WPIAL Quarterfinal football capsules
Bethel Park (7-3) vs. Central Catholic (10-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Belle Vernon
This will be the ninth different stadium Central Catholic has played in this season — and a curious assignment at that. Central Catholic beat Bethel Park, 24-14, last year. Senior RB Eugene Jarvis (hamstring) is expected to play after sitting out three of the past four games, including last week’s 47-0 first-round victory over Kiski Area. The top-seeded Vikings forced four turnovers in their second shutout of the season. If Jarvis can’t go, coach Art Walker Jr. will turn to Nate Williams, who rushed for 148 yards and three touchdowns against Woodland Hills, or Justin Young, who had a 100-yard, two-touchdown effort against Kiski Area. Senior QB Shane Murray, who needs 31 yards to reach 1,000 for the season, will look to have a big game against a Bethel Park defense that limited Baldwin to 36 rushing yards in last week’s 14-7 first-round victory. … Bethel Park, the No. 8 seed, isn’t fancy, relying on a strong running game with RBs Chris Boris and B.J. Bytner and low-risk QB L.J. Michalski. Bethel Park is 5-0 in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs in the past six years, and 0-5 in the quarterfinals. … Central Catholic is ranked No. 7 in the USA Today, No. 8 in StudentSports, No. 10 in the Tony Poll and No. 14 in the National Prep Poll.
Penn Hills (9-1) vs. North Hills (8-2), 8 p.m. Friday at North Allegheny
This is the first meeting between the two schools since North Hills blanked Anthony Morelli-led Penn Hills, 10-0, in the 2002 WPIAL Class AAAA semifinals. Penn Hills routed Shaler, 27-0, last week despite the absence of running back Ed Collington (ankle). The senior, who has rushed for 1,674 yards and 22 touchdowns, is expected will play this week. Kenny Lewis, who gained 181 yards on 27 carries last week, and WR David Harvey possess deep speed for No. 3 Penn Hills. The Indians boast a big, nasty offensive line and have scored at least 25 points in every game this season. … North Hills junior QB Ryan Lehmeier continues to improve from a high ankle sprain that knocked him out of two games last month. He accounted for three touchdowns in last week’s 27-21 victory over Penn-Trafford in the first round. Lehmeier rushed for 154 yards on 22 carries and passed for another 95 yards. The Indians are 8-0 this year when he starts. But the North Hills defense still hasn’t recovered from the loss of junior LB Jordan LeViere. It has allowed 23.5 points per game since he sustained a season-ending injury in Week 4. North Hills, the No. 11 seed, has an advantage of special teams. The Indians have turned a blocked punt into a touchdown in each of the past two weeks, and Matt Zangaro is a dangerous kick returner. Kickoff is 8 p.m. due to a student function at North Allegheny in the late afternoon.
Woodland Hills (5-5) vs. Gateway (9-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Norwin
Gateway’s Justin King has enjoyed success against Woodland Hills, including 176 yards and four touchdowns in a 47-6 rout in the Pennsylvania Kickoff Classic in Week 2. He also stuck a 222-yard, three-touchdown effort on the Wolverines in last year’s 26-12 victory. King appears to be back at full strength after sitting out the Week 9 McKeesport game. He rushed for 96 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns last week, as the No. 2 Gators blanked Connellsville, 27-0. King, who has scored 28 touchdowns this season and rushed for 4,067 career yards, takes pressure off QB Aaron Smith (1,052 yards, 15 TDs). Senior LB Mike Barlak spearheads a Gator defense with four shutouts this season. Gateway moved up two spots to No. 23 in the USA Today Super 25. …Woodland Hills, the No. 10 seed, beat Mt. Lebanon in a 35-31 first-round thriller to advance into the WPIAL quarterfinals for the seventh year in a row. Senior QB Marc Rosato threw for 257 yards and four touchdowns in the best game of his career. Darrin Walls, who caught a pair of long scoring passes, and Wes Lyons, are big-play threats. King hasn’t played much defense this year despite being ranked among the top cornerbacks in the country. That should change this week and beyond.
