WPIAL Big Game Hunting: The Football Four-Pack – 09/28/2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011 | 4:10 PM

Crossing the halfway point and it is time to make your move and your statement this week in the WPIAL. Week five will have a lot to say about who gets in and who gets left behind when the Highway to Heinz begins. It will have even more to say about who gets a home game on the opening weekend of the playoffs and who will hit the road in round one. If you get burned by week five don’t blame BGH we tried to warn you. 

WPIAL Class AAAA Great Southern Conference
Peters Township Indians (2-2)(0-0) @ Bethel Park Black Hawks (1-3)(0-0)
Friday September 30th 7:30 pm @ Black Hawk Stadium
Broadcast on the MSA Sports Network and KQV AM 1410 by Sam Hall and Steve Nagler

This is a defining match for Big Game Hunting, a look at the first half of the year leads any logical person to believe that the winner of this game gets a monster leg up on the final playoff spot out of the conference and the loser will find themselves facing a serious uphill climb, in fact, it is the opinion of much of the BGH staff that this game is actually a winner is in, loser is out game. We will see.

Rich Piccinini is in his first year at Peters Township and has just two returning starters from last years team, but the Indians have shown some nice offensive skills and they do have some good young talent. It won’t take a miracle to get to the post-season for Peters this year, but it will likely take a win on the road at Bethel Friday night. Sophomore quarterback R.J. Pfeuffer has shown some great ability early on this year for the Indians, including throwing 148 yards and three touchdowns in a week three win over Kittanning. Running back Andrew Erenberg is one of the returning starters for the Indians and the kid can flat-out play, on both sides of the ball.

When Erenberg goes, the Indians go, in their two wins on the year he has rushed for 374 yards and six touchdowns, when he has been held down, Peters has struggled, look for his numbers to be a huge indicator as to how this game goes. The Indians also need to take care of the football they turned it over five times last week in a loss to West Mifflin. Coach Piccinini expects this to be a brawl, “It is going to be a tough hard-nosed game. Bethel is a very well coached team and has some very tough players.” Piccinini explained to Big Game Hunting. 

Bethel meanwhile has an ugly mark for Jeff Metheny at 1-3 but don’t be fooled, they have played some very stiff competition in Central, Shaler and Chartiers Valley. The Hawks have a returning starter at quarterback in Anthony Cinello, he continues to improve as his experience grows for Jeff Metheny and he has some nice talent to throw the ball to in tight end Nick Chess and wide receiver Evan Schwietzer.

The Hawks have a solid trio of running backs as well in Nick Marshall, Anthony Yonto and Eric Malle. All three are capable of pounding it inside and grinding it out, or breaking the big play with good speed. Their best playmaker though might be junior wide receiver Avery Dibble who contribute in all phases for Bethel, a great receiver, solid corner, and tremendous potential as a return man on special teams.  


WPIAL Class AAA Big Eight Conference
#10 Chartiers Valley Colts (3-1)(2-0) @ Belle Vernon Leopards (2-2)(2-0)
Friday September 30th 7:00 pm @ Chartiers Valley High School
Broadcast on the MSA Sports Network by Greg Warnock and Greg Kuntz

This game sets up as a monster in the Big Eight, both of these teams have the potential to become Big Eight champions heading into the game and with both Thomas Jefferson and West Mifflin also looking very solid in the conference the difference between having a crack at a title and being the fourth seed out of the conference is minimal, so this one becomes huge for the winner and very tough on the loser.

Chris Saluga’s Colts have rebounded nicely from a week one loss to Montour in which they also lost their starting quarterback Christian Kuntz to a ruptured spleen. That injury forced the Colts to move wide receiver Wayne Capers to quarterback, where he was last year before getting injured. Capers, a D-1 prospect at wide receiver has responded in a big way with some big numbers. On the season he has completed 26 of 53 passes for 406 yards and four touchdowns, he has also rushed 33 times for 294 yards and three touchdowns, oh and throw in a 79 yard punt return for a touchdown as well. Junior running back Mike Boulus has been solid for the Colts offense as well carrying 37 times for 260 yards and three touchdowns on the season.

Capers has a couple nice wideouts in seniors Zach Chapman and Marco Schubert who have combined for a dozen catches, 255 yards and four touchdowns through the first four weeks. Up front on both sides look for senior Niko Mamula (6’3’’ 270 pounds) to make a difference on both sides of the football for CV. Look we at BGH aren’t the only ones who think this sets up as a big one Coach Saluga says, "This game is the most important game of the season so far for us.  With playoff positioning on the line, we expect a tough battle." As usual, he is right on the money, so much so that we are considering adding him to the BGH staff.

Belle Vernon has been knocking on the door in the Big Eight for a while. Their two losses last year in conference play were to Thomas Jefferson and Chartiers Valley by a combined total of three points. They played a pair of tough non-conference games this year losing to New Castle and Hopewell. Aaron Krepps has a very good program going now.

Six starters return from last years team although a quality pair of Matts are lost to graduation in quarterback Naylor and running back Green. The problems are mounting though as the injury list for the Leopards is growing. Freshman quarterback Travis Snyder left with a concussion last Friday as the Leps were being beaten by New Castle. If he is still out this week look for Ian Dobbins at quarterback and  a bit of the now popular “wildcat” look for Belle Vernon.

WPIAL Class AA Century Conference  
Wash High Prexies (2-2)(1-1) @ #9 Keystone Oaks Golden Eagles (3-1)(2-0)
Friday September 30th 7:00 pm @ Dormont Stadium
Broadcast on the MSA Sports Network and Trib-Live Radio by Ken Laird and Jonathan Whaley and on WJPA-AM by Bob Gregg and Jason Kern

This game will have a monster impact on who is left to challenge for the second spot in the Century. Washington’s conference loss was to Seton, The Golden Eagles still have to face them, Seton is the thinking man’s favorite to win the Century. At least the right thinking man’s.

