Westmoreland County High School Football Week Nine Preview

Belle Vernon travels to Elizabeth Forward; PT hosts Franklin Regional; Southmoreland battles Mt. Pleasant

Fri Oct 28, 2022 - 12:38AM

Sean Meyers Sean Meyers

Last Updated: Fri Oct 28, 2022 - 12:47AM

After ten weeks, the WPIAL football regular season comes to a conclusion on Friday. With 10 Westmoreland County teams already in the playoffs, and one more still in the mix, this week will serve to improve seeding and build momentum for those squads. For the seven area teams without postseason hopes, it’s a chance to end the campaign on a high note. Here’s a detailed examination of every game across Westmoreland County for Week Nine of the WPIAL season.

Belle Vernon Area (6-2, 4-0) at Elizabeth Forward (9-0, 4-0) – 7 p.m.

Pregame at 6:30 p.m. on WSN VIDEO - WATCH LIVE

WSN Broadcasters: Sean Meyers and John Bainbridge

About the Leopards: Belle Vernon Area blanked Southmoreland 48-0 in Class 3A Interstate Conference play last week, as six different players scored for the Leopards. Jake Gedekoh rushed eight times for 111 yards and two touchdowns for BVA, while Quinton Martin added eight carries for 100 yards and a TD. QB Braden Laux hit on 6-of-11 passes for 124 yards and a score, and he also rushed for a TD. Winners of five straight, the Leopards have yielded just 21 points total during that surge. On the campaign, Martin has rushed 69 times for 612 yards, caught 16 passes for 210 yards, and has found the endzone 16 times. In addition to 11 touchdowns, Gedekoh has posted 377 yards rushing.

About the Warriors: Elizabeth Forward scored the final 41 points en route to a 62-13 blowout against host Greensburg Salem in Class 3A Interstate Conference action a week ago. Quarterback Zion White was 9-of-11 passing for 255 yards for EF, while Zach Boyd caught five passes for 199 yards and scored three times. For the season, White has completed 63-of-106 passes for 1,521 yards, with 24 touchdowns. Boyd has caught 30 passes for 988 yards, which ranks second in the WPIAL, and he’s scored 18 touchdowns. Johnny DiNapoli has amassed 371 yards rushing and nine TDs, while Jordan Wilmore has rushed for 405 yards and eight scores. On the season, EF has outscored its foes 404-82. Coach Mike Collodi is at the helm of the Warriors.

About the Matchup: The winner will capture the title of the Class 3A Interstate Conference, while the loser will finish in second. The most recent meeting occurred in 2015, as the Leopards claimed a dominant 54-0 victory.

Franklin Regional (6-2, 4-0) at Penn-Trafford (5-4, 2-2) - 7:30 p.m.

Pregame at 7 p.m. on WSN VIDEO - WATCH LIVE

WSN Broadcasters: Jonathan Whaley and Jack Ridenour

About the Panthers: Franklin Regional QB Roman Sarnic rushed for three scores and passed for another, as the Panthers ousted homestanding North Hills 34-14 in a Class 5A nonconference tilt last week. Sarnic compiled 22 carries for 184 yards and three TDs, while posting 6-of-10 passing for 112 yards and another score through the air. Ayden Hudock was Sarnic’s favorite target, as he caught five passes for 107 yards and a TD, while Kyle Dupill added a rushing score. For the season, Sarnic has passed for 960 yards and 10 touchdowns, while he’s compiled 874 yards and a dozen scores as a rusher. Hudock, meanwhile, has caught 29 passes for 791 yards and has scored a team-best 14 total touchdowns. Kicker Joey Bayne has hit seven field goals. At 35.8 points per game, the Panthers have the top scoring offense in the conference.

About the Warriors: Penn-Trafford opened the scoring with a 24-yard field goal by Logan Swartz in the first quarter, but the Warriors were held scoreless for the rest of the contest, as host North Allegheny prevailed 20-3 in a nonconference matchup a week ago. QB Conlan Greene was 9-of-18 passing for 83 yards, but he tossed two interceptions. Daniel Tarabrella paced PT receivers with four receptions for 59 yards, while Owen Demeri posted 40 yards rushing. In addition to throwing for 1,223 yards this season, Greene also leads the Warriors with 671 yards on the ground and eight total TDs. Tarabrella has 36 receptions for 555 yards, while Tommy Kalkstein has rushed for 281 yards and added 150 yards receiving.

