Westmoreland County high school football matchups for 2023 Week 4

Wednesday, September 20, 2023 | 6:22 PM

Class 5A Big East Conference

Hempfield (1-3, 0-0) at Penn-Trafford (1-3, 0-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday, Warrior Stadium, Harrison City

Last week: Shaler 33, Hempfield 17; Belle Vernon 21, Penn-Trafford 0

Last year’s result: Hempfield 28, Penn-Trafford 17

Both teams open conference play looking for a good start. Hempfield started 5-0 in 2022, which included a stunning victory against Penn-Trafford. … This isn’t the same Hempfield team, though. The Spartans were hit hard by graduation and have a new coach, Nick Keefer. Rogan Katchur and Lucas Moore have shared the running duties for the Spartans. … The Warriors haven’t scored in two home games this season. They’ve met four tough opponents who veteran coach John Ruane hopes prepared them for conference play. Freshman Ben Grabowski has being playing wildcat quarterback in the absence of the injured Derek Carr.

Class 4A Big Seven Conference

Latrobe (2-2, 0-1) at Laurel Highlands (1-3, 0-1)

7 p.m. Friday, Mustang Stadium, Uniontown

Last week: Thomas Jefferson 41, Latrobe 14; McKeesport 55, Laurel Highlands 3

Last year’s result: Laurel Highlands 10, Latrobe 7

After a defensive struggle last year, these teams will try to pick up the scoring. … Latrobe was in the game early against No. 2 Thomas Jefferson but could not get the ball into the end zone when it was down 14-7. John Wetzel had a 95-yard interception return in the loss. … Laurel Highlands struggled to get on track against McKeesport and dropped its third straight game. Johnny Duke ran was 18 of 26 for 107 yards in the loss. Antwan Black, who suffered a brain injury two weeks ago and was flown to the hospital, is questionable. He was diagnosed with a concussion, according to KDKA.

Class 2A Allegheny Conference

Burrell (2-2, 1-0) at Yough (1-3, 0-1)

7 p.m. Friday, Cougar Mountain, Herminie

Last week: Burrell 8, Serra Catholic 7; Derry 22, Yough 21

Last year’s result: Burrell 42, Yough 6

This game could go a long way to decide Allegheny Conference playoff positioning. … Burrell opened conference play with a thrilling one-point victory against Serra Catholic. Tyler Maglisco scored on a 5-yard run, and Devin Beattie caught a 2-point conversion from Steve Hasson. The defense made two goal-line stands at the 1-yard line in the game. … The Cougars gave up a late score and 2-point conversion and fell at Derry. Quarterback Raidon Kuroda ran for two scores. Kuroda has completed 29 of 59 passes for 343 yards and rushed for 219 yards and four touchdowns. Ryan Sarver has 13 catches for 143 yards.

Derry (2-2, 1-0) at Apollo-Ridge (1-3, 0-1)

7 p.m. Friday, Owens Field, Apollo

Last week: Derry 22, Yough 21; Ligonier Valley 34, Apollo-Ridge 34

Last year’s result: Apollo-Ridge 49, Derry 14

A couple of power running teams will probably settle their score on the front lines. … If nothing else, Derry has been daring at times but also improved in previously challenging situations. The Trojans went for 2 last week when they scored with just less than two minutes to play to edge past Yough. Ahmad Ward is one of the top backs in 2A. … Despite 156 yards rushing and a 68-yard touchdown by Karter Schrock, Apollo-Ridge could not rally from a 19-7 deficit after three quarters. Both teams are allowing more than 29 points a game.

Ligonier Valley (2-2, 1-0) at Steel Valley (2-1, 1-0)

7 p.m., Friday, Campbell Athletic Field, Munhall

Last week: Ligonier 34, Apollo-Ridge 14; Steel Valley 17, Imani Christian 6

Last year’s result: Steel Valley 48, Ligonier Valley 0

John Jablunovsky had a huge game in leading the Rams against Apollo-Ridge. He rushed for two touchdowns, caught a touchdown pass and returned a kickoff for a score. The Rams must continue to run the ball to be successful. … Steel Valley was involved in a game that ended in a brawl with Imani Christian. The WPIAL is allowing the schools to determine punishment. The Ironmen are led by quarterback Jaden Cabbagestalk and running backs Donald Barksdale and Da’Ron Barksdale.

Class A Eastern Conference

Springdale (1-3, 0-1) at Greensburg Central Catholic (2-2, 0-0)

7 p.m. Friday, Centurion Stadium, Carbon

Last week: Leechburg 48, Springdale 25; Washington 31, Greensburg Central Catholic 7

Last year’s result: Greensburg Central Catholic 69, Springdale 6

An old-school Eastern Conference matchup will reveal how much a tough nonconference schedule prepared GCC for games that count in its fourth home game in five weeks. … GCC was roughed up by Class 2A No. 1 Washington, allowing the Little Prexies to run and pass and also giving up a 90-yard kickoff return TD. Samir Crosby continued to be active for the Centurions with 102 yards rushing and a touchdown catch. … Springdale showed some moxie after falling behind early but could not keep up with Leechburg in the second half. Chase Weihrauch threw for 126 yards and two scores in the loss. The Dynamos have allowed 132 points.

