Westmoreland County high school football dont’t-miss matchups for Week 3
Wednesday, September 11, 2019 | 6:13 PM
No. 3 Central Catholic (2-1, 1-1) at Hempfield (2-1, 1-1)
7 p.m. Friday at Spartan Stadium, Hempfield
Last week: North Allegheny 11, Central Catholic 10; Hempfield 34, Norwin 17
Coaches: Terry Totten, Central Catholic; Rich Bowen, Hempfield
Players to watch: Eddie Tillman, Central Catholic (Jr., 5-8, 165, RB); Nathan Roby, Hempfield (Sr., 5-7, 155, RB/DB)
Four downs: 1. Hempfield returned to the form it showed in Week Zero against Greensburg Salem with a balanced attack to defeat Norwin. The Spartans rolled up 463 yards, including 248 passing. Quarterback Blake Remaley completed 20 of 26 attempts. 2. Roby was sensational last week, catching seven passes for 151 yards, rushing for 140 yards on 21 carries and scoring three touchdowns. He also intercepted two passes. He should get help in the secondary with the return of Demetrius Murphy. 3. Tillman scored the Vikings’ lone touchdown against North Allegheny, a 56-yard run. Central managed just 163 yards last week. 4. Central has been solid defensively and will provide a match for Hempfield’s hefty line. The Vikings have given up just 18 points in three games.
Extra point: Central won last year’s meeting 28-13 in a game played at Carnegie Mellon.
Class 5A Big East
No. 3 Gateway (2-1, 1-1) at Latrobe (1-2, 0-1)
7 p.m. Friday at Memorial Stadium, Latrobe
On the air: TribHSSN.TribLive.com; 1480 AM, 97.3 FM
Last week: Gateway 44, Plum 0; Franklin Regional 42, Latrobe 21
Coaches: Don Holl, Gateway; Jason Marucco, Latrobe
Players to watch: Derrick Davis, Gateway (Jr., 6-1, 190, RB/LB); Kameron Stevens, Latrobe (Sr., 5-11, 155, WR)
Four downs: 1. Davis scored touchdowns on runs of 51, 80 and 65 yards and a 7-yard pass in the win against Plum. He rushed for 212 yards on nine carries. 2. Stevens returned kickoffs of 96 and 93 yards for touchdowns against Franklin Regional. He also had a 31-yard return and caught a 14-yard touchdown pass. 3. Gateway quarterback Bryson Venanzio bounced back from a five-interception performance to complete 12 of 16 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns. 4. Latrobe’s offense was limited to 63 total yards against Franklin Regional. If they want to stay with Gateway, the Wildcats have to be more effective.
Extra point: The Gators bounced back after a disappointing loss to Penn-Trafford in Week 1. The Wildcats’ defense got worn out trying to defend Franklin Regional’s running game.
McKeesport (2-1, 1-0) at No. 1 Penn-Trafford (3-0, 2-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday at Warrior Stadium, Harrison City
On the air: TribHSSN.Triblive.com; 107.1 FM
Last week: Cathedral Prep 31, McKeesport 14; Penn-Trafford 41, Connellsville 7
Coaches: Matt Miller, McKeesport; John Ruane, Penn-Trafford
Players to watch: Deamontae Diggs, McKeesport (Sr., 6-6, 215, WR/DB); Caleb Lisbon, Penn-Trafford (Sr., 6-0, 200, RB/DB)
Four downs: 1. Penn-Trafford coasted to victory in its first game since it nabbed the No. 1 ranking. Quarterback Gabe Dunlap threw for two touchdowns and ran for another, and the Warriors posted two safeties. 2. Lisbon has 368 rushing yards and five touchdowns, and Dunlap has run for 252 yards. 3. Diggs is a Division I prospect and will be the focus of the Warriors’ defensive scheme. He has offers from Iowa State, Ball State, Akron, Buffalo, Bowling Green, Kent State and Youngstown State. He caught a 42-yard scoring pass from Devari Robinson last week. 4. The Tigers are hard to figure, because of a small sample size and two games against non-WPIAL teams (Woodrow Wilson and Cathedral Prep). They also rolled over Connellsville.
