Trib HSSN don’t miss high school football matchups for Week 3

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Thursday, September 24, 2020 | 9:47 PM


Class 5A nonconference

No. 2 Gateway (2-0) at No. 1 Pine-Richland (2-0)

7 p.m. Friday, Pine-Richland Stadium at Pine-Richland HS

On the air: Audio on KDKA-AM 1020 and Video at TribHSSN.TribLive.com

Coaches: Don Holl, Gateway; Eric Kasperowicz, Pine-Richland

Players to watch: Derrick Davis, Gateway (Sr., 6-2, 195, RB); Cole Spencer, Pine-Richland (Sr., 5-10, 180, QB)

Last week: Gateway 55, Bethel Park 14; Pine-Richland 34, Upper St. Clair 13

Four downs

1. Gateway is off to an impressive start after convincing wins over Class 5A traditional powers in Franklin Regional and Bethel Park. The Gators’ offense has scored 96 points in the two wins while only allowing 21 points.

2. Derrick Davis has rushed for over 100 yards in both of the victories. He has 283 yards rushing thus far with nine touchdowns. Gateway has also enjoyed a strong passing attack with junior quarterback Carsen Engleka throwing for 537 yards and nine touchdowns in two weeks.

3. After crushing Fox Chapel in its season opener and inaugural Class 5A conference game in Week 1, Pine-Richland kept on humming with an impressive 21-point road victory over previously ranked Upper St. Clair last week.

4. Senior quarterback Cole Spencer is well on his way to an incredible season. Through two weeks, he has connected on 37 of 52 passes for 605 yards and eight touchdowns. Junior Alex Gochis has four touchdown receptions to lead the Rams.

Extra point: Barring any surprises, the winner of this game has the upper hand on the top seed in the Class 5A playoffs. Both teams are 1-0 in their respective conferences. After this nonconference showdown, Pine-Richland will have nothing but Northeast Conference games the rest of the regular season while Gateway will play all Big East Conference games.

Class 5A Allegheny Six Conference

South Fayette (1-1, 0-0) at No. 3 Peters Township (1-0, 0-0)

7 p.m. Friday, Peters Township Stadium at Peters Township HS

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

Coaches: Joe Rossi, South Fayette; T.J. Plack, Peters Township

Players to watch: Naman Alemada, South Fayette (Sr., 6-5, 205, QB); Breylen Carrington, Peters Township (Sr., 5-11, 170, WR/DB)

Last week: Chartiers Valley 9, South Fayette 7; Peters Township 24, Penn-Trafford 21

Four downs

1. How rare was the South Fayette loss last week at Chartiers Valley? The Lions have lost only two regular season games the last eight years and both of them were season-opening losses to Upper St. Clair in 2018 and 2019. The last time the Lions lost in the regular season before that was Oct. 21, 2011 in a 33-10 setback to Seton LaSalle.

2. Everybody was held in check last week by the Chartiers Valley defense, including quarterback Naman Alemada. The senior threw four touchdown passes in a season-opening win at Dover, Ohio, two weeks ago, but was limited to only a 11-yard scoring pass to senior Joe Audia for the Lions’ lone score.

3. After sitting out Week 1 because of covid-19 related issues, Peters Township began the season with a bang and a Class 5A nonconference win over visiting Penn-Trafford. Junior kicker Andrew Massucci booted a 26-yard field goal with less than five minutes left for the deciding points in a 24-21 victory.

4. The Indians were very defensive in their opening-night win over the Warriors, forcing seven turnovers with five interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Leading the way was senior defensive back Breylen Carrington, who picked off four passes and returned two of them 28 and 30 yards for Peters Township touchdowns.

Extra point: This is a make-up game from Week 1 when Peters Township was forced to postpone the much anticipated meeting. This is the first of five straight Allegheny Six Conference games for both teams. There might be green flashbacks for current Peters Township coach T.J. Plack. He has coached the black and red Indians for five years now, but from 2002-06, he coached his alma mater, the South Fayette Lions. Joe Rossi replaced Plack in 2007.

