Westmoreland County don’t-miss football matchups for Week 7

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Wednesday, October 9, 2019 | 5:03 PM


Class 6A

Hempfield (2-5, 1-5) at No. 1 North Allegheny (7-0, 6-0)

7 p.m. Friday at Newman Stadium, McCandless

On the air: TribHSSN.TribLive.com

Last week: Seneca Valley 40, Hempfield 12; North Allegheny 49, Butler 14

Coaches: Rich Bowen, Hempfield; Art Walker, North Allegheny

Players to watch: Fintan Brose, Hempfield (Sr., 6-3, 280, OL-DL); Luke Colella, North Allegheny (Sr., 5-11, 170, WR)

Four downs: 1. This is a matchup of teams heading in different directions. North Allegheny is on a tear since narrowly defeating Central Catholic, 11-10, in Week 2. The Tigers are averaging 42.8 points since. Hempfield has dropped four straight. 2. Colella had a 52-yard touchdown on a punt return last week. He is one of the top big-play receivers in the WPIAL but is a dangerous rusher, as well. 3. Hempfield has battled injuries and has trouble running the ball since junior tailback Mario Perkins went down about four weeks ago. 4. Senior Percise Colon is the run-first Tigers’ top rusher with more than 700 yards. Senior tackle Jake Lugg is a Harvard commit.

Extra point: Hempfield has not won more than three games in a season since 2016 when it finished 5-6 and lost to North Allegheny in the first round of the playoffs.

Norwin (2-5, 1-4) at Canon-McMillan (1-6, 1-4)

7 p.m. Friday at Canon-McMillan Stadium, Canonsburg

On the air: TribHSSN.triblive.com; 95.3 FM

Last week: Central Catholic 28, Norwin 14; Pine-Richland 63, Canon-McMillan 7

Coaches: Dave Brozeski, Norwin; Mike Evans, Canon-McMillan

Players to watch: Jack Salopek, Norwin (Sr., 6-3, 180, QB); Jonathan Quinque, Canon McMillan (Sr., 5-10, 185, QB)

Four downs: 1. Norwin stayed close with Central last week, pulling within 14-7 by the half. Salopek threw touchdown passes to Sean Pavlic and Declan O’Brien. Brandon Grimes had a fumble recovery at the goal line. 2. This game could determine the final playoff spot in the conference. The top six 6A teams (out of nine) qualify. Norwin and Canon-McMillan are tied for sixth place. 3. Quinque is a strong-armed left-hander who likes to throw it deep to senior wideout Blake Joseph. 4. Canon-McMillan is giving up 40.3 points, second-most in the conference behind Butler (51.4).

Extra point: Canon-McMillan rolled past the Knights last year at Norwin, 34-12, as the Big Macs limited Salopek to 59 yards passing.

Class 5A Big East

Franklin Regional (3-2, 2-1) at Connellsville (1-6, 0-4)

7 p.m. Friday at Connellsville Stadium

On the air: TribHSSN.TribLive.com

Last week: Gateway 31, Franklin Regional 0; Fox Chapel 35, Connellsville 20

Coaches: Greg Botta, Franklin Regional; Marco Thomas, Connellsville

Players to watch: Colton Johns, Franklin Regional (Jr., 6-3, 215, RB/LB); Gage Gillott, Connellsville (Jr. 5-10, 160, K/WR)

Four downs: 1. Franklin Regional looks for a bounce-back game after being blanked at Gateway. Connellsville built an early lead but lost 35-20 to Fox Chapel. 2. Connellsville running back Ky’Ron Craggette, who transferred from Uniontown, has rushed for 803 yards. 3. Gillott has a touchdown catch and booted two field goals. 4. Franklin Regional’s Zac Gordon has rushed for 499 yards this season.

Extra point: Franklin Regional won last season, 42-9. They must avoid a letdown after an emotional loss.

Plum (3-4, 1-4) at Latrobe (2-5, 1-4)

7 p.m. Friday at Latrobe Memorial Stadium

On the air: TribHSSN.triblive.com; 97.3 FM, 1480 AM

Last week: Plum 30, Weir, W.Va. 27; Penn-Trafford 39, Latrobe 7

Coaches: Matt Morgan, Plum; Jason Marucco, Latrobe

Players to watch: Reed Martin, Plum (Jr., 5-8, 170, WR); Kameron Stevens, Latrobe (Sr., 5-11, 155, WR)

Four downs: 1. The winner clinches a playoff spot. 2. Plum stepped out of conference to play Weir, a team from West Virginia. The game filled the vacancy left by the WPIAL and Big East departure of Albert Gallatin. Latrobe’s fill-in game will be Midd-West in Middleburg in two weeks. Martin had a rushing touchdown and a 32-yard punt return score for the Mustangs last week. Quarterback Jake Miller also threw a touchdown pass to Max Matolcsy. 3. This game could determine fifth-place in the conference. 4. Stevens has been a big part in the Wildcats’ scoring. He has been a special teams ace, returning four kickoffs for touchdowns, including a 95-yard return against No. 1 Penn-Trafford.

