WPIAL football don’t-miss matchups for Week 4
Thursday, September 20, 2018 | 8:33 PM
Here’s a look at top games in each class for Week 4 in WPIAL high school football:
No. 2 North Allegheny (4-0, 3-0) at No. 5 Mt. Lebanon (2-2, 2-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday, Mt. Lebanon Stadium
On the air: TribHSSN.triblive.com
Last week: North Allegheny 45, Canon-McMillan 21; Seneca Valley 17, Mt. Lebanon 14
Coaches: Art Walker, North Allegheny; Mike Melnyk, Mt. Lebanon
Top players: Ben Maenza, North Allegheny (Sr., 5-8, 155, RB); Seth Morgan, Mt. Lebanon (Sr., 6-3, 170, QB)
Keep an eye on: Gunnar Fisher, North Allegheny (Sr., 5-11, 170, QB)
Momentum: North Allegheny. The Tigers are outscoring opponents by an average of nearly 30 points per game, including a 27-3 Week 2 win over Central Catholic.
Four downs: 1. North Allegheny’s Fisher threw for 98 yards and a touchdown and also ran for 64 yards and a score in last week’s win over Canon-McMillan. 2. Morgan was held in check last week in the loss to Seneca Valley but has thrown for 794 yards and seven scores this season. 3. Maenza has guided the North Allegheny ground game, gaining 165 yards with three touchdowns on 19 carries a week ago. He also leads the team in rushing with 232 yards. 4. In a nonconference game a year ago, North Allegheny defeated the Blue Devils, 44-27.
Extra point: Mt. Lebanon has four players with more than 10 receptions — Lucas Decaro (15), Mason Ventrone (11), Tim Walters (10) and Sam Lasota (10).
No. 4 Peters Township (3-1) at No. 5 North Hills (4-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday at Martorelli Stadium, West View
On the air: TribHSSN.triblive.com (video streaming)
Last week: Peters Township 42, West Allegheny 28; North Hills 3, Hampton 0
Coaches: TJ Plack, West Allegheny; Pat Carey, North Hills
Top players: Logan Pfeuffer, Peters Township (So., 6-0, 160, QB), Tyler Tomasic, North Hills (So., 5-6, 145, RB)
Keep an eye on: Ryan Magiske, Peters Township (Jr., 5-10, 180, RB)
Momentum: Peters Township. The Indians used a fast start, leading 21-7 in the first quarter, to secure a win over West Allegheny last week.
Four downs: 1. Pfeuffer has been a reliable signal caller for the Indians this season, including completing 11 of 15 passes for 195 yards and two scores last week. 2. While Tyler Brennan has led the North Hills offensive attack most of the season, it was Tomasic that carried the load in last week’s win over Hampton. He had 31 carries for 160 yards. 3. Magiske led Peters township in rushing with 13 carries for 107 yards and two scores last week. 4. North Hills won last week’s game on a 23-yard field goal by Dan Wagner.
Extra point: Peters Township is allowing 12.8 points per game, fourth best in Class 5A behind Gateway (8.5), Franklin Regional (9.0) and Penn Hills (10.5).
Big Eight Conference
Trinity (1-3, 1-2) at No. 1 Thomas Jefferson (3-0, 3-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday at Thomas Jefferson Stadium
Last week: Trinity 47, Ringgold 6; Thomas Jefferson 49, Indiana 14
Coaches: Jon Miller, Trinity; Bill Cherpak, Thomas Jefferson
Top players: Micah Finley, Trinity (So., 5-8, 165, RB); Max Shaw, Thomas Jefferson (Sr., 6-0, 190, RB)
Keep an eye on: Shane Stump, Thomas Jefferson (Jr., 6-1, 200, QB)
Momentum: Thomas Jefferson. The three-time defending WPIAL champions have rolled past their first three opponents — Ringgold (62-0), Belle Vernon (36-14) and Indiana (49-14).
Four downs: 1. Finley was a big-play machine last week, rumbling for 174 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries, an average of 12.4 yards per carry. 2. Stump threw for 196 yards and two scores on 8 of 14 passing last week for the Jaguars. 3. Shaw also has shined this season, rushing for 408 yards and eight touchdowns for TJ. 4. Through three games, TJ receiver Dan Deabner led the Jaguars in receiving and had accounted for close to 500 yards in total offense.
