WPIAL Class A football championship breakdown: Bishop Canevin vs. OLSH

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Thursday, November 25, 2021 | 11:01 AM


WPIAL Class A football championship

No. 9 Our Lady of the Sacred Heart vs. No. 3 Bishop Canevin

2 p.m. Friday, Heinz Field

On the air: Video: HSSN.TribLive.com; Audio: 92.1 FM

Winner plays: Redbank Valley/Northern Bedford winner in the PIAA semifinals Dec. 3 or 4

WPIAL titles: OLSH 1 (2018); Bishop Canevin 1 (1990)

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (9-3)

Player to watch: Nehemiah Azeem (Jr., 5-9, 165, QB/FS)

Azeem has picked up his game in the Chargers’ three postseason wins. He has thrown for 377 yards and four touchdown passes in the three games, plus he did damage with his legs in the semifinal victory over Rochester with 82 yards rushing and a scoring run.

Statistical leaders

Passing: Nehemiah Azeem, 127-251, 1,776 yards, 14 TDs

Rushing: Stephen Greer, 130-729 yards, 7 TDs

Receiving: Ziggy McIntosh, 53-668 yards, 6 TDs

How they got here: OLSH defeated No. 8 Greensburg Central Catholic, 28-8, in the first round; No. 1 Clairton, 29-15, in the quarterfinals; and No. 5 Rochester, 14-13, in the semifinals.

Probable starting lineup

Coach: Dan Bradley

Offense

QB, 2, Nehemiah Azeem, 5-9, 170, jr.

RB, 23, Stephen Greer, 5-8, 240, sr.

WR, 3, Dorrien Tate, 5-11, 165, soph.

WR, 6, Zion ‘Ziggy’ McIntosh, 6-3, 186, jr.

WR, 7, Dereon Greer, 6-0, 185, soph.

WR, 11, Ethan Davis Gardner, 5-7, 150, fr.

LT, 51, Al Magnelli, 6-1, 220, sr.

LG, 53, Ryan Farrell, 6-1, 220, sr.

C, 52, Roman Frankovitch, 5-9, 210, sr.

RG, 67, Gavin Tonery, 6-4, 270, sr.

RT, 55, Dion McIntosh, 6-4, 290, sr.

Defense

DL, 58, Cam Branch, 5-10, 260, soph.

DL, 55, Dion McIntosh, 6-4, 290, sr.

DL, 25, Iseia Schulz, 6-1, 185, fr.

LB, 10, Brady Brazell, 5-7, 180, soph.

LB, 5, B.J. Vaughn, 6-1, 210, jr.

LB, 30, Brandon Brazell, 5-8, 185, soph.

DB, 7, Dereon Greer, 6-0, 185, soph.

DB, 40, Gunnar Kiefer, 6-0, 160, sr.

DB, 3, Dorrien Tate, 5-11, 165, soph.

DB, 1, Dior Devers, 5-7, 165, jr.

DB, 6, Zion ‘Ziggy’ McIntosh, 6-3, 186, jr.

Special teams

K/P, 17, Billy Fryer, 5-10, 160, jr.

Notable: Our Lady of the Sacred Heart started the season winning its first four games, then lost three of its next four games and was 5-3 heading into the regular season finale. The Chargers upset rival Cornell in Week 9, 13-12, and have now won four straight games. … Since the program started in 2010, OLSH is 7-4 in WPIAL postseason games. … Sixth-year coach Dan Bradley is also the varsity boys basketball coach at Avonworth. … As the No. 9 seed, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart is the lowest seed left in the WPIAL playoffs. … The Chargers’ 17.3 ppg allowed is the seventh best in Class A while their 21.8 ppg scored ranks them 11th in A.

Bishop Canevin (12-1)

Player to watch: Jason Cross

Only a sophomore, Cross has enjoyed a big season for Bishop Canevin with nearly 1,400 yards passing and 467 yards rushing with 12 touchdown runs. He likely gets the start in the finals after being replaced by freshman Kole Olszewski in the semifinals. If that happens again, Cross becomes a dangerous slot receiver. He is also a playmaker on defense from his safety position.

Statistical leaders

Passing: Jason Cross, 68-129, 1,371 yards, 16 TDs

Rushing: Marquis Carter, 94-550 yards, 5 TDs

Receiving: Lasae Lacks, 41-826 yards, 14 TDs

How they got here: Bishop Canevin defeated No. 14 Burgettstown in the first round, 49-6; No. 11 Shenango in the quarterfinals, 42-14; No. 2 Cornell in the semifinals, 24-7

Probable starting lineup

Coach: Richard Johnson

Offense

QB, 2, Jason Cross, 5-10, 150, soph.

RB, 1, Keshawn Harris, 5-11, 185, sr.

RB, 28, Marquis Carter, 5-9, 150, soph.

WR, 3, Lasae Lacks, 5-5, 135, jr.

WR, 6, Xavier Nelson, 5-7, 160, jr

WR, 21, Andrew Jones, 5-6, 135, jr..

TE, 10, Eli Wilson, 5-9, 160, sr.

LT, 64, Daisean Lacks, 5-9, 230, soph.

LG, 72, Jared Garth, 5-3, 230, jr.

C, 54, Braiden Sudor, 5-8, 200, fr,

RG, 56, Zeke Swift, 5-10, 240, soph.

RT, 52, Justin Lashley, 6-0, 210, jr.

Defense

DE, 5, Willie Banks-Hicks, 6-3, 220, sr.

DT, 64, Daisean Lacks, 5-9, 230, soph.

DT, 70, Jaden Collins, 5-10, 285, soph.

DE, 24, Jaiden Torres, 5-10, 225, jr.

LB, 20, Donovan Mitchell, 5-7, 165, fr.

LB, 1, Keshawn Harris, 5-11, 185, sr.

LB, 9, Keyshawn McCaskill, 6-2, 190, jr.

CB, 7, A’zjaun Marshall, 5-8, 150, soph.

SS, 21, Andrew Jones, 5-6, 135, jr..

FS, 2, Jason Cross, 5-10, 150, soph

CB, 6, Xavier Nelson, 5-7, 160, jr

Special teams

K, 1, Keshawn Harris, 5-11, 185, sr.

FG K, 4, Geno DeFrank, 5-6, 150, jr.

P, 6, Xavier Nelson, 5-7, 160, jr

Notable: Bishop Canevin has won seven straight games after suffering its only loss of the season in Week 5 to Clairton, 28-18. … Richard Johnson is in his second year as Crusaders coach and the team has an overall record of 17-4. In the two previous years, Bishop Canevin was a combined 4-16. … Sophomore starting quarterback Jason Cross was replaced by freshman Kole Olszewski in the second quarter of the Class A semifinals game against Cornell and rallied his team from a 7-0 deficit. Olszewski was 9 of 13 passing for 144 yards and two touchdowns in the Crusaders’ win, 24-7. … Junior defensive captain Brady Travis will miss the game with a torn meniscus suffered in the semifinal victory. He was also the starting tight end for Bishop Canevin. … This is the third WPIAL football title game appearance for the Crusaders. The two others came in Class AA when they were known simply as Canevin. The Crusaders lost to Jeannette in the 1983 finals, 6-0, then upset Washington in the 1990 championship game, 21-20.

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