Trib HSSN Football Team of the Week 2022: Week 10

Sunday, November 6, 2022 | 10:12 PM

In November, it is common for high school football fans and players to catch a bad case of playoff fever.

Teams have been known to win on the adrenaline caused by playoff fever.

No team, however, wants to be dealing with legitimate fever this time of year caused by a nasty flu bug.

That is what Woodland Hills had to deal with as the Wolverines prepared to visit Class 5A Big East Conference champion Franklin Regional in a quarterfinal game on opening night of the WPIAL football playoffs.

“Starting on Monday, we only had 20 kids at practice, so we did a limited practice,” Woodland Hills coach Tim Bostard said. “Tuesday we got up to 25 (kids) and each day we’d get a couple more back, but some of those guys weren’t at 100%.

“Going into the game, we still had some kids in the locker room hacking, coughing and trying to fight through it. Some of those kids really endured and gave us everything they have.”

As the game progressed, it was Big East Conference co-champion Franklin Regional that started to feel sick as the season started slipping away against a young Woodland Hills club.

Three of the Wolverines’ bright, young stars hooked up on a pair of first-half scoring passes.

Freshman quarterback Cameron Walter connected with freshman wide receiver Will “Scoop” Smith on a 44-yard touchdown pass in the opening quarter, and then on a 68-yard scoring pass to junior running back Andre Smith in quarter two.

The icing on the cake for the Wolverines was a 73-yard touchdown run by senior running back Frankie Keyes in the fourth quarter to close out the scoring as Woody High advanced to the 5A final four with a shutout of host Franklin Regional, 21-0.

“Frankie’s a great back,” Bostard said. “He and Brandon Jones are a great 1-2 punch. Frankie’s led the team in touchdowns. He’s a very physical runner who fights for yardage.”

For the season, Jones leads the Wolverines in rushing with Keyes hot on his tail. Both have rushed for more than 500 yards while Keyes has a team-high 10 touchdowns.

Woodland Hills (6-5) will face a familiar opponent in the 5A semifinals, taking on Northeast Conference foe Pine-Richland (8-3) for the second time in four weeks.

The Rams won the Week 8 meeting at Pine-Richland, 35-21.

“Going into it, we know our opponent pretty well, they know us pretty well, so it’s going to come down to some adjustments,” Bostard said. “It’s going to be a two-chinstrap game, a very physical game and we’ll see what happens.”

WPIAL Week 10 honorable mentions

Latrobe Wildcats

After finishing in fourth place in the 4A Big 7 Conference, Latrobe was playoff bound for the first time since 2019 after moving down from Class 5A to 4A. However, as the No. 11 seed, not many gave the Wildcats a chance to pick up their first playoff victory since beating Kiski Area in a 1968 postseason contest played…at Forbes Field.

Latrobe senior running back Robert Fulton rushed for 75 yards and scored on a 9-yard run in the second quarter that tied the first-round game at Highlands, 21-21. He then scored the game-winner on a 6-yard run in the fourth quarter as the Wildcats stunned the host Golden Rams, 28-21, to advance to the quarterfinals and a Big 7 Conference Week 3 rematch with Thomas Jefferson.

Washington Little Prexies

The Little Prexies has the task of facing defending Class 2A champion Serra Catholic in the opening round of the playoffs in a strange role for the tradition-laced program; they were decided underdogs instead of the usual playoff favorite.

Who knew these Little Prexies could bark up a storm, as they accepted the underdog mantle and not only beat the Eagles, but defeated them soundly by four touchdowns. Sophomore running back Eddie Lewis led Wash High with 193 rushing yards and a touchdown as Washington knocked out Serra Catholic, 49-21.

Rochester Rams

It was a banner opening night for the Big 7 Conference as the four teams representing a conference made up of mostly Beaver and Lawrence County schools was a perfect 4-0. The team with the biggest chip on its shoulder from the Big 7 was traditional district power Rochester, a No. 14 seed that had to trek all the way to Hempfield to face No. 3 Greensburg Central Catholic in the first round.

There, Rochester was in message mode and those messages was heard loud and clear as the Rams jumped out to a 14-0 lead after one quarter and extended it to a four-touchdown bulge after three quarters, 28-0. Sophomore running back Antonio Laure rushed for 223 yards and three touchdowns as the Rams stunned the Centurions, 36-15, to advance to the Class A quarterfinals.

2022 HSSN Teams of the Week

Week 9 – Thomas Jefferson Jaguars

Week 8 – Apollo-Ridge Vikings

Week 7 – Seneca Valley Raiders

Week 6 – Sto-Rox Vikings

Week 5 – Laurel Highlands Mustangs

Week 4 – West Mifflin Titans

Week 3 – McKeesport Tigers

Week 2 – Ellwood City Wolverines

Week 1 – Bethel Park Black Hawks

Week Zero – Mars Fightin’ Planets

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