The Prexies are for real last weeks win over South Fayette was convincing enough to the BGH crew. The thing that really jumps out at you about Mike Bosnic’s club is not only are they so good but also soooo young, Prexie fans have a lot to look forward to for the first time in a long time since the departure of Guy Montecalvo. Lots of skill guys have stepped up for Wash High this season and they all get a bunch of touches but Sophomore Shai McKenzie leads them on the ground through four week with 370 yards and four touchdowns. Senior fullback Joe Phillips is the only senior in the backfield for Wash High, he is a bruising blocker and his mad skills open holes for McKenzie as well as a pair of talented junior running backs in Daron Whitaker and Jaylin Kelly, both averaging over ten yards per carry on the season. Phillips’ size (6’2” 265 pounds) creates serious mismatch problems for a lot of teams and has led to several offers to play on the next level including Youngstown State and Bowling Green. Junior quarterback Josh Wise can hurt you with his arm or his legs, keep an eye on this kid, he is a rising star in Washington County.

Defensively, Joe Phillips and Senior DE Eric Ellis are tough to block along the line.  Joe's dad was a defensive lineman in the NFL for 14 years and he has a lot of natural ability.  Eric is a hard nosed kid that comes hard every play.  Look for Jaylin Kelly, Shai McKenzie and Sophomore Chase Caldwell to also make big plays on defense.

And, hey!! Whaddya know, another head coach that concurs with the BGH staff, Mike Bosnic says of this game, “Keystone Oaks is a good football team and it will be tough going to Dormont Stadium.  This is a big game for both teams and could end up determining a home playoff game.  There seems to be alot of buzz and excitement over this game.”

Man we are gonna need more food for the BGH staff meetings.

Keystone Oaks has a great offense rolling averaging 37.5 points per game on the season behind three year starting quarterback Matt Buckley who has completed 48 of 84 passes for 730 yards and nine touchdowns on the year. Junior running back Dale Klobichur has been fabulous in the ground attack carrying 85 times for 648 yards and eight rushing touchdowns he is averaging 7.62 yards per carry.

Buckley’s favorite targets are sophomore Ricky Rogers and junior Corey Sevacko, Rogers has 15 catches for 215 yards and two touchdowns while Sevacko has 16 receptions for 204 yards and three scores.

Seniors Dan Ammer (6’2’’ 219 pounds) and Mike Sloan (6’2’’ 242 pounds) anchor a defensive line that Nick Kamberis calls the strength of his team. The two have combined for 36 total tackles, two sacks, two fumble recoveries and two caused fumbles. When you throw in Ryan Carroll and Chuck Walter you get one of the best front four groups in AA.

Coach Kamberis is looking forward to this contest and is impressed by the Prexies. “Wash High is one of the best teams that I have seen on film in the last 12 years.  They are a complete team with great skill and a nasty line.  We must play a clean game and get some breaks to be in the game in the 4th quarter.” Kamberis told BGH, so far his team has been doing a great job of both.

WPIAL Class A Black Hills Conference
#8 Brentwood Spartans (4-0)(2-0) @ Fort Cherry Rangers (3-1)(2-0)
Friday September 30th 7:30 pm @ Fort Cherry High School
Broadcast on the MSA Sports Network by Adam Hoerner and Mike Krcil

Who wants a crack at the Clairton Bears for the Black Hills Conference championship? At first blush the answer to that question for a lot people might be, no one. But that is not really the case at all, both of these clubs would love to have a chance to knock the Bears off the top of the Black Hills mountain. But only the winner of this game will get that crack.

The numbers for Brentwood are staggering, the Spartans are averaging 41.3 points per game on offense and only allowing five points per game on defense. Let’s be clear; no matter who you are playing, those are impressive numbers. But let’s also be honest, the Spartans first four opponents are a combined ….0-16 through four weeks. So how good is Brentwood? We will find out Friday night.
One thing is certain Kevin Kissel in his 14th season at Brentwood has some very talented, but also very young football players. Sophomore running back Justin Vickless has gone over the century mark in two games this year. He also had a pair of punt returns for touchdowns in last weeks win.

Junior quarterback Chris Shortley has been very solid in the 4-0 start for the Spartans but shortly, (yes I came up with that on my own) the competition will improve dramatically as the Spartans head to McDonald to take on the Rangers.

Tanner Garry has completed 40 of 63 passes for 819 yards and a dozen touchdowns on the year for Fort Cherry. Ryan Babirad is their leading receiver and he is also a monster ball hawk in the secondary for Jim Garry’s team. Tanner will spread it around though anyone downfield wearing a red jersey has to be ready when he drops back and Kolten Kobrys, Tyreke Brown, and Zack Dysert also make the catches for the Rangers.

This is not a one dimensional, or a one Garry team though. In the Ranger backfield is one of the best two way players in the WPIAL in running back Corey Garry, Tanner’s cousin. Corey is just a hard nosed gym rat go all out competitive “player”, he is a guy no matter what game you are picking up for, that you would take first when choosing your lineup. He has rushed for around 300 yards and scored five touchdowns. He also gives opponents headaches, literally, as a terrific linebacker.

Coach Garry knows what this game means for the Rangers, “It's a huge game for us.  They are undefeated and we have to one loss…to Rochester.  In order for us to have a chance at the conference
title in weeks eight and nine, we have to get this win.” See, I told you there are people who want a crack at the Bears.

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