Week 2’s don’t miss matchups in Westmoreland County

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017 | 5:27 PM


Class 5A Big East Conference

4-5A FRANKLIN REGIONAL (1-0, 1-0) at KISKI AREA (0-2, 0-1)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Franklin Regional defeated McKeesport, 13-7; Plum edged Kiski Area, 9-6.

The buzz: After an emotional victory over then-No. 1 McKeesport, Franklin Regional tries to keep rolling against winless Kiski Area. The Cavaliers, who upset the Panthers last season, were beaten late in the fourth quarter for the second consecutive week.

Key players: Franklin Regional quarterback Adam Rudzinski completed 10 of 19 passes for 106 yards, including a 40-yard scoring strike to Hunter Stonecheck. Kiski Area RB Ross Greece, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards last year, is off to a slow start, rushing for 25 yards on 16 carries.

About the Panthers: Senior linebacker Bryce Lauer led a defense that forced three turnovers in an upset win against McKeesport.

About the Cavaliers: First-year coach Sam Albert would like to see those last-second losses end. Plum won last week on a field goal as time expired.

CLASS 5A Big East Conference

PLUM (1-1, 1-0) at 2-5A PENN-TRAFFORD (2-0, 1-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Last week: Plum used a 38-yard field goal by Jackson Gildea as time expired to clip Kiski Area, 9-6. Penn-Trafford ripped Connellsville, 48-7.

The buzz: No. 2 Penn-Trafford returns to Harrison City, where it has not lost a home opener since 2010. The Warriors have been one of the top defensive teams in Class 5A the last year-plus.

Key players: Plum is known for producing kickers — Pat McAfee and Jake Chapla come to mind — and Gildea is following suit. He made three field goals total last week. Tailback John Gay IV ran for two touchdowns and tallied 110 yards against Norwin last week.

About the Mustangs: Running back Corey Thomas makes the offense go behind a decent front line, which will be tested by the Warriors' strong trio of down defensive linemen.

About the Warriors: They will get a test against another run-first team but their rush defense hasn't given up much in two weeks.

Class 4A Big Nine Conference

GREENSBURG SALEM (1-1, 1-0) at LAUREL HIGHLANDS (2-0, 0-0)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Greensburg Salem defeated Ringgold, 48-7; Laurel Highlands held off Indiana, 41-33.

The buzz: Laurel Highlands coach Zach Just tries to defeat his alma mater for the first time in four games. Greensburg Salem is looking for its second conference victory.

Key players: Greensburg Salem quarterback Jacob Hoyle tossed three touchdown passes, threw for 147 yards and rushed for 157 yards and a score last week. Laurel Highlands QB/RB Connor Basinger, the WPIAL's rushing leader, ran for 259 yards and five touchdowns against Indiana.

About the Golden Lions: Greensburg Salem rebounded in a big way after falling to rival Hempfield in Week Zero. Six Golden Lions scored against the Rams.

About the Mustangs: Laurel Highlands is off to a good start with a come-from-behind win against Mt. Pleasant and a romp over Indiana. The Mustangs outgained Indiana, 523-231.

Class 4A Big Nine Conference

3-4A BELLE VERNON (1-0, 1-0) at UNIONTOWN (0-2, 0-1)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Belle Vernon downed Albert Gallatin, 29-6; Uniontown lost to Thomas Jefferson, 55-7.

The buzz: Belle Vernon is breaking in a lot of new offensive weapons after graduating its quarterback, running back and top wide receiver but appeared to get on track quickly last week.

Key players: Belle Vernon senior tackle Blake Zubovic (6-foot-6, 295 pounds) is a Pitt recruit who anchors both lines. Uniontown senior Omar Teets will be counted on to lead the new spread offense.

About the Leopards: Sophomore quarterback Jared Hartman and tight end Derek Thomas hooked up six times for 117 yards and three scores against AG.

About the Red Raiders: Cedric Lloyd, who hails from Indianapolis, replaced longtime coach John Fortugna as coach in January.

