Last Updated: Fri Oct 20, 2023 - 3:08AM
Week Eight marks the penultimate ledger for the WPIAL football regular season. Despite several nonconference games on the Westmoreland County slate, many matchups feature significant playoff implications. Four county teams have already qualified for the postseason, while several others could clinch this week. Without further ado, here’s a closer look at the schedule across Westmoreland County.
Plum (2-6, 0-4) at Hempfield (1-7, 0-3) – 7 p.m.
Pregame at 6:30 p.m. on WSN VIDEO - WATCH LIVE
WSN Broadcasters: Dan Flickinger and Kris Smith
About the Mustangs: Plum could not slow Penn-Trafford’s rushing attack in a 21-6 home loss in a Class 5A Big East Conference tilt. The Mustangs’ lone score came in the final minute, a 10-yard pass from Sean Franzi to Darian Nelson. Plum has lost six consecutive games after opening the campaign with back-to-back wins. Plum’s leading rusher on the season, Nick Odom, did not play last week. The Mustangs have been outscored 225-158 on the campaign. Matt Morgan is the veteran head coach of Plum.
About the Spartans: The second quarter proved the undoing for Hempfield Area last week, as the Spartans sustained a 38-15 home loss to Franklin Regional in the Class 5A Big East Conference. In the defeat, Hempfield Area QB Dom Detruf amassed 222 yards passing and two TDs, with Keiran Lippmann and Reddix Katchur on the receiving end, the latter of which spanned 85 yards. For the year, Detruf has completed 54-of-102 passes for 795 yards, with seven TDs and two interceptions. In addition to throwing for 557 yards and three scores, Lippmann has compiled 14 receptions for 159 yards, while Mitchell Bitar paces the team with 23 grabs for 241 yards.
About the Matchup: Both teams have been eliminated from playoff contention in the Class 5A Big East Conference. Last year, the Mustangs prevailed 34-21.
North Allegheny (7-1, 2-1) at Penn-Trafford (4-4, 3-1) – 7:30 p.m.
Pregame at 7 p.m. on WSN VIDEO - WATCH LIVE
WSN Broadcasters: T.J. DiStefano and Mark Katarski
About the Tigers: North Allegheny scored 37 points in the opening quarter to cruise to a 53-25 win at home against Norwin in a nonconference clash one week ago. The host Tigers received two touchdowns from Khiryn Boyd, including an 89-yard kickoff return to open the game. On the campaign, quarterback Logan Kushner has completed 59-of-95 passes for 1,054 yards, with 16 touchdowns and just two picks. Kushner also paces the ground game with 602 yards, scoring 10 times, while Tyree Alualu has compiled 486 yards rushing and a team-best 11 TDs. Khiryn Boyd is the top pass catcher for NA, as he’s registered 17 receptions for 353 yards, scoring eight times. The Tigers have averaged 44.7 points scored, and have permitted just 15.2 points per game, the best mark in Class 6A. Art Walker is the accomplished head coach for NA.
About the Warriors: Penn-Trafford rode a strong rushing attack and a stellar defensive effort to prevail 21-6 at Plum in a Class 5A Big East Conference tilt a week ago. Ben Grabowski, who started at quarterback for PT, rushed for 123 yards and all three TDs, while Tasso Whipple accumulated 154 yards rushing. As a result of his recent surge, Whipple has accumulated 1,143 yards rushing on the year, which ranks second in the entire WPIAL, along with a dozen scores. Grabowski, meanwhile, had added 89 carries for 599 yards and has found paydirt nine times. QB Jonny Lovre has posted 924 yards through the air, but with six TDs and eight interceptions. Allowing 20.1 points per game, the Warriors boast the best scoring defense in their conference.
About the Matchup: The showdown is a nonconference clash, as North Allegheny plays in 6A, while Penn-Trafford resides in the Class 5A Big East. The Tigers triumphed 20-3 a year ago.
Gateway (4-4, 4-0) at Norwin (2-6, 1-2) – 7 p.m.