About the Matchup: While Franklin Regional has already clinched a share of the Class 5A Big East Conference title, the Panthers would win the crown outright with a victory. Penn-Trafford, meanwhile, has a legitimate chance to secure a wild card spot with a victory, while a loss would eliminate PT from contention. Last year, the Warriors rolled to a 49-7 w

Norwin (1-8, 0-4) at Hempfield Area (5-4, 1-3) – 7 p.m.

Pregame at 6:30 p.m. on WSN VIDEO - WATCH LIVE

WSN Broadcasters: Dave Franczak and Tim McCabe

About the Knights: Norwin was overmatched in a 42-10 road loss at Gateway last week in Class 5A Big East Conference action. Norwin’s touchdown came courtesy of a 23-yard pass from Nicholas Urey to Luke Denny, while Joey Castle booted a 39-yard field goal. Urey finished 8-of-21 for 127 yards, while Jackson Pons and Denny also completed passes. Denny paced the Knights with four catches for 87 yards, while Stephen Rodgers hauled in four passes for 56 yards. During their six-game skid, the Knights have not eclipsed 13 points in a game, and have been shutout three times. At 8.4 points per contest, Norwin ranks second from the bottom in Class 5A.

About the Spartans: Hempfield Area fell on the road to Plum 34-21 in a Class 5A Big East contest last week, as three interceptions and two turnovers on downs loomed large. The Hempfield Area rushing attack was the bright spot, as Gino Caesar compiled 35 carries for 169 yards, while Eli Binakonsky had 11 carries for 76 yards and two touchdowns. QB Keiran Lippmann hit on 14-of-24 passes for 147 yards and a TD, but had three picks. Ian Tuffs caught four passes for 60 yards, while Daniel Katonka added five grabs for 45 yards. For the season, Gino Caesar paces Hempfield Area with 13 scores, while Katonka has posted seven touchdowns.

About the Matchup: Both teams have been eliminated from postseason contention in Class 5A, but the outcome could impact the wild card landscape across the classification. A year ago as Class 6A foes, the Knights prevailed 27-7.

Derry Area (0-9, 0-6) at Ligonier Valley (6-3, 4-2) – 7 p.m.

Pregame at 7 p.m. on WSN AUDIO - LISTEN LIVE

WSN Broadcasters: John Flickinger and Bob Lasinski

About the Trojans: Derry Area came up short at home last week, dropping a 30-8 outcome to Burrell in the Class 2A Allegheny Conference. The Trojans’ points came on a fourth-quarter touchdown pass from Blake Revoir to Damari Robinson that spanned seven yards. With four touchdowns this season, Robinson paces the Trojans. Allowing 38.1 points per game, Derry Area has the worst scoring defense in the conference.

About the Rams: Ligonier Valley earned a 42-7 triumph over Imani Christian Academy at Graham Field last week in Class 2A Allegheny Conference play. Rams QB Broderick Schreyer completed 7-of-9 passes for 73 yards and a pair of scores, and he contributed another TD on the ground. Haden Sierocky posted 105 rushing yards and a touchdown, while teammate John Jablunovsky compiled 90 yards on the ground and a pair of TDs. McKinley Shearer anchored the LV defense with 14 tackles. For the season, Sierocky leads LV in both rushing and receiving yards, with 868 and 345, respectively, and he has compiled a team-high 13 touchdowns. Jablunovsky, Nick Lonas, and Duncan Foust have all surpassed 200 yards rushing.

About the Matchup: Ligonier Valley is locked into the third playoff spot from the Class 2A Allegheny Conference, while the Trojans have been eliminated. It’s the first meeting between the schools since the Rams returned to the WPIAL.

Kiski Area (1-8, 0-5) at Armstrong (8-1, 5-0) – 7 p.m.

About the Cavaliers: Kiski Area recorded its first win of the season, as the homestanding Cavaliers blasted Fox Chapel Area 50-13 in a nonconference tussle. Cavs quarterback Carson Heinle completed 19-of-23 passes for 219 yards and four touchdowns, while Dom DiNinno caught 12 passes for 176 yards and four touchdowns, and he contributed a 65-yard interception return score. Connor Flemm posted a pair of rushing scores for the Cavaliers. The contest marked the first time this season that KA held an opponent to fewer than 33 points. Allowing 37.7 points per game, Kiski Area has the worst scoring defense in the conference.

