WPIAL Friday Night HighLights – Semifinals

Saturday, November 21, 2015 | 10:58 AM

Every team has similar goals when they start camp in the heat of August. One of them is to still be playing and practicing into Thanksgiving Day and beyond. Reaching that fun on Feastday usually means another goal has been reached, playing at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, the home to both the Pitt Panthers and the Pittsburgh Steelers. These eight performances helped make both dreams a reality for Pittsburgh Central Catholic, Penn-Trafford, Central Valley, Thomas Jefferson, South Fayette, Aliquippa, Clairton and Jeannette.

Ronnie Jones – Pittsburgh Central Catholic

Last week, Ronnie Jones helped his Pittsburgh Central Catholic teammates extract revenge for their only loss of the campaign as he rushed for 144 yards in a victory over North Allegheny. While he was shut down on offense by the Woodland Hills defense, big time players still make big time plays in the big game. Jones rushed for 28 yards, but he returned an interception 87 yards in the final minute before halftime that gave the Vikings a 17-0 lead at halftime en route to a 24-6 triumph over the Wolverines in a WPIAL Class AAAA Semifinals game giving PCC their fifth straight victory over Woody High and a third straight trip to Heinz Field.

Brett Laffoon – Penn-Trafford

If it’s postseason dramatic you want, Brett Laffoon and Penn-Trafford continue to deliver with an exclamation point! For the second straight week, Laffoon threw a dramatic touchdown pass as P-T advances to the district title game fo rthe first time in 18 years. Laffoon hit on 19 of 33 passes for 292 yards with a pair of scoring runs and three touchdown tosses, including the game winning 20-yard strike to Tyler Bruno with only seven seconds left as the Warriors remained undefeated with a thrilling 38-34 victory over the defending champion Pine-Richland Rams in a WPIAL Class AAAA Semifinals instant classic.

Chris Callaghan – Central Valley

No Robert Foster, no Jordan Whitehead, no problem for Central Valley as they were making their six trip to the WPIAL Class AAA Semifinals in the six years of their existence. Now CV is making their fourth trip to Heinz Field to play for district gold after another big game by quarterback Chris Callaghan. The senior signal caller hit on 10 of 21 passes for 301 yards and three touchdowns passes of 23, 65 and 92 yards, all to Kurt Reinstadtler as the Warriors went back and forth with Mars before pulling away from the Fighting Planets then holding on for a 48-41 dandy.

Quinton Hill – Thomas Jefferson

The sky was falling in Jefferson Boro earlier this season. For the first time in the Bill Cherpak golden era, Thomas Jefferson lost their first two games of the season and the natives were restless. But since then, it has been all down Hill for the black and gold. Running back Quinton Hill rushed for 199 yards and scored two touchdowns on runs of 12 and 20 yards as the Jaguars won their tenth consecutive game and are advancing to the finals for the first time since 2008 following their 34-21 victory over the Franklin Regional Panthers in a WPIAL Class AAA Semifinals cat fight.

Hunter Hayes – South Fayette

Back in Week Six, South Fayette defeated Steel Valley in what turned out to be the Century Conference championship game 37-0. The rematch in Week Eleven was a lot different. But like that first meeting, Hunter Hayes played a big roll for the two-time defending champions. Hayes rushed for 119 yards and scored on a 1 yard and 30 yard touchdown run, plus he got the ball rolling with a first quarter 24-yard fumble return for a touchdown as the Lions prevailed in a down-to-the wire WPIAL Class AA Semifinals thriller 27-19 over the game Ironmen.

Kaezon Pugh – Aliquippa

Since suffering an injury in a First Round victory over Keystone Oaks and being questionable heading into a Quarterfinals contest with Seton-LaSalle, Pitt recruit Kaezon Pugh has been a man playing with toddlers. For a second straight postseason week, Pugh eclipsed the 200 yard mark on the ground as the Aliquippa star rushed for 230 yards and scored on a pair of touchdown runs of 2 and 25 yards and the Quips extended their record with an eighth consecutive trip to the district championship game with a 36-14 conquest of the Freeport Yellow Jackets in a Class AA Semifinals matchup.

Harrison Dreher – Clairton

With Lamont Wade getting a lot of ink coming into this 2015 campaign and Aaron Mathews making headlines with a big campaign this season, Harrison Dreher sometimes gets lost in the talented Clairton shuffle. But Dreher enjoyed a big game as he mates prepare to defend their crown next week thanks to a convincing WPIAL Class A Semifinals win over Frazier. Dreher had six catches for 107 yards and scored on a pair of touchdown passes from Mathews, plus he scored on touchdown runs of 3 and 18 yards, plus he got the party started by returning the opening kickoff 97 yards as the Bears rolled past the Commodores 56-15.

Gio Vonne Sanders – Jeannette

In the end, there were no gaudy statistics for the Jeannette signal caller, just great leadership and key plays that led to a come-from-behind victory and a berth in the district championship game for the first time in four years. Trailing 14-0 late in the third quarter, Sanders punt rolled dead at the Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic 1-yard line that led to a safety, then Sanders threw a 31-yard touchdown pass on the ensuing drive to Robert Kennedy and capped off the comeback with scoring runs of 5 and 10 yards as the Jayhawks knocked off the previously unbeaten Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic Trojans 22-14 in a Class A Semifinals contest.

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