WPIAL Big Game Hunting – Week Six 2015

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Wednesday, October 7, 2015 | 8:52 PM


In the mid-1800’ when you went to the fabric store and asked for a bolt or a yard of cloth, the clerk would first just hold it out at ‘arms- length’  to give you an idea of how much you were getting. But, when the time came for the actual cutting of the fabric and the paying of the money the fabric would be measured exactly between a pair of brass tacks set in the counter at specific lengths. That’s where the term “getting down to brass tacks” comes from. No more looks from a distance at who are the championship contenders in the WPIAL. This week we get down to “brass tacks” with top-ten battles sprinkled throughout every classification. Here are four dandies for you to take in on…. THE NETWORK, this weekend. 

AAAA Southeastern Conference
#8 Bethel Park Black Hawks (3-2)(2-1) at #6 Mount Lebanon Blue Devils (5-0)(4-0) Friday October 9th @ 7:30 PM @ Blue Devil Stadium on the campus of Mount Lebanon high school broadcast on the MSA Sports Network by Rick Smith and Adam Hoerner

Don’t look now Southeastern Conference and all of AAAA but here come the Black Hawks. Remember after two weeks Bethel was 0-2 and all but forgotten. The Hawks have rattle off three straight and are right back in the mix in AAAA. A road win against rival Mount Lebanon would move the Hawks to 3-1 in section play. The Blue Devils remain perfect coming into week six but even head coach Mike Melnyk would tell you the toughest part of the Lebo schedule begins right now with Bethel making the short trip up route 19 to Blue Devil Stadium.

Bethel Park’s Levi Metheny has been spectacular of late and his number for the season are starting to reflect that. Metheny has completed 47 of 85 passes for 836 yards and ten touchdowns while only tossing three interceptions.

Metheny’s go to receivers are Charlie Davis at wide out and tight end Jake Dixon. Davis has 16 catches for 480 yards, while Dixon has 14 catches for 239 yards and the duo has combined for ten touchdowns.

On the ground Terron Murphy has turned a breakout game against Upper Saint Clair into a breakout season. The junior tailback has 763 yards on 70 carries for the year, averaging over ten yards per carry.

Defensively Metheny might be impacting games even more as an outside linebacker than he is as a signal-caller. He has an incredible nose for the ball and seems to pick his spots perfectly to come up with the big sack or tackle for loss.

Lebo may have trouble at quarterback. Senior Eddie Jenkins has been great but appears to have been bitten by the injury bug. His status is unknown heading into this game but if he is unable to go he will be sorely missed. Jenkins has completed 36 of 61passes on the 2015 campaign for 644 yards and nine touchdowns. Sophomore James Stocker played well in relief of Jenkins last week going 9 of 13 for 177 yards and throwing a touchdown. If Jenkins cannot go at quarterback look for him to contribute catching the football by playing wide receiver for the Blue Devils.

Junior wide out Jack Young leads the Blue Devils with an impressive 407 yards receiving on just a dozen catches. He is averaging nearly 34 yards per catch.

On the ground the Blue Devils junior running back David Harvey has piled up well over 500 yards and scored a team-high eight touchdowns running behind an offensive line led by Villanova recruit Paul Grattan.

AAA Big Ten Conference
#2 Ringgold Rams (5-0)(5-0) at #3 Belle Vernon Leopards (5-0)(5-0) Friday October 9th @ 7:30 PM @ James Weir Stadium on the campus of Belle Vernon high school broadcast on the MSA Sports Network by Greg Warnock and Lou Rood

A battle of top-ten unbeaten teams in the Big Ten and neither team is Thomas Jefferson? Oh Wait, I used that line just two weeks ago when West Mifflin went to Ringgold.  It is happening again though and might even be a little better with #2 at #3.

The Rams and Leopards clash on the Vegas Gold of James Weir for the Big Ten Conference championship. It won’t be official for a couple more weeks but book it the winner here is the Champ.

Junior quarterback George Martin continues to impress for the Rams. Making tremendous decisions and, getting the ball into the hands of his playmakers. Martin has connected on 31 of 66 passes for 516 yards and a half dozen touchdown passes all without throwing a pick.

Dalton Holt and Octavius Vassar have combined for 13 catches and close to 200 yards in the passing attack plus a pair of scores.

But the Rams will make their hay on the feet of Chacar Berry, the senior tailback has piled up 660 yards, 77 carries and 11 touchdowns for the Ringgol ground game. He is the combination of everything you want in a running back, strong, fast, skilled, patient and, a great decision-maker.

The Leps are shutting teams down defensively allowing a conference-low 9 points per game on the season. That “D” has five sacks, four interceptions and three fumble recoveries on the year.

Offensively, junior quarterback Mike Fine is a dual threat with 161 passing yards and 418 rushing yards on the year.

Senior Luke Durigon is the Leopards leading rusher with 425 yards and a pair of scores on the ground this year.

