Archive

ShareThis Page
Jaguars enter ‘Final Four’ territory in WPIAL Class AAA football | TribLIVE.com
News

Jaguars enter ‘Final Four’ territory in WPIAL Class AAA football

shraustinkemp111314
ken eber photography
Senior RB Austin Kemp (21) broke three team records in leading Thomas Jefferson to a 28-7 win against Mars last week in the WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinals.
shrbpahanish111314
ken eber photography | for trib total media
Thomas Jefferson junior Braden Pahanish scores following a blocked punt and fumble recovery last week against Mars.

Thomas Jefferson and West Allegheny will clash Friday in the WPIAL Class AAA semifinal round at Bethel Park High School Stadium.

The opening kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

“They are obviously an excellent team,” said Thomas Jefferson’s head coach, Bill Cherpak, about West Allegheny. “They have great skill players, and are very well coached. They do not make mistakes — it’s going to be a huge challenge for us.”

The two teams have a recent playoff history, as they have split decisions in their past four postseason matchups.

West Allegheny, the two-time defending WPIAL Class AAA champion, defeated the Jaguars in the WPIAL semifinals in 2012 and 2009 by scores of 24-7 and 28-21, respectively.

The Indians also captured a WPIAL crown in 2009.

Thomas Jefferson defeated the Indians in 2007 in the quarterfinal round, winning by a 49-21 score.

TJ won both WPIAL and PIAA titles that season and finished 16-0 overall.

The Jaguars blanked West Allegheny in the 2005 semifinals. The final score was 35-0.

Last week, Thomas Jefferson, the No. 2 seed in Class AAA, plowed past No. 10 Mars, 28-13, in the WPIAL quarterfinal round. No. 3 West Allegheny beat No. 6 Franklin Regional, 37-14.

The undefeated Jaguars improved to 11-0. West Allegheny improved to 10-1.

TJ’s Austin Kemp, a senior running back, rushed for 179 yards on 42 carries and scored three times against Mars.

Kemp now has 1,973 yards rushing and 39 touchdowns on the season.

Thomas Jefferson’s defense held the Planets’ vaunted running attack to minus-41 yards on 20 carries last week.

The Jaguars limited Mars to 105 total yards and had five sacks, including two apiece by Jacob Guinn, a senior lineman, and Devin Danielson, a freshman lineman.

TJ junior linebacker Braden Pahanish was credited with a sack and touchdown on a fumble recovery.

Sophomore DB Zane Zandier also picked off a pass for the Jaguars, giving him two interceptions in his team’s two playoff games.

Other defensive catalysts last week included senior linebacker Kyle Senich, sophomore linebacker Luke Petruzzi, sophomore DB Jonathan Muehlbauer, and senior ends Corey Payne and Russell Siess.

Payne also nabbed a key 26-yard reception from his tight end position.

West Allegheny, which used a balanced pro-style attack through nine-plus weeks, employed a wildcat offense against Franklin Regional.

Senior Chayse Dillon, and juniors Whitney White and Terrance Stephens, combined for 328 yards on 47 carries and scored all five of the Indians’ touchdowns.

Dillon ran for 158 yards on 23 carries; Stephens added 119 yards on 18 carries.

“They run more offensive sets and formations than any team we have ever played,” Cherpak said. “Defensively, they give you a lot of different looks and pursue to the ball very well.

“We must eliminate turnovers and penalties to have any chance of beating them.”

Both teams have high-scoring offenses. TJ is averaging 45.3 ppg; WA is scoring at a 43.4 ppg clip.

Thomas Jefferson has advanced to the WPIAL semifinals 16 times in the past 17 seasons, and has qualified for the WPIAL playoffs 26 times.

West Allegheny has advanced to the WPIAL playoffs 17 times.

Trib Total Media contributed to this story. Ray Fisher is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5820 or [email protected].

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.