Trib HSSN don’t-miss high school football matchups for Week 5
Thursday, October 8, 2020 | 3:52 PM
Mt. Lebanon (1-2, 1-2) vs. No. 2 Central Catholic (3-1, 3-1)
7 p.m. Friday, Graham Field in Wilkinsburg
On the air: Audio on WJAS-AM 1320 and at TribHSSN.TribLive.com
Coaches: Bob Palko, Mt. Lebanon; Terry Totten, Central Catholic
Players to watch: Joey Daniels, Mt. Lebanon (Jr., 5-10, 175, QB); Gannon Carothers, Central Catholic (Jr., 5-10, 185, RB)
Last week: North Allegheny 14, Mt. Lebanon 11; Central Catholic 33, Seneca Valley 7
1. Mt. Lebanon has played well this year, but the Blue Devils are only 1-2 and time is not on their side with only three games left. They suffered a tough loss last week when they came up short against top-ranked North Allegheny. They have lost their two games by a total of 10 points.
2. Blue Devils junior quarterback Joey Daniels has connected on 31 of 47 passes for 422 yards. He threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Eli Heidenreich last week against North Allegheny, his sixth scoring pass of the season.
3. After losing to North Allegheny in Week 3, Central Catholic enjoyed a sweet bounce-back victory by rolling past host Seneca Valley. The Vikings held a slim 10-0 lead at halftime before a big 16-point third quarter put the game away.
4. Gannon Carothers showed off his versatility last week. He ended up rushing for 171 yards, highlighted by a 77-yard scamper to the end zone. The junior also picked off a pass and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown in the Vikings’ impressive win over previously unbeaten Seneca Valley.
Extra point: This is the 20th anniversary of the most recent Mt. Lebanon WPIAL football championship. The Blue Devils beat Woodland Hills, 14-13, to win the 2000 Class AAAA title in the final high school football game played at Three Rivers Stadium. Since then, Central Catholic has won seven championships, including the 2019 Class 6A crown. The Vikings won back-to-back games against the Blue Devils last season, winning 45-7 to end the regular season, and then two weeks later after a quarterfinals bye, Central beat Lebo 31-14 in the 6A semifinals. Mt. Lebanon beat Central Catholic two years ago, 17-7.
Class 5A Allegheny Six Conference
No. 3 Peters Township (3-0, 2-0) vs. Moon (3-1, 1-1)
7 p.m. Saturday, Moon Tigers Stadium at Moon
On the air: Audio at TribHSSN.TribLive.com
Coaches: T.J. Plack, Peters Township; Ryan Linn, Moon
Players to watch: Corban Hondru, Peters Township (Sr., 6-1, 225, TE/ILB/P); Tyler McGowan, Moon (Jr., 5-10, 185, QB)
Last week: Peters Township 28, Upper St. Clair 21; South Fayette 28, Moon 13
1. Peters Township is all alone in first in the Allegheny Six Conference with four teams, including Moon, only one game back. The Indians took over sole possession with a victory over rival Upper St. Clair for a second straight year, this after PT had not beaten USC in four decades prior to 2019.
2. The Indians have lots of talent, but no one thrives in all three phases quite like senior Corban Hondru. The Miami (Ohio) recruit is one of the team’s top defensive players, a big weapon in the passing game at tight end, and as proven last week, a lethal weapon as the Peters punter with a strong leg and the ability to take off at any time.
3. Moon was riding a perfect start before falling on the road to South Fayette last week. The Tigers fell behind 14-0 after one quarter and 21-0 at the half. Even a two-touchdown third quarter couldn’t help the Tigers avoid dropping into a four-way tie for second place at 1-1 in conference play.
4. Junior quarterback Tyler McGowan hadn’t thrown much the first three weeks, but after falling behind against South Fayette, he ended up throwing for 164 yards and touchdowns to junior tight end Dante Docchio and junior wide receiver Jeremiah Dean. He now has 525 yards passing on the season.
Extra point: Peters Township will have eight days off between games instead of the standard six after playing on a Thursday in Week 4 and now playing on a Saturday in Week 5. These teams split their meetings last year. Moon won the regular season showdown, 21-13, which allowed the teams to finish as co-champs in the Allegheny Eight Conference. Peters Township earned the last laugh in the postseason, though, when the Indians rolled past the Tigers, 33-7, in the Class 5A quarterfinals.
