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Westmoreland County’s don’t-miss high school football matchups for Week 6

October 4, 2018

Hempfield's Mario Perkins runs the ball but is brought down by Mt. Lebanon defenders during WPIAL football at Hempfield Area High School on Friday, Sept. 28, 2018.

Class 6A

Hempfield (1-5, 0-5) at No. 4 Seneca Valley (4-2, 3-2)

7 p.m. Friday, Nextier Stadium, Jackson Township

Last week: Mt. Lebanon 37, Hempfield 6; North Allegheny 10, Seneca Valley 6

Coaches: Rich Bowen, Hempfield; Ron Butschle, Seneca Valley

Top players: Blake Remaley, Hempfield (Sr., 6-2, 215, QB); Gabe Lawson, Seneca Valley (Jr., 6-2, 190, QB)

Keep an eye on: Jake Stebbins, Seneca Valley (Sr., 6-2, 220, MLB)

Momentum: Seneca Valley. After a tight, defensive struggle against No. 2 North Allegheny, the Raiders are confident they can make stops when needed.

Four downs: 1. Hempfield has dropped five straight but played Norwin, Central Catholic and Canon-McMillan close. 2. Lawson is a dual-threat and can make plays on the run. He averages more than 100 yards rushing per game. 3. Remaley threw a season-high 33 times last week for the Spartans, who are averaging just 10.6 points in conference games. 4. Stebbins is a handful at middle linebacker. He made 15 tackles in one game this season. He also lines up at tight end.

Extra point: North Allegheny came in with a 41.4 points-per-game average last week but struggled to score against the Raiders’ defense.

Norwin (3-3, 2-2) at No. 3 Central Catholic (4-2, 2-2)

7 p.m. Friday, Carnegie Mellon University

On the air: 96.5 FM, 730 AM, 1250 AM; TribHSSN.triblive.com

Last week: Norwin 42, Butler 0; Pine-Richland 42, Central Catholic 21

Coaches: Dave Brozeski, Norwin; Terry Totten, Central Catholic

Top players: Jack Salopek, Norwin (Jr., 6-2, 170, QB); Eddy Tillman, Central Catholic (So., 5-7, 155, RB)

Keep an eye on: Dominic Pieto, Central Catholic (Jr., 6-0, 180, QB)

Momentum: Norwin. The Knights broke a two-game losing skid to stay in the race for one of the six playoff spots in the conference.

Four downs: 1. Senior Gianni Rizzo has been a multi-tasker for Norwin as a rusher, receiver and linebacker. He scored on a 25-yard reception and on a 57-yard run last week. 2. Central gave up 35 points in the first quarter against Pine-Richland and allowed running back Luke Meckler to rush for 245 in the single period. 3. Senior fullback John O’Rourke took an onside kick back 50 yards for a touchdown last week for Central, and senior defensive end Brian Dallas returned an interception 35 yards for another score. 4. Norwin’s line play has been in question from the start because of inexperience. The Knights have allowed teams to move the ball on the ground every week.

Extra point: Salopek is a dual-threat quarterback with a bright future, but the Knights would rather see him throw than run. Against Butler in Week 5, he threw for 239 yards and three TDs on only seven completions.

Class 5A Big East

Latrobe (1-5, 1-3) at Penn-Trafford (4-2, 4-1)

7:30 p.m. Friday, Warrior Stadium, Harrison City

On the air: 1480 AM; TribHSSN.triblive.com

Last week: McKeesport 45, Latrobe 14; Penn-Trafford 45, Plum 3

Coaches: Jason Marucco, Latrobe; John Ruane, Penn-Trafford

Top players: Trent Holler, Latrobe (Sr., 6-3, 290, C/DE); Niko Rosso, Penn-Trafford (Sr., 6-1, 210, LB)

Keep an eye on: Dimitri George, Penn-Trafford (Sr., 5-10, 175, WR)

Momentum: Penn-Trafford. After an 0-2 start, the Warriors have been dominant over a four-game winning streak that included an upset of then-No. 3 McKeesport.