Hampton (8-2) vs. West Allegheny (10-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Pine-Richland
This is the first meeting between the two schools since West Allegheny blanked Hampton, 38-0, in the 2001 WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinals. Top-ranked West Allegheny blistered Knoch, 41-6, in the first round, scoring all 41 points in the first half. QB Greg Marshall (1,214 yards, 15 TDs) and RBs Dorin Dickerson and Josh Shelton give West Allegheny a balance offensive attack. The Indians have scored 35 or more points in seven games this season. West Allegheny will put its defensive focus on RB Steve Paskorz, the WPIAL’s leading rusher, and put the pressure on sophomore QB Bob Bartley. Paskorz, a sophomore, gained for 188 yards and scored four touchdowns on 12 carries last week. He has rushed for 2,035 yards in 10 games this season. Hampton, the No. 9 seed, led Yough, 54-0, in the third quarter and cruised past the first round with a 54-7 decision. Hampton will try to reverse its recent failures in the WPIAL quarterfinals. The Talbots have lost in that round three times since 2000 by an average score of 40-5. Since a 21-14 loss at Pine-Richland, Hampton has won four in a row, averaging 44.8 points.
Moon (9-1) vs. Blackhawk (7-3), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Slippery Rock University
Moon beat Blackhawk, 35-14, Oct. 8 at Moon. The Tigers dominated that game, shutting down Blackhawk star RB Jeremy Bruce (10 carries for 20 yards) after he returned the opening kickoff 98 yards for a score and giving up only 123 yards of total offense. … Moon QB Matt Dowdell completed 13 of 16 passes in that game for 279 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions and ran for a score. Senior Chad Trenney was as effective as usual at linebacker, but he also had his best receiving game at tight end with 116 yards and a score on four catches. Trenney’s defensive load was heavier last week with FB/LB Mitch Morsillo restricted to offense due to injuries. … Two-way tackle John Bachman leads Moon with 62 tackles on the season. Trenney is next with 59, including a team-high five sacks. … Bruce is still the dominant player for Blackhawk, not just at RB (1,025 yards, eight touchdowns), but at cornerback. He returned an interception 35 yards for a score in last week’s 38-9 victory at Greensburg Salem.
West Mifflin (5-5) vs. Canon-McMillan (8-2), 7:30 p.m., Friday at Ringgold
West Mifflin pulled off the biggest upset of the first-round, beating No. 4 seed Franklin Regional, 20-7. The No. 13 seed Titans, who forced four turnovers and got a pair of touchdown passes from Kirk Rider to Kevin Guidish, joined Woodland Hills as the only teams with losing records to survive the first round. The other seven lost. West Mifflin held Jim Rockovich to 60 yards on 19 carries before he left in the second half with a shoulder injury. …These two Big Seven foes met Oct. 1 at West Mifflin, with Canon-McMillan winning 28-7. The game was part of a current six-game win streak by Canon-McMillan, which is undefeated since a 54-9 loss to Thomas Jefferson. The loss dropped West Mifflin to 2-4, but the Titans have won three of four since then. Senior QB Doug Rheam ran for 118 yards and threw two touchdowns in the regular-season game with West Mifflin, but the Big Macs needed two fourth-quarter touchdowns to put the game away. West Mifflin RB Shaun Thomas, who rushed for 129 yards in the regular-season game with Canon-McMillan, and Dustin Dean form a productive 1-2 punch in the West Mifflin backfield.
Ford City (8-2) vs. Aliquippa (10-0), 7:30 p.m., Friday at Deer Lakes
Ford City won only the second playoff game in the program’s history with its 56-27 first-round thrashing of Jeannette, but getting all-time post-season victory No. 3 will be much tougher for the Sabers. Defending PIAA champion Aliquippa has won 19 games in a row and is favored to win its record 13th WPIAL title. Top-seeded Aliquippa is averaging 40.1 points per game. The Quips allowed a season-high 29 points in last week’s 48-29 first-round victory over Brentwood, but they intercepted five passes — four by senior CB Brandon Revis — and held the Spartans to minus-31 rushing yards on 21 carries. Quips RB Desmond Patrick needs 89 yards to reach 1,000 for the season. Ford City junior QB Jesse Stivason accounted for five touchdowns in the lopsided victory over Jeannette. He has passed for 1,063 yards and 11 touchdowns and rushed for 364 yards and four touchdowns this season in the Wing-T attack. Derek Bush, who rushed for 157 yards, is part of a balanced Ford City backfield.
