Westmoreland County don’t-miss matchups for Week 9
By: Likitha Janga
Wednesday, October 24, 2018 | 6:09 PM
Seneca Valley (6-3, 4-3) at Norwin (3-5, 2-5)
7 p.m. Friday at Norwin Knights Stadium, North Huntingdon
Last week: Pine-Richland 21, Seneca Valley 7; Mt. Lebanon 34, Norwin 28
Coaches: Ron Butschle, Seneca Valley; Dave Broseski, Norwin
Top players: Gabe Lawson, Seneca Valley (Jr., 6-2, 190, QB); Jayvon Thrift, Norwin (Sr., 5-10, 186, DB)
Keep an eye on: Tanner Krevokuch, Norwin (So., 6-3, 176, TE)
Momentum: Seneca Valley. Even though the Raiders are coming off a loss to No. 1 Pine-Richland, they have clinched a berth in the playoffs
Four downs: The Raiders’ losses came against Pine-Richland, North Allegheny and Central Catholic. 2. Krevokuch caught two touchdown passes against Mt. Lebanon. 3. Josh McLean caught a 44-yard touchdown pass against Pine-Richland. 4. Salopek tossed four touchdown passes in the Knights’ loss at Mt. Lebanon.
Extra point: Norwin has a slim chance at making the WPIAL playoffs. First, the Knights must win and hope that Butler defeats Canon-McMillan.
Class 4A Big 8
Belle Vernon (7-1, 5-1) at Ringgold (0-9, 0-6)
7 p.m. Friday at Joe Montana Stadium, Carroll Township
Last week: Belle Vernon 48, Plum 0; West Mifflin 53, Ringgold 0
Coaches: Matt Humbert, Belle Vernon; Mike Zmijanac, Ringgold
Top players: Larry Callaway, Belle Vernon (Jr., 6-0, 190, RB/LB); Tyler Buzalka, Ringgold (Fr., 5-9, 160, RB)
Keep an eye on: Nolan Labuda, Belle Vernon (Jr., 5-7, 160, QB/DB)
Momentum: Belle Vernon: The Leopards have won six consecutive games since losing to Thomas Jefferson in Week 2 and are averaging 46 points during that period.
Four downs: 1. Belle Vernon RB Mason Pascoe was given a rest last week against Plum and Callaway rushed for 282 yards in his place. 2. Ringgold has been shutout in six of its nine games. 3. Andy Pacak and Nolan Labuda will share the quarterback spot with Jared Hartman lost for the season to injury. 4. Ringgold has scored 26 points this season and 13 came against Laurel Highlands.
Extra point: Ringgold coach Mike Zmijanac has lost more this season than he did the past seven seasons at Aliquippa.
Class 4A Big 8
Greensburg Salem (3-6, 3-3) at Indiana (3-6, 3-3)
7 p.m. Friday at Fifth Street Stadium
On the air: 910 AM, 1450 AM, 98.7 FM, 100.3 FM; TribHSSN.triblive.com
Last week: Thomas Jefferson 70, Greensburg Salem 21; Indiana 41, Laurel Highlands 7
Coaches: Dave Keefer, Greensburg Salem; Brandon Overdorf, Indiana.
Top players: Trent Patrick, Greensburg Salem (Jr., 5-10, 220, QB); Luke Thomas Indiana (Sr., 6-2, 185, QB)
Keep an eye on: Tyler Williams, Greensburg Salem (Sr., 6-0, 165, WR/DB)
Momentum: Indiana. The Little Indians are coming of a huge win against Laurel Highlands to set up this winner-take-all game with a playoff berth on the line.
Four downs: 1. Williams’ interception return last week gave the Golden Lions an early lead at Thomas Jefferson. 2. Prior to its win at Laurel Highlands, Indiana gave up 51 points to McKeesport and 50 points to Blackhawk. 3. Patrick tossed two touchdown passes against Thomas Jefferson. 4. Indiana has scored in every game except its 35-0 loss to West Mifflin.
Extra point: Greensburg Salem looks to end its playoff drought that dates back to 2009.
Class 3A Big East
Burrell (2-7, 2-5) at Derry (8-1, 6-1)
7 p.m. Friday at Trojan Stadium
Last week: Waynesburg 21, Burrell 20; Derry 37, Deer Lakes 0
Coaches: Shawn Liotta, Burrell; Tim Sweeney, Derry
Top players: Luke Kastelic, Burrell (Sr., 5-10, 180, RB/LB); Justin Flack, Derry (Sr., 5-9, 175, RB/DB)
Keep an eye on: Paul Koontz, Derry (So., 5-10, 155, QB)
Momentum: Derry has won three straight in its battle for the top spot in the Big East with North Catholic and Elizabeth Forward.
