WPIAL Friday Night HighLights – Week Five 2017
By: Don Rebel
Saturday, September 30, 2017 | 3:09 PM
Week Five marked the midway point of the WPIAL football regular season and it also was the first Friday night precipitation was involved as most of the games throughout the district had to deal with showers right before or in the early part of the game. However there was nothing middle of the road about these performances as we tip our helmet to the players who reigned down on their opponents from start to finish.
Jordan Crawford – Pine-Richland
Yes, another Pine-Richland player makes the HighLight column, but for the first time this season, his initials are not Phil Jurkovec. In a big Class 6-A Northern Seven Conference battle for first place against defending champion Pittsburgh Central Catholic, Jordan Crawford ran wild with many of his carries reaching pay dirt. Crawford rushed for 167 yards and scored SIX touchdowns a 24-yard reception and three scores of 14-yards, a pair of touchdowns from 3-yards out and a 31-yard partridge in a pear tree as the Rams rolled past the Vikings 47-17.
Tanner Volpatti – Bethel Park
Now that they weren’t facing the best team in the district in Pine-Richland, Bethel Park could get back to doing what they do here in 2017…successfully run the ball and win going away. Tanner Volpatti rushed for 238 yards and scored four touchdowns including a pair of 80-yard jaunts as the visiting Black Hawks ran roughshod over the Hempfield Spartans 55-21 to move into a tie for first place in the Class 6-A Southeastern Conference.
Luke Trueman – North Allegheny
After back-to-back early season losses to Pittsburgh Central Catholic and Bethel Park, there was some doubt lingering about how good North Allegheny was this year. But the truth is they have now won three straight and are back among the elite of the class after a big Class 6-A Non-Conference in on the road Friday. Quarterback Luke Trueman connected on 11 of 17 passes for 242 yards and three touchdown tosses as the Tigers beat the Mount Lebanon Blue Devils 44-27.
Nick Gizzo – Fox Chapel
Its funny how different teams react to their backs against the wall. Some have been known to wave the white flag and fold up tent while others come out with hay-makers flying and a nothing to lose attitude. That was what Fox Chapel did as they entered play in the Class 5-A Allegheny Nine Conference tied for fifth place, two games out of a playoff spot. Nick Gizzo connected early and often as he ended up with 312 yards rushing and three touchdowns to go along with a scoring pass as the Foxes stayed alive with a 42-6 pounding of the host Moon Tigers.
Marcus Hooker – New Castle
Friday’s game for New Castle was a microcosm of how the season has played out. They were 0-2 out of the gates and have now won four straight. On Friday, NeCa High trailed host Mars 13-0 in the first quarter in a 5-A Northwest Nine Conference battle of teams tied for second place before scoring 25 of the next 35 points led by Marcus Hooker’s 173 yards on the ground and three touchdown runs of 1, 7 and 8 yards along with what turned out to be the winning points on a 2-point conversion run as the Red Hurricane edged the Fightin’ Planets 25-23.
Lionel Deanes – Seton-LaSalle
“And the train keeps a rolling, all night long, the train keeps a rolling, all night long.” That might as well be the theme for Seton-LaSalle in 2017 as they remained undefeated after taking another trip on the Lionel Train. Senior running back Lionel Deanes rushed for 280 yards and scored three touchdowns including a ‘welcome’ 72-yard run in the first quarter and a ‘have a nice night’ 33 yard jaunt in the fourth quarter as the Rebels remain atop the Class 3-A Allegheny Conference with a 35-21 victory over the host Apollo-Ridge Vikings.
Skyy Moore – Shady Side Academy
When Keystone Oaks looked up at the sky above Dormont Stadium, there was not much to see except cloud-covered darkness. When KO looked across the field and line of scrimmage at the Skyy, they saw plenty of stars. Shady Side Academy quarterback Skyy Moore helped keep his teams playoff hopes alive by hitting on 12 passes for 293 yards and two touchdowns tosses (including a late fourth quarter 39-yard game winner), a scoring run and a 54-yard pick six as the Indians knocked the Golden Eagles from their conference perch to the tune of 35-28.
Israel Reed – Imani Christian
It had been a tough couple of weeks for Imani Christian after back-to-back loses at home to California and Jeannette, having five players ejected from last week and unavailable for this week and having their coach publicly censured (ouch), but all of that is a distant memory thanks to Israel Reed and what was left of his teammate. Reed connected on 12 passes for 124 yards to go along with two touchdown passes and a scoring run as the Saints stunned defending champion Clairton 18-6, handing the Bears their first conference loss in four years and only their second regular season loss since Week One of the 2009 season.
Ryhan Culberson – Fort Cherry
While it takes eleven players working as one for a team to be successful on the gridiron, sometimes that one special player can go a loooong way toward success. Fort Cherry quarterback Ryhan Culberson hit on 6 of 8 passes for 100 yards but once again did major damage with his legs, gaining 264 yards on the ground and accounting for all five of his teams scores on runs of 11, 22, 14, 4 and 70 yards as the Rangers cruised to a 32-6 Class 1-A Tri-County South Conference victory over the visiting West Greene Pioneers.
Jelani Stafford – California
California has plenty of weapons on offense, but none bigger…and I mean BIGGER than thundering running back Jelani Stafford. The Earl Campbell-like style fullback (look him up on Youtube kids) rushed for 226 pounding yards and scored early on an 11-yard run and tallied late on a 53 yard scamper as the Trojans remained tied for the top spot in the Class 1-A Tri-County South Conference with a 53-0 whitewash of the host Monessen Greyhounds.
Don Rebel hosts the Rebel Yell podcasts for HSSN.