Four downs: 1. Penn-Trafford has outscored its last four opponents 192-15. The Warriors have not allowed a rushing touchdown in 16 quarters. Rosso has 43 tackles and three interceptions. 2. Breakaway running back Caleb Lisbon has rushed for 450 yards and six touchdowns for the Warriors. 3. George had three catches for 87 yards and two touchdowns last week at Plum. 4. Latrobe has looked to Zakharee Williams for offensive production. The senior scored on a 65-yard pass and also ran for a score last week. The Wildcats have played teams close in a number of games but let big plays overtake them.

Extra point: Penn-Trafford won last year’s meeting 42-16 but needed to pull away late on the road.

Class 4A Big 8

Greensburg Salem (2-4, 2-1) at West Mifflin (3-3, 3-0)

7:30 P.M. Friday at West Mifflin Stadium

On the air: 98.7 FM, 910 AM; TribHSSN.triblive.com

Last week: Belle Vernon 48, Greensburg Salem 14; West Mifflin 48, Laurel Highlands 13

Coaches: Dave Keefer, Greensburg Salem; Ray Braszo

Top players: Tyler Williams, Greensburg Salem (Sr., 6-0, 165, WR/DB); Parrish Parker, West Mifflin (Sr., 5-11, 185, RB/CB)

Keep an eye on: Trent Patrick, Greensburg Salem (Jr., 5-10, 220, QB)

Momentum: Greensburg Salem. Despite last week’s loss to Belle Vernon, the Golden Lions are in the hunt for a playoff berth. A win at West Mifflin almost will guarantee them a berth.

Four downs: 1. The Golden Lions had too many offensive penalties that stopped scoring drives against Belle Vernon. 2. West Mifflin hasn’t won a nonconference game, losing to Mars, Franklin Regional and New Castle. 3. For Greensburg Salem to be successful, it needs to establish a running game. 4. Parker has scored 13 touchdowns and rushed for more than 550 yards.

Extra points: Braszo has been coaching at West Mifflin for the past 25 years. The Titans have qualified for the WPIAL playoffs 17 times. West Mifflin used to have two schools -- North and South -- before the district merged.

Trinity (1-4, 1-4) at No. 3 Belle Vernon (4-1, 3-1)

7 P.M. Friday at James Weir Stadium, Rostraver Township

Last week: Indiana 27, Trinity 21; Belle Vernon 48, Greensburg Salem 14

Coaches: Jon Miller, Trinity; Matt Humbert, Belle Vernon

Top players: Kaden Kolson, Trinity (So., 6-3, 190, QB); Kirk Popelas, Belle Vernon (Sr., 6-2, 260, G/DT)

Keep an eye on: Mason Pascoe, Belle Vernon (Sr., 5-7, 170, RB)

Momentum: Belle Vernon. The Leopards are starting to get healthy. They welcomed back Popelas and linebacker Andrew Pacek last week.

Four downs: 1. Trinity lost running back Talon Cain to injury in the first game of the season. 2. Pascoe rushed for 248 yards and four touchdowns against Greensburg Salem. 3. Micah Finley has scored four touchdowns for Trinity. 4. Popelas has two quarterback sacks in his return from injury.

Extra point: Belle Vernon kicker Cameron Guess had six kickoffs last week against Greensburg Salem and four were touchbacks. He converted all six extra points.

Class 3A Big East

Mt. Pleasant (1-5, 1-3) at Burrell (1-5, 1-4)

7 p.m. Friday at Buccaneer Stadium, Lower Burrell

Last week: North Catholic 49, Mt. Pleasant 7; Deer Lakes 34, Burrell 21

Coaches: Jason Fazekas, Mt. Pleasant; Shawn Liotta, Burrell

Top players: Lucas Pieszak, Mt. Pleasant (Sr., 6-4, 190, QB/S); Luke Kastelic, Burrell (Sr., 5-10, 180, RB/LB)

Keep an eye on: Seth Fischbach, Burrell (Jr., 6-1, 190, WR/DB)

Momentum: The winner will stay alive in the Class 3A playoff race in the Big East.

