Westmoreland County High School Football Week Eight Preview

Hempfield travels to Plum; Latrobe welcomes McKeesport; Penn-Trafford battles North Allegheny

Fri Oct 21, 2022 - 12:11AM

Sean Meyers Sean Meyers

Last Updated: Fri Oct 21, 2022 - 2:51AM

Just two weeks remain in the WPIAL football regular season, and the majority of the playoff spots are still up for grabs. Among Westmoreland County squads, four teams have officially secured playoff bids, while several more could clinch this weekend. Conversely, very few county teams have already been eliminated from the hunt. Here’s a detailed look at every game involving Westmoreland County teams in Week Eight.

Springdale (0-8, 0-4) at Jeannette (2-6, 2-2) – 7 p.m.

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

WSN Broadcasters: Brent Whigham and Anthony DeNunzio

About the Dynamos: Springdale remained winless last week in a 25-12 home loss against Frazier. The Dynamos have allowed 48 or more points five times this season, and their scoring defense of 48.6 points per game is the worst mark in the WPIAL. Offensively, the Dynamos have been shutout three times. Ryan Tempalski is the first-year head coach.

About the Jayhawks: Jeannette suffered its most lopsided loss of the season last week, as the Jayhawks fell to host Greensburg Central Catholic 44-0 in Class 1A Eastern Conference play. Noah Sanders was a bright spot for the Jayhawks, as he rushed 32 times for 145 yards. QB Payton Molter was limited to 1-of-3 passing for six yards before he left with injury. In his absence, Kymone Brown was just 1-of-7 passing and threw an interception. For the season, Molter has passed for 876 yards and 11 scores, and he's rushed for 323 yards and eight touchdowns. Sanders leads Jeannette in both rushing and receiving yards, as he’s compiled 428 yards on the ground and has 39 catches for 564 yards.

About the Matchup: Jeannette would secure a playoff berth with a victory. A year ago, the Dynamos prevailed 20-9.

Hempfield Area (5-3, 1-2) at Plum 7 (3-5, 1-3) – 7 p.m.

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

WSN Broadcasters: Sean Meyers and Jack Ridenour

About the Spartans: Hempfield Area was overwhelmed early in a 56-21 loss at Franklin Regional in the Class 5A Big East Conference matchup a week ago. With QB Jake Phillips sidelined for Hempfield Area, running back Gino Caesar led the offense with 25 carries for 149 yards and a score, while Keiran Lippmann was 7-of-18 for 79 yards and two touchdowns. Both of those scores went to Daniel Katonka, who caught five passes for 58 yards in the setback. After starting the season with five straight wins, the Spartans have sustained three losses in a row. During that skid, HA has been outscored 158-40. Caesar has rushed 142 times for 785 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns, while Ian Tuffs is the top receiver, with 23 receptions for 458 yards.

About the Mustangs: Plum lost its fourth game in a row last week, falling at Penn-Trafford 35-21 in Class 5A Big East Conference play. Kade Thomas opened the scoring with a 55-yard pick six for the Mustangs, while he added a 7-yard touchdown reception from Sean Franzi late in the fourth. Eryck Moore-Watkins rushed for 55 yards and posted a TD run for Plum. For the season, Moore-Watkins has amassed 945 yards on 113 carries, and he’s scored a dozen times. Nick Odom has been a factor in the rushing attack, too, with 45 carries for 315 yards and seven total TDs. Coach Matt Morgan is at the helm of the Mustangs.

About the Matchup: While Plum has been eliminated from playoff contention, the Spartans must win out to remain in the postseason mix. The teams last battled in 2019, a nonconference clash that went in favor of Hempfield Area 60-27.

Penn-Trafford (5-3, 2-2) at North Allegheny (7-1, 3-0) – 7:30 p.m.

