WPIAL Football Plays of the Week – 09/28/2011

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011 | 2:52 PM


At the outset of week four, high school football fans were salivating at the mouth when taking a peek at the list of matchups that existed.  There was a conundrum that also existed:  Which game to actually attend in person?  There were plenty of battles between Quad-A Powers, there was the opportunity to watch a 12-year old record fall, or attend the matchup that could more than likely determine a conference championship.  If there’s one that you missed, this article should mean pure bliss.  Enjoy the Week Four Edition of MSA Sports’ Plays of the Week.

Play of the Week #1 – “Rushing Royalty”

Mt. Lebanon Blue Devils at Hopewell Vikings
Broadcasters:  Jim Frederick & Bruce Frey/ Rob Matzie & Johnny Lee
Stations:  WMBA-AM, 1460 & 92.1-FM “The Pickle”

Of course.  It’s our top play of the week.  How could it not be?  The great Rushel Shell stands alone atop the WPIAL’s all-time rushing list.  Going in to the game, the magic number was 7,646 – which was the total career yardage of Mike Vernillo of Fort Cherry.  Since 1999, that stood as the benchmark of rushing greatness.  Now, the magic number for future running backs to attain to is 7,718…and counting. On Friday, September 23, Rushel Shell of the Hopewell Vikings surpassed that aforementioned mark with a 54 yard run on the Vikings first play of the third quarter.  Vernillo was in attendance to watch his record fall.  So too was the man whose name is scribed on the front of Hopewell’s stadium.  Legendary Viking-Pitt Panther-Dallas Cowboy Tony Dorsett was also able to take in the contest and watch a moment that is sure to be fondly remembered for years to come.

Play of the Week #2 – “Route 22, Who are You?”

Gateway Gators at Penn Trafford Warriors
Broadcasters: Sam Hall & Josh Rowntree
Station:  WBGG-AM, 970 “ESPN”

The Penn Trafford Warriors and Gateway Gators matchup was supposed to be a storied rivalry when it commenced years ago.  However, over the last few years it had not been, as the series was so lopsided with the Gators going 6-0 in the last six meetings.  It all changed on Friday night as the upstart Warriors beat another quality opponent in their magical season.  It wasn’t easy, though.  With the Gators converting a two-point conversion late to take a 14-13 edge and time ticking away, Penn Trafford had to call on the leg of Matt Loughnane (again) for some late-game drama.  Loughnane had nailed field goals of 31 and 32 yards earlier in the contest and would once again be called upon to hit another 31-yarder to send the Warriors home victorious in the game’s final seconds.

Play of the Week #3 – “On Route 51, Purple Gets It Done”

Thomas Jefferson Jaguars at Baldwin Fighting Highlanders
Broadcasters:  Paul Paterra & Dan Zangrilli
Station:  WMNY-AM, Newstalk 1360

The Baldwin Fighting Highlanders had won a grand total of five games over the last two seasons.  In 2011, Baldwin has won three of their first four games.  On Friday, they appeared to be on their way to a .500 record after falling down early, 14-0 to the visiting AAA power, Thomas Jefferson.  The Jaguars bottled up Baldwin running back Dorian Brown up in the first half, holding him to just 60 yards of rushing.  Brown and the Highlanders would come all the way back in the second half, holding the Jaguars scoreless on defense and tallying three unanswered touchdowns –  including the game winner.  With 1:19 remaining in the game, Brown took a direct snap out of the “wildcat” formation and jolted 80 yards for the decisive score to send the Jaguar faithful home stunned.

Play of the Week #4 – “Jones-Moore, Jones-MORE”

Pittsburgh Central Catholic Vikings at Woodland Hills
Broadcasters:  Lanny Frattare & Bob Orkwis
Station:  KDKA-FM, SportsRadio 93.7 The Fan

One of the most coveted matchups of the 2011 season in Quad A took place at The Wolverena in Turtle Creek.  Central Catholic’s Damian Jones-Moore proved to be the x-factor that needed to be stopped.  Not so.   After Central Catholic was able to take a 17-0 halftime edge, the Vikings lost a bit of their momentum as the Wolverines would counter with a Shakim Alonzo 28-yard touchdown reception to bring Woody High within 10. After scampering for a 20 yard run in the first half, PCC would get Jones-Moore into the end zone two more times in the game.  His first of two fourth quarter touchdowns would cement a victory for the Vikings, who remain perfect as the MSA Sports Network’s top team in AAAA.

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