Pregame at 6:30 p.m. on WSN AUDIO - LISTEN LIVE
WSN Broadcasters: Dave Franczak and Brian Brozeski
About the Gators: Gateway suffered a 38-28 home defeat to McKeesport Area last week in nonconference action. Quarterback Brad Birch had a monster performance, completing 27-of-40 passes for 416 yards and a score. Subsequently, Kenny Lewis and Steven Jenkins each had prolific efforts, as Lewis snagged 11 passes for 208 yards and a score, while Jenkins had 11 receptions for 182 yards. Jaquon Reynolds added two rushing scores for Gateway, which fell to 0-4 in nonconference play. Despite missing two games this year, Birch has 1,657 yards, which ranks seventh in the WPIAL. Reynolds leads the rushing attack, as he’s compiled 117 carries for 522 yards, scoring a team-leading 12 TDs. The Gators have outpaced their adversaries 230-205 this year. Coach Don Holl is at the helm of Gateway.
About the Knights: Norwin could not slow down North Allegheny last week in a 53-25 loss in a nonconference clash. Norwin QB Tristyn Tavares threw for 264 yards and three touchdowns in the setback for the Knights, while Luke Denny produced nine receptions for 232 yards and two TDs. On the year, Tavares has amassed 1,981 yards through the air, which is second in the entire district, while he’s added 18 TDs and five interceptions. With 741 yards receiving, Denny ranks sixth in the WPIAL, while Jackson Pons and Jake Knight have each eclipsed 400 yards receiving. Norwin has been outscored 268-189 on the season.
About the Matchup: Gateway has already secured the Class 5A Big East Conference title, while Norwin has been ousted from playoff contention. Last season, the Gators won handily, 42-10.
Derry Area (3-5, 2-3) at Burrell (4-4, 3-2) – 7 p.m.
Pregame at 6:30 on WSN AUDIO - LISTEN LIVE
WSN Broadcasters: Sean Meyers and John Bainbridge
About the Trojans: Derry Area was overwhelmed at home in a 45-7 loss to Imani Christian Academy in Class 2A Allegheny Conference play last week. The Trojans’ lone score came on an interception return TD, as Justin Papuga took the return 49 yards to paydirt. In the loss, Ahmad Ward was limited to just 18 yards rushing, while Mason Beeman went 5-of-22 passing for 29 yards and an interception. For the year, Ward has rushed 173 times for 781 yards, scoring 13 total TDs. Demauri Robinson leads Trojans receivers with 14 grabs for 222 yards. Derry Area, which has dropped three straight, has been outscored 253-137 on the campaign.
About the Buccaneers: Burrell had no answer for Steel Valley’s Donald Barksdale one week ago, as he ran for 258 yards and six touchdowns in leading the Ironmen to a lopsided 49-14 win at home in the Class 2A Allegheny Conference. The Buccaneers received touchdowns from Cooper Hornack, who snagged a pass from Stephen Hasson, as well as Tyler Maglisco on a 1-yard run. For the year, Devin Beattie leads the Bucs with 197 carries for 976 yards, scoring six times. Maglisco ranks second in both rushing yards and scores, with 279 yards and six TDs, respectively.
About the Matchup: With five playoff spots from the Class 2A Allegheny Conference, the Bucs and Trojans are both currently in position to make the postseason. Burrell can clinch with a win. A year ago, the Buccaneers won 30-8.
Jeannette (6-2, 3-1) at Springdale (1-7, 0-4) – 7 p.m.
Pregame at 6:30 p.m. on WSN AUDIO - LISTEN LIVE
WSN Broadcaster: Brent Whigham
About the Jayhawks: Jeannette could not make a second-half lead stand against Greensburg Central Catholic, as the Jayhawks fell 42-24 at home in the Class 1A Eastern Conference last week. Noah Sanders rushed for 142 yards and a score for the Jayhawks, while QB Payton Molter threw for 133 yards, including a couple of TDs to Jeremiah Williamson and Jayce Powell. Jeannette’s loss, its first in regulation, snapped a five-game surge. For the season, Sanders leads the Jayhawks with 106 carries for 935 yards and 12 total TDs, and he’s added 14 grabs for 175 yards. Molter has hit on 72-of-124 passes for 1,071 yards, with 14 TDs and six picks, while he’s rushed for 392 yards and six total scores. Jeannette holds a scoring advantage of 269-168 on the year.
