Westmoreland County’s don’t-miss football matchups for Week 3
By: Likitha Janga
Wednesday, September 12, 2018 | 6:18 PM
Hempfield (1-2, 0-2) at No. 4 Central Catholic (2-1, 1-1)
7 p.m. Friday, Geling Stadium, Carnegie Mellon University
Last week: Norwin 28, Hempfield 20; North Alleghen 27, Central Catholic 3
Coaches: Rich Bowen, Hempfield; Terry Totten, Central Catholic
Top players: Nate Roby, Hempfield (Jr., 5-6, 155, RB/FS); Dom Pieto, Central Catholic (Jr., 6-0, 180, QB)
Keep an eye on: Gavin Thompson, Central Catholic (Sr., 6-0, 180, WR)
Momentum: Hempfield. Despite an eight-point loss to rival Norwin, the Spartans were much improved on defense, turning the Knights away numerous times in the red zone.
Four downs: 1. Central Catholic fell flat in its big early-season test against talented North Allegheny. The Vikings threw three interceptions and gave away three fumbles. Like Norwin the previous week, the Vikings could not stop NA’s rushing attack. 2. Hempfield quarterback Blake Remaley was 15 of 23 for 147 yards and three touchdowns last week despite playing with an injured left shoulder. 3. Central has given up more points than it’s scored (62-47). 4. Sophomore Mario Perkins is gaining momentum as a key rusher for the Spartans. He also caught a touchdown last week.
Extra point: Both teams are averaging 15.7 points.
Class 5A Big East
Penn-Trafford (1-2, 1-1) at No. 3 McKeesport (3-0, 2-0)
7 p.m. Friday, George L. Smith Field at Weigle-Schaeffer Memorial Stadium
On the air: TribHSSN.triblive.com
Last week: Penn-Trafford 57, Connellsville 3; McKeesport 49, Albert Gallatin 0
Coaches: John Ruane, Penn-Trafford; Matt Miller, McKeesport
Top players: Gabe Dunlap, Penn-Trafford (Jr., 6-0, 165, QB); Konata Gaskins, McKeesport (Sr., 6-1, 190, QB)
Keep an eye on: Rahmon Powell, McKeesport (Sr., 5-9, 175, RB)
Momentum: McKeesport. The Tigers barely have been tested in three weeks, outscoring their opponents by an average of 37 points while scoring 50.3, the most in the top two classifications.
Four downs: 1. McKeesport has one of the top rushing attacks in Class 5A. The Tigers racked up 343 yards and six touchdowns on the ground last week at Albert Gallatin. 2. Penn-Trafford avoided its first 0-3 start since 2007 with its highest scoring output since 2015. 3. The Warriors scored on their first seven possessions last week, harkening the Warriors back to the high-scoring ability of recent teams. 4. McKeesport has scored 45, 57 and 49 points this season. The team has won nine straight at home.
Extra point: Dunlap has passed for more than 100 yards in all three games and also has two 100-yard rushing performances.
Latrobe (0-3, 0-1) at No. 1 Gateway (3-0, 2-0)
7 p.m. Friday, Pete Antimarino Stadium, Monroeville
On the air: 97.3 FM, 1480 AM; TribHSSN.triblive.com
Last week: Franklin Regional 17, Latrobe 14; Gateway 55, Plum 0
Coaches: Jason Marucco, Latrobe; Don Holl, Gateway
Top players: Trent Holler, Latrobe (Sr., 6-3, 290, C-DE); Derrick Davis, Gateway (So., 6-1, 185, RB/LB)
Keep an eye on: Chamor Price, Gateway (So., 6-1, 170, WR)
Momentum: Gateway. Opponents have managed just 15 points against the Gators, the defending WPIAL champions.
Four downs: 1. Gateway has big-play ability in the running and passing games as evidenced in last week’s rout of Plum. QB Brendan Majocha was 9 of 10 for 240 yards and three touchdowns, wideout Courtney Jackson had three catches for 121 yards and Davis ran for 123 yards and three scores. 2. Latrobe played visiting Franklin Regional close but lost by a field goal again as quarterback Branden Crosby completed 10 of 17 for 207 yards. The Wildcats led 14-0 at the half. 3. Latrobe receiver Zakharee Williams is having a strong season. He had 137 yards on four catches last week. 4. Majocha is completing more than 70 percent of his passes.