Extra point: Latrobe has not been settled at quarterback. Sophomore Bobby Fetter took over three weeks ago but was replaced by the original starter, Branden Crosby, last week.

Class 4A Big Eight

Greensburg Salem (3-4, 3-1) at Ringgold (1-6, 0-4)

7 p.m. Friday at Joe Montana Stadium

On the air: TribHSSN.TribLive.com

Last week: Greensburg Salem 13, West Mifflin 10; Laurel Highlands 42, Ringgold 13

Coaches: Dave Keefer, Greensburg Salem; Matt Wujcik, Ringgold

Players to watch: Alex Briggs, Greensburg Salem (Jr., 5-10, 180, RB); James Minnie, Ringgold (Sr., 5-7, 150, WR)

Four downs: 1. After upsetting West Mifflin last week, Greensburg Salem looks to clinch a spot in the WPIAL Class 4A playoffs with a victory. 2. Clayton Rosensteel hit a game-winning field to help Ringgold record its only win. 3. Greensburg Salem had three running backs rush for more than 100 yards in a win at Laurel Highlands. 4. Wujcik took over as Ringgold’s coach after former Aliquippa coach Mike Zmijanac left after one year to take a job at Seton-La Salle, which is 1-5.

Extra point: Greensburg Salem is slowly creeping up on the 700-win milestone. The Golden Lions sit at 697 and could reach 700 with a win in the playoffs if they defeat Ringgold and Indiana.

West Mifflin (4-3, 3-1) at No. 3 Belle Vernon (5-1, 4-1)

7 p.m. Friday at James Weir Stadium

On the air: TribHSSN.Triblive.com

Last week: Greensburg Salem 13, West Mifflin 10; Belle Vernon 48, Trinity 7

Coaches: Rod Steele, West Mifflin; Matt Humbert, Belle Vernon

Players to watch: Larondy Wilder, West Mifflin (Sr., 5-9, 190, RB); Devin Whitlock, Belle Vernon (So., 5-6, 150, RB)

Four downs: 1. It was a year ago that Belle Vernon quarterback Jared Hartman sustained a season-ending knee injury. 2. West Mifflin found out why Greensburg Salem’s Offutt Field has been a house of horrors for visiting teams in a loss last Friday. 3. Belle Vernon is blessed with numerous offensive weapons. The Titans’ defense will have its hands full trying to stop them. 4. Steele led Steel Valley to the WPIAL Class 2A title in 2018.

Extra point: Belle Vernon looks to keep pace with No. 1 Thomas Jefferson. The Leopards need to keep winning to keep home-field advantage in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs.

Class 3A Big East

Mt. Pleasant (3-4, 2-3) at No. 5 Elizabeth Forward (4-2, 3-2)

7 p.m. Friday at Warrior Stadium

On the air: TribHSSN.Triblive.com

Last week: Mt. Pleasant 34, Burrell 18; North Catholic 12, Elizabeth Forward 7

Coaches: Jason Fazekas, Mt. Pleasant; Mike Collodi, Elizabeth Forward

Players to watch: Pete Billey, Mt. Pleasant (Jr., 5-11, 230, RB/DT); Chase Whatton, Elizabeth Forward (Jr., 6-5, 220, HB/LB)

Four downs: 1. This is an important game for both teams, especially Mt. Pleasant, which has climbed back into the playoff hunt after a big win against Burrell. EF is back home after consecutive losses on the road to Derry and North Catholic. 2. Mt. Pleasant has a strong running attack led by the 1-2 combo of Jake Johnson and Nick Loughner. 3. Elizabeth Forward is led by junior quarterback Nico Mrvos, who threw a long touchdown pass against North Catholic last week. 4. Mt. Pleasant nose tackle Ian Fasano has been a disruptive force on defense.

Extra point: Mt. Pleasant has steadily improved and played well in losses at Derry and to North Catholic. A win against Elizabeth Forward would create a free-for-all for the third and fourth playoff spots.

Yough (1-6, 1-4) at No. 5 Derry (5-3, 4-1)

7 p.m. Friday at Trojan Stadium

Last week: Aliquippa 67, Yough 0; Derry 52, Uniontown 7

Coaches: Scott Wood, Yough; Tim Sweeney, Derry

Players to watch: C.J. Waldier, Yough (Jr., 6-2, 185, WR); Justin Huss, Derry (Sr., 5-9, 155, RB)

Four downs: 1. Yough fell behind 61-0 midway through the second quarter last week against top-ranked Aliquippa, giving up 41 second-quarter points. 2. The Cougars have given up 50 or more points four times after opening the season with a 9-0 loss to Serra Catholic and a 25-0 win over Uniontown. 3. Derry rolled to another home victory and moved closer to securing a playoff berth in the fast-tightening Big East. Justin Huss, the second-leading rusher in Westmoreland County, ran for three touchdowns. 4. The Trojans’ front line, albeit hit with injuries, continues to hold its own and open holes for the running game.

