Westmoreland County High School Football Week Six Preview

Burrell battles Ligonier Valley; Penn-Trafford clashes with Gateway; Franklin Regional welcomes Norwin

Fri Oct 07, 2022 - 12:37AM

Sean Meyers Sean Meyers
Ligonier Valley visits Burrell in one of the top games of the week live on WSN. (Photo by www.westernpasports.com)Ligonier Valley visits Burrell in one of the top games of the week live on WSN. (Photo by www.westernpasports.com)

Last Updated: Sat Oct 08, 2022 - 12:20AM

Week Six of the WPIAL football season commenced a day early, as Greensburg Central Catholic rolled to a 47-0 win at Frazier Area in a rare Thursday night tilt. Samir Crosby had two rushing touchdowns and a receiving touchdown to pace the Centurions. The rest of the Westmoreland County teams are in action on Friday night, however. Here’s a detailed look at each game involving the area teams.

Franklin Regional (3-2, 2-0) at Norwin (1-5, 0-2) – 7 p.m.

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

WSN Broadcaster: Jonathan Whaley

About the Panthers: Franklin Regional scored 21 unanswered points in the third quarter, rallying to edge Plum 31-28 last week. The host Panthers received a big performance from receiver Ayden Hudock, as he caught five passes for 136 yards. Zach Bewszka contributed a rushing touchdown and an 82-yard kickoff return score that sparked the surge in the third. FR quarterback Roman Sarnic was 9-of-14 passing for 161 yards, and he also notched a TD run. For the season, Sarnic is 29-of-59 passing for 510 yards, five scores, and two interceptions, while he’s rushed for 517 yards and five TDs. Bewszka, meanwhile, has amassed 527 yards rushing and eight touchdowns. Hudock paces the FR receivers, as he’s caught 15 passes for 378 yards, compiling seven touchdowns. Kicker Joey Bayne has hit seven field goals.

About the Knights: Norwin was stifled for the second week in a row, falling at Penn-Trafford 28-0 last week. The Knights were limited to 86 yards of offense, with Luke Denny accounting for 63 yards rushing. Nick Urey was 4-of-11 passing for 34 yards, while Jackson Pons caught two passes and also recorded a pair of interceptions. Norwin, which has been limited to seven or fewer points in four games, is averaging just 8.8 points per game, tied for the second lowest mark in Class 5A.

About the Matchup: At 2-0, Franklin Regional resides in first place in the Class 5A Big East Conference, while Norwin is the lone winless squad. The teams have not met since prior to the 2003 campaign.

Ligonier Valley (4-2, 2-1) at Burrell (5-1, 2-1) – 7 p.m.

Pregame at 6:30 on WSN VIDEO - WATCH LIVE

WSN Broadcasters: Sean Meyers and John Bainbridge

About the Rams: Ligonier Valley blasted host Yough 48-14 last week, with the Rams holding a 35-0 advantage at the half. Nick Lonas rushed nine times for 116 yards and two scores for LV, while James Pleskovitch hauled in two passes for 69 yards and a pair of touchdowns. John Jablunovsky also went over the century mark on the ground, as he compiled 105 yards and a TD on just four carries. Quarterback Broderick Schreyer hit on 4-of-7 passes for 75 yards and two scores. In addition to a rushing touchdown, Haden Sierocky tied for the team-lead with 10 tackles. For the campaign, Sierocky leads the Rams in rushing yards (544), receiving yards (199), and touchdowns (11). Jablunovsky, meanwhile, has contributed 27 carries for 461 yards and six scores. Defensively, McKinley Shearer paces Ligonier Valley with 56 tackles.

About the Buccaneers: Burrell registered an impressive road victory a week ago, edging Imani Christian 41-30. Devin Beattie turned in a historic performance for the Buccaneers, as he rushed 35 times for 304 yards, scoring six touchdowns in Burrell’s 41-30 victory at Imani Christian. Beattie tied Cole Bush for the most TDs in a single game in Burrell history. QB Chase Fenner attempted just one pass, but he added 71 yards on the ground. For the season, Beattie ranks fifth in the WPIAL with 963 yards rushing, and he paces the Bucs with a dozen touchdowns. Fenner, meanwhile, is just 2-of-5 passing for 38 yards, but he’s posted 282 yards on the ground and six scores, while Mason Jones has added 388 yards rushing. Tristan Brothers has been a stalwart defensively, notching 72 tackles.

