Westmoreland County High School Football Week Two Preview

Latrobe welcomes Hempfield; Belle Vernon heads to McKeesport; Derry battles Southmoreland

Fri Sep 09, 2022 - 7:55AM

Sean Meyers Sean Meyers
Greater Latrobe welcomes Hempfield Area in a battle of 2-0 teams. (Photo by www.westernpasports.com)Greater Latrobe welcomes Hempfield Area in a battle of 2-0 teams. (Photo by www.westernpasports.com)

Last Updated: Fri Sep 09, 2022 - 4:41AM

Another week of the WPIAL football season is upon us, and all of the Westmoreland County games are nonconference tilts. However, there’s still plenty at stake in most of the contests, including two matchups of unbeaten teams, and four all-Westmoreland showdowns. Here’s a deep dive into all of the county games for Week Two of the high school football campaign.

Hempfield Area (2-0) at Greater Latrobe (2-0) – 7 p.m.

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

WSN Broadcasters: Jack Ridenour and Roger Downs

About the Spartans: Hempfield Area smashed the opposition for the second straight week, whitewashing Connellsville Area 49-0. In that triumph, Gino Caesar rushed 19 times for 149 yards and scored four touchdowns. QB Jake Phillips was 9-of-15 passing for 186 yards, while he rushed seven times for 59 yards and a score. Ian Tuffs paced the Spartans’ receivers, as he caught four passes for 112 yards. Although their Week Zero win was cut short at the half, the Spartans have outscored their opponents 98-3, and boast the best scoring defense and third-best scoring offense in the WPIAL. This marks the best start to a season for Hempfield Area since 2016, when the Spartans won their first three tilts.

About the Wildcats: Greater Latrobe edged Franklin Regional 36-33 in double overtime a week ago. Robby Fulton proved to be the hero, as he rushed 31 times for 252 yards and four touchdowns, including the 5-yard score for the winner. QB John Wetzel passed for just 38 yards on 5-of-7 attempts, but added a rushing score. Alex Tatsch posted three sacks in the triumph. For the season, Fulton has rushed 44 times for 473 yards and nine scores. This is the first time since 2011 that GL has opened a season with consecutive wins.

About the Matchup: Hempfield Area is in its first season in the 5A Big East Conference, while Greater Latrobe dropped from that conference down to the 4A Big Seven Conference. The most recent meeting was as conference opponents in 2015, as the Spartans rolled 62-12.

Woodland Hills (1-1) at Penn-Trafford (1-1) – 7:30 p.m.

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

WSN Broadcasters: Sean Meyers and Mark Katarski

About the Wolverines: After a narrow victory to open the season, Woodland Hills fell 21-0 at Gateway last week. Thus far, the Wolverines have used two different QBs, as Cam Walter and Austin Wells have split time, but have combined for no touchdowns and four interceptions. On the ground, Elijah Nesby has led the way, rushing for 135 yards and three scores, while Wells has accounted for the other score. DeVaughn McClinton, Will Smith, Adam Ghanem, and Mehki Palmer have all factored in at receiver. Coach Tim Bostard leads the Wolverines.

About the Warriors: Penn-Trafford absorbed a rare home loss last week, falling to McKeesport Area 19-7. Tasso Whipple, who replaced injured running back Owen Demeri, rushed eight times for 75 yards and the only PT touchdown. After a monster performance to start the season, QB Conlan Greene was just 13-of-38 for 117 yards and three interceptions. Daniel Tarabrella caught five passes for a team-best 54 yards, while Jacob Otto also posted five receptions. For the season, Tarabrella has 14 catches for 196 yards, while Otto has compiled 13 receptions spanning 151 yards. Greene paces PT on the ground, with 86 yards rushing.

About the Matchup: A year ago, the teams battled as Big East Conference foes, with PT claiming a 27-6 victory for head coach John Ruane’s 100th career win. Now, it’s a nonconference clash, as Woodland Hills elected to play up to remain in 5A, but has moved to the Northeast Conference.

Fox Chapel Area (0-2) at Norwin (0-2) – 7 p.m.

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

WSN Broadcasters: Dave Franczak and Tim McCabe

About the Foxes: Fox Chapel Area dropped a 28-13 decision against Plum last week. Christian Gaston delivered a 93-yard kickoff return score, while Ben DeMotte connected with Landyn Moore on a 14-yard TD. DeMotte finished 15-of-30 for 186 yards, while Tyrese Samuels caught a team-leading six passes for 95 yards. On the ground, Roman Mason rushed 17 times for 80 yards. The Foxes were stifled offensively in their Week Zero matchup, a shutout loss to Peters Township. Veteran coach Tom Loughran guides Fox Chapel.

