Monday, September 29, 2014

Monday Morning QB: Week Five


-- Somerset handled Johnstown by a score of 50-13. Somerset winning isn't a surprise, but they way the did kind of was.  Somerset is a really good team that is loaded top to bottom, but Johnstown has talent. Somerset must be the real deal because many could still argue Johnstown is the second best team in the AAA sub-region. Somerset basically has a cake walk to being 9-0 before the showdown with Guilfoyle. A loss in any of the next four games would be a major upset. They have a date with Westmont on Saturday afternoon this week.   Johnstown drops to 3-2 after their second consecutive loss in which they gave up 50 points. The Trojans need to sure up their defense if they have plans on going anywhere this season. It takes a special defense to completely shut down this Johnstown offense, and Somerset managed to do that.  Johnstown should be able to let some frustration out in the coming weeks. They have an important game with an improving Richland team. 

-- Richland remained alive in the AA playoff race by scoring 42 unanswered points to beat Bishop McCort 42-7. The Rams are now 2-3, but they have a tough road ahead. Four out of the next five games are against presumed playoff teams, and that leaves little room for error. Still, this is a team I expected to start slow, but get better as the season progressed. The best of Richland football may yet to come this season.  Bishop McCort drops to 2-3 and they now stare down the three best teams in the LHAC over the next three weeks. It starts with Bedford at the Point Stadium on Saturday. If McCort wants to sneak into the playoffs, they are going to need to find three wins in their last five, but the schedule is definitely working against them. 

-- Bedford easily rolled over Westmont 63-10, and the Bison continue to look impressive. Austin Montgomery tossed four touchdowns and went for over 200 passing yards, and his tremendous season keeps getting better. Bedford should get to 5-1 with a trip to Johnstown to take on Bishop McCort.  Westmont slips up to 1-4 with their fourth consecutive loss. The running game for Westmont has been solid, but with a limited passing attack and a struggling defense, it is being overshadowed.  Westmont welcomes undefeated Somerset to town on Saturday in hopes of pulling a major upset. 

-- Bishop Guilfoyle kept things moving right along with their fourth consecutive shutout, this time a 49-0 decision over Penn Cambria. The Marauders have only given up 12 points all year long, and their defense has been great, but their offense has been getting the headlines. Sam McCloskey and Brandon Chadbourn are both on their ways to All State seasons, and they have been putting on a show each and every week. Forest Hills can be a tricky game. The Rangers will look to play a physical game, and hope the natural grass field may slow down the fast paced Marauders.  Penn Cambria has no answer for BG as they slipped up to a 2-3 record. The Panthers have long struggled scoring the football, and in their three defeats they have six total points.  They need to find a way to be more competitive against top competition. Still, Penn Cambria can work their way into the playoffs by beating the teams they should, and Bishop Carroll on Friday is one of those games. 

-- Forest Hills was able to roll past Cambria Heights by a score of 53-19. The Rangers were able to once again ride Shareef Blough on offense.  The senior back torched the Highlanders for 220 yards on just 12 carries for four touchdowns. The Rangers will need a similar performance from Blough on Friday if they have any hope to keep up with Guilfoyle.  Still no Joe Donoughe, but the hope was to get him back this week, but that remains to be seen.  Cambria Heights slips to 1-4 with the loss and it was the second straight week the defense surrendered at least 47 points. Cambria Heights is not built to play in a lot of track meets, so if the defense is failing them, their offense can struggle to stay close.  They get Central Cambria at home. 

-- Central Cambria picked up their second consecutive win, and they now sit at 2-3 with a very optimistic outlook on the rest of the season. The Red Devils easily raced past their neighboring rivals, Bishop Carroll by a score of 41-14.  Central Cambria has a favorable schedule ahead, and it starts with a road trip to 1-4 Cambria Heights on Friday.  Bishop Carroll is now 0-5, and they are the only winless team in the league. They will look for win number one on the road against Penn Cambria this week. 


-- Tyrone kept rolling with an easy win over Bald Eagle 47-7. The win sets the Golden Eagles to 5-0, and they are atop of my District Six AA power rankings.  Tyrone has used a balanced offense and a solid season from Garrett Hunter to get where they are currently.  Hunter went 12-16 for 169 yards and two touchdowns on Friday, and he is up to 722 yards through five games. Tyrone should move to 5-0 this week with a game at Bald Eagle, and that will set up a big showdown with Clearfield in two weeks. Bellefonte drops to 1-4 with the loss. The Red Raiders have had a rough year on defense and have been on the wrong end of some blowouts. They will lookm to get things corrected this week, but it won't be easy as they head to Clearfield.

-- Clearfield was able to fend off a strong class A team Brockway last week by a score of 28-17. The win sets the Bison up with a 3-2 record and they should get it to 4-2 this week with Bellefonte at home this Friday.

-- Central continued their winning ways with a 40-0 drubbing of Bald Eagle Area. The Dragons have now won three straight, and they look the part of a D6 AA Title contender. They have an exciting quick strike offense, and they have been rolling of late. The Drgaons will be put to the test with a very difficult road game at Chesnut Ridge on Friday. Bald Eagle dips to just a 1-4 mark, and it looks more and more unlikely that they will be heading to the postseason for a third straight year. They host league front-runner Tyrone on Friday.

-- Huntingdon survived a shootout with Penns Valley by a score of 49-44. The Bearcats improved to 2-3, and they are right in the thick of landing one of the eight AA playoff spots. They have a tough one with Ligonier this week, but playing at home against a team with that long of a bus ride is a big advantage. Penns Valley slips to 1-4, and they had a real chance to make it 2-3 with that close of a loss. Penns Valley is one of the many lower half Mountain League teams vying for a playoff berth. AA is not loaded with great teams, and 5-5 should be good enough for a spot in the field, maybe even 4-6.