About the Matchup: The Rams and Buccaneers are currently tied for third in the Class 2A Allegheny Conference, both trailing Steel Valley and Serra Catholic. After playing just one game against a Westmoreland County team in their first two seasons back in the WPIAL, this is the Rams third matchup of the season against a county foe.

Leechburg (4-2, 2-1) at Jeannette (2-4, 2-0) – 7 p.m.

Pregame at 6:30 p.m. on WSN AUDIO - LISTEN LIVE

WSN Broadcasters: Brent Whigham and Anthony DeNunzio

About the Blue Devils: Leechburg hammered Frazier 56-0 last week, rebounding after a tough loss to Clairton the previous week. Pitt commit Braylan Lovelace was a boss, as he rushed 17 times for 192 yards and six touchdowns. Quarterback Jayden Floyd hit on 4-of-5 passes for 59 yards and a score, while Logan Kline caught two passes for 39 yards and a touchdown. For the season, Lovelace has rushed 70 times for 807 yards, scoring 18 total touchdowns. Tyler Foley paces the Blue Devils with 16 receptions for 256 yards, and ranks second on Leechburg with six TDs. Randy Walters guides the Leechburg program.

About the Jayhawks: Jeannette notched a Saturday afternoon victory, besting homestanding Riverview 38-6. In the triumph, signalcaller Payton Molter was 4-of-5 passing for 192 yards and four touchdowns, while he compiled a rushing score, as well. Additionally, Noah Sanders caught two passes for 131 yards and two TDs, and he added five rushes for 68 yards. Kymon’e Brown contributed two receptions for 61 yards, scoring twice. Jesse McCurdy led the Jayhawks’ defense with 11 tackles. For the season, Molter has amassed 768 yards passing and 297 yards rushing, while Sanders has 33 catches for 541 yards, 27 carries for 165 yards, and nine total touchdowns. The Jayhawks are averaging 27.7 points per contest.

About the Matchup: Jeannette is tied with Greensburg Central Catholic atop the Class 1A Eastern Conference, while the Blue Devils are in a tie for third. Last year, Leechburg rolled to a 53-7 win. In 2020, however, Jeannette dominated 60-14.

Seneca Valley (4-2, 1-1) at Hempfield Area (5-1, 1-1) – 7 p.m.

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

WSN Broadcasters: Jack Ridenour and Tim McCabe

About the Raiders: Seneca Valley cruised to a 42-7 win on the road against Butler Area last week. Raiders QB Graham Hancox connected on 18-of-28 passes for 241 yards and two touchdowns, while Luke Lawson caught nine passes for 128 yards and a TD. Cayetano West added a pair of rushing scores for SV. In 2022, Hancox has hit on 92-of-165 passes for 1,149 yards, 10 touchdowns, and five interceptions. Wyatt Craver is the top rusher for the Raiders, as he’s notched 461 yards on the ground. During their three-game winning streak, the Raiders have permitted just 16 total points. Ron Butschle is at the helm of Seneca Valley.

About the Spartans: Hempfield Area suffered its first loss of the season last week, as the Spartans were overwhelmed at home by Gateway 60-7. Mitchell Bitar had the lone TD for Hempfield, as he hauled in a 35-yard pass from Dominic Detruf in the fourth quarter. QB Jake Phillips was limited to just 4-of-11 passing for 18 yards and an interception, while Gino Caesar registered only seven yards on seven carries. For the season, Phillips is 69-of-102 passing for 1,171 yards, 11 touchdowns, and four interceptions, and he's added 263 yards rushing and six scores. Hempfield Area boasts four players with 10 or more receptions – Ian Tuffs, Daniel Katonka, Anthony Vallano, and Keiran Lippman. Despite the blowout loss, the Spartans have still outscored their foes 38.3 to 16.8 on average.

About the Matchup: The nonconference battle pits Seneca Valley from Class 6A against Hempfield Area, which plays in the Class 5A Big East Conference. As conference foes last year, Seneca Valley cruised to a 49-0 win.

Steel Valley (5-0, 3-0) at Derry Area (0-6, 0-3) – 7 p.m.