Extra point: The Gators have won seven in a row at home by an average of 24.9 points.
Class 4A Big 8
No. 4 BVA (1-1, 0-1) at Laurel Highlands (2-1, 0-0)
7 p.m. Friday, Mustang Corral
Last week: Thomas Jefferson 36, Belle Vernon 14; Laurel Highlands 32, Montour 0
Coaches: Matt Humbert, Belle Vernon; Jake Just, Laurel Highlands
Top players: Mason Pascoe, Belle Vernon (Sr., 5-7, 170, RB); Conner Basinger, Laurel Highlands (Sr., 6-0, 190, QB)
Keep an eye on: Hunter Ruokonen, Belle Vernon (Jr., 6-0, 170, WR)
Momentum: Laurel Highlands. The Mustangs are coming off consecutive wins, including a 32-0 whitewashing of Montour.
Four downs: 1. Pascoe scored two touchdowns and rushed for 259 yards in a loss to Thomas Jefferson. 2. Laurel Highlands is averaging 32 points. 3. Belle Vernon scored 43 points in one half against Ambridge before the game was called at halftime because of lightning. 4. Basinger has rushed for 397 yards and five touchdowns.
Extra point: Greensburg Salem graduate Jake Just replaced his brother, Zach, as the Mustangs head coach. Zach serves as an assistant coach.
Class 3A Big East
Yough (1-2, 1-1) at Deer Lakes (1-1, 1-1)
7 p.m. Friday at Lancers Stadium, West Deer Township
Last week: Mt. Pleasant 22, Yough 16; Deer Lakes 47, Uniontown 14
Coaches: Scott Wood, Yough; Tim Burk, Deer Lakes
Top players: Dustin Shoaf, Yough (Sr., 6-2, 210, RB/S); Aris Hasley, Deer Lakes (Jr., 5-10, 175, QB/FS)
Keep an eye on: Jack Hollibaugh, Deer Lakes (Jr., 6-1, 220, TE/LB)
Momentum: Deer Lakes exploded offensively last week to pick up its first win of the season.
Four downs: 1. Hasley threw for 341 yards and five touchdowns and added a rushing score in the rout of Uniontown last Friday; 2. Shoaf’s 646 rushing yards ranks him third in the WPIAL. He also has seven touchdowns; 3. The Cougars led Mt. Pleasant, 16-14, at the half last week but were shut out the rest of the way as the Vikings rallied; 4. A victory Friday would lift Deer Lakes past its conference win total (1-6) for all of last season.
Extra point: This will be the first meeting between the Yough and Deer Lakes football programs.
Class 2A Interstate
Beth-Center (3-0, 2-0) at Southmoreland (2-1, 1-1)
7 p.m. Friday, Russ Grimm Field
Last week: Beth-Center 50, Brownsville 15; Southmoreland 36, Carmichaels 8
Coaches: Joe Kuhns, Beth-Center; Dave Keefer, Southmoreland
Top players: Dom Fundy, Beth-Center (Sr., 6-1, 205, RB); Ron Robinson, Southmoreland (Sr., 5-7, 170, RB/LB)
Keep an eye on: Zach Cernuto, Southmoreland (So., 5-10, 170, QB/OLB)
Momentum: Southmoreland. The Scotties return for a big game after taking care of business with an impressive victory at Carmichaels.
Four downs: 1. Fundy has rushed for 485 yards yards and four touchdowns in three games. 2. Cernuto has completed 31 of 71 passes for 551 yards and four touchdowns. 3. BC quarterback Bailey Lincoski has completed 19 of 30 passes for 450 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 288 yards and eight scores. 4. Wide receiver Riley Comforti has 15 catches for 204 yards for the Scotties.
Extra point: What dog has the bigger bite? Both teams have posted wins against Carmichaels. The Bulldogs, who are averaging 48 points, won 44-8, and the Scotties won 36-8.
