MSA Sports Big Game Hunting – Week Five

When you settle in and listen to the halftime show featuring Don Rebel and Professor White this Friday, we will have reached the exact halfway point of the 2013 WPIAL football season. It’s true, it goes by faster than a Pittsburgh Steelers offensive possession. We are beginning to see a pretty clear picture of who will be in the post season and this week we will get a chance to sort out who will become the favorites to make deep runs in said post season.

Before we go Big Game Hunting, let’s start with a nod to the end of “The Streak”. The Clairton Bears fall to Monessen this past Friday. The winning streak ends at 66 games. We salute all the Bears that were a part of it. “The Streak” – it is something we will never forget. We also salute the Greyhounds and congratulate them on their historic win. #BOUT DAT

 AAAA Northern Eight Conference
#5 Seneca Valley Raiders (4-0)(3-0) at #1 Central Catholic Vikings (4-0)(3-0) Friday September 20th at 7:30 PM @ Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh’s Station Square. Broadcast on the MSA Sports Network and WLER-FM 97.7 by Glenn Thompson and Tyler Friel

A battle of top-ten, unbeaten, teams highlights the AAAA action this week. Both Central and Seneca Valley were expected to have good seasons this year, and they have done perfectly so far. Seneca Valley has rolled to a perfect start including knocking off their longtime nemesis North Allegheny in week three. Central meanwhile, has not really been challenged. The Vikes’ closest game was a 24-0 win over North Hills at Martorelli in week two, and it was not as close as the score seems to indicate. I did that game and at no time did it ever seem realistic that North Hills would score.

That is why this game jumps out at me. The Central defense is nothing shy of extraordinary. The Vikings have allowed 13 points on the season. None when it mattered.

In fact I don’t think we have seen just how good the Vikings are capable of being. They have made pretty rare usage of their Florida State quarterback recruit J.J. Consentino who has not thrown much at all this season. Consentino has completed 14 of just 36 passes for 145 yards and a single touchdown for the season. If and when the Vikings start to mix in and develop the passing game they will become truly formidable.

Their running game is already fantastic with Luigi Lista-Brinza has rushed for 740 yards on 79 carries so far this season. He has also scored ten touchdowns. Fullback Devin Falloon gets the tough short yardage carries for Central and he is just a beast.

Seneca Valley is riding high in 2013 with T.J. Holl at quarterback. The Raiders are in fact off to their best start in school history. It is a balanced offensive attack with Holl excelling as a passer and a runner. He has rushed for over 200 yards, and scored seven touchdowns. He has completed 38 of 65 passes for 625 yards and another four scores.

Mason Dehart is a big threat in the running game for the Raiders as well, averaging nearly five yards a carry and having scored six touchdowns. Dehart, Dom DiTommaso, and Eric Mrkonja are all threats to make big plays in the passing game.

The Raiders will need to watch the Central special teams as the Vikings recorded a pair of punt returns for touchdowns in their week four win over the Fox Chapel Foxes. Winner of this game has a big leg up on the Northern Eight Championship and a great seed from the playoff committee that will go along with it.

AAA Parkway Conference
#3 Central Valley Warriors (4-0)(4-0) at #1 West Allegheny Indians (4-0)(4-0) Friday September 20th at 7:00 PM @ Joe P. DiMichela Stadium on the campus of West Allegheny high school. Broadcast on the MSA Sports Network by Sam Hall and Steve Nagler

This incredible match-up of unbeaten teams will be without the Central Valley head coach. Mark Lyons has been suspended for this game and next Friday’s game at Moon as well by the Central Valley School District for alleged contact with a prospective transfer student / athlete’s parents. The WPIAL ruled the transfer as approved. Nonetheless Lyons has not been at practice all week and will miss both games. It is a shame because no one will want to miss this game. The Warriors and Indians are a combined (8-0) and they have been dominant here in 2013.

Central Valley comes in riding a streak of three straight shutouts after allowing just six points in week one. The Warriors are allowing a WPIAL all-classification low of 1.5 points per game on the year. The West Allegheny offense meanwhile comes into this game scoring on average 45 points per game. That number is, by almost a full touchdown per game, the best in the very strong Parkway conference.

Yes vice versa is true here West A has the 2nd best scoring defense in the conference and Central has the 2nd best scoring offense in the conference. Bottom line it is clear these are the two best teams in the conference, and it is the Parkway conference, enough said.

West Allegheny has mixed in a little more passing action this season, the Indians are averaging almost 130 yards passing per game. Make no mistake though the ground is where they live rushing for 276.5 yards per game on the season.

Leading the rushing attack is Chayse Dillon, whom every other team has been chasing to the tune of 513 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.

Junior Quarterback Andrew Koester has completed 24 of 39 passes for 460 yards and five touchdowns without throwing a pick. His favorite target so far is Tory Delmonico who has 11 catches for 195 yards.

Central Valley will have Shawn McCreary at the helm for this game in place of Mark Lyons, it will not be his first rodeo though, he was previously  a head coach at Monaca.