Four downs: 1. With his rushing touchdown against Deer Lakes, Kastelic leads Burrell in TDs this season with 10. 2. Mt. Pleasant is averaging 13.8 points, last in the Big East Conference. 3. Fischbach, a wide receiver, got a chance to throw the ball Friday against Deer Lakes, and he connected with Jack Henderson on a 63-yard touchdown. Fischbach also caught a TD. 4. Wideout Jacob Johnson leads the Vikings in scoring with six touchdowns.

Extra point: Burrell is 2-5 all-time against Mt. Pleasant. The teams last played in the first round of the 2012 WPIAL Class AA playoffs, and the Vikings won 48-28. It was the last time the Bucs qualified for the postseason.

Uniontown (0-6, 0-4) at No. 3 Derry (5-1, 3-1)

7 P.M. Friday at Trojan Stadium

On the air: 590 AM; TribHSSN.triblive.com

Last week: Beaver Falls 68, Uniontown 6; Elizabeth Forward 25, Derry 22

Coaches: Cedric Lloyd, Uniontown; Tim Sweeney, Derry

Top players: Dom Richter, Uniontown (Jr., 6-2, 190, QB); Justin Flack, Derry (Sr., 5-8, 160, RB)

Keep an eye on: Ky’ron Craggette, Uniontown (So., 5-9, 205, RB)

Momentum: Derry. After starting the season 5-0, the Trojans had their 13-game winning streak stopped.

Four downs: 1. Uniontown is in a similar rut that Derry’s program was in prior to Sweeney taking over in 2014. 2. Flack has scored 14 touchdowns, including five against Mt. Pleasant and four against North Catholic. 3. Craggette has rushed for 681 yards and five touchdowns. 4. Derry has won 16 consecutive home games.

Extra point: Sweeney has coached at Derry, his alma mater for five seasons. He also played at Penn State for late coach Joe Paterno.

Class 2A Century

Southmoreland (3-3, 2-3) at No. 2 Charleroi (4-1, 3-1)

7 p.m. Friday, Myron Pottios Stadium, Charleroi

Last week: McGuffey 56, Southmoreland 28; Beth-Center 28, Charleroi 27

Coaches: Dave Keefer, Southmoreland; Lance Getsy, Charleroi

Top players: Ronnie Robinson, Southmoreland (Sr., 5-9, 185, RB); Geno Pelligrini, Charleroi (6-1, 170, QB)

Keep an eye on: Zach Cernuto, Southmoreland (So., 5-10, 160, QB)

Momentum: Charleroi. Despite its first loss, the Cougars are averaging 52.8 points and have allowed just 84 points in five games.

Four downs: 1. Charleroi was upset last week despite having last-ditch drive stalled after blocking a punt with less than two minutes to play. The Cougars were stopped on downs. 2. Pelligrini is one of the top playmakers in 2A. His ability to scramble or throw from the pocket presents opponents with game-planning issues every week. He’s thrown for more than 600 yards and 13 touchdowns. 3. The promising Cernuto threw for 220 yards last week to give him 1,200 yards for the season. 4. Southmoreland is averaging 30.7 points, the most it has put on the scoreboard in two decades. They scored 27.5 in 2011.

Extra point: Southmoreland has not won two games in a row since 2014.

Class A Tri-County South

Chartiers-Houston (2-2, 2-4) at Monessen (4-1, 3-1)

7 p.m. Friday at Memorial Stadium

Last week: Chartiers-Houston 48, Mapletown 0; Monessen 44, Bentworth 21

Coaches: Terry Fetsko, Chartiers-Houston; Michael Blainefield, Monessen

Top players: Tyler Blumen, Chartiers-Houston (Jr., 6-1, 185, WR); Vaughn Taylor, Monessen (Sr., 6-0, 180, RB/LB)

Keep an eye on: Shawn Wheeler, Chartiers-Houston (Jr., 5-10, 175, WR/ILB)

Momentum: Monessen. The Greyhounds showed their mettle last week, rallying from a 14-0 deficit to defeat Bentworth.

Four downs: 1. Bucs QB Seth Dunn has thrown for 512 yards and five touchdowns. He also has thrown 10 interceptions. 2. Monessen is averaging 35 points per game. 3. WR Tyler Blumen leads the Bucs with 13 catches for 246 yards and four touchdowns. 4. Taylor has scored seven touchdowns for the Greyhounds and freshman Devin Whitlock six.

