WPIAL Friday Night HighLights for 11/7

Saturday, November 8, 2014 | 1:26 PM

Gone but not forgotten from the WPIAL football championship chase on the second exit on the Highway to Heinz: Two Vikings, Two Rams (one that was Golden)…several members of the cat family including as pair of Panthers, a Tiger, a Mountain Lion and a Wildcat…a few birds such as an Eagle and a Jayhawk…a Wolverine, a Mustang, a Talbot, a Little Indian and a Planet. Some were awaken from their golden dreams but players listed below, whose ride on the Highway to Heinz will continue for another week toward the hard to reach town of Final Foursville.

Ben DiNucci – Pine-Richland

A guess a case could be made as to which Big Ben is having a better season at quarterback, #7 in black and gold or #3 in green and white. Both continue to have MVP type seasons as Ben DiNucci has Pine-Richland one win away from playing for Quad-A gold after hitting on 16 of 24 passes Friday for 373 yards and three first half touchdown passes of 65, 7 and 70 yards as the Rams remain undefeated with a Class AAAA Quarterfinals victory over the Altoona Mountain Lions by a score of 49-7.

Brett Laffoon – Penn-Trafford

The ‘other’ gun-slinging Brett under center had a big game and a huge fourth quarter to keep Penn-Trafford in the ranks of the undefeated and headed toward a second straight Semifinals game. Brett Laffoon connected on 16 of 21 passes for 279 yards and accounted for all of his teams scores with five touchdowns passes of 31, 6, 44, 57 and 12 yards, with those last two coming in the fourth quarter as the Warriors came from behind to beat the North Allegheny Tigers 35-31 in a Class AAAA Quarterfinals thriller.

Tymar Sutton – McKeesport

The first time these Foothills Conference foes met, McKeesport trialed 3-0 at the half before rallying for a 20-3 conquest. Tymar Sutton had once of the ‘Ports three touchdowns. In the rematch in a Class AAAA Quarterfinals contest, the results was almost exactly the same except for the bigger role played by Sutton, who rushed for 155 yards and scored two touchdowns on runs of 34 and 28 yards as the Tigers, trialing 3-0 in the first, came back to advance to the Semifinals with a 20-5 victory over the tough Mustangs.

Austin Kemp – Thomas Jefferson

Star Thomas Jefferson running back Austin Kemp has put up big numbers in games this season, but TJ fans would argue that his performance on Friday in a Class AAA Quarterfinals contest was out of this world (standard Mars pun). Still playing with a tender shoulder, Kemp rushed for 179 yards and scored all three of his teams offensive scores on touchdown runs of 5, 1 and 15 yards and the Jaguars pulled away to a 28-13 triumph over the Mars Fighting Planets advancing to the Final Four for the 16th time in the last 17 years.

Chayse Dillon & Terence Stephens – West Allegheny

West Allegheny had a very good throwing quarterback in Andrew Koester, but the game plan was run right, run left and run wild, which the defending champs did to perfection. Attempting only 7 passes all night, Chayse Dillon rushed for 153 yards and two touchdown runs of 61 and 14 yards while teammate Terence Stephens gained 123 yards on the ground with three touchdowns on scampers of 6, 4 and 13 yards as the Indians ran past the Franklin Regional Panthers in a Class AAA Quarterfinals matchup 37-14.

Brett Brumbaugh – South Fayette

The old saying is that good things happen to those who wait. While that turned out to be true for the defending Double-A champs, it made for some very nervous moments through three quarters for fans of the green machine. As he is want to do, South Fayette quarterback Brett Brumbaugh enjoyed a big night with 19 of 34 passing for 382 yards and three touchdowns, a 40-yarder later in the third and TD’s of 26 and 45 yards in the 4th as the Lions avoided the upset with a 39-21 win over the South Park Eagles in a Class AA Quarterfinals game.

Malik Wells – Washington

All week long, Washington heard and read about the explosive firepower of upstart Apollo-Ridge. The message was heard and helped Wash High ignite a powder keg of their own in Malik Wells. Wells exploded for a district high 196 yards rushing and three touchdowns on long runs of 21, 56 and 33 yards as the Little Prexies broke open a tight game and remained undefeated with a dynamite performance in a 58-30 victory over the Vikings in a Class AA Quarterfinals shootout.

Kaezon Pugh – Aliquippa

It truly is amazing how the names change at Aliquippa, but the results remain the same year after year, after year, after year (and so on and so on). Kaezon Pugh had the Mount Pleasant defense holding their nose as he ran wild for 193 yards and scored all of his teams offensive touchdowns on runs of 50, 3, 10, 5 and 53 yards and the Quips advance to the Semifinals with an 11-0 record for a fifth straight season following a 40-0 whitewash of the Vikings in a Class AA Quarterfinals stinker. 

Eli Owens – Neshannock

The marque matchup in the Class A Quarterfinals on Friday was #3 Neshannock at 10-0 facing #6 Jeannette at 9-1. In the end, all the hype did not disappoint in a back-and-forth rock-em, sock-em contest. Neshannock running back Eli Owens rushed for 168 yards and scored on a pair of touchdown runs of 7 and 10 yards as the Lancers qualify for the district Semifinals for a third straight year by winning 46-32 over the Jayhawks in a game that featured  six lead changes.

P.J. Fulmore – Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic

There weren’t many who though the 27th consecutive win for Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic would be one of their toughest to procure, but that turned out to be the case. With 1,000 yard rusher Jerome Turner injured on the sidelines, the defending Single-A champs turned to their other 1,000 yard rusher in P.J. Fulmore, who rushed for 149 yards and helped wipe away a 6-0 deficit by scoring three touchdowns on run of 6, 7 and 7 yards as the Trojans escaped with a 20-6 Class A Quarterfinals victory over the South Side Beaver Rams.

Plum Mustangs and South Side Beaver Rams

Both Plum and South Side enjoyed outstanding turnarounds seasons as the Mustangs were winless last year until winning a Week 10 game to finish 1-9. They finished third in the Foothills Conference this season behind Penn-Trafford and McKeesport and upset #4 Penn Hills last week before losing to McKeesport to finish 6-5. South Side won a total of three games the last three years, finishing 0-9 in two of those three campaigns. But after getting manhandled by Neshannock in Week One, the Rams turned it around to finish third in the Big 7 Conference behind Neshannock and Shenango and beat Frazier last week before falling in tough fashion to Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic to finish 7-4.

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