Westmoreland County High School Football Week One Preview

Franklin Regional welcomes Latrobe; Penn-Trafford battles McKeesport; GCC faces off with Bishop Canevin

Fri Sep 02, 2022 - 12:22AM

Sean Meyers Sean Meyers

Last Updated: Fri Sep 02, 2022 - 1:33AM

Last week marked the start of the football season for most teams, but with the arrival of Week One, the WPIAL schedule is officially underway. Westmoreland County teams went 6-10 last week, but all 18 area squads will take the field this week, with five games on video broadcast and another on audio. Here’s a closer examination of all of the contests involving Westmoreland County.

Greater Latrobe (1-0) at Franklin Regional (0-0) - 7 p.m.

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

WSN Broadcasters: Jonathan Whaley

About the Wildcats: Greater Latrobe opened the season with a lopsided 55-0 victory at Derry Area. Robby Fulton enjoyed a spectacular debut with Greater Latrobe, as the Pittsburgh Central Catholic transfer rushed a dozen times for 211 yards and five touchdowns, all in the first half. John Wetzel connected on 4-of-7 passes for 71 yards, and he rushed for another 40 yards, while backup QB Gaige Kettren compiled 84 yards rushing and two scores. Buddy Young snagged a 38-yard reception. Greater Latrobe head coach Ron Prady earned his first victory.

About the Panthers: Franklin Regional opted for a second scrimmage last week, facing Belle Vernon Area. A year ago, the Panthers went 3-8, including a 38-6 playoff loss to Penn Hills. After splitting time at QB last year, Roman Sarnic has secured the starting role, while running back Zach Bewszka has done the same after he ranked behind Tyler Bewszka in rushing in 2021. Ayden Hudock returns after averaging nearly 42 yards per reception, and he is also one of the most dangerous players in the district on kickoff and punt returns. Massive Max Leven is among the returning lineman for FR, while Owen Sinclair will be an anchor at linebacker. Lance Getsy is in his second year guiding the Panthers.

About the Matchup: Previously, the Wildcats and Panthers were both in the Class 5A Big East Conference, but Greater Latrobe dropped to 4A this cycle. A year ago, the Panthers scored 27 unanswered points to claim a wild 41-40 victory at Greater Latrobe.

Connellsville Area (1-0) at Hempfield Area (1-0) – 7 p.m.

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

WSN Broadcasters: Jack Ridenour and John Bainbridge

About the Falcons: Connellsville notched a 16-13 road win against nearby Albert Gallatin last week. Bruce Giles and Ethan Shultz each found the end zone, while Ben Zavatchan booted a field goal. Defensively, the Falcons created seven turnovers, including a pair of interceptions in the fourth quarter. The Falcons have a trio who share head coaching duties – Jace McClean, Chad Lembo, and Mick Lilley.

About the Spartans: The Spartans were dominant against Greensburg Salem, winning 49-3 in a game that concluded at the half because of lightning. QB Jake Phillips was nearly perfect, hitting 14-of-16 passes for 263 yards and three scores, and he added a 60-yard rushing score. Gino Caesar was nearly as impressive, as he rushed 12 times for 103 yards and three TDs, and hauled in a 69-yard pass. Daniel Katonka was Phillips’ top target, as he caught six passes for 41 yards and two scores.

About the Matchup: The last meeting between the teams occurred in 2015, as the Spartans prevailed 40-34. Both teams dropped in classification from a year ago, as the Spartans fell to 5A, while the Falcons dipped to 4A.

McKeesport Area (1-0) at Penn-Trafford (1-0) – 730 p.m.

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

WSN Broadcasters: Sean Meyers and Sean Benjamin

About the Tigers: McKeesport Area rolled past West Mifflin last week, 40-0. Bobbie Boyd, who is garnering Division I attention as a running back, rumbled for 130 yards and two scores on 22 attempts. Jahmil Perryman threw for 86 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing 12 times for 94 yards and another score. Ahmir Culmer posted a team-leading three receptions for 47 yards, while Aemond Knight scored twice. Perryman is also a DI prospect on defense. Matt Miller guides the Tigers.

About the Warriors: Penn-Trafford held off a late rally to edge host Canon-McMillan 35-28 last week. In his first start at QB, Conlan Greene posted 335 yards passing, which paced the entire WPIAL, and three TDs. Greene also amassed 38 yards rushing and a score on the ground, while Owen Demeri compiled 42 rushing yards. Receivers Daniel Tarabrella and Jacob Otto each had monster performances, as Tarabrella caught nine passes for 142 yards, while Otto hauled in eight for 110 yards, and each scored. Tommy Kalkstein also found paydirt for PT. Defensively, the Warriors permitted 21 points in the second half, and allowed more than 300 yards passing to the Big Macs.