Extra point: Chartiers-Houston, coached by Terry Fetsko for 14 seasons, returned to Class A after spending years in Class 2A.

Nonconference

Class 3A No. 1 Aliquippa (6-0) at Yough (3-3)

7 p.m. Friday, Cougar Mountain Stadium, Herminie

Last week: Aliquippa 65, Hopewell 0; Freeport 28, Yough 0

Coaches: Mike Warfield, Aliquippa; Scott Wood, Yough

Top players: MJ Devonshire, Aliquippa (Sr., 5-11, 170, WR/DB); Dustin Shoaf, Yough (Sr., 6-2, 215, RB/DB)

Keep an eye on: Avante McKenzie, Aliquippa (Sr., 5-6, 185, RB)

Momentum: Aliquippa. With only six points allowed all season (to Quaker Valley), the Quips are a straight-up force. They are scoring 54.7 points a game and have topped 58 points three times.

Four downs: 1. Devonshire is a big-play cornerback with Ohio State, Michigan State, Pitt, West Virginia and others offering. 2. Shoaf was held under 100 yards rushing last week for the first time since a 50-0 loss to Elizabeth Forward last season. 3. Yough faces a daunting four-game stretch to close the regular season with matchups against the Quips, Derry, North Catholic and Elizabeth Forward. 4. Eli Kosanovich is no slouch at quarterback for the Quips. With all those offensive weapons, he has thrown for 1,000 yards and 17 touchdowns. And Will Gipson and Solvauhn Moreland are Ball State recruits.

Extra point: Aliquippa has been to the WPIAL finals 10 straight times.

Mapletown (0-6, 0-4) at Greensburg C.C. (4-2, 3-2)

7 p.m. Friday at Centurion Stadium

Last week: Chartiers-Houston 48, Mapletown 0; Greensburg C.C. 47, Springdale 0.

Coaches: George Messich, Mapletown; Aaron Smetanka, Greensburg C.C.

Top players: Zach Greene, Mapletown (Jr., 5-10, 190, RB/LB); Brandon Brown, Greensburg C.C. (Jr., 5-10, 171, WR)

Keep an eye on: Matt Hogan, Greensburg C.C. (Sr., 6-0, 255, OL/DL)

Momentum: Greensburg C.C. The Centurions have a big game against rival Jeannette on Oct. 12, so they are hoping to take care of business against the winless Maples.

Four downs: 1. Mapletown decided to forfeit to Clairton in Week 1 because of lack of players. 2. GCC gave Imani Christian a scare before allowing two touchdowns in the final two minutes and losing 36-21. 3. Mapletown has scored only 18 points this season. 4. GCC averages 28.8 points.

Extra point: Messich, who played at Pitt, has been coaching at his alma mater for 37 years. The Maples have made seven WPIAL playoff appearances.

District 6 Heritage

Ligonier Valley (6-0, 6-0) at Marion Center (3-3, 3-3)

7 p.m. Friday at Dr. John R. Mallino Stadium

Last week: Ligonier Valley 67, Purchase Line 20; Marion Center 35, Blairsville 0

Coaches: Roger Beitel, Ligonier Valley; Adam Rising. Marion Center

Top players: Aaron Tutino, Ligonier Valley (Sr., 5-11, 170, WR/DB); Zach Hicks, Marion Center (Sr., 6-1, 170, RB/DB)

Keep an eye on: John Caldwell, Ligonier Valley (Sr., 5-9, 150, QB)

Momentum: Ligonier Valley: The Rams continue to roll. They have won a conference record 25 consecutive games.

Four downs: 1. Ligonier Valley scored 67 points, the most since it scored 65 against United in Week 4 of the 2017 season. 2. Marion Center has won three of its past four games, including a 28-12 upset of Northern Cambria. 3. The Rams are averaging 52 points and allowing 9.4. 4. The Stingers’ only loss in the past four games was a 13-7 decision to Homer-Center.

Extra point: Tutino and Caldwell hooked up 12 times for 285 yards and five touchdowns last week. The Rams dropped to second in the District 2A power rankings behind Richland.

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