He will be coaching a tremendous football team in the Warriors with a great running game that has four different players over the hundred yard mark already on the young season. The Central Valley ground game is headed up by junior Jordan Whitehead and senior JaQUan Pennington. Whitehead has 39 carries for 380 yards and has scored nine touchdowns, while Pennington has 320 yards on 55 carries and has scored three touchdowns. There is not much fall off after those two guys though, junior Preston Johnson is also having a tremendous season with 131 yards rushing and five touchdowns scored.

Nate Climo, senior quarterback is enjoying a solid year as well completing 25 of 45 passes for 310 yards and three touchdowns on the year. His top receiver is Anthony Williams who has five catches for 101 yards on the season. 

AA Century Conference
#6 Seton-LaSalle Rebels (4-0)(4-0) at #3 South Fayette Lions (4-0)(4-0) Friday September 20th at 7:00 PM @ South Fayette Stadium on the campus of South Fayette high school. Broadcast on the MSA Sports Network by Troy Clardy and Mike Krcil

This game will feature the fifth and ninth ranked quarterbacks in terms of yards passed for, in the WPIAL. This game has also turned into over the last several years one of the biggest and best rivalries in the WPIAL. Sadly this game will likely go away soon as South Fayette is expected to be moving into AAA shortly. So all the more reason to make sure you get out to see it, or listen to it, on the MSA Sports Network this Friday night.

Junior quarterback Tyler Perone has stepped up to be the next great quarterback in what appears to be a never-ending line of great quarterbacks at Seton-LaSalle. Perone under the tutelage of Greg Perry has had a fantastic first four games as a starter, completing 55 of his 82 passes for nine touchdowns and the fifth best yardage number in the WPIAL at 837 yards. His top receiver Danzel McKinley-Lewis has caught 14 passes for an astounding 309 yards (22.1 yards per catch) and five touchdowns. Running back Tom Rizza has proven to be a big dual threat for the Rebels catching 14 passes for 122 yards while rushing for 123 yards on 29 carries. Rizza has scored four touchdowns.

Rick Mellick is the leading rusher for the Rebels with 132 yards on 31 touches, he has also caught eight passes for 153 yards and has scored a pair of touchdowns.

The Seton defense is allowing a Century conference best 6.5 points per game.

South Fayette, we knew the Lions were gonna bring a fabulous quarterback for this 2013 campaign. Junior Brett Brumbaugh has not disappointed connecting on 41 of 66 passes for 681 yards and nine touchdowns without an interception. Justin Watson and Conner Beck have combined to catch 25 of those passes for 448 yards and seven touchdowns.

But here is the thing you cannot just gear up to stop the Lions’ passing game, because they have one of the best rushing attacks in the WPIAL as well. Senior Grant Fetchet runningbehind a very solid offensive line has amassed 468 yards and eight scores on the ground.

That balance has the Lions averaging a best in the entire WPIAL , 54 points a game on offense.

Both of these teams get their best test of the season-to-date Friday night in South Fayette. Winner still has to contend with Quaker Valley but they will have the inside track on the Century title.

A Eastern Conference
#5 Apollo-Ridge Vikings (3-1)(2-1) at #6 Avonworth Antelopes (4-0)(3-0) Friday September 20th at 7:00 PM @ Lenzner Field in Pittsburgh, PA. Broadcast on the MSA Sports Network by Adam Hoerner and Greg Kuntz

This will be a  great game in the Eastern Conference up at Lenzner Field Friday. The Viking only loss came back in week one a thrilling double overtime heart-breaker to #2 Cardinal Weurl North Catholic 22-21. Avonworth has yet to tarnish their record. Apollo-Ridge’s Tre Tipton is still day-to-day with an ankle injury he did not play last week as the Vikings rolled Leechburg 58-13. It will make a little more difference if he is still unable to go for this one. The Vikes though will still have a lot even if Tipton’s outstanding receiving skills are not on display.

Senior quarterback Jesse Zelonka is a threat to run or throw and beat you both ways. Zelonka has completed 33 of 53 passes for 493 yards and seven touchdowns with zero interceptions, and he is also the leading rusher on the season for Apollo-Ridge with 258 yards on 57 carries and has scored three touchdowns.

Alex Smith has had a big year catching the ball for A-R with 12 catches for 254 yards, he and Duane Brown will relied upon heavily if Tipton remains on the shelf.

The Vikes will also look for contributions in the running game from Jonah Casella and Ben Gemballa who have combined for 397 yards rushing and six touchdowns on the season.

Heads up on the ‘Lopes, they are very good. Avonworth’s defense is quietly becoming one of the best in the WPIAL. The Antelopes “D” is allowing a classification low of 4.8 points per game on the season, including a shut out of previously unbeaten West Shamokin last week.

Senior quarterback Matt Donovan has thrown for 474 yards and seven touchdowns so far this season as he has completed 55% of his passes. Senior wide receiver Jees Zubik has caught 16 of those passes for 239 yards and scored five touchdowns.

On the ground the ‘Lopes get big-time plays from Moses Giles who has 342 yards and seven touchdowns on 71 attempts.

That Avonworth defense is anchored by Dalton Day and Andrew Broadus, their play as linebackers in Duke Johncour’s 4-4 defense has been exemplary.

This is going to be a slugfest, just how we like it here on the MSA Sports network, don’t miss a minute of the action.