Westmoreland County high school football matchups for 2023 Week 5

Wednesday, September 27, 2023 | 5:41 PM

Class 5A Big East Conference

Franklin Regional (3-2, 0-1) at Plum (2-3, 0-2)

7 p.m. Friday, Mustang Stadium, Plum

Last week: Franklin Regional 55, Shaler 7; Gateway 49, Plum 14

Last year’s result: Franklin Regional 31, Plum 28

Neighboring teams usually fight for the last word when they meet on the gridiron. … Few saw Franklin Regional beating Shaler, especially by a 49-point margin. The Panthers scored 49 unanswered points to shake off a 44-24 loss to Gateway. Big-play receiver Ayden Hudock had six catches for 142 yards and two touchdowns. … Plum takes a three-game losing streak into Friday. The Mustangs could not contain Gateway’s passing attack, giving up nearly 400 yards through the air. Kenny Lewis had eight catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns.

Hempfield (1-4, 0-1) at Gateway (2-3, 2-0)

7 p.m. Friday, Pete Antimarino Stadium, Monroeville

Last week: Penn-Trafford 41, Hempfield 18; Gateway 49, Plum 14

Last year’s result: Gateway 60, Hempfield 7

After Gateway crushed the Spartans’ momentum last season, Hempfield would like nothing more than to exact revenge. But the Gators are coming in at the right time. … The running game had its moments last week, and Mitch Bitar returned an interception for a score for Hempfield, which allowed 20 fourth-quarter points. … Brad Birch is finding his rhythm, throwing for 630 yards and five touchdowns over the last two games. Steven Jenkins is his favorite target.

Class 4A Big Seven Conference

Trinity (3-2, 1-1) at Latrobe (3-2, 1-1)

7 p.m. Friday, Latrobe Memorial Stadium, Latrobe

Last week: McKeesport 35, Trinity 7; Latrobe 37, Laurel Highlands 0

Last year’s result: Latrobe 31, Trinity 6

Can Latrobe make it back-to-back wins for the first time this season? Last year, the Wildcats’ victory over Trinity started a three-game win streak. … Trinity allowed 28 first-half points to No. 3 McKeesport and never recovered, only getting a short touchdown run from Jonah Williamson against the Tigers. … John Wetzel and Ja’Tawn Williams are becoming a formidable passing combo. Wetzel is one of the conference’s better dual-threat quarterbacks.

WPIAL 3A Interstate Conference

No. 1 Belle Vernon (3-1, 0-0) at South Allegheny (1-4, 0-0)

7 p.m., Friday, Gladiator Stadium, Liberty

Last week: Thomas Jefferson 24, Belle Vernon 19; Shady Side Academy 57, South Allegheny 14

Last year’s result: Belle Vernon 50, South Allegheny 0

The Leopards look to bounce back after a tough loss to Class 4A No. 4 Thomas Jefferson. … Cole Doppelheuer scored on a 93-yard run, and Anthony Crews made a brilliant one-handed grab for another score. Quinton Martin also caught a touchdown pass but was held to 38 yards rushing by the TJ defense. … The Gladiators have dropped four consecutive games after opening the season with a win against Yough. Running back Cameron Epps rushed for 138 yards and scored on a 75-yard run in a loss to Shady Side Academy. Epps has rushed for 582 yards and scored eight touchdowns. SA has allowed 41 or more points in the past four games.

No. 4 Mt. Pleasant (4-1, 0-0) at Greensburg Salem (1-4, 0-0)

7 p.m., Friday, Offutt Field, Greensburg

Last week: Mt. Pleasant 45, Freeport 23; East Allegheny 42, Greensburg Salem 0

Last year’s result: Mt. Pleasant 45, Greensburg Salem 28

The Vikings scored five consecutive touchdowns in the final 16 minutes, 33 seconds to rally past Freeport. The Hutter brothers — Jackson and Brody — each scored two touchdowns. Mt. Pleasant has won four consecutive games since losing to Greensburg Central Catholic in Week Zero. … Greensburg Salem is having a hard time stopping opponents, especially on the road. The Golden Lions’ lone win came against Ligonier Valley at home. Tight end/linebacker Julian Stevens is the team’s leading receiver.