Extra point: Penn-Trafford has outscored its opponents 111-21. The Warriors have a 14-game winning streak at home. Their last home defeat was in 2016 when they lost to Franklin Regional, 21-16.
Class 4A Big Eight
Laurel Highlands (0-3, 0-0) at No. 4 Belle Vernon (1-1, 0-1)
7 p.m. Friday at James Weir Stadium, Belle Vernon
Last week: Montour 42, Laurel Highlands 6; Thomas Jefferson 34, Belle Vernon 7
Coaches: Richard Kolesar, Laurel Highlands; Matt Humbert, Belle Vernon
Players to watch: Tyler Christopher, Laurel Highlands (Sr., 6-1, 225, QB); Larry Callaway, Belle Vernon (Sr., 6-0, 190, RB)
Four downs: 1. The Mustangs are struggling under first-year coach Richard Kolesar, who took over for Jacob Just. 2. Humbert is a Laurel Highlands graduate. He played quarterback at Cal (Pa.) and then coached at Ringgold. 3. Laurel Highlands quarterback Tyler Christopher threw two touchdown passes in the season opener against Washington. He scored on a 51-yard run against Montour. 4. Belle Vernon wide receiver Hunter Ruokonen has caught three touchdown passes this season. He had the Leopards’ only score against the Jaguars.
Extra point: The Leopards hope to rebound after a tough loss at Thomas Jefferson. The Mustangs are looking for their first victory.
Class 3A Big East
Deer Lakes (1-2, 1-1) at Yough (1-2, 1-1)
7 p.m. Friday at Yough’s Cougar Mountain, Herminie
Last week: Deer Lakes 35, Uniontown 13; Mt. Pleasant 55, Yough 35
Coaches: Tim Burk, Deer Lakes; Scott Wood, Yough
Players to watch: Jack Hollibaugh (Sr., 6-1, 220, TE/LB); Gamal Marballie, Yough (Jr., 5-11, 158, QB)
Four downs: 1. Deer Lakes broke through in the win column against Uniontown after losing second-half leads in losses the first two weeks. 2. Trey Darrah led six receivers with receptions against Uniontown. He made seven grabs for 161 yards and two touchdowns. Hollibaugh added 95 yards and a score. 3. Yough lost starting quarterback Tristan Waldier to a knee injury in Week Zero. Marballie is now under center. Against Mt. Pleasant, he threw for 148 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions and added two rushing scores. 4. Lancers senior Aris Hasley is among the WPIAL passing leaders after three weeks with 849 yards and nine touchdowns.
Extra point: Yough got the better of Deer Lakes last year, 32-13, behind 401 yards and five rushing touchdowns from the now-graduated Dustin Shoaf, a freshman at Mercyhurst.
Class 2A Interstate
Southmoreland (3-0, 2-0) at Beth-Center (0-3, 0-2)
7 p.m. Friday at Beth-Center Stadium, Fredericktown
Last week: Southmoreland 48, Carmichaels 25; Brownsville 27, Beth-Center 26
Coaches: Dave Keefer, Mt. Pleasant; Joe Kuhns, Beth-Center
Players to watch: Riley Comforti, Southmoreland (Sr., 6-3, 185, WR/DB); Colby Kuhns, Beth-Center (So., 5-8, 145, QB)
Four downs: 1. Southmoreland is off to its best start since 1991 when the Scotties began 4-0. The team is putting up 43.7 points per game, led by a potent passing attack. 2. Junior quarterback Zac Cernuto threw for 275 yards and three touchdowns and also ran for a score in last week’s win. Comforti caught 10 balls for 148 yards and two scores. 3. Beth-Center mounted a late second-half rally but fell a point short against Brownsville, which took a 21-point lead into the final quarterback. 4. The Bulldogs’ three losses have been by a combined 15 points.
Extra point: Beth-Center was impacted by graduation losses at key positions. Last year’s team started 6-0.