Pregame at 6:30 p.m. on WSN AUDIO - LISTEN LIVE

WSN Broadcasters: John Flickinger and Bob Lasinski

About the Ironmen: Steel Valley posted another dominant victory last week, smashing Apollo-Ridge 42-7. Jesean Wright and Donald Barksdale each scored a pair of touchdowns, as Barksdale rushed four times for 90 yards. Makhal Valentine recorded three receptions for 107 yards for the Ironmen. On the season, Cruce Brookins has passed for 263 yards and two scores, and has rushed 45 times for 562 yards, scoring 14 touchdowns. Barksdale, meanwhile, has accumulated 429 yards on the ground and eight scores. Steel Valley, which has won its last four games via the mercy rule, has outscored its foes 235-44 this season. Ray Braszo is the head coach for the Ironmen.

About the Trojans: Derry Area was overmatched last week at Serra Catholic, falling to the Eagles 49-7. Blake Revoir had the only touchdown for Derry Area on a 14-yard surge in the fourth quarter. The Trojans had no answer for QB Quadir Stribling, as he hit on 8-of-12 passes for 296 yards and four TDs. The Trojans have allowed 49 points each of the past two weeks, and have been outscored 220-62 on the season. For the campaign, Revoir has thrown for 393 yards, with four TDs and two interceptions, while also leading the squad with 296 yards rushing. Ahmad Ward, who has been limited to three games due to injuries, ranks second with 220 yards on the ground.

About the Matchup: Steel Valley is tied with Serra Catholic atop the standings in Class 2A Allegheny Conference play, while Derry Area is at the bottom, along with Imani Christian. The Ironmen and Trojans have not battled since prior to the 2003 campaign.

Penn-Trafford (4-2, 1-1) at Gateway (5-1, 2-1) – 7 p.m.

About the Warriors: Penn-Trafford whitewashed Norwin 28-0 last week. Quarterback Conlan Greene hit on 8-of-14 passing attempts for 132 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions, while he rushed 11 times for 106 yards. Daniel Tarabrella produced a pair of TDs, as he caught two passes for 38 yards and rushed for 22 yards. Carmen Metcalfe added a TD, as he caught four passes for 73 yards, while Tasso Whipple rushed for 80 yards and a score. For the season, Greene has amassed 846 yards and seven scores through the air, while pacing PT with 475 yards rushing and five touchdowns. Tarabrella leads the PT receiving corps with 27 receptions for 400 yards, and he anchors the Warriors’ defense with 41 tackles.

About the Gators: Gateway exploded in a 60-7 win at previously-undefeated Hempfield Area last week. Brad Birch had a stellar performance at QB, as he hit on 18-of-23 passes for 331 yards and four TDs, while also adding a touchdown run. Jaquon Reynolds posted 10 carries for 60 yards and three scores, and Anez Jordan contributed five catches for 121 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Prior to that offensive outburst, Gateway had not eclipsed 28 points in any game this season. For the campaign, Birch has hit on 86-of-144 attempts for 1,107 yards, with 10 touchdowns and seven picks. Reynolds leads the rushing attack with 354 yards, while Dallas Harper paces Gateway with 23 receptions for 354 yards and a team-high six touchdowns. Don Holl is the head coach for Gateway.

About the Matchup: With only two playoff berths from the Class 5A Big East Conference guaranteed, the matchup looms large, as Gateway is in second place, while PT is tied for third. A year ago, the Warriors narrowly prevailed, 15-10. Penn-Trafford head coach John Ruane is a Gateway alum.

Ringgold (0-6, 0-2) at Greater Latrobe (3-3, 1-2) – 7 p.m.

About the Rams: Ringgold was overmatched by McKeesport Area 42-0 last week. Alex Coccagna was 16-of-26 passing for 99 yards, while Daryl Tolliver hauled in six receptions for 79 yards. The Rams have scored just 20 points all season and have been shut out three times. The Ringgold defense, meanwhile, has permitted an average of 35.7 points per contest. Marcus McCullough is in his first season at the helm of Ringgold.

About the Wildcats: Greater Latrobe scored a crucial win at Trinity 31-6 last week, snapping a three-game skid. Quarterback John Wetzel enjoyed a strong showing, as he was 5-of-7 passing for 145 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception, while he rushed 10 times for 144 yards and another score. Standout running back Robby Fulton added 19 carries for 124 yards and a touchdown, while Kollin Stevens and Dom Flenniken posted receiving TDs. For the season, Fulton has compiled 113 attempts for 971 yards and 13 rushing TDs, while Wetzel has passed for 373 yards and added 352 yards on the ground. Alex Tatsch leads the GL defense with 56 tackles and six sacks.

About the Matchup: With Greater Latrobe prevailing last week, Ringgold is the last winless team in the Class 4A Big Seven Conference. The teams have not played against one another since prior to 2003.

