WPIAL Friday Night HighLights for 11/14
Saturday, November 15, 2014 | 4:39 PM
Including this below article and for the days ahead, there will be a lot of talk about the eight teams that will square off for a WPIAL football championship at Heinz Field to cap off the 2014 District 7 Playoffs. But eight teams that enjoyed OUTSTANDING seasons came up one victory short of taking the full ride on the Highway to Heinz all the way to the North Shore. Five of those eight teams did not lose until Friday night while the other three tasted defeat for only the second time this season. So while we will pay kudos to those players that helped their teams to victories on Final Four Friday here in the HighLights, we also salute Penn-Trafford, McKeesport, Thomas Jefferson, Ringgold, Washington, Seton-LaSalle, Neshannock and defending Class A champion Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic on great campaigns this fall!
Connor Slomka – Pine-Richland
It seems on a weekly basis the first eleven weeks, we found Pine-Richland quarterback Ben DiNucci shining bright in the HighLights after leading his team to another victory. While he was tremendous again on Friday hitting on 22 of 26 passes for 232 yards and a touchdown, we will instead high five his backfield mate in Connor Slomka, who rushed for 179 yards and scored five touchdowns on runs of 1, 5, 69, 9 and 12 yards as the Rams remained undefeated by running past the McKeesport Tigers 42-7 in a Class AAAA Semifinals contest that lifts Pine-Richland to their first championship game appearance in eleven years.
John Petrishen – Pittsburgh Central Catholic
In a season in which Pittsburgh Central Catholic relied HEAVILY on their outstanding defense and special teams, the offense decided to jump on board just in time for another trip to Heinz Field. Division I recruit John Petrishen ran wild thanks to the team turning to him to run the wildcat offense as he gained 211 yards on the ground with two touchdowns coming on a 52-yard run and a 56-yard pass from Gunnar Frerotte as the Vikings eliminated the Penn-Trafford Warriors for a second straight year in the Class AAAA Semifinals with a 52-34 shootout victory that keeps PCC’s hopes alive of a fifth district title in the last twelve years.
John George – Central Valley
When healthy and when needed, John George has come through under center for Central Valley, much like he did Friday when leading the top-seed back to the championship game for a second straight year and for the third time in the schools five years. George connected on 10 of 16 passes for 154 yards with a touchdown pass of 7 yards and a scoring run of 6 yards in the first half as the Warriors stormed out to a 35-0 lead at the half and 41-0 after three quarters before winning 41-13 over the Ringgold Rams in a one-sided Class AAA Semifinals contest.
Chayse Dillon – West Allegheny
So how is it when two storied programs meet with a combined 11 titles in the last 17 years and playing for another trip to the district championship game at stake turn into an eye-brow raiser? When the game becomes so one-sided that the second half begins in the mercy rule, That was the case Friday night when defending champion West Allegheny jumped all over Thomas Jefferson in their Class AAA Semifinals showdown thanks to Chayse Dillon’s 107 yards and two touchdowns on runs of 2 and 55 yards in the second quarter as they Indians cruised past the Jaguars 41-7.
Hunter Hayes – South Fayette
Everybody knows when you play South Fayette, you have to some how, some way find a way to slow down the districts all-time leading passer in Brett Brumbaugh, and while the Hitman threw for over 200 yards and tossed a pair of touchdowns (ho-hum), it was the ground attack of a certain running back that had the Seton-LaSalle defense in a haze. Hunter Hayes rushed for 127 yards and scored two touchdowns on runs of 12 and 15 yards as the defending champion Lions roared to a 35-21 victory over the rival Rebels for a 28th straight victory and one win shy of back-to-back titles and a third crown in five years.
Kaezon Pugh – Aliquippa
As the games become bigger, the performance of Aliquippa running back Kaezon Pugh becomes more impressive, leaving opposing defenders in his scent. In a game full of playmakers, Pugh stood above them all as he rushed for a district night high of 284 yards and scored four touchdowns on a 1-yard run to get the scoring started, on a 9-yard run in the second quarter and a pair of 12-yard runs in the fourth quarter that sealed the deal on a seventh straight trip to the WPIAL AA championship game for the Quips in a 44-26 triumph over the Washington Little Prexies in a Semifinals shootout.
Lamont Wade – Clairton
Clairton super sophomore Lamont Wade is not the son of first year head coach Wayne Wade, he is his nephew. But much like Uncle Wayne did was he was a player, Lamont is coming up large on the big game stage. In an instant classic Class A Semifinals battle against Neshannock, Wade rushed for 267 yards and scored SIX touchdowns on runs of 55, 65, 16, 29 and 16 yards in regulation along with a 10-yard scamper in overtime after an interception in the end zone ended the Lancers OT possession as the Bears head back to the big house with a thrilling 48-42 overtime victory.
Jamal Hughley – Avonworth
Everything seemed to be pointing to another Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic victory over conference rival Avonworth after a long touchdown pass late in the third quarter put the defending Class A champs ahead 21-14. But the Antelopes rallied for the win thanks in part to the running of Jamal Hughley, who was huge on the ground with 126 yards rushing and two touchdowns on long runs of 26 and 51 yards as the ‘Lopes finally cleared that large Trojans obstacle with a 28-21 triumph in a Class A Semifinals battle that propels Avonworth into a WPIAL football championship game for the first time since 1959.