Laurel (9-1) at Greensburg Central Catholic (10-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Highlands
Laurel, the Tri-County North champion, overcame a 14-0 deficit to beat South Fayette, 28-14, last week in the first round. The Spartans held South Fayette to one first down and minus-23 total yards in their ninth consecutive victory since losing to South Side Beaver in the opener. They will need a similar effort against No. 3 seed Greensburg C.C., which is averaging 39 points per game. Defensive tackle Justin Smith, who had three of Laurel’s six sacks last week, will look to disrupt a GCC offense that showed some rare diversity in its 32-9 first-round victory over Kittanning. With its running game struggling, GCC turned to the quarterback platoon of senior John Rahl and sophomore Cody Catalina. They combined to pass for 196 yards and one touchdowns. The Centurion defense limited Kittanning to no first downs and minus-eight total yards in the second half.
Beaver Falls (7-3) at Seton-La Salle (10-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday at East Allegheny
Beaver Falls returns to the site of its 21-8 first-round victory over East Allegheny. Senior RB Reshaun Tarver rushed for 168 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries on the turf at Churchman Memorial Stadium. In Tarver’s other game on the turf this season, he ripped Quaker Valley for 250 yards. He will need a steady game to keep Seton-La Salle’s offense off the field. Beaver Falls QB Dom Henderson needs to take care of the ball. He had as many turnovers (three) as completions in last week’s East Allegheny game. No. 2 seed Seton-La Salle rolled up 480 yards of total offense in last week’s 41-3 first-round victory over Neshannock. Quarterback Bill Stull, a major Division I recruit, combines with record-breaking WR Carmen Connolly to form one of the most prolific passing tandems in WPIAL history. Stull threw for 270 yards and four touchdowns last week, giving him 2,517 yards and 32 touchdowns this season. Connolly has a state single-season record 92 receptions for 1,193 yards and 11 touchdowns. They will face a Beaver Falls defense that held Javon Moody to 15 yards on 10 carries and limited the Wildcats to 96 passing yards with two interceptions. Seton-La Salle RB Brandon Bogdanski has rushed for 1,004 yards and 11 touchdowns behind an excellent offensive line.
Clairton (9-1) vs. Western Beaver (8-2), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Peters Township
Clairton defeated Western Beaver, 20-7, in the quarterfinals last season. … This game matches the WPIAL’s No. 2 rusher, Warren Taylor (1,780 yards, 29 TD) against No. 3, Clairton’s Dana Brown (1,695 yards, 28 TD), both running behind lines that are among the best in Class A. Both backs turned in spectacular first-round performances. Taylor, who went over 4,000 yards for his career two weeks ago, rolled up 256 yards and four touchdowns on 25 carries and returned a kickoff for a score in a 39-20 victory at Carmichaels. He will face a Bears defense that gave up only 94 yards of total offense and racking up six sacks last week.Brown was not even tackled until his fourth carry in a 50-7 victory over California. He had 214 yards and four touchdowns on only six carries. QB Andre Carr now has 798 yard and eight touchdowns rushing. The winner of this game will play the winner of the other Friday Class A game, Springdale vs. Farrell.
Duquesne (7-3) vs. South Side Beaver (8-2), 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Avonworth
The winner of this game will play either Rochester or Canevin in the semifinals. …. Top-seeded Duquesne struggled before beating Jefferson-Morgan, 28-14, last week. … The Dukes win with a deep group of skill players led by RB Shane Brooks, who has 1,249 yards and eight touchdowns. Quarterback George Little threw for 149 yards and two touchdowns last week, giving him 1,184 yards and 16 touchdowns on the season. WR Elijah Fields caught his 11th touchdown pass last week. … South Side Beaver relies more on ball control, which it used in last week’s 26-2 victory over Charleroi. RB Tyler Patterson leads South Side Beaver with 910 yards and six touchdowns, but Corey Checkan had 138 yards and three scores a week ago.