Kiski Area (0-6, 0-3) at Mars Area (4-2, 1-1) – 7 p.m.

About the Cavaliers: Although Kiski Area established a season-high in scoring output, the Cavaliers fell at home to Indiana Area 47-28 last week. The Cavaliers received big offensive performances from Carson Heinle, Dom DiNinno, and Dominick Simmons. Heinle was 9-of-15 passing for 122 yards and two TDs, both to Simmons, while DiNinno produced 11 carries for 166 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Cavaliers have been outscored 223-70 on the season.

About the Fightin’ Planets: Mars Area fell to Highlands 54-22 a week ago. In the defeat, QB Eric Kasperowicz Jr. was 15-of-23 passing for 174 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. For the season, he’s registered 757 yards and eight scores, with seven picks. Evan Wright paces the rushing game, as he’s posted 91 carries for 776 yards and a team-leading 10 touchdowns. Offensively, Mars leads the conference with 34.8 points per game. After guiding Pine-Richland to multiple times, coach Eric Kasperowicz is in his first season leading Mars Area.

About the Matchup: Kiski Area is the only winless team left in the Class 4A Greater Allegheny Conference. The teams last met in 2019, as Kiski Area edged Mars 10-7.

Belle Vernon Area (3-2, 1-0) at Greensburg Salem (3-3, 0-1) – 7 p.m.

About the Leopards: Belle Vernon Area dismantled South Allegheny 50-0 in its conference lid-lifter last week. Quinton Martin rushed seven times for 144 yards and three touchdowns, while the Leopards also received offensive touchdowns from Chase Ruokonen, Jake Gedekoh, Tanner Steeber, and Anthony Crews. In addition to pitching a shutout, the BVA defense scored when Adam LaCarte returned an interception 35 yards to paydirt. On the season, Martin, a five-star recruit in the Class of 2024, has rushed 44 times for 333 yards, scoring eight times. Ruokonen leads BVA receivers with 12 catches for 236 yards, while Gedekoh has produced four touchdowns.

About the Golden Lions: Greensburg Salem was unable to make a narrow halftime lead stand, as the Golden Lions dropped a 45-28 contest at Mount Pleasant Area a week ago. In defeat, GS quarterback Cody Rubrecht rushed 18 times for 148 yards and two TDs, while he was 9-of-12 passing for 172 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. Julian Stevens caught a pair of touchdowns, while Jerome Wallish hauled in three passes for 74 yards. Rubrecht, who missed time late in the loss to the Vikings, has thrown for 758 yards and four touchdowns, and he’s registered 806 yards rushing and 13 total touchdowns. Kai Brunot has added 81 carries for 429 yards on the ground, while Christian Hostetler has a team-best 13 catches for 206 yards.

About the Matchup: After both teams dropped from Class 4A a year ago, the Leopards are among the three teams in the Class 3A Interstate that won last week, while the Golden Lions were among the trio that tasted defeat. The most recent clash occurred in 2019, as Belle Vernon Area cruised 43-3.

Mount Pleasant Area (4-2, 1-0) at Elizabeth Forward (6-0, 1-0) – 7 p.m.

About the Vikings: Mount Pleasant Area scored four consecutive touchdowns in the second half, pulling away from Greensburg Salem for a 45-28 win at home last week. Lane Golkosky notched four touchdowns on the ground, rushing nine times for 118 yards, and he added four catches for 84 yards in the triumph. Meanwhile, Robbie Labuda registered 15 carries for 132 yards and two scores. For the season, Labuda has rushed 93 times for 1,011 yards, which ranks third in the WPIAL. Meanwhile, Cole Chatfield has connected on 34-of-61 throws for 688 yards, with five touchdowns and two interceptions. Mount Pleasant Area has scored 35 or more points in five of its contests.

About the Warriors: Elizabeth Forward remained perfect with another dominant win last week, as the Warriors smashed Southmoreland 42-6. Jordan Wilmore rushed 18 times for 147 yards and three scores, while Johnny DiNapoli shifted to QB and completed 4-of-8 passes for 134 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Zach Boyd has been prolific for EF this season, as he’s scored a team-high 12 touchdowns. The Warriors have outscored their opponents 41.8 to 8.0 on average this campaign. Mike Collodi is at the helm of EF.

About the Matchup: Both teams won their Class 3A Interstate Conference opener last week, along with Belle Vernon Area. A year ago, the Warriors rolled to a 35-0 victory, but EF narrowly edged the Vikes in 2020, 16-14.

