Westmoreland County high school football matchups for 2023 Week 8

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Wednesday, October 18, 2023 | 5:39 PM


Class 5A Big East Conference

No. 5 Gateway (4-4, 4-0) at Norwin (2-6, 1-2)

7 p.m. Friday, Norwin Knights Stadium, North Huntingdon

Last week: McKeesport 38, Gateway 28; North Allegheny 53, Norwin 25

Last year’s result: Gateway 42, Norwin 10

Big East champion Gateway is looking to close out conference play with a perfect record. The Gators lost last week, but quarterback Brad Birch threw for a career-high 414 yards on 27-of-40 passing. Steve Jenkins also had a career game with 12 catches for 197 yards. … Norwin was roughed up by North Allegheny, allowing 37 points in the first quarter and 50 in the first half. Sophomore quarterback Tristyn Tavares has thrown for more than 1,700 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Plum (2-6, 0-4) at Hempfield (1-7, 0-3)

7 p.m. Friday, Spartan Stadium, Hempfield Township

Last week: Penn-Trafford 21, Plum 6; Franklin Regional 38, Hempfield 15

Last year’s result: Plum 34, Hempfield 21

With the playoffs out of the question, it’s time to play for pride. … Plum has spiraled after a 2-0 start, dropping six in a row. Last week was the Mustangs’ lowest scoring output of the season. Sean Franzi passed for 125 yards in the setback. … Hempfield has played close with teams early but has not been able to sustain momentum. Sophomore Dom Detruf threw for 220 yards and two TDs last week in his third start.

Class 3A Interstate Conference

No. 1 Belle Vernon (6-1, 3-0) at Southmoreland (5-3, 2-1)

7 p.m. Friday, Russ Grimm Field at Southmoreland Stadium, Alverton

Last week: Belle Vernon 55, Mt. Pleasant 7; Southmoreland 46, Greensburg Salem 12

Last year’s result: Belle Vernon 48, Southmoreland 0

With playoff spots secured, both teams are playing for positioning. Belle Vernon is tied for first place with Elizabeth Forward, and Southmoreland is third. … The Leopards have rolled up 53 or more points in three straight games. A 42-point first half flattened Mt. Pleasant last week as Quinton Martin scored three times. … Da’sjon Craggette ran for 112 yards and three touchdowns, moving closer to 1,000 yards for the season, in the win over Greensburg Salem. Ty Keffer is among the top receivers in the WPIAL.

Greensburg Salem (1-7, 0-3) at No. 2 Elizabeth Forward (8-0, 3-0)

7 p.m. Friday, Warrior Stadium, Forward

Last week: Southmoreland 46, Greensburg Salem 12; Elizabeth Forward 49, South Allegheny 14

Last year’s meeting: Elizabeth Forward 62, Greensburg Salem 13

The first season as Greensburg Salem’s coach for Ty George hasn’t gone as planned. Injuries and an inexperienced squad have hampered the Golden Lions. Now they face an explosive Elizabeth Forward squad that is averaging 36.1 points. … Elizabeth Forward also has a new coach, John DeMarco, who inherited a team with numerous stars. Running back Charlie Nigut and wide receiver Isaiah Turner are the top offensive weapons. Will EF be sharp with a battle with No 1. Belle Vernon a week away?

Mt. Pleasant (5-3, 1-2) at South Allegheny (1-7, 0-3)

7 p.m. Friday, Gladiator Stadium, McKeesport

Last week: Belle Vernon 55, Mt. Pleasant 7; Elizabeth Forward 49, South Allegheny 14

Last year’s meeting: Belle Vernon 42, South Allegheny 0

The Vikings look to snap their two-game losing streak against one-win South Allegheny. Senior linebacker Jackson Hutter, who missed the past three games, may return for Mt. Pleasant. The Vikings have a strong ground game that should control this tilt. … South Allegheny looks to end its seven-game losing streak after opening the season by defeating Yough. The Gladiators have allowed 47.7 points per game. Junior running back Cameron Epps is their biggest offensive threat.

Class 2A Allegheny Conference

Derry (3-5, 2-3) at Burrell (4-4, 3-2)

7 p.m. Friday, Buccaneer Stadium, Lower Burrell

Last week: Imani Christian 45, Derry 7; Steel Valley 49, Burrell 14

Last year’s result: Burrell 30, Derry 8

With the top four teams in each 3A conference qualifying for the playoffs, this game carries plenty of meaning. Burrell is a game up on Derry for fourth place and can clinch with a win. … After winning two straight, Derry has dropped three in a row to the conference’s heavy hitters. … Derry fell behind 38-0 to Imani before Justin Papuga’s 49-yard interception return put the Trojans on he board. … Burrell was tied 7-7 with Steel Valley before the Ironmen took over last week’s game.

