very competitive. The Raiders lone win came in 2019, 22-14. OLSH has won the last two meetings, 34-26 in 2020 and 13-12 a year ago. If OLSH wins, it clinches a playoff spot. If Cornell wins, it is likely in, but there is a tiebreaker scenario where, along with a Burgettstown victory over Fort Cherry, a win by the Raiders does not get them into the playoffs.

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