Westmoreland County’s don’t-miss high school football matchups for Week 7

By: HSSN Staff
Wednesday, October 10, 2018 | 7:21 PM


Class 6A

Canon-McMillan (2-4, 1-4) at Norwin (3-4, 2-3)

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

On the air: 1450 AM; TribHSSN.triblive.com

Last week: Pine-Richland 38, Canon-McMillan 7; Central Catholic 35, Norwin 16

Coaches: Mike Evans, Canon- McMillan; Dave Brozeski, Norwin

Top players: Joshua O’Hare, Canon-McMillan (Sr., 6-0, 185, RB); Gianni Rizzo, Norwin (Sr., 6-2, 195, WR/LB)

Keep an eye on: Jayvon Thrift, Norwin (Sr., 5-10, 185, RB/DB)

Momentum: Norwin. The Knights stayed close with No. 3 Central Catholic, even leading 16-14, and continue to show some offensive pop. Line play has been a deficiency. Both teams are allowing more than 30 points per game.

Four downs: 1. Rizzo continues to be one of the top playmakers in 6A. He pulled in an 85-yard scoring pass last week and ran for another score. The Youngstown State recruit leads the team in touchdowns, tackles and sacks. 2. Norwin allowed Central Catholic running back Ed Tillman to run for 330 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries last week. 3. Canon-McMillan had a two-game winning streak snapped last week after victories over Hempfield (20-14) and Peters Township (35-26). 4. Salopek left last week’s game in the third quarter and did not return. He was to be evaluated this week for a possible concussion. Sophomore Nick Flemming played most of the second half under center.

Extra point: While it has given up a lot of points to some upper-tier teams, Norwin’s defense has shown flashes of big-play ability. Against Central, a pair of Tanners has interceptions: Queen and Krevokuch. The Knights also recovered a fumble.

No. 2 North Allegheny (7-0, 6-0) at Hempfield (1-6, 0-6)

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

On the air: TribHSSN.triblive.com

Last week: North Allegheny 55, Butler 3; Seneca Valley 18, Hempfield 0

Coaches: Art Walker, North Allegheny; Rich Bowen, Hempfield

Top players: Ben Maenza, North Allegheny (Sr., 5-8, 155, RB); Mario Perkins, Hempfield (So., 5-10, 165, RB)

Keep an eye on: Joey Porter Jr., North Allegheny (Jr., 6-2, 190, WR/DB)

Momentum: North Allegheny. The Tigers have outscored their last three opponents 99-12.

Four downs: 1. North Allegheny has all the tools of a championship- caliber team — what else is new, say teams in the conference — with size, speed and tremendous depth. 2. Remaley has played well at times despite a bad shoulder. He completed 9 of his first 10 passes last week but threw two interceptions in the loss, Hempfield’s 15th in its last 17 games. 3. Porter is the son of former Steelers defensive star Joey Porter. Lineman Cade Hoke’s father, Chris, also played for the Steelers. 4. Quarterback Ben Petschke, who shares time with Gunnar Fisher, threw for 156 yards and two touchdowns last week for the Tigers.

Extra point: North Allegheny’s cornerstone is its line, especially its guard-against-the-run defensive front.

Class 5A Big East

Connellsville (2-4, 1-3) at Franklin Regional (5-1, 3-1)

7 p.m. Friday, Franklin Regional HS Stadium, Murrysville

On the air: TribHSSN.triblive.com

Last week: Fox Chapel 45, Connellsville 15; Gateway 63, Franklin Regional 3

Coaches: Marko Thomas. Connellsville; Greg Botta, Franklin Regional

Top players: Josh Maher, Connellsville (Jr., 6-6, 190, QB); Adam Rudzenski, Franklin Regional (Sr., 6-1, 192, QB)

Keep an eye on: Mike Evans, Franklin Regional (Sr., 6-0, 170, WR/DB)

Momentum: Franklin Regional. The Panthers are looking to rebound after getting humbled by No. 1 Gateway. A win could provide the Panthers momentum before finishing on the road at McKeesport and Penn-Trafford.

Four downs: 1. Kicker Gage Gillott has three field goals and 17 extra points for the Falcons. 2. Anthony DiFalco’s 33-yard field goal was the only points the Panthers could muster against Gateway. 3. WR Jalen Rogers has six touchdowns and 10 catches for 289 yards to lead the Falcons. 4. Franklin Regional sophomore running back Brandon Zanotto rushed for a season-high 66 yards against Gateway.

Extra point: Thomas is in his second season at Connellsville, where he’s trying to revive a once powerhouse program.

Latrobe (1-6, 1-4) at Plum (2-5, 1-5)

7 p.m. Friday, Mustangs Stadium, Plum

On the air: 97.3 FM, 1480 AM; TribHSSN.triblive.com

Last week: Penn-Trafford 27, Latrobe 7; Plum 45, Albert Gallatin 7

Coaches: Jason Marucco, Latrobe; Matt Morgan, Plum

Top players: Zak Williams, Latrobe (Sr., 5-9, 170, WR/DB); James Schropp, Plum (Sr., 5-11, 185, RB/WR/DB)

Keep an eye on: William Guzzi, Plum (So., 5-7, 160, RB/DB)

Momentum: Plum snapped a five-game losing streak with last Friday’s win.

Four downs: 1. Plum needs a win in Friday’s Big East finale and some help to stay in the 5A playoff race. 2. Latrobe can take a big step toward the No. 5 playoff spot in the Big East with a win Friday and a Connellsville loss at Franklin Regional. 3. The Mustangs running game tallied 210 yards, and Billy Guzzi, Reed Martin and James Schropp rushed for touchdowns in the win over Albert Gallatin. 4. Williams is a pass-catching and run threat who leads Latrobe with nine touchdowns.

Extra point: Latrobe won last year’s meeting 28-7, but Plum took the 2016 contest 41-24.

Class 4A Big Eight

No. 3 Belle Vernon (5-1, 4-1) at No. 5 West Mifflin (4-3, 4-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday, West Mifflin Stadium

On the air: TribHSSN.triblive.com

Last week: West Mifflin 42, Greensburg Salem 28; Belle Vernon 54, Trinity 0

Coaches: Matt Humbert, Belle Vernon; Ray Braszo, West Mifflin

Top players: Jared Hartman, Belle Vernon (Sr., 6-1, 210, QB/LB); Parrish Parker, West Mifflin (Sr., 5-11, 190, RB/DB)

Keep an eye on: Bryant Johnson, West Mifflin (Sr., 6-0. 180, WR)

Momentum: Belle Vernon. The Leopards have scored 49, 49, 48 and 54 points in their past four games since a Week 2 loss to Thomas Jefferson.

Four downs: 1. Parker ranks seventh among WPIAL rushers with 1,065 yards on 134 carries. 2. Hartman showed his dual-threat ability last week with three TDs rushing and another passing. 3. Belle Vernon won 35-7 at West Mifflin last season. 4. West Mifflin is 3-2 against Belle Vernon since 2014, when Humbert took over as coach.

Extra point: Two of West Mifflin’s losses were to Class 5A opponents Mars, 7-6, and Franklin Regional, 28-6. The third was a storm-shortened 14-0 loss to New Castle.

Ringgold (0-7, 0-4) at Greensburg Salem (2-5, 2-2)

7 p.m. Friday, Offutt Field, Greensburg

On the air: 910 AM, 98.7 FM, 107.1 FM; TribHSSN.triblive.com

Last week: Laurel Highlands 52, Ringgold 13; West Mifflin 42, Greensburg Salem 28

Coaches: Mike Zmijanac, Ringgold; Dave Keefer, Greensburg Salem

Top players: Tyler Buzalka, Ringgold (Fr., 5-9, 160, RB); Dajauhn Hertzog (Sr., 5-8, 160, WR/DB)

Keep an eye on: Jalen Page, Greensburg Salem (Jr., 5-10, 180, RB/LB)

Momentum: Greensburg Salem. The Golden Lions can end their playoff drought by winning two of their final three games. Beating Ringgold and Indiana are a must to return to the postseason for the first time since 2010.

Four downs: 1. Ringgold has struggled this season, scoring only four touchdowns, including two last week against Laurel Highlands. 2. Greensburg Salem has struggled stopping talented running backs; Belle Vernon’s Mason Pascoe and West Mifflin’s Parker Parrish each ran for more than 200 yards. 3. Ringgold is allowing 52.6 points per game, including 62 to Thomas Jefferson and Gateway. 4. Greensburg Salem must find away to start faster; the Golden Lions have fallen behind by double digits in the past two games.

Extra point: Zmijanac, who coached Aliquippa to 10 straight WPIAL title game appearances, inherited a program that is rebuilding with a young roster.

Class 3A Big East

No. 2 Derry (6-1, 4-1) at Yough (3-4, 3-2)

7 p.m. Friday, Cougar Mountain Stadium, Herminie

On the air: TribHSSN.triblive.com

Last week: Derry 53, Uniontown 20; Aliquippa 54, Yough 20

Coaches: Tim Sweeney, Derry; Scott Wood, Yough

Top players: Justin Flack, Derry (Sr., 5-8, 160, RB); Dustin Shoaf, Yough (Sr., 6-2, 215, RB)

Keep an eye on: Dom DeLuca, Derry (Sr., 6-5, 230, FB/LB)

Momentum: Derry. Despite allowing 20 points to winless Uniontown last week, a product of playing backups against Red Raiders starters, the Trojans have plenty of firepower.

Four downs: 1. With No. 4 North Catholic beating No. 2 Elizabeth Forward last week, Derry moved up the rankings and is tied with those two teams for first place in the conference. Yough has to play all three of those teams in consecutive weeks. 2. The Trojans have allowed 45 points in their last two games, more than half of their season total. 3. Shoaf ran for 134 yards against vaunted Aliquippa and continues to lead the WPIAL in rushing with 1,439 yards. 4. Yough surrendered 177 passing yards to the top-ranked Quips and also gave up a punt-return touchdown.

Extra point: Derry won last year’s meeting 48-7 and also won 28-7 two years ago.

Elizabeth Forward (5-1, 4-1) at Mt. Pleasant (1-6, 1-4)

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

Last week: North Catholic 27, Elizabeth Forward 0; Burrell 35, Mt. Pleasant 7

Coaches: Mike Collodi, Elizabeth Forward; Jason Fazekas, Mt. Pleasant

Top players: Zach Benedek, Elizabeth Forward (Sr., 6-1, 190, QB); Jacob Johnson, Mt. Pleasant (Jr., 6-2, 175, WR/DB)

Keep an eye on: Nate Alberts, Elizabeth Forward (Sr., 6-2, 186, WR)

Momentum: Elizabeth Forward. The Warriors will try to finish the season strong to stay in the hunt for a conference title and high seed in the postseason.

Four downs: 1. Elizabeth Forward split with the top teams in the conference, defeating Derry by three and losing to North Catholic by 27. 2. Mt. Pleasant is struggling this season, but injuries and a couple of close losses have hurt their progress. 3. Benedek has rushed for eight touchdowns this season, but he’s also dangerous with his arm. Mt. Pleasant’s Jacob Johnson, the Vikings’ top receiver, scored a rushing touchdown last week.

Extra point: Elizabeth Forward is having a fantastic season, but if things go as expected, despite sharing the conference title with Derry and North Catholic, the Warriors likely will be on the road for the first round of the playoffs. Derry is likely to get the top seed, and North Catholic will finish No. 2 in the conference based on tiebreaker points.

Class A Tri-County South

Monessen (5-1, 4-1) at Mapletown (0-7, 0-4)

7 p.m. Friday, Mapletown Field, Mapletown

On the air: TribHSSN.TribLive.com

Last week: Monessen 46, Chartiers-Houston 12; Greensburg Central Catholic 43, Mapletown 6

Coaches: Mike Blainefield, Monessen; George Messich, Mapletown

Top players: Vaughn Taylor, Monessen (Sr., 5-10, 190, RB/LB); Zach Greene, Mapletown (Jr., 5-10, 190, RB)

Keep an eye on: Devin Whitlock, Monessen (Fr., 5-7, 145, RB)

Momentum: Monessen. The Greyhounds can clinch a berth in the WPIAL playoffs by defeating Mapletown and Avella by more than 10 points.

Four downs: 1. Mapletown forfeited its nonconference game to Clairton because of injuries. 2. Monessen had its Week Zero game canceled against Charleroi because of a threat to students. 3. Mapletown only has three seniors listed on its 18-man roster. 4. Sophomore Isaiah Beltram has scored seven touchdowns three different ways this season for Monessen.

Extra point: Monessen can tie for the conference championship as long as it defeats Mapletown and Avella.

Nonconference

Penn-Trafford (5-2) at Trinity (1-5)

7 p.m. Friday, Hiller Field, Washington

Last week: Penn-Trafford 27, Latrobe 7; Belle Vernon 54, Trinity 0

Coaches: John Ruane, Penn-Trafford; Jon Miller, Trinity

Top players: Caleb Lisbon, Penn-Trafford (Jr., 6-0, 195, RB); Micah Finley, Trinity (So., 5-8, 165, RB)

Keep an eye on: Niko Rosso, Penn-Trafford (Sr., 6-1, 210, LB)

Momentum: Penn-Trafford. One of the hottest teams in the WPIAL, the Warriors have won five straight by an average score of 43.8 to 4.4.

Four downs: 1. Penn-Trafford is a long way from an 0-2 start, and Ruane said the team continues to improve in all three facets of the game. 2. The Warriors are averaging 238.1 yards per game on the ground with Lisbon leading with 628 yards and nine touchdowns. He ran for three scores last week to help the Warriors peel away from testy Latrobe.

3. Dunlap has passed for 813 yards and 10 touchdowns and has rushed for 476 yards and three scores. 4. Trinity has been shut out three times, 47-0 against West Mifflin, 48-0 to Thomas Jefferson and last week by Belle Vernon.

Extra point: Penn-Trafford kicker Keaton Hier has been a formidable replacement for standout Nick Tarabrella. He kicked two field goals last week, from 22 and 41 yards. He has four field goals on the season.

Shenango (1-6) at Southmoreland (3-4)

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

Last week: Ellwood City 42, Shenango 14; Charleroi 56, Southmoreland 27

Coaches: James Graham, Shenango; Dave Keefer, Southmoreland

Top players: Jason Kraner, Shenango (Jr., 6-1, 180, WR); Ron Robinson, Southmoreland (Sr., 5-9, 185, RB/LB)

Keep an eye on: Zach Cernuto, Southmoreland (So., 5-10, 160, QB)

Momentum: Southmoreland. The Scotties look to finish the season at .500 if they can win two of their final three games.

Four downs: 1. Shenango’s only win was a 34-33 nonconference victory against Serra Catholic. 2. Cernuto has thrown for 1,412 yards and 13 touchdowns this season for Southmoreland. 3. Shenango has allowed 146 points the past three games. 4. Robinson has rushed for 734 yards and scored 11 touchdowns for the Scotties.

Extra point: First-year coach Keefer has to be pleased with the progress the Scotties have made this season, especially if they can reach five victories. The Scotties are averaging 30 points.

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