Class 4A Parkway Conference
Montour (3-1, 1-1) vs. Blackhawk (2-2, 1-1)
7 p.m. Friday, Blackhawk Stadium at Blackhawk
On the air: Video at TribHSSN.TribLive.com
Coaches: Lou Cerro, Montour; Zack Hayward, Blackhawk
Players to watch: Luke Persinger, Montour (Sr., 6-3, 195, QB); Carson Davidson, Blackhawk (Jr., 5-10, 170, QB)
Last week: Montour 47, New Castle 22; Chartiers Valley 41, Blackhawk 14
1. Montour used a big 20-point second quarter to cruise past visiting New Castle in Week 4. Leading 14-7 after one quarter, the Spartans took control with three touchdowns to take a 34-7 lead into the locker room. The backbreaker was a 90-yard punt return by senior Zach Carletti.
2. Spartans senior quarterback Luke Persinger enjoyed a big game against the Red Hurricanes. He was 12 of 17 passing for 165 yards and a touchdown toss while senior running back Gannon Kadlecik ran for 148 yards and had three touchdown runs in the 25-point win.
3. The up-and-down season for Blackhawk was on a downward turn in Week 4 as Blackhawk lost to host Chartiers Valley by 27 points. The Cougars only trailed 13-6 at halftime before a 22-point third quarter for the unbeaten Colts spelled doom for Blackhawk as its win-one, lose-one pattern continued.
4. Cougars junior quarterback Carson Davidson was kept in check by Chartiers Valley’s fourth-best defense in Class 4A, as he was held to 79 yards passing. He is 39 of 71 passing for 415 yards and a touchdown.
Extra point: With Chartiers Valley and Aliquippa at 2-0 atop the Class 4A Parkway Conference and only two teams and a possible wild card qualifying for the postseason, the winner of this game still controls its destiny in the final two weeks while the loser will need to win out and get help to make the playoffs. Last year, Blackhawk won at home, 29-21. The loss dropped the Spartans to 1-4 overall, but they rallied to win their next four games to clinch a playoff spot. The Cougars have won the last two games in this rivalry. The Spartans’ last win was a 35-7 triumph in October of 2017.
Class 3A Northwestern Six Conference
Keystone Oaks (3-1, 2-0) vs. No. 1 Central Valley (4-0, 2-0)
7 p.m. Friday, Sarge Alberts Stadium at Central Valley
Coaches: Greg Perry, Keystone Oaks; Mark Lyons, Central Valley
Players to watch: Logan Shrubb, Keystone Oaks (Sr., 6-1, 190, QB); Ameer Dudley, Central Valley (Sr., 6-2, 196, QB)
Last week: Keystone Oaks 20, Avonworth 13; Central Valley 50, Quaker Valley 0
1. After tasting defeat for the first time in a nonconference loss to Montour in Week 3, Keystone Oaks bounced back nicely with a home Northwestern Six Conference win over 2019 WPIAL champion Avonworth. The Golden Eagles trailed 7-0 after one quarter before a scoring run by quarterback Logan Shrubb and a touchdown pass put KO up to stay.
2. Shrubb, a four-year starting quarterback, has been impressive through the midway point for the Golden Eagles. He has thrown for 664 yards and three touchdowns, and he also leads the team in rushing with 521 yards and nine touchdowns.
3. Defending WPIAL Class 3A champion Central Valley has been consistently dominant through four games. The Warriors are averaging a hair under 50 points per game after scoring 51, 49, 49 and 50 points. CV’s defense has also been lights out, allowing only 29 total points with the team’s first shutout coming last week at Quaker Valley.
4. Warriors quarterback Ameer Dudley enjoyed another day at the office last week. The senior was 3 of 3 passing with two of those receptions going for early touchdowns. For the season, Dudley has thrown for 309 yards and five touchdowns while averaging 6.6 yards per carry and not playing much since Central Valley’s average margin of victory has been over 42 points.
Extra point: This game features two of the best quarterbacks in the district who can hurt you with their arm and legs. The last WPIAL football title won by Central Valley was a year ago. The last district football crown won by the Keystone Oaks school district was 75 years ago when Dormont won the 1945 Class AA championship. This is the third meeting between Keystone Oaks and Central Valley. The Warriors won the previous two, beating the Golden Eagles 28-27 in 2018 and crushing them last year, 56-6.