Southmoreland (3-2, 0-0) at No. 2 Elizabeth Forward (5-0, 0-0)

7 p.m., Friday, Warrior Stadium, Elizabeth

Last week: Deer Lakes 24, Southmoreland 7; Elizabeth Forward 22, Knoch 0

Last year’s result: Elizabeth Forward 42, Southmoreland 6

The Scotties have dropped two consecutive games against conference opponents: Knoch and Deer Lakes. Running back Da’sjon Craggette has rushed for 555 yards and scored eight touchdowns. Wide receiver Ty Keffer has 22 catches for 273 yards and three scores. … Elizabeth Forward is led by the running tandem of Charlie Nigut (329 yards and eight scores) and Jace Brown (299 yards and six scores). Quarterback Ryan Messina has completed 22 of 50 passes for 408 yards and four scores. EF handed Knoch its first loss last week by a 22-0 score. Southmoreland lost to Knoch, 27-0.

Class 2A Allegheny Conference

Serra Catholic (0-4, 0-1) at Derry (3-2, 2-0)

7 p.m. Friday, Trojan Stadium, Derry

Last week: Serra Catholic DNP; Derry 35, Apollo-Ridge 21

Last year’s result: Serra Catholic 49, Derry 7

A year ago, this matchup was a foregone conclusion, but Derry looks like the favorite now after collecting back-to-back wins for the first time since 2019. … Damauri Robinson and Ahmad Ward both rushed for over 100 yards last week as the Trojans kept improving on two straight winless seasons. … Serra Catholic is allowing 34.5 points per game. The Eagles lost 49-42 to North Catholic in the opener. They did not play last week after all school activities and classes were canceled following the death of a student.

Yough (1-4, 0-2) at Ligonier Valley (2-3, 1-1)

7 p.m., Friday, Weller Field, Ligonier

Last week: Burrell 28, Yough 12; Steel Valley 35, Ligonier Valley 0

Last year’s result: Ligonier Valley 48, Yough 14

The Cougars have been in every game they’ve played this season. They dropped a one-point decision to Derry and fell to Burrell last week. Quarterback Raidon Kuroda is a threat running and throwing. Shane Swope and Mikey Nogy scored touchdowns in the loss to Burrell. … Ligonier Valley junior running back John Jablunovsky has scored seven touchdowns and rushed for 436 yards. He’s caught six passes for 86 yards. Sophomore Bryce Vida has six quarterback sacks and 26 tackles, 19 solo.

Class A Eastern Conference

Greensburg Central Catholic (3-2, 1-0) at No. 4 Clairton (3-2, 2-0)

7 p.m. Friday, Neil C. Brown Stadium, Clairton

Last week: Greensburg Central Catholic 60, Springdale 14; Clairton 42, Leechburg 14

Last year’s result: Greensburg Central Catholic 34, Clairton 18

Clairton seemed like the favorite last year, but GCC hit big plays against the perennially strong Bears. Is the same thing going to happen this time? … GCC’s offense has been explosive at times. Tyree Turner accounted for six touchdowns last week, including three rushing scores and a pick-6. … Drahcir Jones ran for 108 yards, and Michael Ruffing had an 80-yard TD run for the Bears, who are 3-0 after a deceiving 0-2 start that saw the Bears go scoreless for four quarters.

Riverview (3-2, 1-1) at Jeannette (4-1, 1-0)

7 p.m. Friday, McKee Stadium, Jeannette

Last week: Riverview 46, Frazier 30; Jeannette 35, Charleroi 7

Last year’s result: Jeannette 38, Riverview 6

Jeannette knows the run is coming, and if the Jayhawks can stop it, they can stretch their winning streak to four. … Carlo Buzzatto ran for 245 yards last week for the Raiders, who have given up 65 points in two conference games. … Jeannette, which has allowed the fewest points in the conference (73), hasn’t started 5-1 since 2020 when it won a WPIAL title and finished second in the state. Payton Molter and Kymon’e Brown hooked up for three touchdowns last week.

WPIAL A Tri-County South Conference

Monessen (1-4, 0-2) at West Greene (4-1, 2-0)

7 p.m., Friday, Kennedy Field, Rogersville

Last week: California 51, Monessen 20; West Greene 39, Bentworth 6

Last year’s result: Monessen 62, West Greene 25

Monessen fell to California, allowing 28 points in the fourth quarter after cutting the Trojans’ lead to 23-20. Two of the scores were interception returns by Jason Layhue. Rodney Johnson and Lorenzo Gardner scored for the Greyhounds. Tyvaughn Kershaw threw for 102 yards. … West Greene is led by running back Colin Brady, who has rushed for 760 yards and scored nine touchdowns; John Lampe and Billy Whitlatch have scored seven touchdowns each for the Pioneers.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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