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

WSN Broadcasters: Dan Flickinger and Roger Downs

About the Warriors: Penn-Trafford used a dominant run game, as Conlan Greene scored three rushing touchdowns and Owen Demeri added two more, guiding the host Warriors to a 35-21 victory against Plum in the Class 5A Big East Conference a week ago. Greene overcame an early interception that was returned for a touchdown, as he passed for 122 yards on 6-of-10 attempts, and compiled 20 carries for 131 yards. Demeri, meanwhile, registered 25 carries for 190 yards. On the season, Greene has accumulated 1,140 yards passing, along with eight touchdowns and 11 interceptions, while he’s rushed for a team-best 638 yards and eight TDs. Daniel Tarabrella is the top target in the passing game, as he’s contributed 32 receptions for 496 yards.

About the Tigers: North Allegheny scored 38 unanswered points to roll to a 38-13 win at Norwin in a nonconference clash last week. Tyree Alualu scored a pair of rushing touchdowns for the Tigers, while Khiryn Boyd compiled 96 yards and a touchdown on just three carries. On the campaign, Boyd has caught 31 passes for 475 yards, rushed 13 times for 231 yards, and scored a team-high six touchdowns. QB Logan Kushner is 75-for-126 for 971 yards and 11 touchdowns, while Andrew Gavlik anchors the ground game with 609 yards rushing. Kushner and Gavlik did not play last week due to injury. Art Walker is the accomplished head coach for North Allegheny.

About the Matchup: The nonconference showdown pits NA from Class 6A against PT, which resides in the Class 5A Big East Conference. The last meeting took place in 2014, as the Warriors edged the Tigers 35-31 in the Class Quad-A quarterfinals.

Burrell (5-3, 2-3) at Derry Area (0-8, 0-5) – 7 p.m.

Pregame at 6:20 p.m. on WSN VIDEO - WATCH LIVE

WSN Broadcasters: John Flickinger and Bob Lasinski

About the Buccaneers: Burrell provided little resistance to Steel Valley, which rolled to a 48-0 triumph against the Buccaneers in Class 2A Allegheny Conference play last week. In the defeat, Devin Beattie rushed 19 times for 72 yards. Burrell had scored at least 15 points in every contest before the shutout loss. For the season, Beattie leads the Bucs with 1,147 yards on the ground and 13 touchdowns. QB Chase Fenner has completed just 4-of-12 passes for 94 yards, but he’s rushed for 317 yards and seven TDs.

About the Trojans: Derry Area matched its season-high scoring output last week, but the Trojans could not contain the Imani Christian Academy offense, as the homestanding Saints prevailed 44-17 in the Class 2A Allegheny Conference battle. Derry Area QB Blake Revoir was 8-of-22 passing for 91 yards and a touchdown, a 38-yard connection with Demauri Robinson, but he also threw three interceptions. Additionally, Jordan Flack scored on a 1-yard run, while Nate Gray booted a 31-yard field goal. On the campaign, the Trojans have been outscored 313-79, and they have permitted 44 or more points in four consecutive tilts.

About the Matchup: With the Class 2A Allegheny Conference taking five playoff teams, both the Bucs and Trojans are still alive in the hunt. The teams battled as conference opponents in Class 3A last year, with Burrell claiming a 43-13 victory.

Norwin (1-7, 0-3) at Gateway (6-2, 3-1) – 7 p.m.

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

WSN Broadcasters: Dave Franczak and Brian Brozeski

About the Knights: Norwin opened the scoring last week, but North Allegheny responded with 38 unanswered points, rolling to a 38-13 win at Norwin in a nonconference clash. Jackson Pons led the Knights with 19 carries for 89 yards, and he also hit on 4-of-6 passes for 34 yards and a touchdown, a 26-yard connection with Luke Denny. Norwin’s Nicholas Urey completed his only passing attempt, a 74-yard touchdown to Stephen Rodgers, who caught two passes for 85 yards. Norwin snapped a three-game scoreless drought last week, but the Knights have eclipsed 13 points in a game only once this season, and are averaging 8.3 points per game, the second lowest mark in Class 5A.

About the Gators: Gateway suffered a rare lopsided loss last week, falling 41-17 at McKeesport Area. Brad Birch hit on 19-of-29 passes for 159 yards and a touchdown, while Jaquon Reynolds posted 19 carries for 65 yards and caught three passes for 22 yards, including a TD. Derek Selby and Dallas Harper paced the receivers with four catches for 62 yards and six grabs for 57 yards, respectively. For the season, Birch has completed 113-of-190 attempts for 1,336 yards, 12 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. Harper and Reynolds are tied with six touchdowns each to pace the Gators. Don Holl is the championship-winning coach of Gateway.

