The High School football season kicked off in Pennsylvania last week. Overall, only 6 of the 120 WPIAL teams did not play a game last weekend. This week, every team is slated to be back on the field. Last week featured a number of blowouts with every game in 6A, 5A, 4A being decided by double-digits. The most notable story lines were Chartiers Valley snapping their 14-game conference losing streak with a win over Montour and McGuffey’s 7-6 victory over Washington. The other big news was that the Pennsylvania legislature recently passed a bill to allow school districts to determine their own spectator policy. This legislation is still awaiting an action (sign or veto) from the Governor. Since this bill is not yet law, spectators may be limited at some games so if you’re planning to attend make sure to check in advance! A number of games will be live-streamed online this week and I tried to include links to as many as I could find. This year, our WPIAL coverage is sponsored by the Small Player Big Play App, which provides schools the opportunity to fundraise by live-streaming their games and events. Check out their Twitter page and get the app for free on Apple or Andriod devices.
I’m happy to once again be doing a guest spot on the WMBS pregame show. They’ll be broadcasting the Laurel Highlands-Ringgold game tonight both over the air and as a video stream on their Facebook Page. Laurel Highlands features sophomore Rodney Gallagher who received a number of D1 scholarship offers in both football and basketball after his freshman season. We previewed that game and also discussed the Week 1 results on the Sprowls Insurance Group Pregame Show, which you can listen to, starting at 6pm on Friday night.
Follow our new WPIAL Twitter account @WPIAL_Blitz where we will be tweeting score updates and other information throughout the night. After the weekend’s games are over, check out our WPIAL Standings Page. Last week’s games were the scheduled Week 9 games and this week the schedule picks back up as planned with Week 3. There are games spread throughout the weekend from Thursday through Monday, so keep an eye on the game days.
6A Game of the Week
Seneca Valley (0-0, 0-0) vs Hempfield (1-0, 1-0)
Seneca Valley will be playing their first game of the season after a positive COVID test delayed some of their practices in August, causing them to cancel their season opener against North Allegheny. Ethan West returns for the Raiders after leading the team in rushing (516 yards) and receiving (256 yards) last season and scoring 5 times. Seneca Valley figures to be strong in the trenches once again with the tandem of Don Kreisberg and Jimmy Royal. Hempfield got a solid season-opening victory over Norwin. The Spartans were led by the duo of Christian Zilli and Mario Perkins. Zilli, a dual-threat QB, led the way with 144 passing yards and 1 TD and 88 rushing yards and another score. Perkins ran for 62 yards and added 52 receiving yards and scored twice. This will be an important matchup in the middle of the conference that will go a long way towards sorting off the playoff picture for the Top 4 teams.
Unfortunately, the Baldwin-North Allegheny game was postponed after one of Baldwin’s coaches tested positive for COVID. After having their season-opener against Mt. Lebanon cancelled last week, Baldwin may wind up 3 games short on the 6A schedule.
- Central Catholic vs Norwin –
- Mt. Lebanon vs Canon-McMillan – Mt. Lebanon plays their first game of the year on TribLive HSSN
- Baldwin vs North Allegheny – Postponed
5A Games of the Week
Pine-Richland (1-0, 1-0) vs Upper St Clair (1-0, 1-0)
Live on Channel 22 The Point
Two of the premier contenders for the 5A title face off in an early-season non-conference game. This will be a great litmus test for both teams. Pine-Richland moved down from 6A after reaching the WPIAL final in three straight seasons. Both teams have a number of returning starters and scored big Week 1 victories with Pine-Richland beating Fox Chapel 53-7 and Upper St Clair topping Bethel Park 34-7. Pine-Richland was led by the combination of QB Cole Spencer and WR Eli Jochem who connected 5 times for 200 yards and 3 TDs. On the night, Spencer finished with 338 yards and 5 TDs. Tristen Taylor led the way on the ground, running for over 100 yards and a TD. Upper St Clair topped Bethel Park for the first time since 2013 thanks to a dominant ground game. A lot of the hype coming into the season centered around WR David Pantelis who led the WPIAL in receiving yards last season and dual-threat QB Ethan Dahlem. On opening night, Dahlem accounted for over 200 yards of total offense and 2 TDs. Additionally, running backs Ethan Heister (93 yards, 1 TD) and Jaden Keating (57 yards, 2 TDs) made a big impact for the Panthers. This game will have awesome matchups all over the field, starting with the dual-threat QBs in Spencer and Dahlem and including two of the best receivers in the WPIAL in Jochem and Pantelis.
