Trib HSSN don’t-miss high school football matchups for Week 7

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Thursday, October 22, 2020 | 6:43 PM


Class 6A

Central Catholic (3-2, 3-2) vs. Baldwin (2-2, 1-2)

7 p.m. Friday, Cibic Stadium at Baldwin HS

On the air: Audio on TribHSSN.TribLive.com

Coaches: Terry Totten, Central Catholic; Tim Sweeney, Baldwin

Players to watch: Eddy Tillman, Central Catholic (Sr., 5-8, 165, RB); Colton Brain, Baldwin (Sr., 5-10, 165, QB)

Last week: Hempfield at Central Catholic, ppd.; Seneca Valley 19, Baldwin 16 (OT)

Four downs

1. Central Catholic did not play for the first time this season in Week 6 as the Vikings’ game at home against Hempfield was postponed for covid-19 related reasons. With a loss in Week 5, it has been three weeks since Central Catholic won its last game, a 33-7 victory over Seneca Valley.

2. The Vikings are trying to wash away a loss in their most recent game, 37-30 to Mt. Lebanon two weeks ago. In that game, senior running back Eddy Tillman led Central Catholic with 147 yards and a touchdown, but it wasn’t enough as the Blue Devils scored the game’s final 20 points for the come-from-behind victory.

3. Baldwin may have watched its postseason hopes fade into the Butler County bright blue sky last Saturday afternoon. The Raiders’ Nolan Dworek scored on a 10-yard touchdown run on the first play of overtime after the Highlanders were held to a field goal on their initial possession in OT.

4. The Highlanders struggled to run the ball at Seneca Valley but did have success through the air. Senior quarterback Colton Brain hit on 16 of 27 passes for 208 yards with a touchdown pass and a scoring run.

Extra point: After turning around the Derry program, Tim Sweeney is nearing the end of this first year at Baldwin. Meanwhile, this is year No. 16 as head coach at Central Catholic for Terry Totten. The last meeting between these schools was in the first round of the 2013 WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs when the Vikings pounded the Highlanders, 56-10, on their way to a WPIAL championship and a runner-up finish in the state playoffs.

Class 5A

Allegheny Six Conference

Upper St. Clair (4-2, 3-1) vs. South Fayette (4-2, 3-1)

7 p.m. Friday, South Fayette Stadium

On the air: Video stream game of the week at TribHSSN.TribLive.com

Coaches: Mike Junko, Upper St. Clair; Joe Rossi, South Fayette

Players to watch: Ethan Dahlem, Upper St. Clair (Sr., 5-10, 180, QB); Naman Alemada, South Fayette (Sr., 6-5, 205, QB)

Last week: Upper St. Clair 42, Moon 35; South Fayette 38, West Allegheny 14

Four downs

1. Upper St. Clair was in a Week 6 battle against visiting Moon before pulling out the comeback victory. Moon had leads of 7-0, 21-7 and finally 35-21 in the third quarter before the Panthers scored the game’s final 21 points for the win and a big step closer to the postseason.

2. Senior quarterback Ethan Dahlem’s effort in the win over Moon was so good, he earned Trib HSSN Player of the Week honors. He connected on 18 of 28 passes for 362 yards and five touchdowns that had the game tied at 35 before he scored the winning points on a 10-yard run in the fourth quarter. He is fifth in the WPIAL in passing for the season.

3. South Fayette jumped on top of West Allegheny last week 21-0 and never looked back in a key Allegheny Six Conference victory. The Lions had a pair of pick-sixes as senior Tristan Bedillion returned an interception 65 yards for a touchdown and fellow senior teammate Joe Rossi did him five yards better with a 70 yard pick and return for a score.

4. Lions senior quarterback Naman Alemada continues to shine in the pass-happy green machine offense. Against West Allegheny, Alemada hit on 19 of 26 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns, both to Rossi. Alemada heads into Week 7 fourth in the district in passing.

Extra point: The winner of this game will finish second behind Peters Township in the Allegheny Six Conference and the loser will take third place and be in good shape for one of the two Class 5A wild-card spots. Upper St. Clair had defeated South Fayette the last two years in nonconference games, winning 27-13 last year in Week 1 and 34-33 in the 2018 season opener. That loss by the Lions was their only one until falling to Erie Cathedral Prep in the PIAA Class 4A quarterfinals.