CLASS 3A Interstate Conference

MT. PLEASANT (1-1, 1-0) at 4-3A SOUTH PARK (1-0, 1-0)

7 p.m. Friday At Dormont Stadium

Last week: Mt. Pleasant plowed past Waynesburg, 55-13; South Park tripped up Southmoreland, 42-7.

The buzz: Mt. Pleasant gets a tough road test at a neutral location. The game is being played at Dormont Stadium because South Park's Eagle Stadium is undergoing renovations. The district hopes to have the stadium ready by Oct. 13.

Key players: Senior RB Cody Reese rushed for 118 yards and two TDs on four carries and had two receiving TDs as Mt. Pleasant won its Interstate Conference opener. For South Park, Damon Smith ran for 136 yards and two scores — on two carries — and Isaiah Mack ran for two TDs in last week's win.

About the Vikings: Quarterback Luke Pieszak continues to develop. He threw for 208 yards and three scores against Waynesburg.

About the Eagles: South Park likes to run the football and is dangerous bouncing to the perimeter.

CLASS 3AInterstate Conference

YOUGH (0-2, 0-0) at DERRY (1-1, 0-1)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Yough fell to Beth-Center, 21-6. Derry lost, 39-7, to Elizabeth Forward.

The buzz: County rivals meet at Trojan Stadium to match rushing attacks.

Key players: RB Dustin Shoaf has rushed for 243 yards but has just one TD, the same number Yough has as a team through two weeks. Derry quarterback Ryan Polinsky threw for 119 yards and a score last week. Running back Shawn Broadway left last week's game with an injury and did not return.

About the Cougars: Injuries and penalties have hurt the Cougars, who have not been able to sustain drives.

About the Trojans: Derry had a 12-game regular-season win streak halted against Elizabeth Forward.

CLASS A Eastern Conference

LEECHBURG (0-2, 0-1) at 2-A JEANNETTE (2-0, 0-0)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Leechburg lost to Riverview, 16-0. Jeannette rolled past Chartiers-Houston, 58-0.

The buzz: Jeannette opens conference play with a strong-looking passing attack and a defense that posted a shutout after allowing big yardage in Week Zero against East Allegheny.

Key players: Leechburg first-year quarterback Bret Kardos is adjusting to the position after starting at fullback last season. Robert Kennedy, another “rookie” QB, has been Jeannette's playmaker, throwing for 265 yards (19 of 30) and six touchdowns in two wins. He also is a threat to run.

About the Blue Devils: There are two seniors on the roster. They have dropped 11 straight in conference.

About the Jayhawks: They have 723 wins all time, four behind New Castle (727) for the WPIAL record.

CLASS ATri-County South Conference

JEFFERSON-MORGAN (1-1, 0-0) at MONESSEN (0-2, 0-1)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Jefferson-Morgan lost to Springdale, 42-20. Monessen fell to Carmichaels, 33-15.

The buzz: Monessen finished 1-9 last season; its only win was against Jefferson-Morgan, 40-7. Greyhounds coach Mikey Blainefield was an assistant last season.

Key players: Senior D.L. Landis is a solid receiver and also good on special teams: He returned the opening kickoff of the second half 89 yards for a score last week. Sophomore QB Kevin Kelly is progressing for the Greyhounds.

About the Rockets: They gave up 373 rushing yards to Springdale, including 209 to fullback Scott Landis, on 34 carries.

About the Greyhounds: A six-game conference losing streak looms for a young team looking to get the program back on track.

Nonconference

NORWIN (1-1) at SHALER (0-2)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Norwin blanked Altoona, 24-0. Shaler fell to Central Catholic, 40-0.

The buzz: While its defense has not allowed a touchdown, Norwin's offense is beginning to show its potential and could have a field day against a Titans team that has been outscored, 95-17, and lost 16 straight.

Key players: Tevin Thrift rushed for 134 yards, including a 58-yard TD last week, showing he can handle the feature-back duties in the Knights backfield. Senior QB Hunter Zukowski gets the Shaler offense started.