Class A Eastern
Greensburg C.C. (2-1, 1-1) at Leechburg (1-2, 0-2)
7 p.m. Friday at Veterans Memorial Field, Leechburg
Coaches: Bret Colbert, GCC; Mark George, Leechburg
Last week: Clairton 21, GCC 14; Leechburg 13, Rochester 6
Players to watch: David Altimore, GCC (Jr., 6-0, 160, QB/DB); Chace Wadsworth, Leechburg (Sr., 5-10. 165, WR/DB)
Four downs: 1. Altimore and wideout Ben LaCarte connected twice for fourth quarter touchdowns as GCC attempted to rally from a 21-0 deficit against Clairton. 2. Leechburg turned around its fortunes against Rochester after a 42-6 loss to the Rams last year. 3. Brandon Brown also is a top receiving threat in the GCC offense. He led the team with six TD receptions last year. 4. Leechburg freshman Braylon Lovelace, who returned a kickoff for a touchdown against Jeannette two weeks ago, added his second TD of the season last week, a 67-yard rushing score.
Extra point: Leechburg is 1-12 all-time against GCC. The Blue Devils won the first meeting in 1995 and haven’t won since, including last year’s 29-0 outcome.
Class A Tri-County South
Monessen (0-3, 0-1) at Jefferson-Morgan (1-2, 1-1)
7 p.m. Friday at Parker Field, Jefferson
On the air: TribHSSN.TribLive.com
Last week: Springdale 28, Monessen 7; Jefferson-Morgan 42, Mapletown 0
Coaches: Mike Blainfield, Monessen; Aaron Giorgi, Jefferson-Morgan
Players to watch: Dwayne Howell, Monessen (Sr., 6-2, 185, QB); Cole Jones, Jefferson-Morgan (Fr., 5-10, 170, QB)
Four downs: 1. Monessen’s defense must get tougher. The Greyhounds have allowed nine rushing touchdowns and four touchdown passes. 2. Jefferson-Morgan was shut out in its first two games but put up 42 points against Mapletown. Six players scored touchdowns. 3. The Greyhounds have meet three tough opponents this season and still are trying to find consistency in their game. 4. Rockets wide receiver Colt Fowler has caught a team-high nine passes for 103 yards. Jones has completed 21 of 34 passes for 194 yards.
Extra point: Monessen is playing its third road game of the season. The Rockets allowed 78 points in their first two games.
Avella (1-2) at Class A No. 1 Jeannette (3-0)
7 p.m. Friday at McKee Stadium, Jeannette
Last week: California 47, Avella 0; Jeannette 48, Imani Christian 0
Coaches: Ryan Cecchini, Avella; Roy Hall, Jeannette
Players to watch: Justin Dyer, Avella (Sr., 5-10, 145, Sr.); Brett Birch, Jeannette (So, 5-8, 160, WR)
Four downs: 1. Jeannette handled visiting Imani Christian last week as Birch scored two touchdowns and senior Imani Sanders ran for 85 yards and three touchdowns. 2. The Jayhawks have outscored their three opponents 115-18 using big plays and a sound run-stopping defense led by senior linebacker Justin Cramer. 3. Kaelan Piscar returned from injury last week for Jeannette and caught a 21-yard scoring throw from James Sanders. 4. Light-rostered Avella opened with a 29-6 loss to Mapletown and rebounded with a 12-0 win over Bishop Canevin.
Extra point: The Jayhawks have won 14 straight games at newly turfed McKee Stadium.
Franklin Regional (2-0, 2-0) at West Mifflin (2-1, 2-0)
7 p.m. Friday at Titan Stadium, West Mifflin
Last week: Franklin Regional 42, Latrobe 21; West Mifflin 40, Trinity 0
Coaches: Greg Botta, Franklin Regional; Rod Steele, West Mifflin
Players to Watch: Zach Gordon, Franklin Regional (Sr., 5-9, 175, RB); J.J. Davis, West Mifflin (Sr., 5-10, 180, WR/DB)
Four downs: 1. Gordon has rushed for 326 yards and five touchdowns, including 146 yards and three scores last week against Latrobe. 2. Davis rushed for 117 and a touchdown and completed 8 of 11 passes for 297 yards and three scores against Trinity. 3. The Panthers got 131 rushing yards and a score from Colton Johns. He also had a 30-yard interception return. 4. The Titans have outscored their past two opponents, 84-0. They opened the season with a loss at Mars.
Extra point: The Panthers face a tough nonconference battle. They have to improve their special teams play, which allowed two kickoff returns for touchdowns.