About the Matchup: Gateway will clinch a playoff berth with a win, while Norwin has been eliminated. The previous meeting between the teams took place in 2013, as the Gators edged the Knights 13-6.

Franklin Regional (5-2, 4-0) at North Hills (3-5, 3-1) – 7 p.m.

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

WSN Broadcaster: Jonathan Whaley

About the Panthers: Franklin Regional scored the first 35 points of the contest, as the Panthers overwhelmed Hempfield Area 56-21 in the Class 5A Big East Conference matchup last week. Ayden Hudock was electric for FR, as caught five passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns, scored on an 8-yard run, and added an 87-yard kickoff return score. Panthers QB Roman Sarnic hit on 7-of-12 passes for 199 yards and two scores, and added a pair of touchdowns and 166 yards rushing on 18 carries. Zach Bewszka and Kyle Dupill added rushing TDs for the Panthers, who clinched at least a share of first place in the conference. For the season, Sarnic has completed 43-of-87 passes for 848 yards, with nine TDs and three interceptions, while he’s compiled 690 yards rushing and nine touchdowns. Hudock has notched 684 yards receiving and has scored 13 touchdowns.

About the Indians: North Hills was overmatched last week in a 53-14 setback at Seneca Valley in a nonconference showdown. QB John Green was 5-of-21 passing for 94 yards and a touchdown, while Sebastian Lopez-Primera and Cooper Thompson hauled in receiving scores. For the season, John Green has passed for 750 yards and rushed for 217 yards, while Julius Green leads the North Hills’ rushing attack with 299 yards. Thompson paces the Indians with 20 receptions and seven touchdowns. North Hills began its season with a four-game skid, and followed with three wins in a row. Coach Pat Carey is at the helm of North Hills.

About the Matchup: It’s a Class 5A nonconference matchup, as Franklin Regional plays in the Big East, while North Hills competes in the Northeast. The teams locked horns in 2017, with the Panthers prevailing 21-13. North Hills plays its home games at Martorelli Stadium in West View.

McKeesport Area (8-0, 4-0) at Greater Latrobe (5-3, 3-2) – 7 p.m.

About the Tigers: McKeesport Area continued its impressive season, as the Tigers outclassed Gateway 41-17 in a nonconference matchup. Jahmil Perryman was the catalyst, as he rushed 12 times for 159 yards and three touchdowns, and he added a 44-yard fumble return score. Additionally, Larry Gibson posted 51 yards rushing. For the season, Bobbie Boyd has rushed 93 times for 761 yards and has scored 11 touchdowns, while Perryman has accumulated 97 carries for 732 yards and 13 scores. Prior to last week, the Tigers had held all of their opponents to seven points or fewer, posting four shutouts. As a result, McKeesport has outscored its adversaries 272-36. Matt Miller is the head coach for McKeesport Area.

About the Wildcats: Greater Latrobe overmatched host Connellsville Area 43-13 in Class 4A Big Seven Conference action last week. Robby Fulton rushed 13 times for 170 yards and two scores, establishing a new program season rushing mark. Fulton produced a pair of first-quarter scores, while QB John Wetzel hit all seven of his passing attempts for 160 yards and three touchdowns, two of which went to Kollin Stevens, and Wetzel also scored on the ground. Corey Boerio accounted for the other GL touchdown, a 46-yard reception. For the season, Fulton has compiled 139 carries for 1,228 yards and 16 touchdowns. Wetzel, meanwhile, has hit on 39-of-63 passing attempts for 623 yards, seven touchdowns, and three interceptions, while also posting 366 yards and four scores on the ground.

About the Matchup: McKeesport Area has already punched its ticket to the postseason, while the Wildcats are virtually assured a spot, but would officially clinch with a win. As conference foes in Class 5A in 2019, the Tigers notched a 34-14 victory.

Elizabeth Forward (8-0, 3-0) at Greensburg Salem (3-5, 0-3) – 7 p.m.