Penn-Trafford (1-0, 1-0) vs Peters Twp (0-0, 0-0)
Livestream on TribLive HSSN
This will be the third meeting in three years between these two schools. The prior two meetings came in the playoffs with Penn-Trafford edging Peters Twp 38-35 in a quarterfinal thriller in 2018. Last year, Peters Twp got their revenge with a 28-10 victory in the semifinals that sent the Indians to their first WPIAL final in school history. Peters had to cancel their opening week game and Penn-Trafford is coming off a resounding 48-14 drubbing of Latrobe. Dual-threat QB Ethan Carr threw for 180 yards and 3 TDs and added 35 yards and another score on the ground. The Warriors ran all over Latrobe with Cade Yacamelli (126 yards, 1 TD) and Brad Ford (102 yards, 1 TD) both topping the century mark. On the outside, Chris Popovich and Chase Vecchio each had over 75 receiving yards and a score. They now draw a Peters Twp defense that was the best in 5A last season, holding opponents to just 9.4 points per game. The Indians are led by All-State safety and Florida-commit Donovan McMillan and Miami (Ohio)-commit linebacker Corbin Hondru. On offense, Peters Twp returns QB Logan Pfeuffer who was 5A’s second-leading passer last season with 2368 yards and 24 TDs.
- Franklin Regional vs Fox Chapel
- Moon vs North Hills
- Penn Hills vs Woodland Hills video stream on TribLive HSSN
- Bethel Park vs Gateway
- South Fayette vs Chartiers Valley
- Latrobe vs Mt Pleasant
- West Allegheny vs Shaler (Saturday)
- Kiski vs Connellsville (Monday)
4A Game of the Week
Mars (1-0, 1-0) vs Highlands (1-0, 1-0)
Livestream on TribLive HSSN
The Greater Allegheny Conference is back and with it comes the #GACrazy. For a number of years, the AAA Greater Allegheny Conference was known for having wild finishes with multiple teams in various tiebreakers at the end of the season. After a number of schools (including Mars) moved down from 5A this cycle, the conference is officially back. Both Mars and Highlands scored big Week 1 victories with Mars’ rushing attack pounding Hampton 35-13 and Highlands cruising past Knoch 39-7. Mars traditionally has a strong rushing attack and Teddy Ruffner was expected to contend for the WPIAL rushing title this season. In Week 1, Ruffner delivered with a WPIAL-leading 261 yards on the ground and 4 TDs. Highlands counters with a balanced offensive attack. Chandler Thimons threw for 260 yards and 4 TDs in the season opener against Knoch, primarily targeting Elijah Coleman (135 yards, 1 TD). Running back Brock White ran for 93 yards and added 30 through the air, scoring 4 times. With the uncertainties of this season, this game will go a long way to sorting out who are the contenders for the conference title.
Mars Football ? The Mars Football Team will wear Purple Socks vs Highlands tomorrow night to show their support for their teammate Colin Vandenberghe #16 & his fight against Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
— Mars HS Football (@MarsHSFootball) September 18, 2020
Colin’s family has set up a Venmo account @teamcolin for anyone interested in helping them through this difficult time.
- Knoch vs Greensburg Salem – Greensburg Salem will take another shot at their 700th win in school history
- Hampton vs Armstrong
- Indiana vs Plum
- Ringgold vs Laurel Highlands
- Thomas Jefferson vs Trinity video stream on TribLive HSSN
- West Mifflin vs Belle Vernon
- Ambridge vs Aliquippa
- New Castle vs McKeesport
- Hopewell vs Montour
- Blackhawk vs Central Valley
- Western Beaver vs Beaver (Saturday)
3A Game of the Week
Burrell (1-0, 1-0) vs East Allegheny (0-0, 1-0)
Burrell got off on the right foot by beating New Ken rivals Valley in the Battle of the Bypass 22-13. East Allegheny, who moved up to 3A this season, won a non-conference game against Brownsville who is also moving up to 3A. With North Catholic knocking off Derry in Week 1, the winner of this game could be considered one of the primary contenders for the conference title. Burrell’s strong start was anchored by QB Alex Arledge who threw for 134 yards and 1 TD and ran for 28 yards and another score. AJ Corrado accounted for nearly all of those air yards, finishing with 113 yards and was on the receiving end of a 59-yard scoring strike from Arledge. The story of the night for the Bucs was RB Caden Dicaprio who rumbled for 148 yards and a score, who was simply unstoppable in the 4th quarter. East Allegheny is coming off of a convincing 42-0 victory over Brownsville. The Wildcats were led by QB John DiNapoli who threw for 2 touchdowns and ran for another. Michael Smith also scored twice for East Allegheny.
Yough (0-0, 1-0) vs South Park (1-0, 1-0)
Another pair of teams coming off of Week 1 victories that are looking to contend in the Interstate Conference. The Interstate features a number of teams that moved up from 2A this season and is wide open. The Cougars beat 2A Chartiers-Houston 29-6 last week in the return of QB Tristian Waldier, who missed most of last season with an injury. In his return, Waldier threw for 3 TDs and accounted for over 120 yards of total offense. His older brother CJ Waldier, who led the WPIAL in receptions last season, scored two of those. The star of the night was Gamal Marballie, who was forced into the quarterback role last season, returning to running back and piling up 256 yards and 1 TD. On the other side, South Park is a run-heavy offensive attack. Last week their ground game ate up Southmoreland with Adam Johnson running for 97 yards and 1 TD, Nate May running for 94 yards, and Harper Conroy putting up 61 yards and 1 TD. Johnson and May both added defensive touchdowns for the Eagles. This game should be a good early-season test for both teams and will set up the winner to potentially make a run at the playoffs.
