WPIAL Week Three Friday Night HighLights

Saturday, September 15, 2012 | 10:22 AM

A little rain never hurt anybody, especially teen-age kids wanted to roll around on the natural surface, aka mud, or slide around on the artificial stuff. Most games were affected in one way or another by rainfall in the early part of the evening throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania, but these players laughed at the elements…and their opponents in enjoying a huge night on the third Friday of the 2012 campaign.

Andrew Wingard – West Shamokin

September of 2007 was the last time West Shamokin won a high school football game. Nearly five cold, lean and forgetful years late, they are celebrating again in the land of the Wolves. Andrew Wingard rushed for 142-yards and scored on a 35-yard scoring run to lead the Wolves to a (gulp) 25-6 victory over the visiting Riverview Raiders in a Class A Eastern Conference contest that snaps the longest losing streak in WPIAL history at 46-games in a row.  

Pete Coughlin – Upper St. Clair

Petee Coughlin was the unknown quarterback who came to light in the 2011 WPIAL Class AAAA Semifinals and Finals when filling on for the injured Dakota Conwell, led Upper St. Clair to an upset of Pittsburgh Central Catholic and a near upset of North Allegheny. Now he continues to make a name for himself as the starting QB for USC, Friday night hitting on 9 of 11 passes for 249 yards and FIVE touchdowns passes, plus a 68-yard scoring run en route to 110 yards on the ground as the Panthers took control of the Southeastern Conference with a 42-14 victory over the host Peters Township Indians.

Cody McClelland – Woodland Hills

Woodland Hills head coach George Novak has never been known to light it up through the air during his Hall of Fame career, but when in Rome, well, you know the rest. Quarterback Cody McClelland opened up the Woody High attack Friday by connecting on 8 of 14 passes for 206 yards, with half of those completions going to the house with touchdown tosses of 24, 40, 24 and 15-yards in leading the Wolverines to an easy 35-7 home rout of the Bethel Park Black Hawks in a Southeastern Conference tilt at The Wolvarena.

Ben Tackett – Knoch

There was an old commercial where the slogan was "Tack it, and forget about it." Perhaps that should be the slogan for Knoch coach Mike King here in 2012. "Hand it off to Tackett, and forget about it." Ben Tackett rushed for 253 yards on only 14 carries and scored three touchdowns on runs of 64, 77 and 25-yards in leading the Knights to a 3-0 start with a road Class AAA Greater Allegheny Conference victory, 40-7 over the Derry Trojans. 

Josh Schultheis – Mars

Another Class AAA Greater Allegheny Conference team improved to 3-0 thanks to the running of one of many sophomore sensations this year around the WPIAL. Proving that he one day, may be out of this world, Mars running back Josh Shultheis carried the ball 22 times for 211 yards and scored a pair of first quarter touchdowns on runs of 38 and 3 yards in leading the Fighting Planets to a 40-6 triumph over the host Indiana Little Indians. 

Joe Carroll – Thomas Jefferson

In what was supposed to be an entertaining battle of undefeated teams in a Week 3 Class AAA non-conference contest, Joe Carroll quickly turned the game into a one-sided cat hunt at Thomas Jefferson High School. The TJ quarterback hit on 11 of 16 passes for 237 yards and FIVE touchdowns on tosses of 70, 20-, 22, 9 and 25 yards, with two scoring passes each thrown to Zach Schademan and Jake Mascaro as the Jaguars moved to 3-0 with a 55-0 demolition of the previously unbeaten Hollidaysburg Golden Tigers.

Shai McKenzie – Washington

The great Rushel Shell was always a mainstay on the Friday Night HighLights with great game after great game throughout his career. It appears now this Washington running back in not shy about showing up on this page either. For the second time in three weeks, Shai McKenzie rushed for 214 yards and scored four long touchdowns on runs of 32, 58, 39 and 48 yards to help the Little Prexies improve to 3-0 in the Class AA Interstate Conference with a coasting 64-14 win over the visiting Charleroi Cougars.

James Duchi – McGuffey

James Duchi enjoyed a big night for McGuffey to help propel them to a some-what historic victory.  Duchi rushed for 236 yards and scored on a 53-yard touchdown jaunt that put the Highlanders up to stay in what turned out to be a 29-20 victory over the host Quaker Valley Quakers. The win not only put McGuffey back in the playoff hunt and snapped a 12-game losing streak, but also was win number one for Ed Dalton as head coach of the Highlanders.

Ernie Burkes – Neshannock

A new coaching staff was optimistic coming into the season that Neshannock was going to tunr things around and make a serious run at a playoff spot in the Class A Big 7 Conference. But could they hang with the two BIG boys of the block, Sto-Rox and Rochester. The answer after their first test turned out to be YES thanks to the work of quarterback Ernie Burkes, who hit on 18 of 33 passes for 171 yards and two touchdown passes along with a scoring run as the Lancers moved to 3-0 with a stunning 35-34 upset of the second-ranked Sto-Rox Vikings.

Nick Kusich and Jake Temple – Avella

The last time Avella was undefeated through three weeks of the football season, Jimmy Carter was in his first year in the white house. 37-years later, they may not be celebrating with a bicentennial style parade, but they are giddy about their football team in Avella. Nick Kusich rushed for 202 yards and scored on a 79-yard run while Jake Temple gained 111 yards and scored twice to lead the Unbeaten Eagles to a 40-14 victory over the visiting Mapletown Maples in a Tri-County South Conference fray.

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