About the River Hawks: Armstrong outpaced previously-unbeaten Highlands 56-35 last week. Quarterback Cadin Olsen, a Penn commit, had a game for the ages, as he hit 18-of-22 passes for 447 yards and five touchdowns, while also rushing for a score. Isaiah Brown caught seven passes for 166 yards and three scores, Ian Olsen had five receptions for 147 yards and a pair of TDs, and Kyan Kline hauled in five catches for 129 yards. Alex Patton produced a strong showing in the running game, as he posted 118 rushing yards and two touchdowns. For the season, Cadin Olsen has completed 149-of-229 passes for 2,492 yards, with 33 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Frank Fabian serves as the head coach for Armstrong.

About the Matchup: With a victory, Armstrong clinches the Class 4A Greater Allegheny Conference crown outright. Kiski Area, meanwhile, is no longer in the mix for a playoff spot. The previous meeting in 2019 went in favor of the Cavs, 35-26.

Mount Pleasant Area (5-4, 2-2) at Southmoreland (4-5, 2-2) – 7 p.m.

About the Vikings: Mount Pleasant Area compiled 322 yards rushing, while the Vikings defense posted a shutout in a 42-0 victory against South Allegheny in the Class 3A Interstate Conference a week ago. Robbie Labuda rushed 11 times for 73 yards and scored twice, while Jackson Hutter posted five carries for 135 yards and a score for the Vikes. QB Cole Chatfield hit on 4-of-7 passes for 82 yards and a pair of TDs, one each to Tyler Reese and Lane Golkosky. On the campaign, Labuda has rushed 130 times for 1,144 yards, registering 17 total touchdowns. Golkosky ranks second in rushing, with 510 yards, while he leads the Vikings with 235 yards receiving. The Vikes have scored 35 or more points in all of their victories.

About the Scotties: Southmoreland was overmatched in a 48-0 defeat at Belle Vernon Area in Class 3A Interstate Conference action a week ago. QB Kadin Keefer was limited to 8-of-21 passing for 27 yards, while Ty Keffer recorded four receptions for 15 yards. Cameron Phillips led the rushing attack with 32 yards. For the season, Keffer has a WPIAL-leading 62 receptions for 870 yards, and he’s found paydirt 16 times. Trey Whetsel anchors the rushing attack for Southmoreland, with 102 carries for 419 yards.

About the Matchup: The winner of the tilt will finish third in the Class 3A Interstate Conference, while the loser will place in fourth. A year ago, the Vikings notched a 34-7 triumph.

Greensburg Salem (3-6, 0-4) at South Allegheny (1-8, 0-4) – 7 p.m.

About the Golden Lions: Although Greensburg Salem scored a pair of touchdowns in the first quarter, Elizabeth Forward cruised to a 62-13 win against the host Golden Lions in Class 3A Interstate Conference action last week. Cody Rubrecht factored into both scores for GS, as he connected with Christian Hostetler on a 19-yard pass, and produced a 33-yard TD run. Rubrecht was 7-of-14 passing for 88 yards, while he rushed for 31 yards. After a three-game winning streak, the Golden Lions are in the midst of a five-game skid, allowing 42 or more points in each setback. Despite missing time with injury this season, Rubrecht has passed for 929 yards, while he’s compiled 115 times for 924 yards, scoring 15 times. Kai Brunot has added 106 carries for 489 yards, while Christian Hostetler paces the GS receivers with 23 grabs for 335 yards.

About the Gladiators: South Allegheny was stifled by Mount Pleasant Area in a 42-0 loss in the Class 3A Interstate Conference tilt last week. Dashawn Carter led South Allegheny with 53 yards rushing, while Camden Lewis added 49 yards. The Gladiators have lost eight in a row, and have not surpassed seven points scored in any of the past five contests. At 8.2 points per game, SA has the lowest scoring offense in Class 3A. First-year head coach Darwin Manges stepped down a couple of weeks ago, citing health issues. Defensive coordinator Desmond Ball is the acting coach.

About the Matchup: Both teams are out of playoff contention, but the winner avoids a last-place finish. The teams have not met since prior to 2003.

Valley (1-8, 0-4) at Knoch (0-9, 0-4) – 7 p.m.

About the Vikings: Valley could not contain Ben Lane, who rushed for three TDs and threw for another in leading Freeport Area to a 62-19 win in the Class 3A Allegheny Six Conference a week ago. Dallas Price posted a 56-yard TD run for the Vikings, while Xavier Wilson and Zayaan Ferron also scored for Valley. Wilson paces the squad with five touchdowns on the campaign. The Vikings have endured a pair of four-game losing streaks this season, including currently. At 13.4 points per game, the Vikings have the worst scoring offense in the conference.

