WPIAL Big Game Hunting – Quarterfinals
Wednesday, November 11, 2015 | 11:12 PM
Quarter-finals week on the MSA Sports Network after a pretty chalk first round, really a very chalk first round just four upsets by seed and three of those in the eight – nine games, the other a ten seed over a seven seed. This Friday, I think you will see the chalk go by the wayside as I predict upsets will be the order of the weekend, but hey I know nothing, we’ve gone out of our way to make that abundantly clear here week after week. Just 16 games on this Friday night make sure you get out to one or listen to one here on the MSA Sports Network, even better if you do both of those things. Here are my picks for Week 11 of Big Game Hunting.
Class AAAA Quarterfinals:
#2 Penn-Trafford Warriors (10-0) vs #7 McKeesport Tigers (9-1) Friday November 13th @ 7:30 PM @ Gateway high school broadcast on the MSA Sports Network and WHJB FM 107.1 by Mike Zappone and Jimmy Lee Santorella
In AAAA we feature one of the three re-matches on quarterfinal Friday. This game took place the first time back in week three with Penn-Trafford winning at home 21-7 behind a rock-solid defensive effort that held the Tigers to 196 yards of total offense. Penn-Trafford’s defensive ends Chris Stanford and Andre Guest got THE Tiger by the tail holding Khaleke Hudson to just 81 yards on 16 carries for the night. Brett Laffoon threw a pair of touchdown passes to Tim Vecchio in the win for the Warriors.
Laffoon on the year has completed 94 of 131 passes for 1801 yards and 25 touchdowns while throwing a staggeringly-low two interceptions a fantastic ratio for head coach John Ruane.
Wide receiver Tim Vecchio has caught a full 38% of Laffoon’s completions with 36 catches for 830 yards, and caught 68% of his Laffoon’s touchdown passes with 17 on the season.
Penn-Trafford can run it as well with a big, strong experienced offensive line opening holes for Jonah Lisbon who has rushed for 1075 yards and 16 touchdowns on 119 attempts for the season.
McKeesport, uh not so much with the passing, as a team they have attempted 30 passes and completed just 11 for the 2015 campaign. The good news in the Tiger passing game is when they do complete it, it is usually for a touchdown. Seven of their 11 completions have gone for scores.
They will keep it on the ground with Hudson getting the bulk of the work. The senior has carried it 106 time for 1118 yards and 24 touchdowns on the year.
Seniors quarterback Tymar Sutton and running back Mark Cromerdie will get involved in the rushing attack as well. The duo has combined for 1181 yards and 20 touchdown on the ground this year.
If you like a contrast in styles, this is the game for you Friday night.
Class AAA Quarterfinals:
#3 West Allegheny Indians (8-2) vs #6 Thomas Jefferson Jaguars (8-2) Friday November 13th @ 7:30 PM @ Upper Saint Clair high school broadcast on the MSA Sports Network by Sam Hall and Cory Campano
After losing their first two games the Jaguars of Thomas Jefferson have rattled off eight wins in a row for head coach Bill Cherpak, including an opening round thumping of Armstrong 42-7 behind the rushing attack of Quinton Hill and Braden Pahanish who combined to rush for over 400 yards in the Jags victory.
Bob Palko’s West Allegheny team started the season 6-0 but the Indians lost two of their final three regular season games before responding in the opening round with a 28-8 win over Hollidaysburg that featured a pair of touchdowns each for Terrence Stephens and Whitney White.
If the AAAA was a contrast in styles this game will be a study of mirror images. Both the Jags and the Indians have relied heavily on the run all season long and historically as programs under a pair of legendary head coaches.
The Jags running back duo is junior Quinton Hill (86 carries, 1067 yards and 19 touchdowns) and senior Braden Pahanish (66 carries, 869 yards and nine touchdowns).
Junior quarterback Bobby Kelly is back after missing the first half of the season and shaking off the rust rapidly. Kelly has completed 22 of 44 passes since returning to the lineup for 326 yards and four scores without throwing an interception.
Junior Zane Zandier is a touchdown machine for the Jags, he has scored 14 touchdowns on 54 touches for the year.
West Allegheny has a great rushing duo of their own, Stepehns and White have had their way with most opponents this season. Stephens to the tune of 1351 yards and 20 touchdowns on 132 carries and White has added 667 yards and 13 scores on 83 runs.
Junior quarterback Nick Ross has completed 41 of 66 passes for 607 yards and five touchdowns on the year. Brandon Lipford is the leading receiver on the year for the Indians with 15 catches for 312 yards.
The Jags and Indians both play some very serious team defens with TJ allowing just 10.6 points per game and WA letting up just 11.6 per game.
Class AA Quarterfinals:
#2 Aliquippa Quips (10-0) vs #10 Seton LaSalle Rebels (8-2) Friday November 13th @ 7:30 PM at Ambridge high school broadcast on the MSA Sports Network and WMBA-AM 1460 by Bob Barrickman and Kerry Lacey
The world is expecting the Quips vs the Lions III at Heinz Field in a couple of weeks and neither of those teams has done anything to give any indication that will not be the case. This game will provide a little insight on that potential match-up. Seton LaSalle in week eight went on the road to South Fayette and led the Lions 14-0 at the half before falling 17-14 as South Fayette responded with 17 unanswered points in the second half. Can the Rebels find a way to push the Quips the way they did the Lions? I think they can.
Seton is missing one of their best players in Liam Sweeny out for the season with an injury, but they responded well in the opening round getting a win off the tough Highlands Golden Rams 27-14. The competition level is about to pick up.
The Quips won a shoot-out with Keystone Oaks 42-26 in their opening round game.
Sheldon Jeter completed 7 of 11 passes in the win including three touchdown tosses. For the season Jeter is 51 of 88 for 1123 yards and 15 scoring strikes while only tossing two picks.
Jasir Jordan and Canard Tates have combined for 47 catches, 730 yards and 10 touchdowns in the passing game for the Quips.
On the ground Kaezon Pugh is approaching 1400 yards for the season and has scored 21 touchdowns. He also suffered a concussion reportedly in Aliquippa’s opening round win. Pugh’s availability is unknown at press time and will obviously have a huge impact on this football game.
The Rebs counter with Nolan Abbiatici at quarterback, Lionel Deanes on the ground and one of the best in the WPIAL at wide receiver Paris Ford.
Abbiatici has completed 87 passes on the season, 47 of those completions have gone to Paris Ford and Ford has recorded an astounding 23 touchdowns for the year.
Abbiatici has thrown for 22 scores and 1367 yards, he can also run it a little bit for the Rebels.
Lionel Deanes is breaking out as a star sophomore for Seton with 1266 yards and a dozen touchdowns on the season.
Class A Quarterfinals:
#3 Jeannette Jayhawks (9-1) vs #6 Neshannock Lancers (9-1) Friday November 13th @ 7:30 PM at Big Mac Stadium in Canonsburg, PA broadcast on The MSA Sports Network and WJST-AM 1280 by Tim Contineza and Lee Mohn
The Hawks only loss on the season was to Da Bears and they would like another crack at Clairton, to get that they will need to get to Heinz Field and that trip goes through Neshannock.
The Lancers fell to Shenango in week two and since then they have rattled off eight in a rown including an opening round win over Bentworth 49-13. Jeannette got a game from Chartiers-Houston before winning 27-7 in their opening round match-up.
The Lancers like to throw with Frank Antuono completing 106 of 165 passes for 1608 yards and 18 touchdowns. Antuono is also the Lancers leading rusher on the season with 910 yards on 132 carries and he has scored 16 times.
Danny Welker and Robert Lindsey have combined for 53 catches and 868 yards on the season and the duo has added 25 touchdowns.
The Hawks will throw it as well, Gio Vonne Sanders has hooked up on 69 of 119 passes for 1217 yards, a dozen touchdowns and he has not thrown an interception.
Swade Redman and Kareen Hall are the receivers to watch on Friday night they have 14 catches each and they are both big-time playmakers after the catch averaing around 20 yards per reception.
Hall is the go-to runner for the Hawks with 754 yards and 16 scores on 81 carries.
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