Class A Tri-County South Conference

Monessen (1-3, 0-1) at California (3-1, 1-0)

7 p.m. Friday, Trojan Stadium, Coal Center

Last week: Bentworth 28, Monessen 0; California 48, Jefferson-Morgan 21

Last year’s result: Monessen 28,California 20

Monessen is coming off a stunning poor performance against Bentworth. The Greyhounds were missing a couple key players, including sophomore running back TyVaughn Kershaw, who was sidelined with an unknown injury. … California relies on the arm of quarterback Jake Layhue and running back Spencer Petrucci, who has rushed for 402 yards and seven touchdowns. Monessen shocked California last season.


Charleroi (0-3) at Jeannette (3-1)

7 p.m. Friday, McKee Stadium, Jeannette

Last week: Sto-Rox 24, Charleroi 8; Jeannette 54, Frazier 0

Last year’s result: Charleroi 24, Jeannette 20

Will it be another exciting second half? The teams were tied 7-7 last year before the Cougars eventually went ahead to stay. … A sluggish start has the Cougars of the Century Conference winless and allowing 30.3 points a game. … Jeannette ripped off 54 points last week as Payton Molter was 9-for-9 passing with three touchdowns and Kymone Brown had a TD reception and pick-6 score. Jeremiah Williamson has been steady at tight end.

Deer Lakes (3-1) at Southmoreland (3-1)

7 p.m. Friday, Russ Grimm Field, Alverton

Last week: Deer Lakes 48, Greensburg Salem 14; Knoch 27, Southmoreland 0

Last year’s result: Deer Lakes 9, Southmoreland 0

Can a pair of high-powered offenses prove their worth after one sputtered last week? … Deer Lakes rallied from a 7-0 deficit to race past Greensburg Salem for its third straight victory. The Lancers, led by mobile, dual-threat quarterback Derek Burk, are averaging 34 points. … Knoch blanked Southmoreland in a marquee game that flamed out. The Knights went up 20-0 at the half. They limited Scotties tailback Da’sjon Craggette to 17 yards on 19 carries and held the team to 3 yards on the ground.

Freeport (2-2) at Mt. Pleasant (3-1)

7 p.m. Friday, Mt. Pleasant Area Stadium, Mt. Pleasant

Last week: Armstrong 52, Freeport 16; Mt. Pleasant 25, Valley 6

Last year’s result: Freeport 24, Mt. Pleasant 6

These teams reached the playoffs in Class 3A a year ago, and both have aspirations to do the same in 2023. … Freeport reached the semifinals with a senior-laden team that fell to Belle Vernon. Sophomore Drew Ross is handling the quarterback duties with Colten Otterman at running back. Watch out for wide receiver Brady Sullivan, who has eight catches for 122 yards and four touchdowns. He scored twice in a loss to Armstrong. … Mt. Pleasant junior quarterback Cole Chatfield has completed 25 of 47 passes for 522 yards and six touchdowns. Luke Nicotera is his main target with 13 grabs for 230 yards and three scores. Running backs Garrett Eicher and Jackson Hutter each have rushed for more than 230 yards and combined on eight rushing touchdowns.

Greensburg Salem (1-3) at East Allegheny (2-2)

7 p.m. Friday, Churchman Memorial Stadium, North Versailles

Last week: Deer Lakes 48, Greensburg Salem 14; East Allegheny 41, South Allegheny 20

Last year’s result: East Allegheny 42, Greensburg Salem 21

This is the last game before conference play begins for these two squads. Greensburg Salem junior running back Kia Brunot rushed for a score, and junior wide receiver Dom Rosensteel caught four passes for 79 yards and a score last week. Quarterback Peyton Chismar completed 15 of 28 passes for 131 yards. … East Allegheny doesn’t have a statistician, but its top players include quarterback Michael Cahill and wide receivers Amir Rollins and Brennan Rutledge. Cahill is dangerous with his arm and legs. He threw for 1,874 yards and rushed for 917 as a junior. Rutledge had 38 catches for 475 yards.

Norwin (2-2) at Woodland Hills (2-2)

7 p.m. Friday, The Wolvarena, Turtle Creek

Last week: Norwin 30, Plum 23; Woodland Hills 21, North Hills 20

Last year’s result: Woodland Hills 25, Norwin 0

Who expected this to be an intriguing matchup when the schedule came out? … Norwin is riding a wave of momentum after a come-from-behind win over Plum that saw the Knights score 23 points in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Tristyn Tavares threw for 185 yards and three touchdowns. … “Scoop” Smith has been the centerpiece for Woodland Hills. The big-play wideout had three TD catches last week, one of 88 yards. He finished with 10 catches for 210 yards and three scores. Quarterback Cam Walters has a strong arm and experience. Both teams have given up more points than they have scored.

Shaler (4-0) at Franklin Regional (2-2)

7 p.m. Friday, Panther Stadium, Murrysville

Last week: Shaler 33, Hempfield 17; Gateway 44, Franklin Regional 24

Last year’s result: Shaler 42, Franklin Regional 41 (2OT)

Is there another thriller in store for fans and Shaler after the Titans rallied to win in a second overtime last year in a hot Saturday afternoon homecoming game? … Shaler has the look of a playoff contender behind quarterback Keegan Smetanka, who threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns against Hempfield. Nathan Rozzo ran for 105 yards, and Joey DeSabato had seven catches for 186 yards and two TDs. … Franklin Regional let recharged Gateway pull away last week after leading the Gators early. The Panthers, who had been proficient on defense, were gashed through the air and will look to bounce back.

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

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