Norwin (0-3, 0-2) at Chartiers Valley (2-1, 0-1)
7 p.m. Friday at Chartiers Valley Stadium, Bridgeville
Last week: Hempfield 34, Norwin 17; Chartiers Valley 43, Armstrong 6
Coaches: Dave Brozeski, Norwin; Dan Knause, Chartiers Valley
Players to watch: Jack Salopek, Norwin (Sr., 6-3, 180, Sr.); Griffin Beattie, Chartiers Valley (Sr., 6-1, 178, QB)
Four downs: 1. Norwin cut a 27-9 deficit to 27-17 late last week but could not contain the run and get any closer to Hempfield. Salopek, a Western Michigan recruit, threw 32 times and connected with Sean Pavlic for his first two scoring passes of the season. 2. Chartiers Valley had a pair of 100-yard rushers in its win over Armstrong. Beattie ran for 191 yards, and Antonio Zambrano added 120. 3. Norwin has battled injuries to starting linemen Aaron Bowen and Connor Vogel, which has been detrimental to its running game. 4. The Colts are a run-heavy team out of the triple-option and are averaging 38.7 points per game.
Extra point: Chartiers Valley won last year’s meeting in North Huntingdon, 28-24. The Colts piled up 268 yards on the ground on 44 carries.
No. 2 South Fayette (2-1, 2-0) at Greensburg Salem (1-2, 1-0)
7 p.m. Friday at Offutt Field, Greensburg
On the air: TribHSSN.TribLive.com; 98.7 FM, 910 AM
Last week: South Fayette 37, New Castle 21; Mars 47, Greensburg Salem 28
Coaches: Joe Rossi, South Fayette; Dave Keefer, Greensburg Salem
Players to watch: Drew Franklin, South Fayette (Sr., 5-11, 190, RB); Trent Patrick, Greensburg Salem (Sr., 5-10, 215, QB)
Four downs: 1. Nolan Alemada is the latest South Fayette quarterback to shine in the Lions’ offensive attack. The 6-foot-5 junior has completed 65 of 96 passes for 824 yards and eight touchdowns. 2. The Golden Lions lost twice to South Fayette in 2018. They look to give the visitors a rough time at Offutt Field. 3. South Fayette lost to Upper St. Clair (27-13) to open the season but bounced back to defeat Beaver (55-7) and New Castle (37-21). 4. Greensburg Salem lost to two higher-classification teams in Class 6A Hempfield and 5A Mars. It won a conference game at Trinity in overtime.
Extra point: Greensburg Salem faces a high-powered passing team. Alemada’s top receivers are freshman Joe Audia (22 catches for 225 yards and two touchdowns) and junior Charley Rossi (15 catches for 249 yards and two touchdowns). Franklin has rushed for 224 yards and three touchdowns.
District 6 Heritage Conference
Ligonier Valley (3-0, 3-0) at Saltsburg (2-1, 2-1)
7 p.m. Friday at Memorial Stadium, Saltsburg
Last week: Ligonier Valley 1, United 0 (forfeit); Saltsburg 45, Blairsville 24
Coaches: Roger Beitel, Ligonier Valley; Mike Leasure, Saltsburg
Players to watch: Ayden Kelley, Ligonier Valley (Sr., 5-9, 215, FB/MLB); Alex Lassick, Saltsburg (Sr., 5-10, 235, FB/DE)
Four downs: 1. For the third time in four years, Ligonier Valley picked up a forfeit victory. Last week it was United, and last year it was Saltsburg. 2. Saltsburg is coming off two consecutive victories, including a 45-24 win against district rival Blairsville. It also defeated Northern Cambria. 3. The Rams have outscored two opponents 114-7. They are ranked No. 4 in the state in Class 2A. 4. Ligonier Valley quarterback Sam Sheeder has completed 14 of 16 passes for 342 yards and four touchdowns. Running back Kyrie Miller has rushed for 402 yards and seven scores.
Extra point: Kelley is the Rams’ leading tackler with 13. Beitel said the linebacker’s statistics are down because the front four of Mike Petrof, Christian Jablonski, Wylie Spiker and Jude Grzywinski aren’t allowing opponents much running room.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .