WPIAL Friday Night HighLights – Quarterfinals

Saturday, November 14, 2015 | 3:57 PM

Most of the teams that advanced to Round Three in the WPIAL football playoffs were expected to be there while others are surprise participants still cruisin’ on the Highway to Heinz. Some of the teams dominated their opponents, then there were others caught up in a tight game into the second half before they finally pulled away to victory, while a handful of teams needed to rally to win and advance. Whatever the case, these players we salute were instrumental in leading their teams to a superstitious victory on Quarterfinals Friday the 13th.

Brett Laffoon – Penn-Trafford

There were several times in this rematch of a Foothills Conference Week Three contest that Penn-Trafford and their undefeated season were in series jeopardy. However every time they were facing a ten count, they dragged themselves off the mat and kept fighting toward an improbable comback win. P-T quarterback Brett Laffoon hit on 14 of 24 passes for 192 yards and a scoring run and three touchdown passes, including a 17-yard tying TD pass and a 4th and goal 21-yard pass strike to Tim Vecchio in overtime as the Warriors edged the McKeesport Tigers 39-32 in an overtime Class AAAA Quarterfinals thriller.

Ronnie Jones – Pittsburgh Central Catholic

They say that revenge is a dish best served cold. Well, with blustery winds and temps in the 40’s, it was cold enough for such a dish to be served and enjoyed, which was the case Friday at Martorelli Stadium in the North Hills. Ronnie Jones did some of the serving, as he rushed for 144 yards and scored a pair of bookend touchdowns that got the scoring started in the first quarter then concluded the points total in the fourth quarter of the Vikings 31-17 victory over North Allegheny in a Class AAAA Quarterfinals game that avenges a Week 3 Tigers win that is the lone loss on the Central Catholic resume.

Miles Sanders and Jo-El Shaw – Woodland Hills

You may know your opponent has a lethal one-two punch. You may have even had to already deal with the great dynamic duo, but that still doesn’t fully prepare you for Sanders left and Shaw right…or vice-versa. In another tight battle similar to the first meeting between these two Southeastern Conference foes, Woodland Hills stud running backs Miles Sanders and Jo-El Shaw enjoyed big nights as their teammates pulled away to remain unbeaten. Sanders rushed for 171 yards and three touchdowns while Shaw added 138 yards and three scores as the Wolverines ran past the Bethel Park Black Hawks 40-20 in a Class AAAA Quarterfinals Conference clash.

Quinton Hill – Thomas Jefferson

Before we sing the praises of Thomas Jefferson running back Quinton Hill, lets tip a black and gold cap to the TJ defense, which limited the West Allegheny rushing attack to only 17 yards and the entire West A offense to 75 total yards and only five first downs. Hill out gained the entire West Allegheny offense by more than 100 yards as he rushed for 184 yards and delivered the games big blow by breaking a scoreless tie with a 66-yard touchdown run as the Jaguars dominated the Indians in a Class AAA Quarterfinals game to the tune of 14-0.

Kaezon Pugh – Aliquippa

After getting banged up with a hear injury in an opening round victory over the Keystone Oaks Golden Eagles, there was some concern whether University of Pitt recruit Kaezon Pugh would be able to play in round two. He played…oh boy did he play! Pugh rushed for 244 yards and scored on four long touchdowns runs of 44, 49, 79 and 46 yards as the Quips steamroolled the Seton-LaSalle Rebels in a Class AA Quarterfinals matchup that keeps Aliquippa undefeated and sends them to yet another trip to the district Semifinals for a ninth consecutive season.

Hunter Hayes – South Fayette

It was business as usual for South Fayette. They were the heavy favorites and didn’t blink or sweat even though they only led by 12 points at halftime. Then SF out scored Beaver 28-0 in the third quarter and it was game over and on to the Semifinals for the fourth straight year and the fifth time this decade. Hunter Hayes led the way for  the Lions with 211 yards on the ground and three touchdowns on rush of 15, 10 and 49 yards in a 54-7 drubbing of the Bobcats in a Class AA Quarterfinals contest that improves South Fayette’s win streak to 43 in a row.

Ryan Weigold – Freeport

It really is hard to call an outcome in the second round of the postseason a major upset. It’s difficult to call the final score in a battle of conference champions a stunner. However it was hard not to raise an eye brow or two or three when the final result was registered in the WPIAL Class AA Quarterfinals playoff game at Hempfield High School. Freeport quarterback Ryan Weigold hit on 15 of 27 passes for 171 yards and touchdown tosses of 11 and 31 yards as the Allegheny Conference champion Yellow Jackets surprised the previously undefeated and Interstate Conference champion Washington Little Prexies by a score of 24-14.

Erick Taylor – Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic

In the first meeting of the year between Black Hills Conference foes Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic and Bishop Canevin, CWNC leaned on their defense in a 20-0 whitewash. On Friday in the rematch in a Class A Quarterfinals contest at Deer Lakes High School, the red and gold had to turn to their offense and 6’4 quarterback Erick Taylor to keep them undefeated. Taylor connected on 18 of 31 passes for 311 yards and five touchdown passes of 13, 49, 7, 26 and 36 yards as the Trojans pulled away with 28 unanswered fourth quarter points in a 49-20 triumph over the Crusaders.

Lamont Wade – Clairton

In a rematch of the 2014 WPIAL Class A Championship game, it looked like some Friday the 13th wackiness was at work at Peters Township High School. Avonworth enjoyed two first half leads and were tied 14-14 at the half and a shocker was brewing. But Lamont Wade and defending champion Clairton came out flying in the second half with 20 unanswered points. Wade ended up with 227 yards and three touchdowns, including 50 and 91 yards scores in the game changing third quarter as the Bears powered past the Antelopes 46-21 in a Class A Quarterfinals clash.

Gio Vonne Sanders – Jeannette

In a big matchup between two 9-1 teams, you want to have all hands on deck. However once again playing without leading rusher Kareem Hall, many thought that loss would spell doom for Jeannette. So quarterback Gio Vonne Sanders did double duty for the blue and red as he hit on 8 of 13 passes for 114 yards and a 10-yard scoring strike plus he rushed for 101 yards and and two-yard scoring jaunt as the Jayhawks avenged a Class A Quarterfinals loss to Neshannock a year ago by eliminating the Lancers 25-15 Friday at Big Mac Stadium in Canonsburg. 

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