Conference play kicked off in the WPIAL this week for 10 of the 17 conferences. While non-conference games do not count towards playoff qualification, they have provided a number of good storylines and a barometer for how teams might stack up as we get deeper into the season. Last week’s guest on the WPIAL Blitz Show, Laurel Highlands HC Rich Kolesar, brought his team from behind to beat Ringgold in a thrilling 32-29 victory for the first 4-0 start in school history. Week 3 saw a number of great games in Lawrence County. I took my Tour of the WPIAL to Laurel and saw the Spartans beat defending 2A Champions Beaver Falls. Mohawk beat Neshannock and New Castle beat Summit Academy by a 48-4 score that almost certainly has to be a Scorigami. But the most surprising result came from the Union Scotties who shut out Big Seven conference favorite Rochester 16-0. We had Union legend Stacy Robinson on this week’s edition of the WPIAL Blitz Show. Robinson was a star running back for Union back in the late 70s/early 80s and is now the head coach and athletic director for the Scotties program.
WPIAL Blitz Show Player of the Week Presented by Brute Athletic
NiJhay Burt (RB/LB – Steel Valley)
Congratulations to our Brute Athletic Player of the Week NiJhay Burt. Last season Steel Valley went 1-5 in the 2A Allegheny Conference while Keystone Oaks was a semifinalist in 3A. The two teams met in a non-conference matchup and NiJhay Burt absolutely WENT. OFF. He carried 28 times for 285 yards and FIVE touchdowns. Of his five touchdowns, two of them were of over 65 yards. Additionally, Burt’s night was nearly even bigger as he had a 77-yard touchdown run and a pick-six both called back on penalties.
There were a TON of great performances around the WPIAL this week and it was hard to narrow down a list of top performers. East Allegheny QB Mike Smith accounted for over 300 yards of offense between passing and rushing and threw for 4 TDs. Laurel Highlands’ Rodney Gallagher threw for a TD, ran for 2 and returned a punt for another. Central Valley’s Landon Alexander continued his dominant season with 205 yards and 4 TDs in their second win over Blackhawk in three weeks. Others to produce five touchdowns included Indiana RB Devin Flint in their thrilling victory over Plum, North Catholic QB Jay Siket threw 5 TD passes in their blowout of Valley, and Southmoreland’s Anthony Govern threw for 2 TDs and ran for 3 more in the Scotties victory over South Allegheny. On the defensive side of the ball, not one but TWO players around the WPIAL scored multiple defensive touchdowns. Fort Cherry’s Shane Cornali had two pick-sixes and Aliquippa’s Donovan Walker had a pick-six and a fumble return for a touchdown.