Extra point: Trinity scored twice on returns last week against Ringgold. Cameron Moran returned a punt 74 yards, and Kaden Kolson had a 75-yard interception return.
Elizabeth Forward (3-0) at Quaker Valley (1-2)
7 p.m. Friday, Chuck Knox Stadium, Leetsdale
Last week: Elizabeth Forward 27, Freeport 21; Beaver Falls 25, Quaker Valley 14
Coaches: Mike Collodi, Elizabeth Forward; Ron Balog, Quaker Valley
Top players: Zachary Benedek, Elizabeth Forward (Sr., 6-1, 190, QB); Ethan Moore, Quaker Valley (Sr., 6-0, 175, QB)
Keep an eye on: Ryan Jackovic, Quaker Valley (Sr., 6-5, 210, WR)
Momentum: Elizabeth Forward is riding high at 3-0 and outscoring opponents 103-49 so far.
Four downs: 1. Benedek has been a dangerous dual-threat quarterback this season, including last week when he threw for 157 yards and two scores and ran for 115 yards and another TD. 2. Moore threw the ball 37 times last week, completing 15 for 302 yards and two touchdowns. 3. Nate Alberts has scored three times for the Warriors. 4. Jackovic is the Quakers’ leading receiver with six catches for 155 yards and two touchdowns.
Extra point: Quaker Valley is coming off back-to-back losses in the Tri-County West Conference to Aliquippa and Beaver Falls after starting the season with an 18-0 win over Central Valley.
McGuffey (4-0, 2-0) at Beth-Center (4-0, 3-0)
7 p.m. Friday, Beth-Center Stadium, Fredericktown
On the air: 95.3 FM; TribHSSN.triblive.com
Last week: McGuffey 55, Carmichaels 0; Beth-Center 52, Southmoreland 26
Coaches: Ed Dalton, McGuffey; Joe Kuhns, Beth-Center
Top players: Christian Clutter, McGuffey (Sr., 6-0, 180, RB); Dominic Fundy, Beth-Center (Sr., 6-2, 225, RB)
Keep an eye on: Marshall Whipkey, McGuffey (Jr., 5-10, 175, QB)
Momentum: McGuffey is coming off a convincing conference victory over Carmichaels and could enter the top-five rankings with a victory.
Four downs: 1. McGuffey is allowing just 5.3 points per game after shutting out three of its four opponents – Ambridge, Northgate and Carmichaels. 2. Eight players carried the ball last week for McGuffey, including Clutter, who had two rushes for 82 yards, both touchdowns. 3. Fundy is one of the WPIAL’s top rushers with 56 carries for 659 yards and four touchdowns. 4. McGuffey dropped down from Class 3A, where it finished fourth in the Interstate Conference last season.
Extra point: A shot at the conference title could be on the line, but No. 2-ranked Charleroi (3-0, 2-0) also is still looming for both teams.
No. 5 Monessen (3-0, 2-0) at West Greene (3-1, 3-0)
7 p.m. Friday, Kennedy Field, West Greene
On the air: TribHSSN@triblive.com
Last week: Monessen 55, Jefferson-Morgan 0; West Greene 47, Mapletown 0
Coaches: Mike Blainefield, Monessen; Rodney Huffman, West Greene
Top players: Vaughn Taylor, Monessen (Sr., 5-10, 190, RB/LB); Ben Jackson, West Greene (Jr., 6-0, 190, RB/LB)
Keep an eye on: Devin Whitlock, Monessen (Fr., 5-7, 145, WR/DB)
Momentum: West Greene. After opening the season with a loss at unbeaten Cameron, W.Va., the Pioneers have allowed six points in wins against Bentworth, Chartiers-Houston and Mapletown.
Four downs: 1. The Pioneers turned the ball over five times in a 22-14 loss at Cameron. 2. Monessen opened some eyes when it defeated California, 30-20, on the road. 3. Jackson has rushed for 874 yards, an average of 218.6 per game, and scored 14 touchdowns this season. 4. Eight Monessen players have scored touchdowns this season. Whitlock has scored five touchdowns to lead the team.
Extra point: The winner of this game has the inside track of winning the Tri-County South.