Westmoreland County football preview capsules for Week Zero
By: Paul Schofield
Wednesday, August 22, 2018 | 7:18 PM
Charleroi at Monessen
7 p.m. Friday, Memorial Stadium , Monessen
Last year: Charleroi finished 9-2, 6-1 in the Century (2A); Monessen was 3-8, 2-5 in Tri-County South (A).
Coaches: Lance Getsy, Charleroi; Mike Blainefield, Monessen
Top players: Geno Pelligrini, Charleroi (6-1, 170, QB); Dwayne Howell, Monessen (Jr., 6-2, 170, QB/DB)
Keep an eye on: Vaughan Taylor, Monessen (Sr., 5-11, 190, RB/LB)
Momentum: Charleroi. The Cougars averaged 39.1 points a game last season, second-most in 2A.
Four downs: 1. Pelligrini, who has an offer from Robert Morris, threw for 2,333 yards and 24 touchdowns, while senior Dakota Romantino was a 1,000-yard receiver. 2. Blainefield played college football at Georgetown. 3. Getsy, who replaces Donny Militzer, is a head coach for the first time after serving as an assistant at Elizabeth Forward and Franklin Regional. 4. Taylor returns after suffering a season-ending injury last year in Week 3.
Extra point: Monessen could be on the upswing. It finished 1-9 two years ago, the worst record in team history, before reaching the playoffs last year for the first time since 2013.
Derry at Latrobe
7 p.m. Friday at Memorial Stadium , Latrobe
Radio/Internet: TribLive HSSN, 1480-AM
Last year: Derry finished 9-2, 6-1 in the Interstate (3A); Latrobe was 4-6, 3-5 in the Big East (5A).
Coaches: Tim Sweeney, Derry; Jason Marucco, Latrobe
Top players: Dom DeLuca, Derry (Sr., 6-4, 220, DE/TE); Trent Holler, Latrobe (Sr., 6-3, 290, C/DT)
Keep an eye on: Zakharee Williams, Latrobe (Sr., 5-9, 170)
Momentum: Derry. After claiming the Interstate Conference title, the Trojans are looking for a fast start.
Four downs: 1. Derry’s running game has been decimated by preseason injuries to Colton Nemcheck and Justin Huss. 2. Latrobe is hoping junior quarterback Branden Crosby will fill the shoes of Jason Armstrong, who graduated. 3. With Holler anchoring the defensive line, teams will likely struggle to run against the Wildcats. 4. Derry’s defense must be strong until the offense can get healthy.
Extra point: Derry is 20-3 the past two seasons.
East Allegheny at Jeannette
7 p.m. Friday at McKee Stadium , Jeannette
Last year: East Allegheny finished 7-4, 3-2 in the Three Rivers (2A); Jeannette was 15-1, 6-1 in the Eastern (A).
Coaches: Dom Pecora, East Allegheny; Roy Hall, Jeannette
Top players: Dan Kasmier, East Allegheny (Sr., 6-3, 215, QB); Marcus Barnes, Jeannette (Sr., 6-5, 185, WR/DB)
Keep an eye on: Imani Sanders, Jeannette (Jr., 5-5, 160, RB/LB)
Momentum: Jeannette. The Jayhawks are riding high after claiming WPIAL and PIAA titles.
First downs: 1. East Allegheny is switching offenses and will run the triple-option that McKeesport uses. 2. Jeannette returns numerous starters from last year’s WPIAL and PIAA Class A championship team. 3. The Wildcats have a small roster at 28 players. 4. Jeannette starting quarterback Seth Howard didn’t join the 2017 team until after the opener and made a big impact in the postseason.
Extra point: Jeannette has the most victories in the WPIAL at 736, passing New Castle with its win in the PIAA Class A championship game against Homer-Center.
Mt. Pleasant at Southmoreland
7 p.m. Friday at Russ Grimm Field, Alverton
Last year: Mt. Pleasant finished 4-6, 3-4 in the Interstate (3A); Southmoreland was 0-9, 0-7 in the Interstate (3A).
Coaches: Jason Fazekas, Mt. Pleasant; Dave Keefer, Southmoreland
Top players: Lucas Pieszak, Mt. Pleasant (Sr., 6-4, 190, QB); Ron Robinson, Southmoreland (Sr., 5-9, 165, RB)
Keep an eye on: Ethan Donitzen, Mt. Pleasant (Sr., 6-0, 235, G/DE)
Momentum: Mt. Pleasant. Though the Vikings fell short of the postseason, they won their final game — 64-21 over Southmoreland.
First downs: 1. Mt. Pleasant had 59 players suit up for the first day of camp, compared to Southmoreland’s 28. 2. Keeping Robinson healthy will be a key to the Scotties’ success this season. 3. Alex Kadylak is expected to be one of the main running backs for the Vikings. 4. Southmoreland wide receiver Cade Richter caught 19 passes in 2017.
Extra point: Southmoreland hasn’t qualified for the WPIAL since 1979.
