WPIAL Friday Night HighLights – Week Two 2015
Saturday, September 12, 2015 | 3:10 PM
While Mother Nature held off on the fancy sky light shows and the rain that plagued many games on opening night, the second Friday of the season was an historic one in two ways. First, a tip of the cap 700 times to the Jeannette Jayhawks for becoming only the second district school and sixth school in Pennsylvania to mass that many wins. And one win has eluded Thomas Jefferson in the first two weeks of a season for the first time in the 21-year golden career of head coach Bill Cherpek. It was also a memorable Friday for these young men:
Phil Jurkovec – Pine-Richland
After a thumping of lowly Shaler in Week One, there were still plenty of questions out there with lot of new names on the field of the WPIAL Quad-A defending champs. After a victory over North Allegheny, these fresh faces are definitely ready for Prime Time. Sophomore quarterback Phil Jurkovec hit on 15 of 23 passes for 186 yards and a touchdown toss, plus he ran for 148 yards and two scores in leading the Rams to a 28-14 Class AAAA Northern Eight Conference victory over the visiting Tigers.
Timmy Vecchio – Penn-Trafford
This senior wide receiver/defensive back has made a name for himself in recent years but racking up the receptions and the yards gained on those catches for the Penn-Trafford offense. Friday, it was what Tim Vecchio did on defense that earned him a spot in the HighLights. Vecchio intercepted three passes and returned them all for touchdowns totalling 142 yards, including a 100-yard pick six as the Warriors tuned up for their big Class AAAA Foothills Conference showdown next week against McKeesport with a 62-14 thumping of the host Connellsville Falcons.
Brandon Schleicher – Baldwin
Both Baldwin and Butler drew the besy breaks in Class AAAA over the last two years, tuning up for conference play with two non-conference games in the first two weeks. Brandon Schleicher made sure Baldwin did not enter Southeastern Conference play without a victory. The senior quarterback hit on 16 of 25 passes for 264 yards and four touchdowns, plus he ran for 131 yards on 10 carries in the Highlanders 45-22 win over the visiting Butler Golden Tornado in the final Quad-A Non-Conference tune-up for both.
Daniel Walters – Hempfield
It’s not always the ‘quick out of the gates’ hare who ends up in the winners circle. Trailing 20-0 and being totally dominated by Norwin, Hempfield finally found their footing and amassed a huge comeback that any tortoise would be proud of. The lead turtle was quarterback Daniel Walters, who completed 17 of 32 passes for 284 yards and three touchdowns, including a 25-yard scoring pass to Nic Schade with only 10 seconds left to pull to within one, and a two-point conversion toss to Ty McEliece that proved to be the difference in the Spartans 35-34 Class AAAA Foothills Conference thriller over the Knights.
Chacar Berry – Ringgold
After enjoying a big opener in which his team upset the Class AAA pre-season top ranked team in Thomas Jefferson, what would Chacar Berry do for an encoder? Plenty of R&R. No, not rest and relaxing, it was more like rush and return as he carved up another Class AAA Big Ten Conference defense. Berry ran for 121 yards and scored three touchdowns on runs of 2, 7 and 21 yards, plus he returned an interception 35 yards for a score in the Ringgold Rams 41-20 victory over the host Uniontown Red Raiders.
Jimmy Pierce – Laurel Highlands
Some may have rolled their eyes when Jimmy Pierce of Laurel Highlands was voted the quarterback on the MSA Sports/Kennywood Park Pre-Season Team, but he has been on a roll since the flag dropped on the start of the season. Pierce hit on 13 of 21 passes for 319 yards and four touchdown passes, including scoring tosses of 48, 45 and 60 yards in riding the Mustangs to rare a 2-0 start after a 44-21 thumping of the host Trinity Hillers in a Class AAA Big Ten Conference matchup.
Conor Hinchey and Zach Budde – Elizabeth Forward
The Elizabeth Forward senior tandem of Conor Hinchey and Zach Budde are friends, amigos, pals and buddies. They are also a pretty good one-two punch on the ground for a team that needed a boost after a rough start in Week One. Hinchey rushed for 209 yards on 22 carries and scored a pair of touchdowns on runs of 5 and 32 yards, while Budde only had 10 carries, but netted 173 yards on the ground with a scoring run of 37 yards as the Warriors blanked the host Albert Gallatin Colonials 28-0 to even their Class AAA Big Ten Conference record.
Ross Andersson – Hampton
Hampton has taken two completely different paths to a 2-0 start. Last week they raced out a a 20-0 lead after one only to hold on for dear life to beat Allderdice 48-42 in a non-conference game. Friday in their Class AAA Greater Allegheny Conference opener, they fell behind 27-12 after three before a big fourth quarter comeback engineered by quarterback Ross Andersson, who hit on 12 of 16 passes for 178 yards and three fourth quarter touchdowns, including a 15-yard pass to Shane McMillen with only 6 seconds left to lift the Talbots to a 32-27 thriller over the host Little Indians of Indiana.
Taylor Gunn – Highlands
For the second straight year, Highlands and Apollo-Ridge were engaged in an epic battle with young men from both teams leaving it all out on the field until the very end. But this Class AA Allegheny Conference thriller was decided by a young lady. Junior kicker Taylor Gunn connected on all four extra points during regulation as her Highlands teammates erased deficits of 14-0 and 28-14 to force overtime tied at 28-28 when Gunn booted home a game-winning 20-yard field goal to give the Golden Rams a 31-28 victory over the host Vikings.
Pat Carr – Brentwood
Some teams like to pass the ball into the end zone, while other go old-school and try to run it into the end zone. Brentwood is trying something unique this year as they make every effort to ‘drive’ into the end zone…and why not with that fancy Carr they have. Pat Carr ran for 162 yards on 26 carries and scored on touchdowns cruises of 7, 41 and 5-yards in leading the host Spartans to a 28-14 victory in a Class A Black Hills Conference triumph over the Fort Cherry Rangers that improves Brentwood to 2-0.
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