Class 4A

Big Eight Conference

McKeesport (4-1)(5-1) vs. Thomas Jefferson (5-0)(5-0)

7 p.m. Friday, Thomas Jefferson Stadium

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

Coaches: Matt Miller, McKeesport; Bill Cherpak, Thomas Jefferson

Players to watch: Kenneth Thompson, McKeesport (Jr., 6-0, 160, RB); Jake Pugh, Thomas Jefferson (Sr., 5-9, 160, QB)

Last week: McKeesport 35, Laurel Highlands 20; Thomas Jefferson 41, Ringgold 0

Four downs

1. After losing to Belle Vernon on opening night, McKeesport has won five straight after rolling past Laurel Highlands in its home finale last week. After the Mustangs scored in the second quarter to tie the game at 7-7, the Tigers roared to 28 straight points to take control and set up this key Big Eight Conference contest.

2. Tigers junior running back Kenneth Thompson rushed for 65 yards last week and scored on a 45-yard run. However, his biggest play came on special teams when he returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown to put McKeesport up for good. Thompson is third on the team in rushing, second in scoring and first in receiving.

3. As expected, Thomas Jefferson jumped out to a 27-0 lead after one quarter and built its advantage to 41-0 by halftime before plenty of reserves finished out a scoreless second half. The win has the Jaguars a game ahead of Belle Vernon and McKeesport in the loss column heading into the regular season finale.

4. Jaguars senior quarterback Jake Pugh only attempted six passes against Ringgold but completed five of them for 115 yards and a 52-yard touchdown pass to senior tight end Jack Konick. For the season, Pugh has thrown for 789 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Extra point: Belle Vernon is done with conference play, so if McKeesport beats Thomas Jefferson, all three teams would be 5-1 atop the conference and head-to-head would be tied. Tiebreaker points coming into this week are TJ plus-50, BVA plus-40 and McKeesport plus-18. Even if the Jaguars lose by 10 or more points, they would tie Belle Vernon and the tiebreaker reverts back to TJ’s victory over the Leopards earlier this season. So Thomas Jefferson is locked into first, Belle Vernon second and McKeesport third. Win or lose, Tigers would be up against other 4A third-place teams in Hampton and Montour for two wild-card spots.

Class 3A

Northwestern Six Conference

Hopewell (2-4, 2-2) vs. Keystone Oaks (3-2, 2-1)

7 p.m. Friday, Dormont Stadium

On the air: Video on TribHSSN.TribLive.com

Coaches: Matt Weiss, Hopewell; Greg Perry, Keystone Oaks

Players to watch: Micah Kimbrough, Hopewell (Jr., 6-2, 215, QB); Logan Shrubb, Keystone Oaks (Sr., 6-1, 190, QB)

Last week: Avonworth 21, Hopewell 13; Quaker Valley at Keystone Oaks, ppd.

Four downs

1. Hopewell could have controlled its own destiny heading into the final week of the regular season, but it lost in Week 6 to Avonworth by eight points. The Vikings jumped on top in the opening quarter, but three unanswered scored put the Antelopes up to stay. Hopewell junior Jamar Jeter recovered a fumble for a touchdown right before halftime for the game’s final score.

2. Vikings quarterback Micah Kimbrough produced the offense’s only score last week on a 61-yard touchdown run. Kimbrough has thrown for over 400 yards and rushed for nearly 400 yards this season with three scoring passes and eight touchdown runs.

3. Keystone Oaks found out hours before its game last week that the contest was canceled because of covid-19 related issues with the Quakers. Since a 2-0 start, the Golden Eagles are 1-2, but that one victory was a big one — three weeks ago over Avonworth to give KO the tiebreaker if the Eagles and ‘Lopes tie for second place in the Northwestern Six Conference.

4. Four-year starting quarterback Logan Shrubb is a huge part of the Golden Eagles offense as he leads the team in passing, rushing and scoring. Shrubb has thrown for 734 yards and three touchdowns, he has rushed for 526 yards, and he has scored nine touchdowns.