About the Knights: Norwin suffered a 26-7 defeat on the road against Penn Hills last week. Jackson Pons scored the lone TD, as he hauled in a 6-yard pass from Tristyn Tavares, who was 7-of-19 for 99 yards. For the season, Pons has nine grabs for 159 yards and has both of Norwin’s TDs. Tavares has split reps with Nicholas Urey, who has 154 yards passing on the campaign. Christian Beck, the top rusher, has been limited to 14 carries for 34 yards, while Kai Weems has 22 yards on 11 attempts.

About the Matchup: It’s a 5A nonconference battle, as Norwin plays in the Big East, while the Foxes call the Northeast Conference home. The teams have not met in at least 20 years, dating back to prior to the 2003 season.

Southmoreland (0-2) at Derry Area (0-2) – 7 p.m.

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

WSN Broadcasters: John Flickinger and Bob Lasinski

About the Scotties: Southmoreland posted a second-half rally last week, but fell at home to Ligonier Valley 27-18. Trey Whetsel was the offensive catalyst for the Scotties, as he rushed 15 times for 75 yards and a score. Ty Keffer registered four catches for 26 yards and a TD, while Austin Mough also found the endzone on a 70-yard fumble return. The Scotties did not allow a second-half TD against the Rams. For the season, Kadin Keefer is 23-of-32 passing for 217 yards and a pair of scores, while Keffer has caught 12 passes for 128 yards and three touchdowns.

About the Trojans: Derry Area fell to host Greensburg Salem 26-17 last week. The Trojans scored both of their touchdowns in the fourth, as Ahmad Ward scored on a 1-yard run, and Roman Darazio caught a 36-yard Hail Mary from Blake Revoir on the final play of the game. Ward posted 154 yards rushing on 17 attempts, while Revoir compiled 128 yards passing. Nate Gray also booted a 24-yard field goal for DA. The Trojans have lost their last 11 contests.

About the Matchup: Southmoreland plays in the Class 3A Interstate Conference, while Derry Area resides in the 2A Allegheny Conference. Last year, the Scotties dominated, 41-0.

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

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

WSN Broadcasters: Jonathan Whaley

About the Panthers: In its season debut, Franklin Regional fell to Greater Latrobe in a heartbreaking 36-33 loss in double overtime. The Panthers rallied from a 16-0 second-half deficit to take the lead briefly. Quarterback Roman Sarnic had a strong showing, as he rushed 13 times for 85 yards and a pair of scores, and also passed for 129 yards and a TD. Zach Bewszka added 13 carries for 82 yards and a TD, while Ayden Hudock compiled four receptions for 116 yards and a score.

About the Falcons: Connellsville Area was overmatched last week on the road against Hempfield Area, 49-0. Falcons’ signalcaller Anthony Piasecki was just 2-of-8 for 20 yards. Bruce Giles and Ethan Shultz have accounted for the TDs this season for the Falcons, while Ben Zavatchan has converted a field goal. The coaching triumvirate of Chad Lembo, Mick Lilley, and Jace McClean all guide Connellsville.

About the Matchup: After previously competing in the 5A Big East Conference, alongside Franklin Regional, Connellsville Area has slid down to the 4A Big Seven Conference. Last year, the Panthers won handily, 36-0.

Kiski Area (0-2) at Laurel Highlands (1-1) – 7 p.m.

About the Cavaliers: Kiski Area was stifled offensively in a 33-0 setback to Pine-Richland last week. Quarterback Lebryn Smith was just 3-of-15 passing for 27 yards and an interception, but he led the team with 28 yards rushing. Dom DiNinno caught all three of the completions, and he scored both touchdowns in the Week Zero loss. The Cavs have struggled defensively, as well, allowing an average of 34 points per contest.

About the Mustangs: Laurel Highlands lost to Belle Vernon Area 41-20, but showed some offensive punch in the second half. The spark came when Rodney Gallagher shifted from receiver to QB, as he was 13-of-19 passing for 216 yards and three scores, while also rushing 16 times for 30 yards. Keondre DeShields authored a massive performance, as he caught 10 balls for 185 yards and three scores. Gallagher replaced the duo of John Duke and CJ Soltis. Antwan Black is the Mustangs’ leading rusher on the season, with 47 yards. Rich Kolesar is at the helm of Laurel Highlands.

About the Matchup: Kiski Area plays in the 4A Greater Allegheny Conference, while LH resides in the 4A Big Seven Conference. The teams have not met since prior to 2003.