Imani Christian (5-2, 3-1) at Ligonier Valley (2-6, 1-4)

7 p.m. Friday, Weller Field, Ligonier

Last week: Imani Christian 45, Derry 7; Serra Catholic 47, Ligonier Valley 0

Last year’s meeting: Ligonier Valley 42, Imani Christian 7

The Saints can clinch a spot in the WPIAL playoffs with a victory and are looking to secure a possible home game in the playoffs. Junior linebacker Dayshaun Burnett and sophomore running back/defensive back David Davis have multiple Division I offers. … It’s been 10 years since the Rams had a losing season, but with only two wins, they can make the WPIAL playoffs for the third consecutive season by upsetting the Saints and Derry. Coach Roger Beitel’s record in 20 seasons is 150-69.

No. 2 Steel Valley (6-1, 5-0) at Yough (2-6, 1-4)

7 p.m. Friday, Cougar Mountain Stadium, Sewickley Township

Last week: Steel Valley 49, Burrell 14; Apollo-Ridge 48, Yough 20

Last year’s result: Steel Valley 56, Yough 7

Steel Valley has locked up a playoff berth but wants the conference title. … Big-play back Donald Barksdale (1,060 yards, 21 TD) ran for a career-best 258 yards and six touchdowns against Burrell. The Ironmen have won five in a row following a 23-20 loss to Seton LaSalle in double overtime. … Yough let Apollo-Ridge pull away from a close game as the Vikings established a power running game. Julian Varrenti scored two touchdowns, and Shane Swope had another for the Cougars, who are winless at home this season.

Class A Eastern Conference

Jeannette (6-2, 3-1) at Springdale (1-7, 0-4)

7 p.m. Friday, Veteran Memorial Stadium, Springdale

Last week: Frazier 20, Springdale 14; Greensburg Central Catholic 42, Jeannette 24

Last year’s meeting: Jeannette 35, Springdale 7

The Jayhawks have clinched a berth in the WPIAL playoffs. Now they look to rebound after a disappointing loss to rival Greensburg Central Catholic. Jeannette is led by senior quarterback Peyton Molter and senior running back Noah Sanders. Injuries on the defensive line hurt the Jayhawks against GCC. … Springdale is looking for its first conference win since it defeated Riverview on Oct. 30, 2021. Senior quarterback Chase Weihrauch has rushed for 492 yards and three touchdowns and has completed 53 of 130 passes for 834 yards 11 touchdowns.

Riverview (4-4, 1-3) at Greensburg Central Catholic (5-3, 3-1)

7 p.m. Friday, Greensburg Central Catholic Stadium, Greensburg

Last week: Leechburg 29, Riverview 28; Greensburg Central Catholic 42, Jeannette 24

Last year’s meeting: Greensburg Central Catholic 48, Riverview 0

A WPIAL playoff berth is on the line for both teams. Riverview, however, needs to defeat the Centurions and Springdale to qualify. Greensburg Central Catholic needs to defeat either the Raiders or Leechburg in Week 9 to clinch. … The Raiders are led by running back Carlo Buzzatto with 1,506 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. … GCC is led by quarterback Tyree Turner and wide receiver Samir Crosby. Each has scored 11 touchdowns.

Class A Tri-County South Conference

Mapletown (3-5, 1-4) at Monessen (2-6, 1-4)

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

Last week: Mapletown 38, Bentworth 36; West Greene 46, Monessen 12

Last year’s result: Mapletown 26, Monessen 18

Monessen is one of four teams with one foot touching the bottom of the pool in the conference, so who doesn’t want to finish last? The top four qualify, but three spots already have been clinched. … Mapletown broke a five-game losing skid last week as Evan Griffin ran for 134 yards and two TDs. … Monessen has dropped four of its last five and is giving up a conference-high 33.3 points.

Nonconference

Class 6A No. 2 North Allegheny (7-1) at Penn-Trafford (4-4)

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

Last week: North Allegheny 53, Norwin 25; Penn-Trafford 21, Plum 6

Last year’s meeting: North Allegheny 20, Penn-Trafford 3

The Tigers and the Warriors play a nonconference game where both teams hope to come away healthy. North Allegheny has clinched second place in Class 6A. The Tigers average 44.7 points and are led by senior quarterback Logan Kushner, who has thrown 16 touchdown passes and rushed for 10. … Penn-Trafford’s running game is led by junior running back Tasso Whipple, who has rushed for 1,143 yards and 12 touchdowns, and freshman running back Ben Grabowski, who has rushed for 599 yards and nine scores. The Warriors have won three of the last four games.

North Hills (3-5, 2-2) at Franklin Regional (6-2, 3-1)

7 p.m. Friday, Panther Stadium, Murrysville

Last week: Seneca Valley 46, North Hills 25; Franklin Regional 38, Hempfield 15

Last year’s result: Franklin Regional 34, North Hills 14

Franklin Regional will take a break from the playoff race with a home game against the Indians, who are all but out of the postseason hunt in the Northeast Conference. … Chase Lemke has come into his own at quarterback for the Panthers. He has thrown for 466 yards and seven touchdowns in his last two games. Receiver Ayden Hudock has 11 catches for 178 yards and five TDs over the last two weeks. Juliano Marion has come on as a run-stopper who can hurry the quarterback. … North Hills has won two of three and put up 50 points against Fox Chapel. Quarterback Connor Davis is sneaky good.

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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