About the Dynamos: Springdale suffered its fifth loss in a row last week, falling at Frazier 20-14 in Eastern Conference action. Signalcaller Chase Weihrauch completed 11-of-23 attempts for 223 yards, with one TD and an interception, and he also rushed for a touchdown. His main target, Colton Gent, caught eight passes for 187 yards and a score. On the season, Weihrauch has thrown for 834 yards and 11 scores, and rushed for 492 yards. Gent paces the Dynamos with 30 receptions for 533 yards and nine TDs. Springdale has allowed 331 points, the most in the conference. Ryan Tempalski is the second-year head coach for the Dynamos.
About the Matchup: Jeannette secured a Class 1A playoff berth last week, while Springdale is eliminated from postseason contention. The Jayhawks secured a decisive 35-7 win in 2022.
North Hills (3-5, 2-2) at Franklin Regional (6-2, 3-1) – 7 p.m.
Pregame at 6:30 p.m. on WSN AUDIO - LISTEN LIVE
WSN Broadcaster: Jonathan Whaley
About the Indians: North Hills sputtered in a 46-25 loss at home against Seneca Valley last week in a nonconference battle. The Indians were led by QB Connor Davis, who hit 12-of-18 passes for 126 yards and two scores, but with three picks. Josiah Mathis caught five passes for 33 yards and a TD, while Israel Armstead led the ground game with three carries for 55 yards and a score. On the year, 15 different players have found the end zone for the Indians, with Logan Johnson and Mathis each posted a team-best three scores. North Hills has been outpaced 185-178 this year. Coach Pat Carey continues to patrol the sidelines.
About the Panthers: Franklin Regional’s prolific connection of Chase Lemke and Ayden Hudock continued their production in a 38-15 win at Hempfield Area last Friday in the Class 5A Big East Conference. Lemke hit on 10-of-14 attempts for 219 yards and three scores, while Hudock snagged six passes for 110 yards and a pair of TDs. Furthermore, Kyle Dupill compiled 18 carries for 108 yards and a TD. FR has won four games in a row. Cumulatively, Dupill has rushed 138 times for 916 yards, scoring 13 times, while Hudock has posted 36 receptions for 699 yards and 11 total TDs. Lemke, meanwhile, has connected on 63-of-114 attempts for 1,095 yards, with 13 touchdowns. Kicker Joey Bayne has made four field goals.
About the Matchup: The Class 5A nonconference tilt pits the Indians, from the Northeast Conference, against the Panthers, who play in the Big East Conference. In 2022, FR reigned supreme 34-14.
Greater Latrobe (6-2, 4-1) at McKeesport Area (7-1, 4-0) – 7 p.m.
About the Wildcats: Greater Latrobe’s offense exploded in a 50-28 win at home against Connellsville Area in the Class 4A Big Seven Conference last week. John Wetzel accounted for six total touchdowns, including two through the air on 9-of-12 passing for 210 yards, while he rushed nine times for 124 yards and four TDs. Greater Latrobe’s Ja’Tawn Willams also posted a multi-score game, as he found paydirt twice via reception, including a 76-yard grab, as well as a 78-yard kickoff return, while Brady Prohovic compiled 113 yards rushing. For the year, Wetzel is 63-of-93 passing for 1,073 yards, with 14 TDs and just one interception, and he’s rushed 81 times for 525 yards, posting 10 total TDs. Williams paces GL with 29 catches for 673 yards and 13 touchdowns. Greater Latrobe has outscored its foes 265-131.
About the Tigers: McKeesport Area claimed an impressive 38-28 nonconference win at Gateway one week ago. Keith Spell led the way, as he rushed 23 times for 190 yards and two TDs, while Kemon Spell added a rushing score and a 92-yard kickoff return touchdown. For the year, Anthony Boyd leads the Tigers with 111 carries for 741 yards and 11 TDS, while QB Garrett Tarker has contributed 571 yards and seven touchdowns through the air, as well as 178 yards and five scores on the ground. With their lone blemish coming in overtime, the Tigers have allowed just 79 points, the best mark in the conference. Matt Miller continues to oversee the McKeesport program.
About the Matchup: Both teams have already captured playoff berths, but first place is on the line in the Class 4A Big Seven Conference. Last year, the Tigers claimed a lopsided victory, 54-14.
Belle Vernon Area (6-1, 3-0) at Southmoreland (5-3, 2-1) – 7 p.m.