About the Warriors: Elizabeth Forward continued its stellar season a week ago, courtesy of its 49-7 home win against South Allegheny in the Class 3A Interstate Conference. Johnny DiNapoli had a strong showing, as he posted three rushing touchdowns. Diego Magwood added two more scores on the ground. For the season, QB Zion White has registered 1,169 yards and 20 scores through the air. Zach Boyd has been the top target, as he’s caught 24 passes for 755 yards and has scored 15 touchdowns. DiNapoli and Jordan Wilmore have each eclipsed 300 yards rushing, while DiNapoli has posted nine scores. EF has scored 42 or more points in seven consecutive outings. Coach Mike Collodi guides the Warriors.

About the Golden Lions: Greensburg Salem’s losing streak reached four games last week, as the Golden Lions suffered a 42-21 home setback against Southmoreland in Class 3A Interstate Conference action. Greensburg Salem scored all of its points in the second quarter, as Kai Brunot posted a 1-yard TD run, QB Cody Rubrecht scored on a 52-yard scamper, and Christian Hostetler recorded a 40-yard interception return score. Rubrecht, who missed the previous game with injury, rushed for 96 yards. For the season, Rubrecht has compiled 841 yards passing and four scores, while he’s rushed for 902 yards, scoring a team-high 14 touchdowns. In each of its five losses, GS has permitted 42 or more points.

About the Matchup: Elizabeth Forward has already secured a playoff berth, while the Golden Lions are still mathematically alive. The most recent matchup occurred in 2013, as EF rolled to a 60-14 triumph.

South Allegheny (1-7, 0-3) at Mount Pleasant Area (4-4, 1-2) – 7 p.m.

About the Gladiators: South Allegheny endured its seventh loss in a row a week ago, as the Gladiators fell to Elizabeth Forward 49-7. Cameron Epps accounted for the only SA score, a 48-yard run in the fourth quarter. Epps paced the offense with six carries for 50 yards. Over the past four games, South Allegheny has scored just 13 points combined. For the season, the Gladiators have been outscored 275-74. First-year head coach Darwin Manges stepped down last week, citing health issues. Defensive coordinator Desmond Ball is the acting coach.

About the Vikings: Mount Pleasant Area was overwhelmed by host Belle Vernon Area last week, as the Leopards cruised to a 55-7 win in the Class 3A Interstate Conference. Mount Pleasant Area’s lone touchdown came on a 74-yard run by Jackson Hutter, who accumulated 88 yards rushing on six attempts. Meanwhile, Robbie Labuda was limited to just six yards rushing. For the season, Labuda has rushed 119 times for 1,071 yards, caught 12 passes for 233 yards, and he’s found the endzone on 15 occasions. Quarterback Cole Chatfield is 42-of-82 passing for 805 yards, with six touchdowns and four picks.

About the Matchup: While both teams remain in the playoff hunt, the Vikings would clinch a berth with a victory. A year ago, the Gladiators notched a 21-7 victory.

Southmoreland (4-4, 2-1) at Belle Vernon Area (5-2, 3-0) – 7 p.m.

About the Scotties: Southmoreland receiver Ty Keffer and QB Kadin Keefer had a game for the ages a week ago, as they connected for six touchdowns in leading the Scotties to a 42-21 win at home against Greensburg Salem in Class 3A Interstate Conference action. Keffer caught nine passes for 160 yards and snagged two interceptions on defense, while Keefer hit 12-of-23 attempts for 231 yards. The duo accounted for all of the touchdowns. Keffer paces the WPIAL with 58 receptions, while his 855 receiving yards ranks third, and he’s added 16 touchdowns. Keefer, meanwhile, has completed 100-of-168 passing attempts for 1,303 yards, with 14 TDs and six interceptions. Trey Whetsel leads the rushing attack with 409 yards on the ground.