Four downs: 1. Flack, who scored eight touchdowns (six rushes, kickoff return, interception return) two weeks ago against Yough, has 25 total touchdowns on the season. 2. Burrell’s Seth Fishbach caught seven passes for 88 yards and a touchdown while going 2 for 2 passing with 52 yards and a touchdown against Waynesburg. 3. If Derry, North Catholic and Elizabeth Forward all win Friday, they would be declared conference co-champs, and tiebreaker points would be needed to determine first place. 4. Burrell has lost two in a row (Freeport and Waynesburg) since topping Mt. Pleasant in Week 6.
Extra point: Burrell and Derry last played in 1997 and have split four all-time meetings. The Trojans won in 1982 and 1983, while the Bucs won in 1996 and 1997.
Uniontown (0-9, 0-7) at Mt. Pleasant (1-8, 1-6)
7 p.m. Friday, Vikings Stadium
Last week: Elizabeth Forward 56, Uniontown 0; Freeport 41, Mt. Pleasant 7
Coaches: Cedric Lloyd, Uniontown; Jason Fazekas, Mt. Pleasant
Top players: Ky’ron Craggette, Uniontown (So., 5-9, 215, RB/LB); Lucas Pieszak, Mt. Pleasant (Sr., 6-5, 190, QB/DB)
Keep an eye on: Jacob Johnson, Mt. Pleasant (Jr., 6-2, 175, WR)
Momentum: Both teams are hoping to gain some momentum for the offseason after challenging seasons.
Four downs: 1. Johnson has developed into quite an offensive weapon for the Vikings, with 37 receptions for 752 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also has run for 186 yards. 2. Craggette has led the offense for Uniontown, rushing for 681 yards and five scores. 3. Pieszak has thrown for nearly 1,000 yards and nine scores for the Vikings. 4. Uniontown’s last win was Oct. 14, 2016, a 27-10 victory over Laurel Highlands.
Extra point: Both teams are averaging just over 12 points per game. The Vikings allow 36.1 while Uniontown gives up 57.3.
Yough (3-6, 3-4) at No. 4 Elizabeth Forward (7-1, 6-1)
7 p.m. Friday, Warrior Stadium
Last week: North Catholic 41, Yough 0; Elizabeth Forward 56, Uniontown 0
Coaches: Scott Wood, Yough; Mike Collodi, Elizabeth Forward
Top players: Dustin Shoaf, Yough (Sr., 6-2, 180, RB/S); Zachary Benedek Elizabeth Forward (Sr., 6-1, 185, QB)
Keep an eye on: Gamal Marballie, Yough (So., 5-9, 158, WR/DB)
Momentum: Elizabeth Forward. The Warriors have a shot at being tri-champion with Derry and North Catholic if all three teams win in Week 9. Tiebreaker points would be needed to determine first place. The top two finishers earn a home game in the quarterfinals.
Four downs: 1. Shoaf will look to claim the WPIAL rushing title in his final game. He has 1,728 yards on 202 carries. Mars’ Garrett Reinke is second with 1,518 yards. 2. The Cougars, who started 3-2 have lost four straight games. 3. Elizabeth Forward bounced back from a 27-0 loss to North Catholic in Week 6 with blowout wins over Mt. Pleasant and Uniontown. 4. Benedek threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more against Uniontown last week.
Extra point: Andrew Smith has booted 27 extra points and five field goals for Elizabeth Forward.
Class A Tri-County South
Monessen (6-2, 5-1) at Avella (2-7, 1-5)
7 p.m. Friday, Avella Stadium
Last week: Rochester 22, Monessen 14; Avella 47, Mapletown 14
Coaches: Mike Blainefield, Monessen; Ryan Cecchini, Avella
Top players: Vaughn Taylor, Monessen (Sr., 6-0, 190, RB/LB); Owen English, Avela (Sr., 5-10, 6-5, RB, SS)
Keep an eye on: Devin Whitlock, Monessen (Fr., 5-8, 143, RB/DB)
Momentum: Monessen. The Greyhounds clinch a playoff berth with a win and can also share the TCS title with California and West Greene. Tiebreaker points would determine first place, then head-to-head would determine second and third. A coin flip could also be necessary to determine the places if Monessen and California each win by 10 or more points.
Four downs: 1. English ran for 218 yards and three touchdowns last week against Mapletown and also returned a punt 60 yards for a score. 2. Whitlock rushed for 120 yards and a score, and Taylor added 67 yards and a touchdown for Monessen in last week’s nonconference loss. 3. Monessen has put together a pair of three-game winning streaks, including a 3-0 start to the season before a 24-6 loss to West Greene. 4. Avella has two wins over Mapletown this season after the two conference rivals decided to also play a Week Zero game.