About the Leopards: Belle Vernon Area exploded for 42 points in the opening half one week ago, as the Leopards made quick work of the host Vikings in a 55-7 outcome in the Class 3A Interstate Conference. Quinton Martin produced 94 yards rushing and three total TDs for BVA, Kole Doppelheuer added a pair of scores, while Anthony Crews, Jake Gedekoh, and Colton Lee also posted touchdowns for the Leopards. Curtis Wade threw for 125 yards and three TDs for BVA. On the season, Martin has notched 15 total TDS, leading the squad in both rushing and receiving yards. Although he exited early last week, QB Braden Laux has amassed 837 yards and nine TDs through the air this year, while Anthony Crews and Kole Doppelheuer have each contributed six touchdowns. The Leopards have yielded just 8.2 points per game this season, the best mark in the conference.
About the Scotties: Southmoreland’s defense created five turnovers, and the offense capitalized in a 46-12 win at Greensburg Salem in Class 3A Interstate Conference play. The Scotties’ defense snagged three interceptions and recovered a pair of fumbles. Da’sjon Craggette led the Southmoreland offense, rushing for 112 yards and three TDs. For the year, Craggette has registered 121 carries for 948 yards and 14 total touchdowns. Linebacker Ethan Shawley has compiled 106 tackles, six sacks, and an interception. Southmoreland has outpaced its adversaries 225-149 this year.
About the Matchup: Both teams have clinched playoff berths from the Interstate Conference, while the Leopards are tied atop the standings with Elizabeth Forward. Last year, BVA whitewashed Southmoreland 48-0.
Greensburg Salem (1-7, 0-3) at Elizabeth Forward (8-0, 3-0) – 7 p.m.
About the Golden Lions: Greensburg Salem was mistake prone last Friday, committing five turnovers in a 46-12 loss at home against Southmoreland in Class 3A Interstate Conference play. Julian Stevens and Dom Rosensteel provided second-half scores for GS. The loss marked the fifth in a row for Greensburg Salem. On the year, three different QBs have attempted at least 57 passes, with Peyton Chismar’s 423 yards pacing the way. Brady Smith is the top rushing threat for the Golden Lions, with 77 carries for 354 yards. Smith, Rosensteel, Stevens, and Kai Brunot have each scored three TDs. During its skid, Greensburg Salem has allowed 38 or more points in each setback.
About the Warriors: Elizabeth Forward smashed South Allegheny 49-14 last week in an Interstate Conference contest. Charlie Nigut rushed four times for 120 yards and two TDs, while Ryan Messina connected on 9-of-11 passes for 108 yards and two scores, while he also found paydirt on the ground. On the season, Nigut has amassed 610 yards rushing, 317 yards receiving, and 17 total scores. Isaiah Turner is the top receiver, as he’s hauled in 29 catches for 519 yards and five touchdowns. EF has outscored its opponents by a margin of 289-99. Coach John DeMarco is in his inaugural season guiding the Warriors.
About the Matchup: EF has already secured a playoff spot, while Greensburg Salem needs to win out to maintain its slim hope of the postseason. One year ago, the Warriors dominated 62-13.
Mount Pleasant Area (5-3, 1-2) at South Allegheny (1-7, 0-3) – 7 p.m.
About the Vikings: Mount Pleasant Area had no answers for Belle Vernon Area in a 55-7 setback in the Class 3A Interstate Conference last week. The Vikings scored their points on a 76-yard connection from Cole Chatfield to Dante Giallonardo. On the campaign, Giallonardo paces MP with 424 yards on the ground, while Garrett Eicher has rushed 78 times for 385 yards and a team-leading seven TDs. Luke Nicotera is the top pass catcher for the Vikes, as he’s produced 19 receptions for 334 yards, while Chatfield has hit on 44-of-85 passes for 903 yards and 10 TDs, with four interceptions. After a five-game winning streak, the Vikings have dropped two straight. Mount Pleasant has outpaced the opposition 217-201 this year.
