Teams look for critical wins at midway point
The Connellsville football team picked up its first win of the season last week with a 7-0 triumph over Butler. Now, the Falcons will try to record their first Quad East win when they take on a tough and talented Pittsburgh Central Catholic squad on Friday at home.
“That first win helped us get a positive feeling,” Connellsville coach Andy Robertson said. “It is something to build on.”
The Falcons (0-1, 1-3) will have their hands full to say the least. Central Catholic (2-0, 4-0) is undefeated and the Vikings feature an outstanding offensive line which opens up the holes for running back Eugene Jarvis.
“Jarvis is no bigger than I am, but he is a whole lot faster,” Robertson stated with a smile. “He just gets behind those linemen and he picks and chooses a little opening.”
Jarvis is just one of many skilled players on PCC’s squad.
“The first thing you notice about them is how well they do the little things,” Robertson said. “They are very well-coached and they have some of the best football players in the Pittsburgh area.”
The Vikings have put up a ton of points this year, and exploded for a 44-17 win over Norwin last week. But Robertson is hopeful that his defense, which accounted for the lone score in last week’s win, will again step up to the plate. Jason Stolitca led the way with a fumble return for a touchdown and an interception. Offensively, quarterback Andy Schleihauf showed the ability to move the ball by running the option while protecting the ball.
“I told our staff that we have to play tremendous defense,” Robertson said. “Offensively, we can’t give the ball away. We have to play like that all year long. I think we’ve made drastic improvements and when the adrenaline flows, that’s when you start putting it all together.”
Last season, Central Catholic buried Connellsville 46-0.
G. Salem at U’town
The winner of this game will take a big step toward securing a playoff spot and possibly winning the section title.
The Red Raiders (2-0, 3-1) continue to revolve around quarterback Ryan Guthrie, who scored three touchdowns in last week’s 34-20 win over Valley. It was Uniontown’s third straight win. Bill McLee and Greg Leonard have also been tough running the ball on opposing defenses.
Greensburg Salem has a host of talented wide receivers including Jacob Zeoli and Matt Matesevac. The Golden Lions can also run the ball thanks to returning rusher Brandon Sticca. Greensburg Salem (1-0, 2-2) comes into this game trying to bounce back from a 14-2 loss against Knoch last week.
Last season, Greensburg Salem got past Uniontown 9-7.
Yough at LH
After a series of disappointing losses to start the season, the Mustangs (0-1, 0-4) will look to finally put one in the win column against the Cougars (0-2, 0-4).
The production has been there for the Mustangs. Running back Corey Nesser, wideout Kenny Riddell and quarterback Andre Ramsey have all put up some nice numbers in the early going. Defensively, Greg Palladino provided a spark with a fumble recovery and score in last week’s 27-26 loss against Ambridge.
Yough has also had trouble finding that first win. The Cougars are coming off a horrible 61-0 loss to Pine-Richland. Expect junior Dan Reidmiller to lead the offense from the tailback position. A season ago, Laurel Highlands topped Yough 18-12.
Geibel at WG
The Gators (0-2, 0-4) will look to build on a decent effort against Monessen last week. Despite losing 33-11, the Gators actually led 3-0 in the second quarter. They’ll be looking for their first lead at the end of the game when they take on the Pioneers.
Geibel has been getting some decent play from the defensive group and still has a big offensive threat in wide receiver Earl Gilbert. Quarterback Mitch Erdely can move the team on offense.
The Pioneers (0-2, 1-3) have lost two straight including last week’s 48-12 defeat against Carmichaels. Quarterback A.J. Wilson is a big threat for the Pioneers.
Last season, West Greene dumped Geibel 30-8.
Frazier at JM
After a win in the second week of the season, the Commdores (0-2, 1-3) have endured two stinging losses, including last week’s 36-6 home loss against California. Craig Neely continues to lead the ground attack while Wayne Lonce has emerged as a pass-catching threat for the Commodores.
The Rockets have won two straight, including last week’s 14-7 victory over Mapletown. This could be a close game and kicker Eric Cox could make a difference for Jefferson-Morgan (2-0, 2-2). Brian Taylor figures to be the featured running back.
In 2002, the Commodores got the best of the Rockets 21-7.
B’ville at SHS
The Scotties (0-2, 2-2) started the season with two straights wins, then were tagged with two straight losses. Last week’s 36-7 loss at GCC was tough to take, so Friday’s game against Brownsville (0-2, 0-4) is critical for the team to get back on track. With the exception of Friday’s game, Southmoreland’s defense has held opposing offenses in check. Meanwhile, Mike Mardis has been able to run the ball as well as catch the ball effectively for the Scotties. He hauled in a touchdown pass from Shane Datz last week.
Brownsville is winless, but figures to play a tough game against the rival Scotties. Senior quarterback Brian Gates leads the Falcons. Two of his favorite targets include wide receiver Zack Crouse and tight end Steve Pazzabon. Brownsville lost to Waynesburg 49-14 on Friday.
Last year, Brownsville beat Southmoreland 41-10.
Hopewell at MP
Mount Pleasant (2-2) has started the season with alternating wins and losses. To avoid losing two straight, it will have to play a great game against Hopewell (2-2).
Last week, Mount Pleasant fell to Kittanning 21-7, but received a gutty effort from quarterback Jeff Marker. Marker accounted for Mount Pleasant’s only score on a one-yard run.
Hopewell is coming off a 9-0 loss to West Allegheny. Craig Bokor and Jason Curenton anchor the Hopewell offensive line. Tight end Grant Nelson is the main pass-catching threat.
Hopewell blanked Mount Pleasant 35-0 last year.