About the Leopards: Belle Vernon Area posted a 55-7 throttling of Mount Pleasant Area in Class 3A Interstate Conference play last week. Quinton Martin scored five touchdowns in three different ways, as he compiled three rushing scores, a 31-yard receiving touchdown, and an interception return score that spanned 79 yards. The junior standout produced seven rushes for 61 yards, added four receptions for 67 yards, and snagged two interceptions. BVA quarterback Braden Laux hit on 4-of-10 passes for 72 yards and a touchdown, and he added another score on a 30-yard run. Jake Gedekoh contributed a pair of rushing scores for the Leopards. BVA has won four games in a row, and has scored 50 or more points in each of its past three. For the season, Martin has produced 512 yards rushing, 183 yards receiving, and has scored 15 touchdowns. Gedekoh, meanwhile, has contributed nine scores.

About the Matchup: While Belle Vernon Area has already secured a postseason bid, Southmoreland can clinch with a win. The most recent encounter between the teams was in 2009, as BVA dominated 49-0.

Freeport Area (7-1, 3-0) at Valley (1-7, 0-3) – 7 p.m.

About the Yellowjackets: Freeport Area smashed Knoch 42-0 a week ago. Ben Lane posted three rushing touchdowns, as he registered seven carries for 84 yards. Zach Clark added two more scores, one each via rushing and receiving. For the season, Lane has amassed 730 yards rushing, 139 yards receiving, and has scored 14 touchdowns. Quarterback Gavin Croney has thrown for 528 yards and five scores, while he’s rushed for 325 yards and added six more TDs. John Gaillot is at the helm of Freeport.

About the Vikings: Valley was whitewashed 30-0 playing at Shady Side Academy last Saturday. The Vikings have scored just two points over the past two contests. For the season, Valley has been outscored by an average of 29.3-12.8.

Ligonier Valley (5-3, 3-2) at Imani Christian Academy (4-4, 2-3) – 7 p.m.

About the Rams: Ligonier Valley fell short of upsetting Serra Catholic last week, as the Rams fell at home 27-18. Haden Sierocky was dynamic for Ligonier Valley, as he caught six passes for 56 yards and two touchdowns, rushed 17 times for 41 yards, and completed two passes for 20 yards and a score. Broderick Schreyer was 11-of-15 passing for 121 yards and two scores for LV. Nick Lonas led the rushing attack with 60 yards on eight carries, while Logan Johnston caught five passes for 59 yards and a TD. Bruce Krieger led the LV defense with 10 tackles. On the campaign, Sierocky has produced 95 carries for 763 yards, caught 21 passes for 303 yards, and has scored 13 total TDs. Schreyer has hit on 38-of-72 passes for 598 yards, with eight touchdowns and four interceptions.

About the Saints: Imani Christian ousted Derry Area a week ago, as the homestanding Saints prevailed 44-17 in the Class 2A Allegheny Conference battle. Dayshaun Burnett passed for 252 yards and three scores for Imani, while David Davis rushed 10 times for 93 yard and two TDs, and also caught a touchdown pass. Davis, a freshman who has already garnered offers from Pitt and Penn State, has compiled 17 touchdowns on the season. In each of their four losses, the Saints have allowed 41 or more points. LaRoi Johnson is the first-year head coach of Imani.

About the Matchup: Ligonier Valley has already locked up a postseason spot in Class 2A. This is the first meeting between the programs.

Yough (2-6, 1-4) at Steel Valley (7-0, 5-0) – 7 p.m.

About the Cougars: JJ Waller scored a pair of touchdowns for Yough last week, but it wasn’t enough, as the Cougars fell to Apollo-Ridge 26-13 in the Class 2A Allegheny Conference clash. Waller rushed 22 times for 95 yards and a score, while he also hauled in a 10-yard pass from Raidon Kuroda, who was 10-of-18 passing for 122 yards. Yough has lost four straight tilts, but has held consecutive opponents to 28 and 26 points, respectively. The Cougars are averaging 11.0 points per game, the second lowest mark in the conference.

About the Ironmen: Steel Valley remained perfect last week, courtesy of a 48-0 dismantling of Burrell in Class 2A Allegheny Conference play. Quarterback Cruce Brookins factored in five touchdowns, as he hit 5-of-8 passes for 127 yards and two scores, rushed 10 times for 138 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and returned a punt 40 yards to paydirt. For the season, Brookins has compiled 55 rushes for 699 yards and has scored 17 touchdowns, while he’s thrown for 394 yards and four scores through the air. Donald Barksdale and Quaron Pierce have rushed for 526 and 498 yards, respectively, with Barksdale scoring 10 TDs. Mahkai Valentine is the top receiver for Steel Valley, with nine receptions for 307 yards. Despite not playing in Week Zero, Steel Valley has outscored its opponents 332-44.

