Westmoreland County don’t miss high school football matchups for 2021 Week 10
Wednesday, November 3, 2021 | 6:54 PM
12-Franklin Regional (3-7) at 5-Penn Hills (6-3)
7 p.m. Friday, Andrew Yuhas Stadium, Penn Hills
Winner plays: At 4-Gateway (7-3) in the quarterfinals Nov. 12, 7 p.m.
Franklin Regional can thank its thrilling, 41-40 comeback win over Latrobe for its playoff berth. The Panthers finished fourth in the Big East, a game ahead of Latrobe, for the last postseason spot. The Panthers couldn’t slow down Gateway in the conference finale last week, but Zach Bewszka returned a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown. Franklin Regional last won a playoff game in 2018, a 56-28 victory over Bethel Park. The Panthers saw their streak of 16 consecutive playoff appearances come to an end last year, despite finishing 4-3 overall. Playmakers Caden Smith and Aidan Hudock give the Panthers a chance to pull an upset in the first round. Hudock is working his way back from an injury. … Penn Hills looks to be playing its best football of the season at just the right time. The Indians take a four-game winning streak into the playoffs. Last week, quarterback Julian Dugger passed for 260 yards and four touchdowns in a 42-22 win over Kiski Area. Raion Strader caught four passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns. Penn Hills also has a loss to Gateway, 41-13, in Week 2. The Indians, who score 23.8 points and allow 22.0, won a WPIAL title in 2018.
11-Burrell (3-7) at 6-Mt. Pleasant (5-4)
7 p.m. Friday, Viking Stadium, Mt. Pleasant
Winner plays: At 3-Avonworth (8-2) in the quarterfinals Nov. 12, 7 p.m.
A couple of teams that like to run the football will look to move ahead in the postseason. The question is, which one has more momentum? Mt. Pleasant stumbled to a 21-7 loss to South Allegheny to lose two of its last three to close the regular season, while Burrell clipped rival Valley, 19-14, for its third win on four games. A regular in the postseason for the better part of the decade, Mt. Pleasant has not won a playoff game since 2014. Robbie Labuda and Aaron Alakson are key running backs, while quarterback Tyler Reese has shown duality leading the offense. … Burrell has not been to the playoffs since 2012. That year, it lost to Mt. Pleasant in the first round, 48-28. The Buccaneers, who began this season 0-6, haven’t won in the postseason since 2005. Against Valley, workhorse tailback Caden DiCaprio ran 36 times for 153 yards and two touchdowns. The Bucs have reached the playoffs 19 times in program history.
9-Ligonier Valley (8-2) at 8-South Side Beaver (7-3)
7 p.m. Friday, South Side Stadium, Hookstown
Winner plays: Winner of 1-Steel Valley (9-0) vs. 16-Beth-Center (2-6) in the quarterfinals Nov. 12, 7 p.m.
Ligonier Valley is making its first appearance in the WPIAL playoffs. The Rams won their final three games to qualify — defeating Summit Academy, Shady Side Academy and Apollo-Ridge. Ligonier Valley won District 6 Class 2A titles in 2017 and 2016. South Side is making its 18th playoff appearance. The Rams are 17-15. They won WPIAL titles in 1970 and 1999. … Ligonier Valley rejoined the WPIAL after spending 50 years in District 6. The Rams have 12 seniors on the roster and all have scored touchdowns this season. Ligonier Valley has battled injuries, losing starting quarterback Haden Sierocky for four games. He now plays wide receiver. Broderick Schreyer threw four touchdown passes against Apollo-Ridge and Grant Dowden scored three touchdowns. South Side reached the Class 2A finals in 2018, losing to Steel Valley. Sophomore quarterback Brody Almashy directs the wing-T offense, which Ligonier Valley coach Roger Beitel used before the 2015 season. Running back Parker Stitler has rushed for 721 yards, caught 20 passes for 378 yards and scored 17 touchdowns. Cam Knox has rushed for 623 yards.
15-Monessen (4-6) vs. 2-Cornell (7-2)
7 p.m. Friday, Joe P. DeMichela Stadium, West Allegheny High School, Imperial
Winner plays: Winner of 7-Leechburg (8-2) vs. 10-California (7-2) in the quarterfinals Nov. 12, 7 p.m.
Monessen returns to the WPIAL playoffs for the first time since 2018 when it fell to Jeannette, 18-14. Devin Whitlock, a senior at Belle Vernon, was a freshman for Monessen. This is the Greyhounds’ 35th season in the playoffs. Their record is 19-31-1. They won WPIAL titles in 1930 and 1961. Cornell returns to the playoffs after going 1-1 in 2019 when it defeated California, 32-27, and then fell to Clairton, 39-0. This is the Raiders’ 10th playoff appearance. They are 1-9. … Monessen qualified for the playoffs by defeating Avella, 14-6. Daniel Dozier and Daevon Burke scored touchdowns against the Eagles. The Greyhounds defense continues to shine. Cornell quarterback Sincere Kimbrough has completed 42 of 91 passes for 801 yards and nine touchdowns. Running back Raequan Troutman has rushed for 583 yards and nine touchdowns. Tim Henderson has 12 catches for 415 yards and nine touchdowns. He has rushed for 246 yards.
9-Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (6-3) vs. 8-Greensburg C.C. (6-4)
7 p.m. Friday, Spartan Stadium, Hempfield
Winner plays: At 1-Clairton (7-2) in the quarterfinals Nov. 12, 7 p.m.
OLSH secured a WPIAL playoff spot for the sixth straight season. The Chargers are three years removed from a WPIAL championship. They lost to Clairton in the first round the last two years. Two straight losses, to Shenango (14-7) and Northgate (21-19), were offset some by a 13-12 win over Cornell, which earned the No. 2 seed, in the Big Seven finale. The Chargers finished third in the conference behind Cornell and Rochester. Nehemiah Azeem ran for a pair of touchdowns in the playoff-clinching win over Cornell. Azeem has thrown for 1,353 yards and eight touchdowns. Steve Greer leads the Chargers in rushing with 626 yards and four scores. … GCC, under first-year coach Marko Thomas, will play close to home in its return to the postseason after failing to qualify in 2020. In ‘19, the Centurions lost to West Greene, 36-0, in the first round. GCC hasn’t won a playoff game since 2011 when it defeated Ford City and Ellwood City before falling to Aliquippa in the Class AA semifinals. This year’s team will take on a different look as five transfers will be ineligible for the playoffs, including playmakers Kiantae Robinson, Taishaun Jamison, Jaydin Canady and Ryan Kimmel. Also, two-way standout Danny Dlugos is out for the season with a knee injury.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
Tags: Cornell, Franklin Regional, Greensburg C.C., Ligonier Valley, Monessen, Mt. Pleasant, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Penn Hills, South Side
More High School Football• Armstrong’s Cadin Olsen repeats as Willie Thrower Award winner
• ‘Emotional leader’ Gavin Moul caps Bethel Park career with Big 33 appearance
• Armstrong’s Olsen, the 2022 winner, leads candidates for Thrower Award
• GCC football standout Dlugos will tour Italy with American all-star team
• Butler rejoining WPIAL football in 2024, ends dispute with PIAA