Belle Vernon Area (1-0) at McKeesport Area (2-0) – 7 p.m.

About the Leopards: In its season opener last week, Belle Vernon Area downed Laurel Highlands 41-20. The Leopards held a 28-0 edge in the second half, keyed by three touchdowns by Quinton Martin. Ranked as one of the top players in the country in the Class of 2024, Martin rushed 14 times for 68 yards. BVA played both of its QBs, as Braden Laux was 8-of-14 for 94 yards, and he added 72 yards on the ground, and Tanner Steeber was 6-of-9 passing for 62 yards. Chase Ruokonen paced the BVA receivers with five catches for 75 yards.

About the Tigers: McKeesport Area scored an impressive 19-7 win at Penn-Trafford last week. Bobbie Boyd was the star, as he scored three touchdowns and added three interceptions. He rushed 19 times for 152 yards, while QB Jahmil Perryman threw for 59 yards and added another 50 on the ground. Ahmir Culmer was the top receiver, with two grabs for 46 yards. The Tigers have permitted just 3.5 points per game, tied for the second-best mark in the WPIAL. McKeesport Area grad Matt Miller serves as the head coach.

About the Matchup: Last year, both teams played in the Class 4A Big Eight Conference, and met in the regular-season finale to determine the conference champion. The Leopards won convincingly, 46-14.

Greensburg Salem (1-1) at Ligonier Valley (2-0) – 7 p.m.

About the Golden Lions: After a deflating performance in Week Zero, Greensburg Salem rebounded with a 26-17 victory at home against Derry Area last week. Signalcaller Cody Rubrecht accounted for three rushing touchdowns, as he amassed 92 yards on 14 carries, while Kai Bruno rushed a dozen times for 102 yards and a score. Rubrecht added 157 yards passing on 9-of-15 attempts. The GS defense held Derry Area out of the endzone until the fourth quarter.

About the Rams: Ligonier Valley bested Southmoreland 27-18 last week, scoring all of its points in the first half. The visiting Rams received a banner effort from Haden Sierocky, who rushed for a score, caught a touchdown pass, and returned a kickoff for a TD. Sierocky compiled 14 carries for 93 yards, and added three catches for 39 yards. QB Broderick Schreyer was efficient, hitting 4-of-6 attempts for 72 yards and a pair of TDs. Logan Johnston tacked on a 33-yard receiving touchdown. For the campaign, Sierocky has registered five touchdowns, and he, Duncan Foust, and John Jablunovsky have each eclipsed 100 total yards rushing.

About the Matchup: Greensburg Salem plays in the Class 3A Interstate Conference, while Ligonier Valley calls the 2A Allegheny Conference its home.

McGuffey (2-0) at Mount Pleasant Area (1-1) – 7 p.m.

About the Highlanders: McGuffey smashed Ringgold 35-7 last week. Quarterback Philip McCuen rushed for two touchdowns and 64 yards, and he added another passing touchdown. Kyle Brookman compiled 120 yards rushing and a score, and he hauled in a 34-yard TD reception. For the season, Brookman has 162 yards rushing, 86 yards receiving, and five total scores. Tristan McAdoo is the top receiver, meanwhile, with four grabs for 99 yards and a touchdown. Ed Dalton guides the Highlanders.

About the Vikings: Mount Pleasant Area won convincingly at home against Yough 35-7 last week. Robbie Labuda was the star, as he rushed 18 times for 243 yards and three scores, and he also converted on all five extra points. Quarterback Cole Chatfield was effective, hitting 6-of-8 passes for 85 yards, while Jackson Hutter added a rushing score for the Vikes. For the season, Labuda has 28 attempts for 405 yards and six total scores. Mount Pleasant Area opens the season with three straight home tilts.

About the Matchup: While the Vikings play in the Class 3A Interstate Conference, McGuffey hails from the 2A Century Conference. The teams last met as conference adversaries in 2017, as the Highlanders triumphed 28-21.

Burrell (2-0) at Valley (0-2) – 7 p.m.

About the Buccaneers: Burrell notched an overtime win at home against Deer Lakes, 27-21, last week. Chase Fenner scored the winning TD after the Burrell defense produced an interception to begin OT. For the second straight week, the Bucs used an overpowering rushing attack, as Devin Beattie had 19 carries for 148 yards and a score, while Mason Jones added 18 attempts for 62 yards. Fenner connected on just one pass, but scored twice on the ground. For the season, Beattie has 227 yards rushing, while Jones and Antonio Cook have compiled 175 and 137 yards, respectively.