Class 4A Big Eight Conference

Trinity (1-1, 1-1) vs. McKeesport (1-1, 0-1)

7 p.m. Friday, George Smith Field at Weigle-Shaffer Stadium at McKeesport HS

On the air: Video on TribHSSN.TribLive.com

Coaches: Jon Miller, Trinity; Matt Miller, McKeesport

Players to watch: Micah Finely, Trinity (Sr., 5-8, 170, RB); Terrance Glenn, McKeesport (Sr., 6-3, 225, QB)

Last week: Thomas Jefferson 51, Trinity 14; McKeesport 49, New Castle 27

Four downs

1. Trinity actually led its Class 4A Big Eight Conference game last week against top-ranked Thomas Jefferson, 7-0 in the first quarter before the Jaguars ripped off 41 unanswered points as the Hillers tasted defeat for the first time.

2. Hillers quarterback Connor Roberts has thrown four touchdown passes in the first two games. His favorite target has become senior Micah Finley. He has three touchdown receptions and a pair of scoring runs thus far for Trinity.

3. After being shut out in the season opener, the McKeesport offense roared to life in a nonconference victory in Week 2. The Tigers turned a close 28-27 halftime lead into a convincing win by scoring all 21 second-half points.

4. Senior Tigers quarterback Terrance Glenn has fit right into running the flex-bone offense. He rushed for 139 yards and scored four touchdowns, including all three scores in the second half to seal the first win of the season.

Extra point: Friday night will be Miller time in McKeesport as Matt hosts Jon. Fifteen years ago, Trinity and McKeesport were conference foes in the old Quad Southwest Conference in Class AAAA. Their last meeting in a meaningful conference game was Sept. 9, 2005 when McKeesport beat Trinity, 48-7. The Hillers-Tigers last meeting at McKeesport was in 2004 as the Tigers cruised to a 52-20 triumph.

Class 3A Allegheny Seven Conference

No. 2 North Catholic (2-0, 2-0) vs. East Allegheny (2-0, 1-0)

7 p.m. Friday, Churchman Memorial Stadium at East Allegheny HS

On the air: Audio at TribHSSN.TribLive.com

Coaches: Pat O’Shea, North Catholic; Dom Pecora, East Allegheny

Players to watch: Joey Prentice, North Catholic (Jr., 6-1, 200, QB/DB); Michael Smith, East Allegheny (Jr., 5-8, 170, WR/QB)

Last week: North Catholic 51, Valley 6; East Allegheny 35, Burrell 14

Four downs

1. North Catholic has stormed out the of the gates in 2020, eclipsing the 50-point mark in both games as the Trojans boast the No. 1 offense in the WPIAL through two weeks with an average of 53 points per game. To go along with the high-powered offense, the Trojans have allowed 13 total points, one score each in conference wins over Derry and Valley.

2. The Trojans have been led by junior quarterback Joey Prentice, who has proven to be a weapon with his arm and his legs. He has thrown for seven touchdowns in two weeks and has run for four scores. Junior Kyle Tipinski has scored five touchdowns in two weeks while senior Nick Maher has four touchdowns and a safety.

3. The numbers may not be as gaudy as what North Catholic has put up, but East Allegheny also has had an explosive start with two convincing wins. After blanking Brownsville in a nonconference game, 42-0, EA led only 7-0 at halftime last week at Burrell before scoring 28 second-half points in a 35-14 conference win.

4. Wide receiver-turned-quarterback junior Michael Smith did a nice job connecting on 7 of 10 passes for 195 yards and two touchdown passes, including a fortunate 95-yard strike to senior Amaryeh Lucky. Smith also scored on a 4-yard run for the Wildcats.

Extra point: East Allegheny will be missing sophomore Johnny DiNapoli after the sophomore was ejected from last week’s win. Last year as a freshman quarterback, DiNapoli threw for 1,728 yards and 18 touchdowns. This will be the first football meeting between North Catholic and East Allegheny since the teams met on the final day of the regular season in 2003. The Wildcats closed out a 3-7 season with a 49-3 rout of the Trojans at East Allegheny.