About the Knights: Four players scored points last week: Thrift, Billy Kerston, Carter Breen (FG) and Zeke Houser. Sophomore QB Jack Salopek threw for 180 yards and two scores.

About the Titans: Shaler allowed 431 points last season, the most in WPIAL Class 6A. Jim Ryan is a rookie head coach.

Nonconference

CHARTIERS VALLEY (0-2) at LATROBE (0-2)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Chartiers Valley lost to Hampton, 24-10. Latrobe fell behind early in a 41-8 loss to Gateway.

The buzz: Latrobe faces a winnable game against a similar opponent. Chartiers Valley edged the Wildcats, 21-20, last season. Both teams ended losing streaks last season with wins on the final night of the regular season.

Key players: Steve Alauzen is a running back with big-play potential for the Colts. Jason Armstrong, a tight end-turned-quarterback, is a critical two-way player for Latrobe.

About the Colts: New coach Dan Krause coached at Cornell for four years, the last a much-improved 7-3 season. He also coached at Carnegie Mellon and Montour.

About the Wildcats: With a win, Latrobe can snap a 13-game losing streak at home. Nate Clair kicked two field goals last week, 27 and 38 yards, and the Wildcats picked up a safety.

Nonconference

SOUTHMORELAND (0-1) at CHARLEROI (1-1)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Southmoreland opened its season with a 42-7 loss to South Park. Charleroi lost at Washington, 36-8.

The buzz: Southmoreland would like to grab a win a week before it kicks off Interstate Conference play at home against Derry.

Key players: The Scotties continue to try to find a go-to threat at receiver following the graduate of 40-catch-senior Tommy Pisula. The running game gained momentum last week as sophomore running back Colt Harper ran for 109 yards on 16 carries. Charleroi senior quarterback Geno Pellegrini completed 19 of 34 passes last week for 250 yards and a touchdown. Wideout Travis Lytle had eight catches for 169 yards and a TD.

About the Scotties: Quarterback Jaden Datz ran in a touchdown last week for their only points so far.

About the Cougars: They won last year's meeting at Southmoreland, 41-14. They gave up 310 yards rushing last week to Washington's Nick Welsh.

Nonconference

GREENSBURG C.C. (1-1) at FORT CHERRY (0-1)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Last week: Greensburg Central could not slow down No. 3 Imani Christian in a 70-7 home loss. Fort Cherry opened its schedule with a 49-0 loss to California.

The buzz: A young GCC team surrendered 380 yards to Imani Christian and will look to tighten the defense against a Fort Cherry team that finished with minus-27 yards last week.

Key players: Quarterback Max Pisula has thrown a touchdown in each game so far, including a 39-yarder threw to Brandon Brown last week. Pisula threw for 257 yards in the opener against Tuscarawas C.C.

About the Centurions: Another long road trip awaits with a 120-mile round-trip drive to McDonald.

About the Rangers: They finished 9-2 a season ago and reached the Class A quarterfinals before falling to Clairton, 46-8.

DISTRICT 6 HERITAGE CONFERENCE

NORTHERN CAMBRIA (2-0, 2-0) at LIGONIER VALLEY (2-0, 2-0)

7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Northern Cambria downed United, 28-12; Ligonier Valley shut out Saltsburg, 56-0.

The buzz: This is an early season showdown in the Heritage Conference between unbeatens. Ligonier Valley has outscored two opponents 118-6.

Key players: Northern Cambria junior QB Mark Marino has rushed for 219 yards and one touchdown. He's completed four passes, two for scores. Ligonier Valley WR Aaron Tutino has six catches for 199 yards and two touchdowns.

About the Colts: They feature a powerful ground attack which averages 323.5 yards per game. Juniors Ben Vasil has rushed for 142 yards and Logan Onkst 118.

About the Rams: Three quarterbacks have combined to complete 18 of 21 for 375 yards and four touchdowns.

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