Five things we learned from Week 2 of high school football
Greg Perry’s teams are known for throwing the football.
In his time at Seton LaSalle, where he went from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator and later head coach, Perry saw Bill Stull become the first passer in WPIAL history with 3,000 yards in a season, and Bruce Gradkowski set a 10-game record for passing yards (2,978).
And this year?
Well, his tailback at Keystone Oaks, senior Michael Daure, leads the WPIAL in rushing with 817 yards and 15 touchdowns in three games. His total includes a remarkable 388 yards on 27 carries in a 48-18 victory Friday night over Hopewell. Dauer had touchdown runs of 97, 67, 41, 2 and 1 yard.
Opponents must respect Perry’s pass-heavy reputation, so his Eagles are taking what defenses allow.
“When you play certain defenses against us to defend the pass, it also opens up the run more,” said Perry, who’s in his fifth season at Keystone Oaks. “So instead of being a stubborn old man, I’m not going to try to force that square peg in a round hole.”
Like many high school teams around the WPIAL, KO has installed more run-pass options into the game plan. With the top ground game in the WPIAL, the Eagles are off the 3-0 start and ranked third in Class 3A.
But Perry hasn’t abandoned the pass.
In Week 2, Daure rushed for 171 yards, and sophomore quarterback Logan Shrubb ran for 216 more, but Schrubb also threw for 200 to defeat Highlands, 49-42.
“Logan is going to be one of the better quarterbacks around when he’s done, but he’s only a sophomore,” Perry said. “We can ride Michael for a little while. If they want to start loading boxes up (with run-stoppers), we can start throwing the ball around a little bit.”
Perry isn’t surprised by the success.
Daure (5-foot-11, 195 pounds) rushed for 1,132 yards and scored 19 touchdowns last season, and the Eagles returned four starting offense linemen. VMI has offered Dauer, who showed his speed last spring with a 400-meter relay team that finished second to Aliquippa in WPIAL Class AA.
There’s still a long season ahead with conference matchups against top-ranked Aliquippa and others. But after three weeks, Daure is averaging 272.3 yards. Consider: When Amstrong’s Zane Dudek set the WPIAL single-season rushing record at 2,955 yards, he averaged 268.6 yards over 11 games in 2016.
Worries for injured
New Castle player ease
As New Castle linebacker Matt Senchak laid motionless on the turf Friday night, his coaches and teammates thought about Laurel sophomore Hayden Hamilton, a fellow Lawrence County athlete who badly injured his spine in Week 1.
Senchak was transported to UPMC Children’s Hospital after a collision knocked him unconscious, but coach Joe Cowart said Saturday the senior was doing well.
Senchak suffered a concussion, but his spine was not injured, Cowart said.
“It was a really, really scary moment,” Cowart said. “We were playing our game in honor of Hayden, so there was a heightened awareness of that moment from a week ago. It was certainly scary when you see a guy lay motionless in the middle of your field. Everybody had that thought in their head.”
New Castle collected donation, for Hamilton, and the Red Hurricanes players wore helmet stickers in his honor.
Laurel returned to the field Friday with a 44-7 victory over Bishop Canevin.
Turnarounds continue in Beaver County
The Beaver County resurgence continues for Beaver Falls, Blackhawk, Freedom and South Side Beaver. Combined, those teams went 11-28 last year, but they started this season 3-0.
Freedom scored the most surprising win Friday night. The Bulldogs claimed a dominant 43-0 win over Riverside, which just had moved to No. 1 in the Trib rankings.
Freedom finished 5-6 last season and hasn’t had a winning record since 2004 but has outscored its first four opponents 154-6 under first-year coach Russ Barley. South Side Beaver finished 3-7 last year, Blackhawk was 2-7 and Beaver Falls went 1-8.
This might be Bob Palko’s last season at West Allegheny, but the coach is still up to his usual tricks. Palko’s team successfully converted a 2-point play in overtime Friday night to defeat Bethel Park, 36-35.
After Dante Flati’s 4-yard touchdown run, tight end Isaac Longstreth caught a 2-yard jump pass from Kam Kruze for the win.
Palko has gone for 2 in overtime a before. His most notable 2-point call came in the 2016 WPIAL Class 5A final. West A quarterback Nick Ross ran in a 2-point conversion in overtime to defeat McKeesport, 38-37, at Heinz Field.
Top recruit scores first TD
Pine-Richland senior Andrew Kristofic scored his first varsity touchdown Friday night — which is more than most 6-6, 275-pound linemen.
Kristofic returned an interception 13 yards for the game’s first touchdown in a 42-14 nonconference victory over Moon. The three-star recruit committed to Notre Dame in April.
Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.