Class 2A Midwestern Athletic Conference

Neshannock (1-1, 1-1) vs. Freedom (1-1, 1-1)

7:30 p.m. Friday, Freedom Bulldogs Stadium at Freedom HS

On the air: Audio on WBVP-AM 1230, WBVP-FM 99.3, WMBA-AM 1460, WKPL-FM 92.1 and at TribHSSN.TribLive.com

Coaches: Fred Mozzocio, Neshannock; John Rosa, Freedom

Players to watch: Kurt Sommerfield, Neshannock (Jr., 5-8, 160, QB); Cole Beck, Freedom (Sr., 6-1, 195, QB)

Last week: Neshannock 37, Mohawk 22; Freedom 21, Riverside 0

Four downs

1. Neshannock has an extra day to prepare for this MAC matchup as the Lancers picked up their first win of the season in Week 2 in a Thursday night triumph over Mohawk. The victory evens their record and improves their numbers against Lawrence County schools under Coach Frank Mozzocio to 20-2 and their overall home record to 35-4.

2. After throwing for only 72 yards and rushing for 40 yards in the loss to Laurel, Lancers quarterback Kurt Sommerfield had 142 total yards in the win over Mohawk. The junior QB connected on his first touchdown pass against the Warriors and also ran for two scores.

3. What a crazy week for the Freedom football team. It started with turmoil, and a players’ vote on the coach’s future may have led to the resignation of Greg Toney after one year and one game on the job. The week concluded with the Bulldogs pitching a shutout of Riverside to even their record at 1-1 in the MAC and quite possibly save their season.

4. Senior quarterback Cole Beck led the way in the road win over the Panthers. Beck hit on 18 of 28 passes for 255 yards and three touchdown tosses. All three scoring passes went to senior wide receiver Reiker Welling, who is averaging nearly 29 yards per reception through two games.

Extra point: With both teams winning last week, this becomes a big game in the MAC. Class 2A top-ranked Beaver Falls and New Brighton are both 2-0, while these two teams along with Laurel and Mohawk are jammed in the middle with 1-1 records. Home-field advantage has been important in this matchup as the home team has won the last three meetings. The last victorious road team was in 2016 when Neshannock won at Freedom, 18-10.

Class A Big Seven Conference

No. 5 Rochester (2-0, 2-0) vs. Burgettstown (1-1, 1-1)

7 p.m. Friday, Hill Memorial Stadium in Burgettstown

On the air: Audio on WJPA-FM 95.3 and at TribHSSN.TribLive.com

Coaches: Gene Matsook, Rochester; Mark Druga, Burgettstown

Players to watch: Sal Laure, Rochester (Jr., 5-10, 170, RB); Shane Kemper, Burgettstown (Sr., 6-1, 180, RB)

Last week: Rochester 54, Union 21; Our Lady of the Sacred Heart 41, Burgettstown 0

Four downs

1. The Rams have run roughshod on two Big Seven Conference opponents this season. After crushing Northgate, 47-6 in the season opener, Rochester rolled to a 54-24 thrashing of Union last week. The Rams built a 36-8 lead by halftime and cruised to the home victory.

2. Junior Sal Laure rushed for 226 yards and scored four touchdowns on runs of 17, 37, 13 and 27 yards in the win over the Scotties last week. Teammate junior Denny Robinson scored three touchdowns and now has six in two games.

3. Following an opening-week home victory over Fort Cherry, Burgettstown crashed and burned in its first road game, losing convincingly to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, 41-0. The second half was played under the mercy rule as the Chargers jumped out to a 35-0 halftime advantage.

4. The Blue Devils looks to get Shane Kemper and the rest of his teammates going on offense. Kemper scored three times in the win against the Rangers but was shut down by the OLSH defense.

Extra point: Both schools like to run the ball, so this could be a quick contest. Last week’s loss snapped a 19-game regular season win streak for Burgettstown. It was also the first time the Blue Devils were shutout since a 33-0 loss to Washington in October of 2017. What a difference a year makes as Rochester is looking to improve to 3-0 a year after starting the 2019 campaign at 0-7. The Rams’ current five-game winning streak is tied with Carmichaels for the second-longest current victory streak in the WPIAL behind Thomas Jefferson’s 18 straight wins.

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