About the Matchup: Penn-Trafford calls the 5A Big East Conference home, while McKeesport plays in the 4A Big Seven Conference. The previous meeting was in 2019, with the Warriors notching a 29-12 victo

Derry Area (0-1) at Greensburg Salem (0-1) – 7 p.m.

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

WSN Broadcasters: John Flickinger and Bob Lasinski

About the Trojans: Derry Area was on the wrong end of a 55-0 outcome at home against Greater Latrobe last week. The Trojans trailed 35-0 at the half. Quarterback Blake Revoir led the team with seven rushes for 77 yards, but he completed just 1-of-10 passes for no gain. Ahmad Ward registered 54 yards on 10 carries. The two best drives for the Trojans against Greater Latrobe both ended in turnovers. Defensively, Derry Area permitted more than 400 yards rushing.

About the Golden Lions: Greensburg Salem was overmatched against Hempfield Area, falling at home 49-3. The only points for the Golden Lions came on a 25-yard field goal by Daishaun Alexander in the opening quarter, as GS settled for three points after a first-and-goal from the 1-yard line on the drive. In his first varsity start at QB, Cody Rubrecht was 6-of-17 passing for 57 yards, but he rushed 10 times for 121 yards. Christian Hostetler and Keegan Young each had three grabs. Defensively, GS allowed touchdowns on all seven of the drives for Hempfield Area.

About the Matchup: The teams have not played since 2013, when the Golden Lions cruised to a 56-6 victory when they were both members of the Greater Allegheny Conference.

Greensburg Central Catholic (1-0) at Bishop Canevin (0-1) - SATURDAY 7 p.m.

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

WSN Broadcasters: John Flickinger and Sean Benjamin

About the Centurions: Greensburg Central Catholic prevailed in a high-scoring contest, 56-35, at Mount Pleasant Area. The second half was the difference, as GCC scored 28 unanswered points. Both Centurions’ running backs excelled, as Jaydin Canady and Da’sjon Craggette each scored twice, as did Amari Mack. Canady tied with freshman Samir Crosby with four receptions apiece, and QB Tyree Turner hit on 9-of-14 attempts for 127 yards and two TDS.

About the Crusaders: The defending WPIAL Class 1A champions tasted defeat last week, falling to Steelton-Highspire 21-14 at Chambersburg Area High School. Xavier Nelson caught a 50-yard TD pass, while Marquis Carter rushed 25 times for 149 yards and a score. Kole Olszewski was 15-of-24 passing for 177 yards, while Jason Cross connected on 5-of-8 passes for 87 yards and a touchdown. Bishop Canevin reached the Steelton-Highspire 2-yard line in the final seconds, but had a turnover on downs. The Crusaders played without head coach Richard Johnson, who was serving a one-game suspension.

About the Matchup: While both teams are in Class 1A, they now compete in separate conferences, with GCC in the Eastern, while Bishop Canevin calls the Black Hills Conference home. As conference foes a year ago, the Crusaders edged GCC 20-14.

East Allegheny (1-0) at Jeannette (0-1) – 7 p.m.

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

WSN Broadcasters: Brent Whigham and Anthony DeNunzio

About the Wildcats: Playing at home, East Allegheny bested South Park 19-6 to commence the season. Quarterback Michael Cahill converted 12-of-23 attempts for 163 yards and a pair of touchdowns, as he hooked up with Steve Yusko and Brennan Rutledge. East Allegheny kicker Matt Armenio hit a 39-yard field goal, while the Wildcats’ defense registered a safety. Dom Pecora remains at the helm of East Allegheny.

About the Jayhawks: Jeannette fell at home to Burrell 31-10 last week. Quarterback Payton Molter was 15 of 23 passing for 140 yards and a touchdown for the Jayhawks, and he also led the team with 34 yards rushing. Noah Sanders, who did not play in 2021, caught 12 passes for 102 yards, while Michael Mason hauled in seven passes for 73 yards and a touchdown. Mitchell Steele connected on a 24-yard field goal. Defensively, the Jayhawks had few answers for Burrell’s rushing attack, as Jeannette permitted more than 300 yards on the ground.

About the Matchup: Previously, the team’s battled as Week Zero opponents, including last year, in which EA rolled to a 40-0 win. In 2019, the Jayhawks prevailed 34-12.