Southmoreland (2-4, 0-1) at South Allegheny (1-5, 0-1) – 7 p.m.

About the Scotties: Southmoreland sputtered in a 42-6 loss at home to Elizabeth Forward last week. Ty Keffer hauled in an 11-yard touchdown pass from Kadin Keefer for the only points for the Scotties. On the season, Keffer has accumulated 41 receptions, which leads the WPIAL, for 530 yards, and he’s scored seven touchdowns. Trey Whetsel has been the featured running back, rushing 62 times for 236 yards. In their past two games, both losses, the Scotties have scored six points totals.

About the Gladiators: South Allegheny was blanked by homestanding Belle Vernon Area 50-0 last week. QB Ryan Cortes hit on just 1-of-14 passing attempts for 27 yards, and tossed three interceptions. Youngstown State commit Dashawn Carter was limited to just 22 yards rushing on 11 attempts. South Allegheny has been shut out two straight games, and the Gladiators have scored just 21 points over the past four tilts. Former Ringgold head coach Darwin Manges is in his first year on the sidelines for SA.

About the Matchup: Both the Scotties and Gladiators ended up in the loss column in the first week of Class 3A Interstate Conference action a week ago, as did Greensburg Salem. Last year, Southmoreland notched a 33-19 victory.

Deer Lakes (3-3, 1-0) at Valley (1-5, 0-1) – 7 p.m.

About the Lancers: Deer Lakes edged Knoch 37-36 last week. Lancers’ signalcaller Derek Burk hit 11-of-18 passes for 236 yards, with two TDs and an interception, and he added a rushing TD. Zier Williams compiled 87 yards rushing and two scores, while Aiden Fletcher caught three passes for 91 yards and a pair of TDs. For the season, Wayne Love and Ryan Cochran provide a strong duo of receiving options, as Love has a dozen catches for 358 yards, while Cochran has caught 17 passes for 256 yards. Tim Burk is the head coach for Deer Lakes.

About the Vikings: Valley fell on the road against East Allegheny 38-14 last week. The Vikings have permitted 30 or more points in all five of their setbacks.

Yough (2-4, 1-2) at Serra Catholic (5-1, 3-0) – 7 p.m.

About the Cougars: Yough was on the wrong end of a 48-14 outcome against Ligonier Valley a week ago. After holding consecutive opponents to a combined 10 points, the Cougars have permitted 90 points over the past two contests. Gavin Roebuck leads Yough in touchdowns on the season.

About the Eagles: Serra Catholic smashed Derry Area 49-7 a week ago. The host Eagles received a big performance from QB Quadir Stribling, as he hit on 8-of-12 passes for 296 yards and four TDs. His favorite target was Amire Spencer, who caught five passes for 175 yards and a pair of scores. Elijah Ward threw for one touchdown and caught another. For the season, Spencer leads the WPIAL by a wide margin with 831 yards receiving. Ward and Mike Schanck have each surpassed 300 yards rushing in 2022, while Ward has also passed for 688 yards and added 302 yards receiving. Serra Catholic averages 39.8 per game on the season. Jose Regus patrols the sidelines for Serra.

About the Matchup: Serra Catholic is tied with Steel Valley atop the Class 2A Allegheny Conference, while Yough is deadlocked for fifth. The teams last met in a Week Zero matchup in 2019, with Serra Catholic prevailing 9-0.

Monessen (4-2, 3-0) at Carmichaels (4-2, 2-1) – 7 p.m.

About the Greyhounds: Monessen extended its winning streak to four games last week with a 62-25 triumph against West Greene. A pair of Greyhounds posted prolific rushing numbers, as Tyvaughn Kershaw rushed 12 times for 212 yards and four touchdowns, while Daevon Burke carried nine times for 233 yards and two scores. For the season, Kershaw leads Monessen with nine touchdowns, while Burke has found paydirt eight times. Monessen is averaging 34.8 points per game.

About the Mighty Mikes: Carmichaels notched a 35-8 win at Beth-Center a week ago. Billy White scored touchdowns three different ways for Carmichaels, as he posted a 1-yard run, a 38-yard interception return, and a 70-yard punt return. For the season, QB Alec Anderson has passed for 750 yards and rushed for 398 yards, while Tyler Richmond has 25 receptions for 410 yards and a team-leading five TDs. Head coach Ron Gallagher guides the Mighty Mikes.