About the Gladiators: South Allegheny was outclassed by Elizabeth Forward last week, 49-14. The host Gladiators were led by Cameron Epps, who rushed 19 times for 100 yards and a TD, while Derrick Pace also found the end zone. Epps has been a stalwart this year, leading SA with 154 carries for 902 yards and 10 TDs, which tops the squad by a wide margin. Ryan Cortes and Malakai Myers have each seen time behind center, with Cortes throwing for 308 yards and four scores, while Myers has notched 149 yards. During their seven-game losing streak, the Gladiators have allowed 41 or more points each week. Permitting 348 points, South Allegheny has the worst scoring defense in the conference. Brian Hanson, who previously guided West Greene, is in his first season as the head coach for SA.
About the Matchup: Mount Pleasant Area secures a playoff spot with a victory, while South Allegheny must win out to have a chance at postseason play. Last year, the Vikes blasted the Gladiators 42-0.
Valley (2-6, 0-3) at Freeport Area (2-6, 0-3) – 7 p.m.
About the Vikings: Although Valley held a first-quarter lead, the Vikings could not contain Shady Side Academy, which cruised to a 43-14 win in Class 3A Allegheny Six Conference play last week. Valley held an early advantage courtesy of a 27-yard connection from Tristin Goodwin Darnell Coaston. Coaston leads the Vikings with four TDs on the year. Scoring 14.7 points per game, Valley has by far the lowest scoring output in the conference.
About the Yellowjackets: Freeport Area was blanked at home by Knoch 19-0 last week, the fifth loss in a row for the Yellowjackets. In the setback, QB Drew Ross went 21-of-36 for 147 yards. On the campaign, Brady Sullivan’s four touchdowns pace the squad, while Ross has scored three times on the ground. Freeport has been outscored 209-173 this year. John Gaillot is the veteran head coach for Freeport.
Imani Christian Academy (5-2, 3-1) at Ligonier Valley (2-6, 1-4) – 7 p.m.
About the Saints: Imani Christian Academy cruised to a 45-7 win against Derry Area last week in Class 2A Allegheny Conference play. Saints QB Steve Vandiver threw for 142 yards and two scores, and he posted 144 yards and two more TDs on the ground. For the season, Vandiver has hit 80-of-160 passes for 1,169 yards, with 13 TDs and four interceptions, while he’s notched 54 carries for 447 yards and six scores on the ground. Dayshaun Burnett leads Imani with nine TDs, while Chevon Allen has posted a team-best 28 receptions for 465 yards. Winners of three in a row, the Saints average 38.0 points per game, tops in the conference. Coach Laroi Johnson patrols the sidelines for Imani.
About the Rams: Ligonier Valley could not slow down the torrid pace of Serra Catholic QB Quadir Stribling, who led the Eagles to a 47-0 win in Class 2A Allegheny Conference action last Friday. Rams standout running back John Jablunovsky rushed for 58 yards but left with an injury in the first half. John Jablunovsky leads LV on the year with 117 carries for 737 yards, eight receptions for 98 yards, and eight total TDs, while nobody else has scored more than twice. The Rams have dropped four straight tilts, including three via shutout, and they’ve scored just 27 total points in their six setbacks.
About the Matchup: Imani Christian will secure a playoff berth with a win, while the Rams need to either secure a win or have Derry Area lose to remain alive in postseason contention. Last season, LV won handily, 42-7.
Steel Valley (6-1, 5-0) at Yough (2-6, 1-4) – 7 p.m.
About the Ironmen: Steel Valley’s Donald Barksdale ran for 258 yards and six touchdowns in leading the Ironmen to a lopsided 49-14 win at home against Burrell last week in the Class 2A Allegheny Conference. Donald Barksdale has been the catalyst offensively this season, rushing for 1,065 yards and scoring 20 touchdowns, the second most in the WPIAL. Del Shields leads Steel Valley with 207 yards receiving, and he ranks second in rushing with 204 yards on the ground. The Ironmen have pitched three shutouts and have outscored foes 243-60. Ray Braszo is at the helm of Steel Valley.
About the Cougars: Yough’s defense was porous last week, as the Cougars dropped a 48-20 outcome on the road to Apollo-Ridge in Class 2A Allegheny Conference play. In the defeat, Raiden Kuroda amassed 128 yards through the air. Kuroda has led the balanced rushing attack for the Cougars, as he’s compiled 103 carries for 566 yards, while also throwing for 604 yards. Additionally, Shane Swope has registered 68 carries for 434 yards, Antonio Marra has rushed 45 times for 327 yards, and Julien Varrenti has accumulated 40 carries for 271 yards.