Extra point: If Keystone Oaks wins, it will finish in second place behind Central Valley and clinch a playoff spot. Avonworth would be in third place and eligible for a wild card. If Hopewell wins, the committee will likely decide the second- and third-place teams out of the conference because games played would be uneven. Both Hopewell and Keystone Oaks would be 3-2 in the conference and Avonworth 3-1 after its game at Central Valley was postponed for Friday. The Golden Eagles beat the Vikings the last two years by scores of 48-18 in 2018 and 49-0 last year.

Class 2A

Century Conference

Frazier (4-1)(4-2) vs. Washington (4-1)(4-2)

7 p.m. Friday, Washington High School Stadium

On the air: Audio on WJPA-AM 1450 and at TribHSSN.TribLive.com

Coaches: Greg Boggs, Frazier; Mike Bosnic, Washington

Players to watch: Kenny Fine, Frazier (Sr., 5-9, 157, RB); Mike Allen, Washington (Sr., 6-1, 186, RB)

Last week: Frazier 39, Beth-Center 0; Washington 39, Charleroi 0

Four downs

1. After losing two of its first three games this season, Frazier has won three straight after shutting out Beth-Center in Week 6. The Commodores jumped on the host Bulldogs for 25 first-half points and added two more scores in the second half to cruise to their fourth win of the season.

2. The Commodores’ leading rusher was just Fine last week and for the last six weeks. Senior running back Kenny Fine rushed for 114 yards and scored on three touchdown runs and a scoring pass from junior Dom Dorcon. Fine is Frazier’s leading rusher, second-leading receiver and leading scorer with 11 touchdowns.

3. Washington also pitched a shutout last week as it won big at Charleroi. The game was close after two quarters as the Prexies led 14-0 at intermission. However, a 25-point second half helped Wash High cruise to its fourth win of the season.

4. It has become a tradition at Washington to have a big-play running back and this year is no different. Prexies senior Mike Allen scored on a pair of runs and also had a 40-yard pick-six to lead the way against Charleroi. Allen is the team’s leading rusher, receiver and scorer with eight touchdowns.

Extra point: The winner of this game will finish in second place and likely be in line for one of the Class 2A at-large playoff berths. This is the fifth straight year these teams have met as conference foes, and Washington has dominated the previous four meetings. The Prexies have outscored the Commodores in those four wins, 163-14.

Class A

Tri-County South Conference

Carmichaels (5-1, 5-1) vs. Avella (4-2, 4-2)

7 p.m. Friday, Avella High School Football Field

On the air: Greene Sports Network at TribHSSN.TribLive.com

Coaches: Ron Gallagher, Carmichaels; Ryan Cecchini, Avella

Players to watch: Bailey Jones, Carmichaels (Sr., 6-1, 201, RB); K.J. Rush, Avella (Jr., 6-2, 225, QB)

Last week: California 49, Carmichaels 20; Bentworth 41, Avella 31

Four downs

1. In a Week 6 showdown for first place, a playoff berth and the Tri-County South Conference championship, Carmichaels lost at home to California by 29 points. The Mighty Mikes were actually in the game at the half, trailing only 21-14, but the Trojans poured it on in the final two quarters and outscored the Mikes, 28-6.

2. Mighty Mikes senior running back Bailey Jones continued his solid season with 101 yards rushing and a pair of 6-yard touchdown runs. Jones has averaged 8.3 yards per carry and has rushed for 758 yards this season with 12 touchdowns.

3. Avella started the season 3-0 and looked to be in good shape for a playoff spot. However, the Eagles have now lost two of three, including a 10-point loss to Bentworth last week. The Eagles led by four points after one quarter but were outscored by the Bearcats in the second quarter, 26-6. Junior Noah Markle had two touchdown runs for Avella.

4. Eagles junior quarterback K.J. Rush threw for a pair of touchdowns in the loss at Bentworth. Rush has over 1,000 yards from scrimmage this year with 823 yards passing and 271 yards on the ground. The junior has thrown for six touchdowns and rushed for three more.

Extra point: The winner of this game will finish in second place in the Tri-County South and will clinch a playoff spot. If Carmichaels loses, it would finish in third place and be in the mix for a wild card. If Avella loses, it could drop into a tie with Bentworth and/or Jefferson-Morgan for third place. This is the first meeting between these teams since 2017 when the Mighty Mikes beat the Eagles, 47-13.

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