About the Knights: Knoch played competitively, but came up short against East Allegheny 31-21 last week. QB Codi Mullen had a strong showing, as he hit on 22-of-34 passes for 315 yards, with one touchdown and one interception, and he added two rushing TDs. Jack Bauman hauled in nine passes for 139 yards and a score, while Jack Murphy caught six for 110 yards. The Knights have permitted 30 or more points in every contest, and their scoring defense of 37.7 points per game ranks last in the conference.

Apollo-Ridge (5-4, 3-3) at Burrell (6-3, 3-3) – 7 p.m.

About the Vikings: Apollo-Ridge upset Serra Catholic 43-36 last week in Class 2A Allegheny Conference play. Running back Dom Curci enjoyed a historic performance, as he rushed 51 times for 338 yards and five touchdowns. For the season, he’s amassed 185 carries for 1,286 yards, and has compiled 19 touchdowns. Jacob Mull is the top receiver for AR, as he’s posted 26 receptions for 663 yards, scoring eight times. Coach John Skiba is at the helm of the Vikings.

About the Buccaneers: Devin Beattie posted 31 carries for 164 yards and two touchdowns, propelling Burrell to a 30-8 win at Derry Area in Class 2A Allegheny Conference play. In addition to Beattie’s scores, the Buccaneers also received rushing TDs from Chase Fenner and Mason Jones, as well as a field goal from Ryan Croushore. In 2022, Beattie has registered 198 carries for 1,338 yards, totaling 15 touchdowns. Although Fenner has connected on just 4-of-12 passes for 94 yards, with no touchdowns and two interceptions, he’s added 390 yards rushing and eight touchdowns.

About the Matchup: While Burrell has already secured a playoff berth, Apollo-Ridge clinches either with a win, or via a loss by Imani Christian. If the Saints lose, the matchup between the Bucs and Vikings will determine fourth and fifth in the conference. In a nonconference battle last year, the Vikings prevailed 35-17.

Imani Christian Academy (4-5, 2-4) at Yough (2-7, 1-5) – 7 p.m.

About the Saints: Imani Christian was overmatched last week, falling to Ligonier Valley 42-7. For the season, David Davis has registered a team-high 17 touchdowns, while Isaiah Arrington and Chevon Allen are knotted for second place with three scores. The Saints have allowed 41 or more points in every loss this season, and permit 34.2 points per contest. LaRoi Johnson is the first-year head coach for Imani Christian.

About the Cougars: Yough was dismantled by Steel Valley 56-7 in the Class 2A Allegheny Conference contest a week ago. Gavin Roebuck notched the lone Cougars TD on a fumble recovery score. Yough has dropped five straight tilts, and has been outscored 270-95 on the season.

About the Matchup: Imani Christian Academy needs to win, coupled with an Apollo-Ridge loss, to qualify for the postseason. Yough, meanwhile, is out of the playoff picture. This marks the first meeting between the teams since Imani Christian joined the WPIAL for football a decade ago.

Jeannette (3-6, 3-2) at Clairton (4-5, 4-1) – 7 p.m.

About the Jayhawks: Jeannette quarterback Payton Molter rushed for a pair of touchdowns and threw another in Jeannette’s 35-7 home triumph against Springdale. Molter posted a dozen carries for 74 yards, including a pair of 12-yard TD runs, and he hooked up with Andrew Ross on a 31-yard score, as the signalcaller completed 5-of-8 passes for 94 yards. Noah Sanders also rushed 13 times for 86 yards and scored twice on the ground for the Jayhawks. For the campaign, Sanders has rushed 90 times for 514 yards, caught 42 passes for 595 yards, and has contributed a dozen total touchdowns. Molter, meanwhile, has amassed 970 yards and 12 touchdowns through the air, while he’s added 397 yards rushing and 10 TDs.

About the Bears: Clairton smashed Frazier 49-7 last week in Class 1A Eastern Conference play. QB Capone Jones was efficient, hitting on all six of his throws for 131 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing for a pair of scores. On the season, Jones has posted 806 yards passing, while he’s rushed for 425 yards and eight touchdowns. Drahcir Jones is the top rusher for the Bears, however, with 457 yards on the ground. Wayne Wade is the accomplished head coach for Clairton.