About the Vikings: Valley could not hold a second-half lead, falling on the road to Apollo-Ridge 34-19 last week. Xavier Wilson produced 44 yards rushing and a touchdown for the Vikings, while Xavier Andree scored on a blocked punt return. Tristan Goodwin hit on 5-of-8 passes for 42 yards and an interception.

About the Matchup: Although now a nonconference battle, the teams played as conference rivals a year ago, as Burrell prevailed 19-14 in the regular-season finale. The Vikings last triumphed in 2018, a 26-21 outcome.

Charleroi (0-1) at Yough (0-2) – 7 p.m.

About the Charleroi Cougars: Charleroi was overwhelmed by California Area 48-0 in the Cougars’ season debut last week. Junior running back Gianni Pellegrini and senior quarterback/receiver Cole Marucci are among the notable players for the Cougars. Head coach Marc Gambino is in his first season guiding Charleroi. He was an assistant at Elizabeth Forward last season.

About the Yough Cougars: Yough sputtered in a 35-7 loss at Mount Pleasant Area last week. Gavin Roebuck, who started the season as a receiver, shifted back to QB, and hit on 11-of-22 passes for 77 yards and a pick. On the ground, Roebuck toted the ball 23 times for 132 yards, including the only Yough TD. The Cougars have scored just two touchdowns, both by Roebuck, through two games.

About the Matchup: Both teams compete in 2A, with Yough in the Allegheny Conference, while Charleroi plays in the Century Conference. The battle of the Cougars last occurred in 2013, as Yough won 42-14.

Jeannette (0-2) at Jefferson-Morgan (1-1) – 7 p.m.

About the Jayhawks: Jeannette lost at home to East Allegheny 31-12 last week. Payton Molter and Kymone Brown both saw snaps at QB, as Molter was 8-of-18 for 84 yards and a touchdown, while Brown hit on 6-of-10 passes for 60 yards and a score. Qjwonez Jackson had four receptions for 63 yards, while Noah Sanders hauled in five catches for 47 yards. For the season, Sanders has 17 receptions, second in the WPIAL. The Jayhawks have allowed 31 points in each of their first two tilts.

About the Rockets: Jefferson-Morgan edged Waynesburg Central 15-8 last week, with all of the game’s points scored in the second half. Rockets’ QB Cole Jones was 6-of-12 passing for 136 yards and a score. Meanwhile, Ewing Jamison had three catches for 83 yards and a TD, and Johnny Gilbert rushed 15 times for 85 yards. For the season, Gilbert has amassed 135 yards rushing. Shane Ziats is the head coach for the Rockets.

About the Matchup: Both teams play in Class 1A, as Jeannette resides in the Eastern Conference, while Jefferson-Morgan is from the Tri-County South. The teams have not met since prior to 2003.

West Greene (0-2) at Greensburg Central Catholic (1-1) – 7 p.m.

About the Pioneers: West Greene came up short in a 31-21 setback to Chartiers-Houston last week. Colin Brady accounted for all three touchdowns, as he rushed 10 times for 178 yards. For the season, Brady has accumulated 38 carries for 435 yards and seven scores. The Pioneers have lost each of their two games by 10-point margins. Brian Hanson is at the helm of the Pioneers.

About the Centurions: Greensburg Central Catholic faltered after the first quarter, losing on the road to Bishop Canevin 30-14 on Saturday night. GCC’s touchdowns both came in the opening stanza, as Da’sjon Craggette had a 5-yard run, and Samir Crosby returned a kickoff 72 yards. Crosby also tallied five receptions for 103 yards and had two interceptions on defense. QB Tyree Turner was 8-of-19 passing for 118 yards and a pick, while Craggette rushed for a team-high 34 yards. For the season, Craggette anchors the rushing attack with 150 yards and has a team-best three TDs, while Crosby has nine grabs for 153 yards.

About the Matchup: While the Centurions play in the Class 1A Eastern Conference, West Greene resides in the 1A Tri-County South Conference. The teams last met in the 2019 WPIAL Class 1A playoffs, as the Pioneers cruised to a 36-0 win in the quarterfinals.

Monessen (0-2) at Frazier (0-2) – 7 p.m.

About the Greyhounds: Monessen fell to Cornell 35-6 last week. For the season, Lorenzo Gardner is the top passer for the Greyhounds, while Daevon Burke paces the running game.

About the Commodores: For the second week in a row, Frazier was outclassed, falling to Mapletown 49-8. Austin Wilson accounted for the only TD, on a 7-yard run in the fourth. The Commodores have been outscored 114-21, and have the second-worst scoring defense in the WPIAL. Mike Shannon is the head coach for Frazier.