WPIAL Big Game Hunting – Week Seven 2015

Wednesday, October 14, 2015 | 5:58 PM

The “Stretch Run” for 2015 is on us, the final third of the regular season will start this weekend with several big games around the WPIAL. Players, whether you are playing for a number one seed, a conference title, a home playoff game, a shot at the playoffs, a winning season, or to get your only win of the season, play hard, keep your head up when you tackle and make the most of this time in your life. If you are going to watch, cheer hard, bellyache less about the refs and the coaches, support your kids and your team without feeling like you need to control or have some input as to how the other team should or should not conduct themselves. It’ll be so much more fun for you and the people around you. Need to know where to go, or which link to click? I can help there, let’s go Big Game Hunting.

AAAA Foothills Conference
#8 Plum Mustangs (5-1)(4-1) vs #7 McKeesport Tigers (5-1)(4-1) Friday October 16th @ 7:00 PM @ George Smith Field @ Weigle-Schaeffer Stadium on the campus of McKeesport high school broadcast on the MSA Sports Network by Paul Paterra and Scott Majesky also available as a video feed on the Network shot by Jodi Zangrilli-Cook

Plum rebounded from a tough week five road loss to Kiski by thumping Connellsville last week 49-23. The Tigers only loss of the season came on the road as well in week three at Penn-Trafford. McKeesport is allowing just eight points per game defensively. Plum has played very well on the defensive side of the ball as well holding their opponents to under 13 points per game on average.

No surprises in McKeesport as the Tigers, (this just in), are not going to try and beat you by throwing the ball all over the lot. McKeesport through six games as a team have attempted just 15 passes on the year completing four of them.

McKeesport has as always a fantastic rushing attack, as a team they have rushed for very nearly 2000 yards on the season.

They are led by senior Khaleke Hudson who has 598 yards on 59 carries and has scored a second-best in the entire WPIAL 17 touchdowns on the season.

Hudson is just one though of five McKeesport Tigers who have rushed for over 200 yards on the season. That list includes quarterback Tymar Sutton, Mark Cromerdie, Jayvaun Shears and, John Harper.

They’ll come at you with speed, deception, and power, but they will definitely be running and you better be ready to make a lot of good tackles and play strong up front.

That’s what the Mustangs have done for most of the season.

Sophomore quarterback Corey Thomas has completed 20 of 43 passing attempts for 371 yards and five scores, he has also rushed for 139 yards and three touchdowns.

Ashton Teeter leads the Mustangs in receptions with 17 for 377 yards on the year.

On the ground senior Jaleel Bey and Junior Nick Coxon lead the way with a combined 478 yards Coxon has 286 and three scores while Bey has 192 yards and a pair of scores.

If it comes down to a field goal Plum will be strong relying on senior Jacob Chapla who has already converted six field goals on the season.

AAA Big Ten Conference
West Mifflin Titans (4-2)(4-2) vs Elizabeth Forward Warriors (3-3)(3-3) Friday October 16th @ 7:30 PM @ Warriors Stadium on the campus of Elizabeth Forward high school broadcast on the MSA Sports Network by Greg Warnock and Andy Stanko 

Seven of the ten Big Ten teams are 3-3 or better in conference play through week six. Five playoff spots are guaranteed with a possible wild card spot for a sixth team but somebody sitting pretty right now is going to miss out on the post season fun here in 2015, who is it going to be?

Neither of these teams wants to be the one. The Titans snapped a two game losing streak with a road win over Laurel Highlands 28-17 last Friday night.

Quarterback Karlyn Garner is a solid dual threat completing 22 of 42 passes for 287 yards and he has rushed for a second-best-on-the-team 434 yards this year as well.

Russell Tyree is the leading runner for the Titans with 656 yards and 10 touchdowns in his 94 carries. Fullback Maryce Johnson is not just a decoy in the run game with 36 carries and 235 yards on the year.

The Warriors have won two in a row after starting 1-3 but they are in for a dog fight down the stretch starting with West Mifflin they will finish at Ringgold and home against Belle Vernon. One thing is certain if they do find their way into the playoffs they will be there as a very battle-tested team.

Senior running back Conor Hinchey makes the Warriors go, he has rushed for 878 yards on 145 carries, averaging over 24 carries per game, Hinchey has scored eight touchdowns.