About the Matchup: While both teams have already secured playoff spots in Class 1A, their seeding can still fluctuate. A year ago, the Bears rolled to a 43-0 win in Roy Hall’s finale as head coach of Jeannette. In 2020, though, the Jayhawks notched a mercy-rule win against the Bears in the WPIAL Class 1A Championship.

Leechburg (7-2, 4-1) at Greensburg Central Catholic (7-2, 5-0) – 7 p.m.

About the Blue Devils: Playing a nonconference contest last week, Leechburg edged Shenango 42-35. In the triumph, QB Jayden Floyd was 14-of-18 for 291 yards and four touchdowns. Floyd’s top target, Tyler Foley, caught six passes for 179 yards and three scores, while Logan Kline added seven catches for 116 yards and a TD. Braylan Lovelace, a Pitt commit, rushed for 60 yards and a touchdown, but he also caught and threw touchdowns for Leechburg. On the season, Lovelace has compiled 28 touchdowns, which ranks second in the WPIAL, as he’s registered 118 carries for 1,322. The Blue Devils have scored 42 or more points in each of their victories, as they’ve compiled a four-game winning streak. Randy Walters is the head coach for Leechburg.

About the Centurions: Greensburg Central Catholic made quick work of host Riverview last Saturday, notching a 48-0 win in the Class 1A Eastern Conference. Samir Crosby led the way, factoring into five touchdowns. The freshman standout caught two passes for 63 yards, both TDs, rushed twice for 46 yards and a touchdown, had an 88-yard interception return score, and hit a 61-yard TD pass. Da’sjon Craggette added two rushing scores for GCC. For the season, Crosby and Craggette are tied with 14 touchdowns to lead the Centurions, while Jaydin Canady has posted 11 scores, and Amari Mack has found paydirt nine times. Quarterback Tyree Turner has passed for 1,315 yards and 17 touchdowns, with just three interceptions.

About the Matchup: Both teams are already postseason-bound, but the conference title will be determined by the outcome. With a win, GCC wins the conference outright, while a Leechburg win would create either co-champs or a three-way tie for first. A year ago, the Blue Devils edged the Centurions 31-27.

Beth-Center (3-6, 2-4) at Monessen (5-4, 4-2) – 7 p.m.

About the Bulldogs: Beth-Center tasted defeat to California Area last week, falling 43-14 in the Class 1A Tri-County South Conference. Tyler Debnar rushed six times for 53 yards and a TD for the Bulldogs, while Jonah Sussan recorded 10 carries for 44 yards and a touchdown. For the season, QB Dominick Revi has passed for 872 yards and nine TDs, while Ethan Varesko leads the squad with eight TDs. Coach Anthony Rucsitto patrols the sidelines for Beth-Center.

About the Greyhounds: Monessen came up short in a 26-18 outcome at Mapletown last week in the Class 1A Tri-County South. In the setback, Tyvaughn Kershaw rushed 23 times for 242 yards and a TD, while Daevon Burke added 42 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns. For the season, Burke has registered 19 touchdowns, while Kershaw has posted 17 scores.

Butler Area (4-5) at Greater Latrobe (5-4, 3-3) – 7 p.m.

About the Golden Tornado: Butler Area fell to McDowell 48-24 a week ago in District 10 play. In the defeat, Golden Tornado QB Mac Schnur completed 27-of-41 passes for 431 yards, with four TDs and one interception. Braylon Littlejohn was the biggest beneficiary of the prolific passing, as he caught a dozen passes for 280 yards and three touchdowns. On the season, Schnur has amassed 1,729 yards through the air, while Dashawn Cox leads the team in both rushing and receiving yards. Eric Christy is the head coach for Butler Area.

About the Wildcats: Greater Latrobe was outclassed at home against McKeesport Area, losing 54-14 a week ago in the Class 4A Big Seven Conference. GL’s touchdowns came in the second half, as Robby Fulton posted a 1-yard run, while Brady Prohovic notched a 20-yard rushing score. Prohovic paced the Wildcats with 45 yards on the ground, while Fulton and Gaige Kettren each contributed 30 yards rushing. For the season, Fulton has accumulated 148 carries for 1,281 yards, and he’s scored 17 touchdowns. Quarterback John Wetzel has hit on 35-of-59 passes for 610 yards and seven scores, with three interceptions. GL has scored 31 or more points in each of its victories.

About the Matchup: It’s a nonconference matchup, as Greater Latrobe is already locked in to the fourth spot from the Class 4A Big Seven Conference, while Butler Area awaits a hearing to determine if it can participate in the D10 postseason. The teams have not battled since prior to 2003.