Farrell (8-2) at Springdale (8-2), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Beaver
Defending WPIAL Class A champion Springdale served notice that its No. 10 seed was an absurdity by routing shorthanded Monessen, 47-6, in the first round. But the Dynamos lost one of their best players in the process. Junior RB/DB Wayne Mundekis, the school’s all-time leading rusher with 2,181 career yards, is questionable with a pulled hamstring. Freshman Nathan Zurisko will get the start instead on offense. Springdale also has RBs Joe Hartwick and Mike Landers running behind one of the best offensive lines in WPIAL Class A football. … Farrell’s Kelvin Newby rushed for 246 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s 24-13 victory over Beth-Center. The Sharon transfer has rushed for 1,458 yards this year. The No. 2-seeded Steelers have won eight in a row since opening the season at 1-2. Neither team throws the ball much. Springdale sophomore QB Beau Citrone averages 55 passing yards per game,and Farrell’s Julius Brodie averages about 59.
Rochester (7-3) vs. Bishop Canevin (8-2), 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Moon
Rochester has gone 7-1 in its past eight games, losing only to Farrell, 20-18, in Week 8. The Big Seven co-champions topped Chartiers-Houston, 27-7, to advance past the first round for the sixth time in seven years. Rochester, the No. 4 seed, held Char-Houston to 12 rushing yards and recorded four sacks. Senior RB Brent Whiteleather rushed for 183 yards and three touchdowns to boost his season total to 1,193 yards and 18 touchdowns. Rochester QB Cory Schleyer averages fewer than four completions a game, for 69 yards, but has thrown 13 touchdowns. Sophomore Derek Moye is a sleek receiver and kick returner. Rochester’s strength could be its offensive line, led by senior T Todd Jarrett (6-2, 295). … Bishop Canevin, the No. 5 seed, will have to play better than last week’s 14-0 squeaker with Riverview in the first round. The Crusaders needed first-half touchdowns from RB Matt Walter and Tyler Undereiner and three interceptions on defense to win their sixth consecutive game. A key will be the play of 6-foot-4, 242-pound QB Robert Eberlein (1,173 yards, 16 TDs) and the Canevin offensive line against a quick Rochester pass rush.
Peabody (8-1) vs. Brashear (5-3), 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Cupples Stadium
Peabody is coming off its first loss of the year, a 12-6 setback to four-time City League champion Perry for the regular-season title. Peabody defeated Brashear, 20-6, on Sept. 30 behind 206 rushing yards, including 137 from City League rushing leader Darrin Haynes. Brashear also lost three fumbles. But since that loss, Brashear has won three in a row, scoring an average of 48.7 points. The Bulls blasted Allderdice, 62-20, last week to secure the No. 3 seed. Brashear had a bye week on Oct. 24, allowing the Bulls to mend some bumps and bruises. They came back to amass 517 total yards against Allderdice Darnell Payne rushed for 212 yards and four touchdowns on 14 carries. Brashear FB/LB C.K. Mayo and WR/DB Chris Goodnight are all-City League players. If Allderdice loses to Perry, Brashear is assured of representing the City League (District 8) in the PIAA Class AAAA football playoffs.
Perry (8-1) vs. Allderdice (5-4) 7 p.m., Friday at Cupples Stadium
Perry has won six in a row since losing at Youngstown Ursuline in a non-conference game. The four-time City League champion Commodores sealed first place with last week’s 12-6 victory over Peabody. Gary Nolen’s fourth-quarter interception return clinched the win. The Commodores have lost only one of their past 52 City League games. Junior QB Desmond Brentley is the top passer in the league and threw for 180 yards and two touchdowns in Perry’s 42-25 regular-season victory over Allderdice. Expect a better effort from the Perry defense, which allowed 203 rushing yards to Allderdice RB Joey Martin in the victory. In the past three games, the Commodore defense has allowed six points. The winner will advance to play either Peabody/Brashear at 7 p.m. Nov. 12 at Heinz Field in the City League title.