Belle Vernon takes great care of the football, they have not lost a fumble all season and Fine has only thrown two interceptions.

Which team will rise to the occasion? The winner not only gets the conference title but, could be putting themselves in line for a one or two seed in the AAA bracket.

AA Century Conference
#1 South Fayette Lions (5-0)(5-0) at #5 Steel Valley Ironmen (5-0)(4-0) Friday October 9th @ 7:00 PM @ Campbell Field in Munhall, Pennsylvania broadcast on the MSA Sports Network by Sam Hall and Steve Nagler

A thirty-seven game win streak for the South Fayette Lions on the line when they head to Munhall to face the unbeaten Steel Valley Ironmen on the MSA Sports Network Friday night. For Steel Valley, the Ironmen get the chance to continue what they started with a huge win at Peters against Seton LaSalle a couple weeks ago, getting to the top of the Century Conference. The Ironmen have been solid over the years but getting over the hump that is Seton and South Fayette in the Century Conference has been their Achilles heel.

Steel Valley’s defense has been nothing shy of spectacular all season long, the Ironmen have pitched a pair of shutouts and are allowing a conference best 6.8 points per game on the year.

Steel Valley quarterback Tre Earl Edwards does not throw it much. He is the two in the one-two punch of the Ironmen rushing attack. Edwards has completed 31 of just 56 attempts on the year for 437 yards and 11 touchdowns. On the ground he has chipped in for a second-best-on-the-team 218 yards and has crossed the goal line twice.

The Ironmen will rely on their defense and the rushing of sophomore DeWayne Murray who has amassed 535 yards and a dozen touchdowns with his 60 carries on the season. Murray is also a threat to catch it out of the backfield.

Senior Elisha Hughes leads the Steel Valley receiving corps with eight catches for 124 yards and he has scored a pair of touchdowns on the season.

This game will be settled by the offensive and defensive lines for both teams I think. Who can run, and who can stop the run, on a night when weather is likely to make throwing the ball a bad option.

The Lions run it with the best, Hunter Hayes has 500 yards on 39 carries, and has scored nine touchdowns. Johnny Beck has 23 carries for 177 yards and a pair of scores.

But despite the loss of Brett Brumbaugh the Lions’ passing attack has not dropped off the face of the earth. Sophomore Drew Saxton has been better than good for Joe Rossi. Saxton has completed 78% of his passes hitting on 46 of 59 attempts for 740 yards and 16 touchdowns, while throwing just two interceptions.

Junior Danny Trimbur is combines being the leading receiver for the Lions (11catches 217 yards, 5 touchdowns), with being the team’s kicker and punter. Senior Nick Ponikvar has 10 catches for 194 yards and four scores. Keep an eye on junior tight end Ryhan Culberson, especially in the red zone. Culberson has 10 catches for five touchdowns on the year.  

A Eastern Conference
#1 Clairton Bears (5-0)(4-0) at #4 Jeannette Jayhawks (5-0)(5-0) Friday October 9th @ 7:00 PM @ McKee Stadium in Jeannette, Pennsylvania broadcast on the MSA Sports Network by Josh Rowntree and Kyle Dawson

 A meeting between the Bears and the Jayhawks need not be an important game to be a big game, this just happens to be both. The ‘Hawks and Da Bears bring some spectacular defenses to McKee Field Friday night.

They have both allowed a total of 32 points on the season, an average of just 6.4 points per game and all of those have come during mop-up time. Neither of these teams has been remotely challenged on the football field this 2015 campaign.

Jeannette is quarterbacked by Giovonne Sanders who has passed for 521 yards and rushed for 262 yards. He has tossed four touchdown passes and no interceptions and rushed for a pair of scores.

Sanders spreads the ball around, ten players have receptions for the Jayhawks but no one has more than Kareem Hall who has seven for 147 yards.

Hall leads the Hawks in rushing as well with 393 yards on 43 carries, he has also scored a team-high ten touchdowns.

Swade Redman has chipped in with 284 yard rushing and five touchdowns.

Can Jeannette slow the Bears offense? That will be the question Friday night. The Bears are going to have to kick it out of cruise control for the first time this season. Jeannette is a team that won’t be beaten when Clairton gets off the bus.

Senior quarterback Aaron Matthews has become a pocket passer, Matthews has completed 34 of 51 passes for 818 yards and ten scores and only thrown a single interception. He has only 19 yards rushing on the season.

Noah Hamlin and Tre’Sean Howard have combined for 26 catches and 688 yards, together they have scored 14 touchdowns.

On the ground Harrison Dreher is getting most of the carries with 635 yards on 68 carries, he has scored a team-high eleven touchdowns.

Lamont Wade has been relatively quiet thus far in 2015 with just 335 yards on 20 carries, he has scored four touchdowns.

Howard has chipped in almost 250 yards in the ground game as well.

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