Norwin (0-1) at Penn Hills (0-1) – 7 p.m.

About the Knights: Norwin was outclassed at home by Upper St. Clair 42-6 last week, with the Panthers scoring all of their points in the first half. The Knights lone score came on a 90-yard connection from QB Nicholas Urey to Jackson Pons in the third quarter. Urey was 6-of-12 for 154 yards, with a TD and an interception, while Pons snagged four passes for 104 yards. Christian Beck led the rushing attack with 36 yards.

About the Indians: Penn Hills narrowly lost to Seneca Valley 17-15 to open the campaign. Amir Key was the offensive catalyst for the Indians, as he rushed 20 times for 107 yards and accounted for both touchdowns, including a 53-yard scamper. Julian Dugger, heralded as a top QB prospect in the WPIAL, was just 6-of-11 passing for 34 yards. Owen Williams booted a 35-yard field goal. Penn Hills alum Charles Morris is in his first season as the head coach.

About the Matchup: This is a 5A nonconference clash, as Norwin plays in the Big East Conference, while Penn Hills resides in the Northeast Conference. The most recent meeting between the squads was in 2005, as Penn Hills triumphed 28-7.

Pine-Richland (0-1) at Kiski Area (0-1) – 7 p.m.

About the Rams: Pine-Richland was shut out at home by Ohio opponent Pickerington North, 42-0. The Rams trailed 28-0 after the opening quarter. After filling in at quarterback last year, Ryan Palmieri has shifted to running back. Pine-Richland also features Ryan Cory, a premier offensive line prospect. Jon LeDonne, who previously guided Penn Hills to a WPIAL title, is in his first year leading the Rams.

About the Cavaliers: Kiski Area started 2022 with a defeat, as the Cavs fell to Plum 35-14. Both touchdowns came on passes from Lebryn Smith to Dom DiNinno, spanning 64 and 32 yards. Smith was 11-of-17 passing for 205 yards, while DiNinno grabbed three passes for 109 yards. Dominick Simmons also contributed two receptions for 46 yards, but the Cavs’ rushing attack was held in check, with Landon Kucic leading the way with 31 yards. Kiski Area permitted more than 300 yards rushing and four scores on the ground to Plum.

About the Matchup: Although Kiski Area dropped to 4A for this season, the teams resided in the same conference in 2021. In that clash, Pine-Richland narrowly prevailed, 33-27.

Laurel Highlands (1-0) at Belle Vernon Area (0-0) – 7 p.m.

About the Mustangs: Laurel Highlands pounded neighboring Uniontown Area 50-6 last week. Rodney Gallagher, a West Virginia commit and one of the top recruits in Pennsylvania, accounted for five touchdowns. Gallagher, who returned to receiver after playing QB last year, caught six passes for 17 yards and four scores, and he added a fumble recovery TD. QB John Duke was efficient, hitting 5-of-6 passes for 56 yards and four scores. Keondre DeShields hauled in four receptions for 61 yards. Rich Kolesar is at the helm of Laurel Highlands.

About the Leopards: Belle Vernon Area did not play a game last week, instead electing to scrimmage against Franklin Regional. When the Leopards last played in a game, they fell in the WPIAL Class 4A Championship to Aliquippa 28-13, finishing with a record of 10-1. BVA graduated many key components, including electric QB Devin Whitlock, but junior Quinton Martin returns and is a five-star recruit. Martin, who rushed for 902 yards, added 164 yards receiving, and scored 16 touchdowns a year ago despite missing time with injury, will play a multitude of positions in 2022. Braden Laux and Tanner Steeber are in contention at QB, while the Leopards return key skill players Evan Pohlot, Chase Ruokonen, and Jake Gedekoh, while adding Monessen transfer Anthony Crews. Belle Vernon Area remains under the leadership of Matt Humbert.

About the Matchup: A year ago, the teams met in Class 4A Big Eight Conference play, with the Leopards rolling, 56-14. Belle Vernon Area has since dropped to the Class 3A Interstate Conference.

Ligonier Valley (1-0) at Southmoreland (0-1) – 7 p.m.

About the Rams: Ligonier Valley steamrolled Springdale 48-0 to kick off the 2022 season. In that victory, Haden Sierocky and John Jablunovsky each found the end zone twice. The Rams’ balanced offensive attack included QB Broderick Schreyer throwing for 60 yards, and Duncan Foust, Jablunovsky, Sierocky, and Nick Lonas each reaching or surpassing 40 yards rushing. In pitching the shutout, the LV defense received a strong effort from McKinley Shearer, who registered 10 tackles and a sack.