About the Matchup: Steel Valley has already secured its postseason berth, while Yough remains alive in the postseason hunt. The teams have not battled since prior to 2003.

Fox Chapel Area (0-8, 0-4) at Kiski Area (0-8, 0-5) – 7 p.m.

About the Foxes: Fox Chapel Area fell at home to Woodland Hills 43-14 a week ago. Quarterback Ben DeMotte was 15-for-30 passing for 150 yards and two touchdowns. Peter Tran caught three passes for 47 yards and a score, while Tyrese Samuels hauled in four passes for 46 yards and a TD. For the season, DeMotte has amassed 988 yards passing and four touchdowns, but has tossed nine interceptions. The Foxes have yet to surpass 14 points in any game this campaign. Veteran coach Tom Loughran patrols the sidelines for Fox Chapel.

About the Cavaliers: Kiski Area remained winless with a 56-7 defeat at home to Highlands last week. The Cavaliers’ only score came on a 65-yard pass from Carson Heinle to Andrew Finney. Heinle hit on 9-of-14 passes for 107 yards and a TD, while Finney snagged three passes for 81 yards and Isaiah Gonzalez caught four passes. On the season, the Cavs have been outscored by a margin of 326-105.

About the Matchup: It’s a nonconference clash, as the Foxes reside in the Class 5A Northeast, while the Cavaliers play in the 4A Greater Allegheny Conference. As conference opponents last year, Fox Chapel claimed a 35-21 victory.

Monessen (5-3, 4-1) at Mapletown (8-0, 5-0) – 7 p.m.

About the Greyhounds: Monessen exploded offensively in a 70-30 win at home against Jefferson-Morgan a week ago. Tyvaugh Kershaw rushed 15 times for 234 yards and four touchdowns, and he added a punt return TD. Additionally, Daevon Burke produced two rushing scores and a kickoff return touchdown. Monessen is averaging 39.4 points per game.

About the Maples: Mapletown smashed Bentworth 49-3 last week. Landon Stevenson rushed 10 times for 170 yards and six scores. On the season, he ranks second in the WPIAL with 1,603 yards rushing, and his 33 touchdowns lead the district by a wide margin. The Maples have scored 42 or more points in every game, and have allowed just 57 points total. Coach George Messich is at the helm of Mapletown.

Greensburg Central Catholic (6-2, 4-0) at Riverview (3-5, 1-3) - Saturday 12 p.m.

About the Centurions: Greensburg Central Catholic cruised to a 44-0 whitewashing of Jeannette in a Class 1A Eastern Conference contest a week ago. Jaydin Canady and Da’sjon Craggette each surpassed 100 yards rushing and combined for six touchdowns. Canady amassed 101 yards on the ground on just five carries, scoring twice, hauled in a 77-yard TD reception, and posted a 90-yard pick six. Craggette, meanwhile, registered a dozen attempts for 142 yards and two scores. For the season, Craggette has rushed for 827 yards and has scored a team-leading 12 touchdowns, while Samir Crosby paces the receivers with 23 catches for 349 yards. QB Tyree Turner has thrown for 1,189 yards and 15 touchdowns. During their four-game winning surge, the Centurions have outscored their foes 194-24.

About the Raiders: Riverview was overmatched on the road against Leechburg last week, falling to the Blue Devils 57-12. Carlo Buzzato rushed 13 times for 111 yards and a TD, while QB Rocco Cecere was 7-of-10 passing for 65 yards, and rushed for 26 yards and a touchdown. In 2022, Buzzato and Landon Johnson have each eclipsed 600 yards rushing, while Cecere has completed 40-of-61 passes for 594 yards. Trevor George is at the helm of the Riverview program.

About the Matchup: Greensburg Central Catholic is already locked in to the Class 1A playoffs, while Riverview remains alive for a spot. GCC rolled to a 66-0 victory a year ago.