Penn-Trafford at Norwin
7 p.m. Friday at Norwin Knights Stadium, North Huntingdon
Last year: Penn-Trafford was 11-2, 7-1 in the Big East (5A); Norwin finished 5-6, 3-3 in the Southeastern (6A).
Coaches: John Ruane, Penn-Trafford; Dave Brozeski, Norwin
Top players: Caleb Lisbon, Penn-Trafford (Jr., 6-0, 195, RB/DB); Jack Salopek, Norwin (Jr., 6-2, 172, QB)
Keep an eye on: Aaron Bowen, Norwin (Jr., 6-1, 216, C)
Momentum: Penn-Trafford. The Warriors played in the WPIAL Class 5A championship game last season.
Four downs: 1. Norwin is loaded at the skill positions and could be explosive. 2. Penn-Trafford is searching for a QB to replace Cam Laffoon, who graduated. Gabe Dunlap and Ethan Carr are the candidates. 3. Norwin tailback/safety Jayvon Thrift is getting recruited by numerous colleges, including Pitt and WVU. 4. Penn-Trafford wide receiver Dimitri George led the Warriors with 30 catches for 406 yards in 2017.
Extra point: Penn-Trafford won last year’s game 3-0.
Serra Catholic at Yough
7 p.m. Friday, Cougar Mountain Stadium, Herminie
Last year: Serra Catholic went 7-5, 4-2 in the Three Rivers (2A); Yough finished 2-8, 2-5 in the Interstate (3A).
Coaches: Jose Regus, Serra Catholic; Scott Wood, Yough
Top players: Khalil Smith, Serra Catholic (Sr., 5-10, 180, RB/LB); Dustin Shoaf, Yough (Sr., 6-2, 210, RB/DB)
Keep and eye on: Bernard Lawson, Serra Catholic (Sr., 6-4, 220), HB/DL)
Momentum: Yough. The Cougars have 16 seniors and raised expectations behind Shoaf, the WPIAL’s regular-season rushing leader last season with 1,808 yards.
Four downs: 1. Serra put together its first winning season since 2009 under rookie coach Regus. 2. Yough could challenge for its first playoff berth in five seasons. 3. Jake Sever returns at quarterback for Yough but has yet to throw a touchdown pass in a varsity game. Pat Brennan is a first-year QB for Serra. 4. A reserve lineman for Yough is a girl: sophomore Kylie Roebuck, who is 5-6/150.
Extra point: Shoaf is dangerous when he takes direct snaps in the Wildcat formation for the Cougars.
Tuscarawas Central Catholic at Greenburg C.C.
7 p.m. Friday, Centurions Stadium , Greensburg
Last year: TCC went 2-8; GCC went 3-7, 2-5 in the Eastern (A)
Coaches: Casey Cummings, TCC; Aaron Smetanka, GCC
Top players: Caden Hostetler, TCC (Sr., 5-8, 150, RB/LB); Max Pisula, GCC (Sr., 6-2, 220, QB/LB)
Keep an eye on: Tom Voelker, GCC (Jr., 5-9/180, RB/LB)
Momentum: GCC. The Centurions won last year’s meeting 26-13, in New Philadelphia, Ohio.
Four downs: 1. GCC played with only four seniors last season. 2. Cummings resigned last year after six seasons but abruptly returned after the resignation of his short-staying replacement, Walid Bardawil. 3. The Centurions bring back eight starters on offense and nine on defense. 4. Voelker is a physical runner but will need spacing from his line.
Extra point: GCC will debut its new press box. Last year was a temporary setup for gameday personnel when it was clear the old box needed an upgrade.
District 6 Heritage Conference
Ligonier Valley at Homer-Center
7 p.m. Friday, Memorial Stadium , Homer City
Radio/Internet: TribLive HSSN, 1160-AM, 101.1-FM
Last year: Ligonier Valley finished 13-1, 9-0 in the Heritage (2A); Homer-Center was 13-2, 8-1 in the Heritage (A)
Coaches: Roger Beitel, Ligonier Valley; Greg Page, Homer-Center
Top players: Mike Petrof, Ligonier Valley (Jr., 6-2, 273, C/DL); Ben Schmidt, Homer-Center (So., 5-11, 170, QB)
Keep an eye on: Aaron Tutino, Ligonier Valley (Sr., 5-11, 170, WR/DB)
Momentum: Ligonier Valley. Though Homer-Center reached the PIAA title game, graduation took a toll. The Rams return plenty from a PIAA quarterfinalist team.
First downs: 1. Tutino has caught 55 passes in each of the past two seasons. 2. Homer-Center graduated a lot from last year’s squad that won the District 6, Class A title, but lost to Jeannette in the PIAA championship game. 3. The Rams are 27-2 the past two seasons and have won consecutive Heritage Conference and PIAA Class AA District 6 titles. 4. The Wildcats coach played for his dad, Jerry, at Laurel Valley.
Extra point: Ligonier Valley will honor 2018 graduate Joey Dubics this season after the former captain died in a swimming accident.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at email@example.com or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.