Trib HSSN Football Player of the Week for Week 5

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Sunday, October 11, 2020 | 10:40 PM


California senior running back Jaedan Zuzak made history in Week 5 when he ran wild in the Trojans home opener.

Zuzak rushed for an eye-popping 440 yards on 19 carries and scored seven touchdowns on runs of 63, 72, 43, 94, 1, 6 and 42 yards in California’s 65-22 rout of Jefferson-Morgan in a Class A Tri-County South Conference contest.

“I have been very fortunate to have worked with a lot of quality running backs over the past 30 years, and he is definitely one of the top backs I have ever been around,” California coach Ed Woods said. “I have never witnessed a running back have such a dominant night like I witnessed Friday night. He has strength, explosion, speed, cut-back ability and tremendous vision. He is a lot of fun to watch.”

It is believed to be the eighth-best single game rushing total in WPIAL history trailing only Dylan Rush (Mapletown) 524 yards in 2017, Zane Dudek (Armstrong) 492 yards in 2016, Duane Brown (Apollo-Ridge) 480 yards in 2015, Marcus Furman (Connellsville) 455 yards in 2000, Austin Miele (Mars) 448 yards in 2010 and Matt Steve (Hempfield) 446 yards in 1999.

Woods knew early on this might be a special night for Zuzak and his Trojans.

“I knew after the first offensive play which turned into a 63-yard touchdown run,” he said.

California has played four games after their Week Two game was postponed. However, Zuzak already has eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing with 1,103 yards on only 61 carries.

“I was most impressed with him being humble and giving his teammates credit for his individual success,” Woods said.

Anytime a running back enjoys a big game on the ground or a strong season overall, the team’s offensive line deserves its share of credit as well.

“Our offensive line continues to improve every week,” Woods said. “Their continuous focused work ethic along with the way they communicate during the game with each other and their coaches.”

With only two weeks left in the regular season, Trojans fans are California dreamin’ of a conference championship as the 4-0 team prepares for a big showdown on Saturday against undefeated Carmichaels for the top spot in the Tri-County South Conference.

“As I continue to watch film, I see a very disciplined, hard-nosed and well-conditioned football team,” Woods said of the Mighty Mikes. “In order for us to compete with them this Saturday, we will have to play as close to perfect as possible in all phases of the game.“

Another monster game on the ground by Zuzak wouldn’t hurt the Trojans either.

WPIAL Week 5 honorable mentions

Joey Daniels, Mt. Lebanon

With their backs to the wall after losing two of three games, Mt. Lebanon came out throwing and connecting in a key Class 6A game against host Central Catholic.

Junior quarterback Joey Daniels connected on 16 of 20 passes for 343 yards four touchdown tosses of 45, 78, 17 and 13 yards as the Blue Devils rallied for 20 unanswered points and a much needed victory.

Mt. Lebanon’s 37-30 win forced a log jam behind North Allegheny in 6A with the Blue Devils tied with Canon-McMillan, a half-game behind Central Catholic and one game behind Seneca Valley.

Ethan Dahlem, Upper St. Clair

On a beautiful evening for high school football, West Allegheny and Upper St. Clair took to the air for plenty of scores to help settle the score in a key Class 5A Allegheny Six Conference game.

West Allegheny junior quarterback Gavin Miller might have won the statistical battle by throwing for 24 more yards, but Upper St. Clair signal caller Ethan Dahlem and his teammates took home the win.

The senior hit on 18 of 23 passes and threw for two touchdowns and ran for a pair of scores as the Panthers held on for a 37-27 victory to remain in a tie for second place with South Fayette, a game behind Peters Township.

Cadin Olsen, Armstrong

The WPIAL’s leading passer through four weeks enjoyed another big night at the office and continues to be on top of the district quarterbacks list heading into Week Six.

Sophomore sensation Cadin Olsen was 18 of 28 passing for 332 yards and four touchdown passes as Armstrong shutout Greensburg Salem, 40-0.

The victory keeps the River Hawks alive for a playoff spot out of the 4A Greater Allegheny Conference.

2020 HSSN Players of the Week

Week 4 – RaShawn Reid, Rochester

Week 3 – Ryan Hubner, Plum

Week 2 – Logan Shrubb, Keystone Oaks

Week 1 – Devin Whitlock, Belle Vernon

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