Extra point: Derry is allowing a conference-low 13 points per game.

Class A Tri-County South

Mapletown (1-6, 0-4) at Monessen (2-5, 2-3)

7 p.m. Friday at Memorial Stadium

On the air: TribHSSN.Triblive.com

Last week: Greensburg Central Catholic 47, Mapletown 27; Chartiers-Houston 21, Monessen 19

Coaches: George Messich, Mapletown; Mike Blainfield, Monessen

Players to watch: Landen Stevenson, Mapletown (Fr., 5-9, 160, RB); Mark Mizerak, Monessen (Jr., 6-3, 288, OL/DL)

Four downs: 1. Stevenson has been a one-man show for Mapletown. He has rushed for 743 yards, caught 13 passes for 252 yards and scored 13 touchdowns. 2. Even though Monessen is out of the playoff hunt, it can finish the season at .500. 3. Zach Greene has rushed for 363 yards and scored four touchdowns for the Maples. 4. Missed extra points cost Monessen the game at Chartiers-Houston.

Extra point:Monessen is facing a team that is allowing more than 40 points per game. The Greyhounds have a good shot at winning their final three games.

Nonconference

Southmoreland (5-2) at Shenango (5-2)

7 p.m. Friday at Glenn “Pop” Johnston Stadium

Last week: Charleroi 28, Southmoreland 7; Shenango 49, Ellwood City 14

Coaches: Dave Keefer, Southmoreland; Jimmy Graham, Shenango

Players to watch: Colt Harper, Southmoreland (Sr., 6-1, 220, RB); Reis Watkins, Shenango (Jr., 6-3, 202, RB)

Four downs: 1. Southmoreland had been riding high with a 5-0 start but has dropped two in a row, including a listless defeat against Charleroi. That being said, the Scotties clinched a playoff berth with the Brownsville’s loss to McGuffey. 2. The Scotties have not made the playoffs since 1979 and have not had a winning season since 2003. 3. Watkins is a dangerous rusher who runs with power. Last week, he ran for 302 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries. He had a 62-yard score. 4. Wildcats quarterback Tino Campoli passed for 189 yards and two TDs against Ellwood City.

Extra point: Scotties quarterback Zach Cernuto needs 41 yards to break the school record for career passing yards.

Trinity (2-4) at No. 1 Penn-Trafford (7-1)

7 p.m. Friday at Warrior Stadium

Last week: Belle Vernon 48, Trinity 0; Penn-Trafford 39, Latrobe 7

Coaches: Jon Miller, Trinity; John Ruane, Penn-Trafford

Players to watch: Tysean Lacks, Trinity (So., 5-9, 145, QB); Dylan Schmidt, Penn-Trafford (Sr., 6-0, 245, OL-DL)

Four downs: 1. Trinity has lost to two Westmoreland teams in Greensburg Salem and Belle Vernon. The Hillers have been able to muster just 15 points a game. 2. Lacks threw a 52-yard score to Drew Cain last week, but that was all Belle Vernon was willing to surrender. 3. Penn-Trafford wasn’t sharp offensively but still took care of Latrobe thanks to a strong defense that limited the Wildcats to one first down. 4. Quarterback Gabe Dunlap was held in check rushing the ball, but he still threw for 189 yards and a score. His backup, versatile junior Ethan Carr, ran for two scores and played QB in the fourth quarter.

Extra point: Penn-Trafford has clinched a playoff spot and at least a share of the conference title. Now, the Warriors want to secure a home game in the first round.

District 6 Heritage

Ligonier Valley (7-0, 7-0) at Northern Cambria (2-5, 2-5)

7 p.m. Friday at Northern Cambria Football Field

Last week: Ligonier Valley 48, Marion Center 0; Blairsville 22, Northern Cambria 12

Coaches: Roger Beitel, Ligonier Valley; Sam Shutty, Northern Cambria

Players to watch: Kyrie Miller, Ligonier Valley (Sr., 5-9, 186, RB/DB); Mike Hoover, Northern Cambria (Jr., 5-10, 215, QB/LB)

Four downs: 1. This is a matchup of teams heading in different directions. Ligonier Valley is romping through the Heritage Conference, winning a conference-record 35 consecutive games. Northern Cambria is struggling, dropping four consecutive games. 2. Ligonier Valley quarterback Sam Sheeder tossed two touchdown passes and intercepted two passes against Marion Center. He returned one pick 86 yards for a touchdown. 3. Northern Cambria is 2-1 at home, defeating United and West Shamokin. 4. Ligonier Valley has won four consecutive Heritage Conference titles, tying Blairsville for the record.

Extra point: Ligonier Valley’s starting defense hasn’t allowed a point this season and held Marion Center to minus-7 rushing yards last week.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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