WPIAL football player of the week — Week 9
Sunday, October 27, 2019 | 10:15 PM
Seven hundred yards rushing for a standout running back is a pretty good month’s work.
How about 709 yards on the ground in two games?
Following a 304-yard rushing game in Week 8, Derry senior Justin Huss ran for 405 yards in a 56-32 win over host Burrell that eliminated the Bucs from the playoff chase.
“I didn’t know if we were going to put up the same numbers offensively because Burrell is a good team,” Huss said. “We knew they were going to come out hungry because they needed to win this game to get into the playoffs.”
Putting together those kinds of numbers requires a team effort.
“I think it’s an example of what he can do and what our offensive line can do,” Derry coach Tim Sweeney said. “All great running backs have great offensive lines in front of them, and I think that’s the situation with Huss.”
Huss helped Derry jump out to a 14-0 lead in the opening quarter on scoring runs of 17 and 55 yards.
Capping a big first half, Huss scored on runs of 65 and 67 yards that put the Trojans up 42-20 after two quarters.
“Our O-line was awesome,” Huss said. “Our receivers do a good job blocking down field on safeties and corners. It was a good game all around for the offense.”
The capper of the evening — and the dagger for Burrell’s postseason hopes — came in the third quarter on a 61-yard touchdown, his fifth of the night.
Derry finished the regular season in second place with a 7-1 Big East Conference record (8-1 overall) with their lone loss coming at the hands of conference champion North Catholic.
A year ago, Derry made a name for itself by shutting out Central Valley and edging North Catholic to earn a trip to the WPIAL Class 3A title game and Heinz Field. In the finals, the Trojans lost to Aliquippa, 42-19.
Now the Trojans prepare to host a playoff game for a second straight year.
“We’re just going to have to watch film on whoever we’re playing,” Huss said. “Work hard throughout the week in practice and get prepared.”
WPIAL Week 9 Honorable Mentions:
Eli Jochem – Pine-Richland
Coming into its showdown against Pine-Richland, North Allegheny had given up only 100 points in nine victories, an average of a little more than 11 points per game.
But the Tigers were shredded by the Rams duo of quarterback Cole Spencer and wide receiver Eli Jochem.
Jochem had 11 receptions for 220 yards and three touchdowns, including bookend scores of 79 and 28 yards as Pine-Richland earned a share of the conference title with a 42-14 rout of NA.
Zaier Harrison – Cornell
Four years ago, Cornell did not have a football team. Three years ago, the Raiders returned, went 0-9 and were outscored 354-26. Now, they are conference co-champions.
Trailing 14-2 after one quarter to defending champion Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Cornell went to work, led by senior quarterback Zaire Harrison.
Harrison connected on 15 of 24 passes for 223 yards with a touchdown to go with a pair of scoring runs as the Raiders scored 20 unanswered points to earn a 22-14 victory over the host Chargers.
Ben Jackson – West Greene
In Week 8, the senior became the leading rusher at West Greene and broke the Greene County career rushing mark set by former Pioneers great Rodney Wilson 26 years ago.
In Week 9, another record fell as Jackson’s spectacular season and career continued. He rushed for 367 yards in a 59-26 nonconference triumph over host Union. He has a district-leading 2,695 yards.
The big story was the scoring for Jackson. He rushed for eight touchdowns to top former Armstrong running back Zane Dudek’s regular-season touchdown mark of 42. With his eight scores, Jackson finished with 47 touchdowns in the regular season.
2019 Trib HSSN football players of the week:
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