Trib HSSN football team of the week for 2023 Week 8

Monday, October 23, 2023 | 11:07 PM

At the start of the season, the Central Valley football had its fair share of questions with a roster littered with inexperienced players.

However, great programs always seem to find a way to get it done and be successful.

The Warriors enter Week 9 with a chance to earn a share of the Class 4A Parkway Conference title after improving to 5-1 in the conference, 7-2 overall with a 29-20 win at West Allegheny in Week 8.

“Coming into this year, we knew we had a lot of new faces to kind of fit the pieces in,” Central Valley coach Mark Lyons said. “I’m not sure if we have played a complete game yet. That’s typical when you have a lot of young guys trying to get some on-the-job training. I like where we’re trending, I like where we’re heading with this football team. I’ve really enjoyed this year.”

Against the Indians last week, the Warriors had their hands full with Brock Cornell. The West A junior threw for 137 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 132 yards and a score.

“He touches the ball in so many different ways and in so many different facets of the game,” Lyons said. “I’m not sure he gets enough credit. Pound for pound, he’s probably one of the toughest guys we played against.”

Central Valley has a one-two punch at running back in junior Mason Dixon and freshman Jance Henry.

“Our philosophy here has always been if you have a helmet on and you work Monday through Thursday and you prove to the coaches you’re capable of handling varsity snaps, we’re going to give you varsity snaps,” Lyons said. “We’re OK with playing a lot of guys. We’re OK with a lot of guys touching the ball. We manage everybody’s workload and we stay fresh even late in the game.

“Between our running backs and our wideouts, those are guys who have put the time in and are capable for us. Mason and Jance have really picked up their workload and understand how to run behind our line. I think both of them run behind their pads very well and they see the field well.”

The Warriors also have a weapon at quarterback in junior Steven Rutherford, who has thrown for over 1,100 yards and rushed for nearly 400 yards this season.

“He’s your typical quarterback as far as how he presents himself,” Lyons said. “He’s soft-spoken, sometimes a little too much. He carries himself with great class and is very intelligent. I don’t think he has reached his potential. Each game, he has climbed up the ladder as far as putting more on his plate. He knows when to deliver the ball through the air and he knows when his legs are important. He’s quicker than a lot of people realize when he gets out in space.”

Central Valley is tied with Montour for second place, one game behind defending champion Aliquippa.

The Warriors host the Quips with the conference title at stake Friday.

“It’s typical of them with athletes all over the field,” Lyons said. “They’re fast to the ball. I think it starts and ends with their quarterback (Quentin Goode). He’s a three-year starter who has played in a lot of big games. They have a lot of guys who have played in huge games, and we understand how valuable that is. Our guys are excited about it.”

Week 8 honorable mention

Upper St. Clair Panthers

The postseason chances for the Class 5A runner-up from a year ago are not great, but Upper St. Clair still has hope heading into Week 9 thanks to a thrilling Allegheny Six Conference victory in Week 8. The Panthers scored twice in the fourth quarter to tie visiting Moon, then after the Tigers went up by seven points in the second overtime, sophomore quarterback Ethan Hellman hit junior Charlie Bywalski with a 13-yard touchdown pass and connected with brother Van Hellman for the game-winning 2-point conversion to stay alive for a postseason berth with the dramatic 43-42 win in double OT.

Keystone Oaks Golden Eagles

The upset of the night in the WPIAL in Week 8 knocked the number of undefeated football teams in the district from seven to six. Visiting Keystone Oaks allowed 14 third-quarter points to 8-0 Washington to fall behind by one score in a Class 2A Century Conference contest before coming up big in the final quarter. Junior Billy Bricker scored on a 10-yard run to tie the game, then senior Dimajio Locante scored on a 2-yard run to cap off a 126-yard rushing evening as the Golden Eagles flew high and upset the Little Prexies, 21-14.

South Side Rams

President Clinton was facing an impeachment trial, the Sopranos and SpongeBob SquarePants debuted on TV and the Denver Broncos were Super Bowl champions 24 years ago. There was another reason to party in 1999 as the South Side football team won the Class A Big 7 Conference, the WPIAL championship and the PIAA state title. On Friday, senior running back Ryan Navarra rushed for 114 yards and five touchdowns as the Rams clinched their first conference crown since that year with a 49-15 win at Union.

2023 HSSN teams of the week

Week 7 – Mars Fightin’ Planets

Week 6 – Pine-Richland Rams

Week 5 – Moon Tigers

Week 4 – Thomas Jefferson Jaguars

Week 3 – Knoch Knights

Week 2 – Waynesburg Central Raiders

Week 1 – Aliquippa Quips

Week Zero – Mt. Lebanon Blue Devils


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