Junior quarterback Steve Mayernik has completed 18 of 48 passes for 234 yards and three touchdowns on the season while throwing just one interception. He has taken good care of the ball but may need to get a little more risky for the Warriors to knock off the Titans.

You figure Elizabeth Forward has to win one of these final three to hold on to their playoff hopes, this might be their best chance to do so.

AA Allegheny Conference
#10 Deer Lakes Lancers (5-1)(4-1) vs #7 Freeport Yellowjackets (5-1)(5-0) Friday October 16th @ 7:00 PM @ Freeport high school broadcast on the MSA Sports Network by Matt Vandiak and James Dotson

Deer Lakes has a loss to Highlands on their record, Freeport has lost once as well, falling out of conference against Steel Valley in week five. The Yellowjackets, having already beaten Highlands would take a huge step towards a conference title by knocking off Deer Lakes Friday night.

The Lancers boast the second-leading rusher in the entire WPIAL. Senior running back Hunter Burns has been unstoppable all season long. Burns is so much of the Lancers’ offense they don’t even bother reporting any other stats for the rest of the ream! Burns has 185 carries for 1220 yards and has scored 11 touchdowns on the season.

Deer Lakes has decided where their eggs are going and they make no bones about putting them in the Hunter Burns basket. It has worked dramatically so far as their turnaround from a 1-8 program last season is already one of the best stories in the 2015 WPIAL regular season.

A win would keep them alive for a shot at a piece of the conference title and that would only make the story that much better.

Freeport has the 8th leading passer in the WPIAL in senior quarterback Ryan Weigold who has completed 54 of 87 passes for 1035 yards and 12 touchdowns. All of that said his most impressive number might be the one interception he has thrown in those 87 attempts.

The Hochbein twins Brandon and Dylan are the top receiving threats and their numbers are nearly as similar as they are. Brandon has 15 catches for 318 yards and six scores. Dylan has 15 catches for just 307 yards, but he has an extra touchdown with seven on the year.

On the ground Ian Miller gets the bulk of the work with 297 yards on 57 carries, he has scored seven touchdowns.

The Yellowjackets struggled to stop the run game of Steel Valley in their only loss they will need to shore that up against Burns and the Lancers.

A Black Hills Conference
#2 Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic Trojans (6-0)(5-0) vs #5 Avonworth Antelopes (5-1)(4-1) Friday October 16th @ 7:00 PM @ Lenzner Field in Avonworth, Pennsylvania broadcast on the MSA Sports Network by Rick Smith and Greg Kuntz

There is no denying that a little bit of the shine came off of this game when the ‘Lopes got tripped up on the road last Saturday night by the Bishop Canevin Crusaders 35-28. Duke Johncour’s club has to find a way to put that loss behind them as they come home still with a shot at the conference title in their sights. Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic meanwhile is still looking for their first real test of the year having rolled through the first two-third of the season without being challenged at all.

Senior quarterback Erik Taylor has been spectacular as a dual threat for Jason Gildon’s team. Taylor has a combined 1221 yards on the season. He has completed 49 of 67 passes for 888 yards and 11 touchdowns and has rushed for 333 yards and another six touchdowns.

Isaiah Harvin and Khalil Weathers have combined for 22 catches, 465 yards and seven touchdowns in the Trojans passing attack.

Junior Mario Latronica is the leader in the rush game for the Trojans with 548 yards and nine toucdowns on the ground. The Trojan defense has been special yet again with an outstanding average of just five points allowed per game on the season.

The ‘Lopes boast the leading passer in the WPIAL in quarterback Zach Chandler, who has completed 99 of 170 passes for 1890 yards and 20 touchdowns on the 2015 campaign.

Garrett Day has 30 catches for 539 yards, Kurt Niklaus has 24 catches for 462 yards, and Jamal Hughley has 18 catches for 518 yards on the year. Those guys are the leaders but Chandler has spread it around very well with 11 ‘Lopes having at least a single catch on the season.

Ryan Hunt and Hughley lead the ground game for Avonworth, but the offensive line has done a better job protecting Chandler than they have opening holes for the running game. The duo has combined for a total of just 329 yards, although Hughley has his 187 yards on just a dozen carries. More touches for Hughley in the ground game might be in order if the ‘Lopes hope to pull off the upset at home Friday night.

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