Class A Eastern
Leechburg (1-2, 0-1) at Greensburg C.C. (2-1, 1-1)
7 p.m. Friday at Centurion Field, Greensburg
Last week: Rochester 42, Leechburg 6; Clairton 40, GCC 0
Coaches: Mark George, Leechburg; Aaron Smetanka, GCC
Top players: Jake Blumer, Leechburg (Jr., 6-2, 190, RB/LB); Max Pisula, GCC (Sr., 6-2, 212, QB/LB)
Keep an eye on: Brando Ciccarelli, GCC (Sr., 5-9, 215, HB/LB)
Momentum: Both teams hope to return to the win column after tough losses last week.
Four downs: 1. Pisula, a 1,000-plus yard passer last season, has thrown for 329 yards and five touchdowns in three games this season; 2. Leechburg ended a seven-quarter scoring drought as Blumer ran one in late in last Friday’s setback; 3. GCC gave up four defensive touchdowns last week against Class A No. 3 Clairton; 4. GCC won last year’s meeting with Leechburg, 36-13.
Extra point: GCC has triumphed in all four games in the recent conference series by an average of 15.5 points.
Class A Tri-County South
Jefferson Morgan (1-2, 1-1) at Monessen (2-0, 1-0)
7 p.m. Friday, Monessen Memorial Stadium
Last week: Jefferson-Morgan 40, Mapletown 6; Monessen 40, Springdale 6
Coaches: Aaron Giorgi, Jefferson-Morgan; Mike Blainefield, Monessen
Top players: Jake Broadwater, Jefferson-Morgan (Sr., 5-11, 210, QB); Dwayne Howe, Monessen (Jr., 6-2, 170, QB/DB)
Keep an eye on: Devin Whitlock, Monessen (Fr., 5-7, 145, WR)
Momentum: Monessen. The Greyhounds have been impressive in two games, dumping then-No. 5 California, 30-20, and perennial power Springdale.
Four downs: 1. Whitlock could be one of Monessen’s next standouts. He scored on a 75-yard punt return last week. 2. Colby Rutan and Broadwater ran for two touchdowns each last week for Jefferson-Morgan, which put up 26 points in the second quarter. 3. The Rockets broke a five-game losing streak. 4. Monessen did not play its Week Zero opener because the game was canceled because of a pregame threat reportedly made against Charleroi students.
Extra point: Monessen’s next win will be number 660.
Chartiers Valley (2-1) at Norwin (2-1)
7 p.m. Friday, Norwin Knights Stadium
Last week: Chartiers Valley 21, Armstrong 17; Norwin 28, Hempfield 20
Coaches: Dan Knause, Chartiers Valley; Dave Brozeski, Norwin
Top players: Connor Barrett, Chartiers Valley (Sr., 6-2, 210, RB/LB); Gianni Rizzo, Norwin (Sr., 6-2, 215, WR/LB)
Keep an eye on: Zeke Houser, Norwin (Sr., 6-1, 190, RB)
Momentum: Norwin. After getting roughed up by North Allegheny in Week 1, the Knights rebounded with a road test at Hempfield.
Four downs: 1. Chartiers Valley spoiled Armstrong’s first game at its new stadium as Barrett, a bruiser out of the backfield, ran for 156 yards. 2. Houser ran for 158 yards and two scores, including a game-sealing 75-yard run in the fourth quarter as the Knights edged Hempfield for the second year in a row; 3. Norwin quarterback Jack Salopek, who has an offer from Pitt, has had to do more running than passing of late. He has passed for 472 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions. 3. Rizzo, a Youngstown State recruit, has been strong on both sides of the ball, but watch him in the wildcat. 4. After a 48-0 blowout of Ringgold, Chartiers Valley lost to West Allegheny, 41-7, in Week 1.
Extra point: Norwin’s entire line is made up of new starters.