Class 2A Three Rivers Conference
No. 5 Western Beaver (4-0, 2-0) vs. Brentwood (3-1, 2-0)
7 p.m. Friday, Herb Troy Memorial Field at Brentwood
On the air: Video at TribHSSN.TribLive.com
Coaches: Ryan Matsook, Western Beaver; Kevin Kissel, Brentwood
Players to watch: Dakari Bradford, Western Beaver (Sr., 6-4, 185, WR); Aiden Wardzinski, Brentwood (Sr., 5-10, 190, RB)
Last week: Western Beaver 47, Seton LaSalle 25; Brentwood 40, Carlynton 21
1. Western Beaver moved to the top of the Class 2A Three Rivers Conference food chain with a convincing 22-point victory at home last week over Seton LaSalle. The Golden Beaver blew open a close 7-6 game in the second quarter with four touchdowns. That second-quarter offensive explosion of 27 points was more points than 4-0 Western BEaver scored in its three previous wins.
2. Senior wide receiver Dakari Bradford was one of the stars for the Golden Beavers against the Rebels. He had 64 yards in receptions and 66 yards rushing while scoring touchdowns on passes of 11 and 14 yards from sophomore quarterback Xander Lefebvre.
3. After suffering a nonconference loss in Week 3 to Steel Valley, Brentwood had a nice bounce-back win with a 40-21 victory at Carlynton. With star running back Aiden Wardzinski limited, freshman O’Malley Daly came up big with 187 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
4. While he did not play much against Carlynton, Wardzinski is still having a big season. He leads the Spartans in rushing with 620 yards and is tops in scoring with 11 touchdowns, plus he is second on the team in receiving, averaging 19.2 yards per catch.
Extra point: The current five-game winning streak dating to last year puts Western Beaver fourth on the WPIAL’s longest winning streak list behind Thomas Jefferson, Carmichaels and Rochester. It has been nine years since these programs met on the football field. In November of 2011, Brentwood hosted Western Beaver in a WPIAL Class A first-round playoff game with the Spartans prevailing, 20-12. Josh Vickless had two touchdowns for Brentwood while Eric Blinn had a touchdown pass and run for the Golden Beavers.
Class A Big Seven Conference
Union (2-2) vs. Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (3-1)
7 p.m. Friday, Moon Tigers Stadium at Moon
Coaches: Stacy Robinson, Union; Dan Bradley, OLSH
Players to watch: Aaron Gunn, Union (Sr., 6-3, 308, OL/DL); Jaymar Pearson, OLSH (Jr., 5-11, 190, QB)
Last week: Union 20, Cornell 18 (OT); Rochester 47, OLSH 21
1. After back-to-back losses to the Big Seven Conference co-leaders in Shenango and Rochester in the first two weeks of the season, Union has bounced back into the playoff picture with two straight wins. The Scotties trailed 12-6 heading into the fourth quarter last week but scored on a Jackson Clark run to force overtime. In OT, Clark’s second scoring run and his 2-point conversion run were the difference in the victory.
2. Whether it’s junior quarterback Tyler Staub throwing the ball or junior running back Jackson Clark running the ball, the Scotties have come up big thanks to the big man up front. Aaron Gunn is a 6-foot-3, 308-pound standout on both sides of the ball on the line for Union as he prepares to play his college football at Louisville.
3. Off to a 3-0 start, OLSH ran into the first obstacle that it could not clear in Week 4 with a 26-point loss to unbeaten Rochester. The Rams raced out to a 21-7 lead after one quarter, increased their advantage to 35-14 by halftime and never looked back. The 47 points allowed by the Chargers defense was more than the total points OLSH gave up in the first three games combined (39).
4. Junior quarterback Jaymar Pearson has more carries (40) and receptions (7) than he does passes attempted (5) through the first four games. He is second on the team in passing, rushing and receiving behind sophomore quarterback Nehemiah Azeem, junior running back Stephen Greer and senior wide receiver Bobby Brazell.
Extra point: With Rochester and Shenango tied for first place with 4-0 conference records, the winner of this game has a shot at the playoffs as a possible wild card. OLSH is trying to make the postseason for the fifth straight season while Union last qualified for the playoffs in 2017. This is the seventh all-time battle between the schools in football. The Scotties won the first meeting, 20-6, in 2012. Since then, the Chargers have won five straight by a combined score of 198-43.
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