- Derry vs Deer Lakes
- Valley vs North Catholic
- Brownsville vs Elizabeth Forward
- Southmoreland vs South Allegheny on South Allegheny’s YouTube Channel
- Brentwood vs Quaker Valley
- Apollo-Ridge vs Freeport
- Keystone Oaks vs Steel Valley
- Sto-Rox vs Avonworth
2A Game of the Week
Laurel (1-0, 1-0) vs Beaver Falls (1-0, 1-0)
As odd as it may sound, this is the only 2A game this week that features two 1-0 teams. Laurel moved up from 1A this season and edged Lawrence County rivals Neshannock 14-7 in Week 1. On the other side, Beaver Falls moved down from 3A this year and thumped Riverside 47-14. Laurel’s Week 1 victory came thanks to a suffocating defense that scored on an interception return by Luke McCoy and came up with timely plays to keep Neshannock in check. In the fourth quarter, the Spartans capped a go-ahead scoring drive with a run by QB Logan Ayers who finished the night with over 85 total yards. McCoy added 35 on the ground and 12 through the air in the tough, defensive struggle with the Lancers. Beaver Falls opened the season with a dominant performance on the ground from their two star backs. Syracuse-commit Josh Hough ran for 132 yards and 3 TDs while Shileak Livingston added 125 yards and a score. The Tigers are expected to be one of the top contenders for the 2A title this season and can get some separation at the top of the conference with a win over Laurel this week.
- Neshannock beat Mohawk 37-22 on Thursday night.
- Ellwood City vs New Brighton
- Freedom vs Riverside
- Carlynton vs South Side Beaver
- Chartiers-Houston vs Beth-Center
- McGuffey vs Charleroi
- Waynesburg vs Washington
- Ligonier Valley vs Frazier
- Serra Catholic vs Seton LaSalle
1A Games of the Week
Burgettstown (1-0, 1-0) vs OLSH (1-0, 1-0)
Livestream on TribLive HSSN
Burgettstown moved down from 2A to 1A after winning two straight conference titles. OLSH has been a strong contender in the Big Seven, winning the conference title and WPIAL title in 2018 and making the playoffs in four straight seasons. This game will go a long way towards sorting out the race for the conference champion. Both teams got off to solid starts with Burgettstown beating Fort Cherry 27-22 and OLSH edging Cornell 34-26 in two games that went back-and-forth for a while. Burgettstown was led by a three-touchdown performance from Shane Kemper. While the Blue Devils are typically a run-heavy team, OLSH’s balanced offensive attack carried them past Cornell. The Chargers got two early touchdown runs from Jaymar Pearson as well as Stephen Greer running for 189 yards and a score. Through the air, Nehemiah Azeem threw for 168 yards and a touchdown to Bobby Brazell.
Leechburg (1-0, 1-0) vs Clairton (1-0, 1-0)
Both teams are coming off of big Week 1 victories. Clairton topped Jeannette, moving the Bears record to 8-2 against the Jayhawks since 2014. (Jeannette is 65-3 against all other WPIAL teams). Leechburg got one of the biggest victories of the night, a 55-37 win over Greensburg Central Catholic. Leechburg’s 1-point triple-OT loss to GCC last year was all that kept them from breaking their 31-year playoff drought. Clairton and Jeannette went back-and-forth in the first half before the Bears pulled away for a victory. Clairton was led by Dontae Sanders running for 210 yards and 3 TDs. Jonte Sanders threw for 101 yards and 2 TDs and ran for another 43 yards. Leechburg debuted their Air Raid Offense against GCC, led by dual-threat QB Dylan Cook who threw for 230 yards and 1 TD and ran for 112 yards and 2 scores. Braylon Lovelace was an all-around star for the Blue Devils in Week 1 with 128 rushing yards, 130 receiving yards, and 3 total TDs. With Clairton already having a victory over Jeannette, a win here would give the Bears a clear path to the conference title while Leechburg is looking to state their claim on a run at the playoffs and potentially break the longest postseason drought in the WPIAL.
- Fort Cherry vs Shenango
- GCC vs Imani Christian
- Bentworth vs Monessen
- Jefferson-Morgan vs Avella
- Cornell vs Northgate
- Union vs Rochester
- Mapletown vs Carmichaels
- Jeannette vs Riverview (Saturday)
- Springdale vs Bishop Canevin (Saturday)
- West Greene vs California – Postponed