Greensburg Salem (1-2, 1-0) at Class 4A No. 2 S. Fayette (2-1, 2-0)
7 p.m. Friday, South Fayette Stadium
On the air: 98.4 FM, 910 AM; [email protected]
Last week: Mars 35, Greensburg Salem 7; South Fayette 36, New Castle 0
Coaches: Dave Keefer, Greensburg Salem; Joe Rossi, South Fayette
Top players: Kenny Shea, Greensburg Salem (Sr., 5-8, 190, FB/LB); Jamie Diven, South Fayette (Sr., 6-1, 195, QB)
Keep an eye on: Trent Patrick, Greensburg Salem (Jr., 5-10, 220, QB)
Momentum: South Fayette. The Lions are coming off an impressive win at New Castle and are averaging 34.7 points.
Four downs: 1. This is Greensburg Salem’s final nonconference game. They return Big 8 Conference action at home against Laurel Highlands. 2. Diven is another top QB who Rossi has developed at South Fayette. He is 53 of 74 for 779 yards and 11 touchdowns. 3. Greensburg Salem needs to improve its running attack to open up the passing game for Patrick. 4. South Fayette has two receivers — Mike Trimbur and Charley Rossi — with 13 receptions each.
Extra point: Which Lion has the loudest roar? This is the first meeting between the schools. South Fayette will visit Offutt Field in 2019.
Class A No. 1 Jeannette (3-0, 2-0) at Avella (1-2, 0-1)
7 p.m. Friday, Avella Stadium
Last week: Jeannette 28, Imani Christian Academy 12; California 57, Avella 6
Coaches: Roy Hall, Jeannette; Ryan Cecchini, Avella
Top players: Jackson Pruitt, Jeannette (Jr., 6-1, 172, WR/DB); Owen English, Avella (Sr., 5-10, 165, RB)
Keep an eye on: Drake Petrillo, Jeannette (Sr., 6-0, 205, DL)
Momentum: Jeannette. The No. 1-ranked Jayhawks are coming off an impressive win against Imani. Look for Hall to play a lot of players if game gets out of hand.
Four downs: 1. Jeannette’s defense intercepted three passes last week. They were by Pruitt, Seth Howard and Zach Berginc. 2. Avella has allowed 97 points the past two games against Bishop Canevin and California. 3. Jeannette had more than 130 penalty yards in last week’s victory. 4. English has rushed for 289 yards and four touchdowns in three games.
Extra point: Hall had to deal with more than preparing his team for a game this week. He had flooding at his home Monday.
Class 4A No. 3 West Mifflin (2-1) at Franklin Regional (2-0)
7 p.m. Friday, Panthers Stadium, Murrysville
On the air: 107.1 FM; TribHSSN.triblive.com
Last week: West Mifflin 41, Trinity 0; Franklin Regional 17, Latrobe 14
Coaches: Ray Braszo, West Mifflin; Greg Botta
Top players: Parrish Parker, West Mifflin (Sr., 5-11, 190); Adam Rudzinski, Franklin Regional (Sr., 6-1, 190, QB)
Keep an eye on: Bryant Johnson, West Mifflin (Sr., 6-0, 175)
Momentum: West Mifflin. The Titans have posted back-to-back shutouts, 35-0 at Indiana and last week at home.
Four downs: 1. Class 5A Franklin Regional used a field goal by Anthony DiFalco to eke out a win over Latrobe for the second straight season. DiFalco, a freshman, made a 27-yard attempt with a minute to play. Dom DiFalco, now at Ohio Northern, beat the Wildcats last season. 2. Rudzinski was 12 of 26 for a career-high 294 yards and two touchdowns last week. He also intercepted a pass on defense. 3. Michael Evans caught a 93-yard touchdown from Rudzinski. 4. Parrish is a dangerous runner. He ran for 176 yards against Trinity.
Extra point: Despite plenty of success over the years, Franklin Regional has not started a season 3-0 since 2011.
ljanga is a Tribune-Review freelancer. You can contact ljanga at [email protected].
Tags: Avella, Belle Vernon, Beth-Center, Central Catholic, Chartiers Valley, Deer Lakes, Franklin Regional, Gateway, Greensburg C.C., Greensburg Salem, Hempfield, Jeannette, Jefferson-Morgan, Latrobe, Laurel Highlands, Leechburg, McKeesport, Monessen, Norwin