About the Matchup: Steel Valley has already secured a playoff berth, and a victory would give the Ironmen at least a share of the conference title. The Cougars, meanwhile, need to win both remaining games to remain in the hunt for the postseason. In 2022, SV left no doubt, rolling to a 56-7 triumph.
Riverview (4-4, 1-3) at Greensburg Central Catholic (5-3, 3-1) – 7 p.m.
About the Raiders: Riverview was edged by Leechburg 29-28 last Saturday. Carlo Buzzato had a game for the ages, as he rushed 36 times for 418 yards and three TDs. Rocco Cecere completed 4-of-7 passes for 56 yards and a TD, while Rio Stotts was on the receiving end of that scoring connection. For the campaign, Buzzato has rushed 149 times for 1,438 yards, leading the WPIAL by a wide margin. His 13 TDs also leads the team, while Stotts ranks second with seven touchdowns. Riverview has scored 40 or more points in each of its four wins. Trevor George serves as the head coach for the Raiders.
About the Centurions: Greensburg Central Catholic’s second-half surge propelled the Centurions to a 42-24 win at Jeannette in the Class 1A Eastern Conference last week. GCC quarterback Tyree Turner factored into four scores, as he notched 110 yards rushing and two TDs, and added two more touchdowns through the air. Fellow Centurion Samir Crosby produced three touchdowns and 89 yards on the ground. On the campaign, Turner has contributed 1,167 passing yards and 13 touchdowns, and 461 yards on the ground and 11 total TDs. Crosby has also notched 11 scores, as he’s posted 25 receptions for 460 yards and 34 carries for 360 yards. GCC boasts a scoring margin of 259-195.
About the Matchup: GCC will secure a postseason spot with a win, while the Raiders need to win out and get help next week to get into the playoffs. Last year, Greensburg Central Catholic steamrolled Riverview 48-0.
Mapletown (3-5, 1-4) at Monessen (2-6, 1-4) – 7 p.m.
About the Maples: Mapletown snapped a five-game skid last week, scoring a 38-36 win at Bentworth. Evan Griffth led the way, as he registered 16 rushing attempts for 134 yards and two TDs. Quarterback A.J. Vanata passed for 142 yards and a score, while he also rushed for 81 yards and a touchdown. Griffin has been the offensive standout this year, rushing 65 times for 515 yards and eight TDs. George Messich has served at the helm for Mapletown for 42 years.
About the Greyhounds: Monessen sustained a 46-12 loss on the road to Jefferson-Morgan last week in Class 1A Tri-County South Conference play. The Greyhounds have allowed 267 points on the year, the most among conference teams.
Kiski Area (3-5, 2-3) at Fox Chapel (0-8, 0-4) – 7 p.m.
About the Cavaliers: Carson Heinle’s impressive performance through the air boosted Kiski Area to a 36-21 win at Highlands in the Class 4A Greater Allegheny Conference last Friday. Heinle hit on 14-of-26 passes for 219 yards and three scores for the Cavaliers. Landon Kucic added 52 yards rushing and two scores for KA. On the year, Heinle has completed 87-of-157 passes for 1,175 yards, with 13 touchdowns and just two picks. Isaiah Gonzalez, Andrew Finney, and Terry “Bart” Martin have each notched 15 or more receptions, while Kucic leads the squad with seven touchdowns.
About the Foxes: Fox Chapel Area stayed winless with a 42-7 loss at Woodland Hills last week. Adrian Valdez rushed 15 times for 69 yards, scoring the lone TD. D’Angelo Hamilton, meanwhile, rushed 14 times for 44 yards. On the year, Valdez leads the team with 120 yards rushing, while five different players have attempted a pass, led by Max Melocchi, who has thrown for 327 yards. The Foxes have scored just four touchdowns all season, with no player scoring more than once. Fox Chapel has been blanked five times, and they’ve been outscored 339-35. Dave Leasure is in his first season serving as the head coach.
About the Matchup: This is a nonconference clash, as Kiski Area plays in the Class 4A Greater Allegheny Conference, while Fox Chapel competes in the 5A Northeast Conference. Last season, the Cavs prevailed 50-13, their lone victory in 2022.