WPIAL Friday Night HighLights for 9/19

Saturday, September 20, 2014 | 10:53 AM

Neither players or coaches can complain about the weather in the first four weeks of this season as Mother Nature has cooperated very nicely. And the turned toward huge offensive numbers continued around fields in Southwestern Pennsylvania on the fourth Friday of the WPIAL football season. Thus it makes our job that much tougher with so many young men who deserve post-game kudos, only a few can receive our top ten tip of the cap.

Ben DiNucci – Pine-Richland

A perfect night for some is relaxing in front of the big screen with your favorite beverage and snack in tow. A perfect night for the districts leading passes is tossing around the pigskin successfully while leading your team to another win. Pine-Richland quarterback Ben DiNucci was a perfect 7 of 7 passing for 247 yards (a nifty 35.2 yards per completion) with five of the completions going for touchdowns as the Rams remained undefeated with a 62-0 waxing of the host Kiski Area Cavaliers in a Class AAAA non-conference blowout.

Austin Kemp – Thomas Jefferson

Another week, another blowout victory for Thomas Jefferson against one of the better teams in the WPIAL Class AAA Big Nine Conference. By now, teams know what’s coming…Kemp to the right, Kemp to the left, Kemp up the gut. However through four weeks of this 2014 campaign, nobody has been able to slow down Austin Kemp as he rushed for 237 yards on 22 carries at Elizabeth Forward while scoring on touchdown runs of 6, 14, 46 and 1 yard as the Jaguars cruised to a 51-0 thrashing of the Warriors.

Duane Brown – Apollo-Ridge

A lot of the spotlight has fallen on senior Pitt recruit Tre Tipton…and deservedly so for the Apollo-Ridge fast start. But don’t think for a moment that this smashing hit at the Apollo is a one-man show. Sophomore Duane Brown sliced and diced the Shady Side Academy defense to the tune of 213 yards rushing and SEVEN touchdowns, including one on a 29-yard fumble recovery to the house as the Vikings remained undefeated in the Class AA Allegheny Conference with a 46-20 victory over the host Indians.

Elijah Jackson – Highlands

While Apollo-Ridge was handing Shady Side Academy their first loss of the season. the other big Class AA Allegheny Conference showdown saw visiting Highlands remain perfect and set up a battle of the unbeaten in Week 5 when they host the A-R Vikings. Elijah Jackson enjoyed a huge game on the ground, rushing for 213 yards and twice on runs of 23 and 30 yards as the Golden Rams handed the Kittanning Wildcats their second consecutive loss 24-13.

Derek McGrath – Deer Lakes

Deer Lakes football players can hold their heads high again after a win ended a double-digit losing skid. Derek McGrath led the way with 265 yards on the ground and two touchdowns on runs of 10 and 8 yards as the host Lancers held on for a 35-20 victory over the Burrell Buccaneers in a Class AA Allegheny Conference battle of winless teams. The victory snaps a 15-game losing streak for Deer Lakes and is their first win since a win over Summit Academy on October 6th of 2012.

L.J. Sutton – Mount Pleasant

Last week, Waynesburg battled and lost to Washington. Friday night Waynesburg was in another Class AA Interstate Conference dog fight with one of the big canines in the section and again they came up short thanks to the effort of Mount Pleasant receiver L.J. Sutton. Sutton caught 11 passes for 188 yards and scored on a late 38-yard touchdown pass from Nathan Pieszak as the visiting Vikings remained undefeated with a thrilling 28-27 triumph over the tough-luck Raiders,

Nate Whipkey – McGuffey

After taking their lumps in recent seasons, there seems to be a resurgence of sorts at McGuffey High School as the football program is flying high after winning its third game in four outing. The lead pilot on this flight is quarterback Nate Whipkey, who on Friday connected on 7 of 10 passes for 244 yards and three touchdowns passes of 64, 68 and 9 yards, plus he scored on a two-yard run to lead the Highlanders to a key 42-14 Class AA Interstate Conference victory over the host Southmoreland Scotties. 

Burgettstown Blue Devils

Several players played a key role in a Burgettstown victory that was a loooooooong time in coming. Quarterback Bradley McLaughlin rushed for one touchdown while throwing for another, Jacob McKee scored twice and Leroy Camp sealed the deal with an interception return for a score late as the Blue Devils knocked off the Charleroi Cougars 41-26 in a Class AA Interstate Conference battle of 0-3 teams. The win for Burgettstown snaps a 24-game losing streak and is the Devils first win since they beat Quaker Valley in October of 2011.

Nick Cook – Fort Cherry

There are two ways to look at it. Either the Bishop Canevin defense thought there were too many Cooks on the field OR The Cook did it on the gridiron with a lethal pair of legs. Either way, Fort Cherry running back Nick Cook had the biggest night on the ground in the district as he rushed for 311 yards and scored on four lengthy touchdown runs of 48, 65, 36 and 46 yards, which turned out to be the fourth quarter game-winner as the host Rangers came back to knock off the Crusaders 35-31 in a Class A Black Hills Conference dandy.

Angelo Rios-Lopez – Bentworth

At a school where there has been very little football success and thus not a whole lot of team spirit, the excitement is growing at Bentworth. Quarterback Angelo Rios-Lopez helped fan the flames of some of that excitement when he hit on 22 of 35 passes for 342 yards and two touchdowns as the host Bearcats evened their record at 2-2 and are smack dab in the middle of the Class A Tri-County South Conference playoff chase after a 42-26 victory over the Avella Eagles.

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