Extra point: Monessen is the second-highest score team in the Tri-County South at 34.6 points per game (California, 37.0).
Greensburg C.C. (6-3) at Southmoreland (4-5)
7 p.m., Friday at Russ Grimm Field at Southmoreland Stadium, Alverton
Last week: Greensburg CC 43, Cornell 8; Washington 58, Southmoreland 35.
Coaches: Aaron Smetanka, Greensburg CC; Dave Keefer, Southmoreland
Top players: Brandon Ciccarelli, Greensburg CC (sr., 5-9, 215, WR); Cade Richter, Southmoreland (sr., 5-10, 170, WR).
Keep an eye on: Zach Cernuto, Southmoreland (so., 5-11, 160, QB)
Momentum: Pride game. Both teams are looking to cap off successful seasons.
Four downs: 1. If this was any other season, GCC would have made the WPIAL Class A playoffs because of a 16-team bracket. 2. Southmoreland looks to make it a .500 season. The Scotties gave Washington a scare last week, leading for most of the first half. 3. GCC QB Max Pisula ran for two scores and passed for four against Cornell. 4. Southmoreland QB Zach Cernuto tossed three touchdown passes at Washington.
Extra point: Southmoreland first-year coach Dave Keefer has to be proud how the team performed this season. The Scotties averaged 35.3 points per game.
Hempfield (2-7) at Plum (2-7)
7 p.m. Friday at Mustangs Stadium, Plum
Last week: Hempfield 31, Butler 14; Belle Vernon 48, Plum 0
Coaches: Rich Bowen, Hempfield; Matt Morgan, Plum
Top players: Blake Remaley, Hempfield (Jr., 6-2, 215, QB/DB); Seth Norcutt, Plum (Sr., 6-3, 210, TE/LB)
Keep an eye on: Nathan Roby, Hempfield (Jr., 5-7, 160, RB/DB)
Momentum: Hempfield’s win over Butler last Friday snapped a seven-game losing streak.
Four downs: 1. A pair of sophomores, Max Matolcsy and Preston Sunday, led Plum last Friday with 10 tackles apiece. Norcutt added eight stops. 2. Hempfield’s Remaley has thrown for 1,187 yards and seven touchdowns against seven interceptions this season. 3. Plum has scored 22 total points in its seven losses. 4. Roby scored two rushing touchdowns last week against Butler, doubling his season total to four. He leads the team with 494 yards on 81 carries.
Extra point: Hempfield and Plum meet for the first time since 2015 when both were members of the Foothills Conference in the former WPIAL Quad-A. The Mustangs beat the Spartans that year 38-17.
Latrobe (3-6) at Highlands (2-7)
7 p.m. Friday at Golden Rams Stadium, Natrona Heights
On the air: 97.3 FM, 1480 AM; TribHSSN.triblive.com
Last week: Latrobe 48, Albert Gallatin 0; New Castle 38, Highlands 14
Coaches: Jason Marucco, Latrobe; Dom Girardi, Highlands
Top players: Zakh Williams, Latrobe (Sr., 5-9, 170, RB/WR/DB); Seth Cohen, Highlands (Sr., 6-2, 190, QB/DB)
Keep an eye on: Noah Gillette, Highlands (Sr., 5-8, 180, RB/LB)
Momentum: Latrobe is riding a two-game winning streak. Its wins over Plum and Albert Gallatin secured a WPIAL Class 5A playoff spot.
Four downs: 1. Cohen needs just 36 yards to become the first player in Alle-Kiski Valley history to pass for 4,000 yards in a career. 2. Williams leads Latrobe with 12 total touchdowns. He has 652 combined yards rushing and receiving. 3. Gillette leads the Golden Rams in tackles with 108. He also has a team-best seven sacks and has recovered three fumbles. 4. Latrobe is locked into fifth place in the Big East while the four teams above them jockey for position with Week 9 conference games.
Extra point: Highlands and Latrobe last played in 1984. The Wildcats won a 1983 meeting 14-7, while the Golden Rams were victorious 17-6 in 1984.
ljanga is a Tribune-Review freelancer. You can contact ljanga at [email protected].
Tags: Avella, Belle Vernon, Burrell, Derry Area, Elizabeth Forward, Greensburg C.C., Greensburg Salem, Hempfield, Highlands, Indiana, Latrobe, Monessen, Mt. Pleasant, Norwin, Plum, Ringgold, Seneca Valley, Southmoreland, Uniontown, Yough