About the Scotties: Southmoreland fell on the road at McGuffey 44-28 in Week Zero. In the defeat, quarterback Kadin Keefer was efficient, as he completed 16-of-21 passes for 174 yards and a touchdown. Newcomer Ty Keffer caught eight passes for 100 yards, scoring twice, while Wyatt Richter caught three passes for 39 yards. Eight different players registered a carry for the Scotties, but none amassed more than 24 yards rushing.

About the Matchup: Ligonier Valley competes in the Class 2A Allegheny Conference, while the Scotties are in the 3A Interstate Conference. After playing just one Westmoreland opponent in their first two years in the WPIAL, the Rams are playing their first of consecutive games against county foes.

Yough (0-1) at Mount Pleasant Area (0-1) – 7 p.m.

About the Cougars: Yough fell at home to South Allegheny 25-7 last week. Gavin Roebuck accounted for the lone TD on a 2-yard run in the fourth quarter, as he rushed 12 times for 52 yards. The Cougars committed three turnovers, including a pair of interceptions from QB Raidon Kuroda.

About the Vikings: Mount Pleasant Area showed its firepower on offense, but couldn’t get enough stops on defense in a 56-35 loss at home against Greensburg Central Catholic. Running back Robbie Labuda did his part, as he rushed 10 times for 162 yards, caught two passes, scored three touchdowns, and made four extra points. Signalcaller Cole Chatfield hit on 5-of-9 passes for 77 yards and a score, while Garrett Eicher and Lane Golkosky also found paydirt.

About the Matchup: With Yough dropped to 2A, the matchup is no longer a conference showdown. As Class 3A Interstate opponents in 2021, the Vikes recorded a 27-12 victory. The last time the Cougars triumphed in the series was in 2005, with Yough winning 31-0.

Deer Lakes (0-1) at Burrell (1-0) – 7 p.m.

About the Lancers: A week ago, Deer Lakes fell to Keystone Oaks 19-7. Quarterback Derek Burk scored the only Deer Lakes’ TD on a 32-yard surge in the first quarter. A year ago, Burk eclipsed 1,000 yards as a passer. Tim Burk is the head coach of the Lancers.

About the Buccaneers: Burrell displayed an overpowering rushing attack, as the Buccaneers ran on 50 of 51 offensive plays. Devin Beattie compiled 79 yards and two touchdowns on a dozen rushing attempts, while Antonio Cook had 12 carries for 125 yards, and Mason Jones had 17 carries for 113 yards and a score. QB Chase Fenner, who completed his lone passing attempt, had a rushing score, as well.

About the Matchup: As conference adversaries a year ago, Burrell notched a 28-24 win that was crucial to the Bucs’ playoff surge. Deer Lakes last won the head-to-head in 2018, a 34-21 victory.

Valley (0-1) at Apollo-Ridge (1-0) – 7 p.m.

About the Valley Vikings: Valley fell on its home turf to Armstrong 42-7 in Week Zero. Vikings’ QB Tristan Goodwin was 4-of-5 passing, but compiled just 22 yards through the air. Nikolas Heakins and Xavier Wilson were the biggest contributors on the ground, amassing 61 and 41 yards rushing, respectively. The Valley defense allowed prolific QB Cadin Olson to throw for five touchdowns.

About the A-R Vikings: Apollo-Ridge posted some big offensive numbers in a 34-28 victory at home against nearby Leechburg. Nick Curci ran 19 times for 200 yards, scoring three touchdowns. Additionally, QB Karter Schrock passed for 155 yards and two scores, and he added 149 yards on the ground. Jacob Moll, who caught four passes for 127 yards, posted a pair of TDs. John Skiba is the longtime head coach at Apollo-Ridge.

Cornell (0-0) at Monessen (0-1) – 7 p.m.

About the Raiders: Cornell used a second scrimmage last week, but in 2021, the Raiders went 9-3, including playoff wins against the Greyhounds and Leechburg, before falling to eventual champion Bishop Canevin in the semifinals. Cornell graduated top passer Sincere Kimbrough, but returns running back Raequan Troutman, who posted 985 yards rushing and a dozen touchdowns last season. Ed Dawson guides the program.

About the Greyhounds: Monessen fell to Class 2A heavyweight Washington 54-22 last week. Daevon Burke, Daniel Dozier, and Tyvaughn Kershaw accounted for the touchdowns in the defeat for Monessen, with Burke’s coming on an 87-yard kickoff return.