-- Philipburg-Osceola dropped to 0-5 with a lopsided loss to Chestbut Ridge 48-7.  If the Mounties want to get into the win column, a game with 1-4 Penns Valley this week could be their chance. Chestnut Ridge is like an honorary member to the conference this season, and they have been playing very strong football. They are 4-1, and their lone loss came to Maryland power, Fort Hill.  They host Central this week in a big game for both sides.


-- Once again, Blairsville had a solid win. The Bobcats pitched their first shutout of the season as they took down Northern Cambria 28-0. Blairsville was pegged as the league favorite by a lot of people and they have not disappointed through five weeks. They will get the full test this week as they welcome 5-0 and defending Heritage Conference champion Homer-Center this week. This is the game everyone has been waiting for, and all the big game hype and atmosphere will come with it. Northern Cambria is 2-3 but all three of their losses have come to the league's top three teams, and perhaps they can make a run with some weaker games on the schedule in the coming weeks. Purchase Line comes to town on Friday, and that is a very big game for both sides, but it is very winnable game for NC. 

-- Homer Center is following up their 8-0 mark in the Heritage last year very nicely with a 5-0 start this season. The Wildcats still have a powerful offense, but it's clear the defense has taken a step back from last season's district championship team. It was evident last week as they survived a shootout with Purchase Line 43-40. They head to Blairsville this week in the game of the year in the Heritage Conference. Purchase Line has not been able to take down one of the league's best teams, but they have won the games they are supposed to as they now sit with a 2-3 record. They have a big one at Northern Cambria this week as they look to get even at 3-3, and make a big step towards the postseason.

-- Ligonier Valley handled Marion Center by a score of 44-0.  I don't know if anyone was expecting that big of a margin, but it was an impressive win for the Rams. Collin Smith continues to get better, and he had a big day running the ball, but threw it well last week also. Ligonier heads to Huntingdon on Friday for an important game. The Rams could use the points that comes with beating a AA team, but they have to deal with a long road trip.  Marion Center dropped to 2-3 on the year with the loss. The Stingers have been doing very well on offense, but Ligonier really got the best of them this week.They will look to spring an upset over Penns Manor this week. 

-- Penns Manor won their fourth straight game on Friday to improve to 4-1. They really took it to a struggling United team 49-0.  The last three games, the Comets have outscored the opposition 147-14. They should be able to keep things rolling this week against Marion Center, but it may be closer than the past few weeks. United is now down to 1-4 and they were shutout for the second straight week at the hands of Penns Manor. They travel to Saltsburg Friday in hopes on picking up win number 2, and that is a real possibility.

--Saltsburg fell to 0-5 this week with a 38-0 loss to Westinghouse in Pittsburgh. Westinghouse was 0-4 heading into that game, but the Trojans couldn't muster much of anything.  They host United this week in what could be a winnable game.


-- Mt. Union improved to 5-0 with a big win over longtime ICC league power, Bellwood-Antis.  The Trojans trailed at the half 7-0, but outscored the Blue Devils 21-0 in the second half to secure their first win over Bellwood since 1996. It is a huge win for a Mt. Union team, and there is a realistic chance this team can run the table from here on out. They have some difficult games, but Mt. Union is legit, watch out for this team come playoff time. They host Northern Bedford this week.  Bellwood slips up to 3-2, but they are still one of the top teams in class A. Both losses have come to strong AA teams in competitive games, and Bellwood should be the favorites from here on out in the regular season. They have a tough game with Everett this week, and it should not be overlooked. Everett is 4-1 and they have been playing well of late. 

-- Northern Bedford improved to 3-2 with a hard-fought 7-0 win over Southern Huntingdon.  The Panthers have taken care of some teams they should beat, but have struggled against the top teams this league has to offer. They will have a tall task this week as they travel to 5-0 Mt. Union. For the second consecutive week, Southern Huntingdon lost a close game by one touchdown. For a team battling for a playoff berth, it these kind of close losses that sting the most down the line. They sit with a 2-3 record, but could get back to .500 with a game at West Branch this week. 

-- Everett rolled over West Branch to a 43-0 victory to improve to 4-1.  They continue to impress me each week, and I think between them Tussey, Berlin, and Meyersdale - the District Five A race is going to be very strong. The Warriors have a tough second half of the season with Bellwood on the road Friday, at Mt. Union in two weeks, and a date with Tussey on the road to close out the year.  We will find out relatively soon how legit this Everett team is. West Branch lost their fourth consecutive game this week, and they have only scored 6 points in their past six games. The offense will look to wake up this week when Southern Huntingdon comes to town. 

-- Tussey Mountain escaped another close game this week, this time with a 34-28 win over Williamsburg on the road.  The defending District 5 A champions are now out to a 4-1 start, and look ready to defend their title. They have a three game stretch of winnable games ahead before they take on Mt. Union in week nine.  They get Glendale this week. Williamsburg put up a great fight against the top team in the Silver Division of the ICC. The loss sets them down to 2-3, but they still hang on to some playoff hopes. They have a game with 1-4 Juniata Valley at home this week in hopes of getting back to .500. 

-- Moshannon Valley snapped a three game losing streak with a 35-0 thrashing of Juniata Valley on Friday.  The worst of their schedule is over, and the Black Knights may have a serious run in them in the second half of the season. They should be able to take down Claysburg-Kimmel this week.  Juniata Valley is now 1-4, and a playoff berth looks highly unlikely right now. They head to Williamsburg this week as they look to slow down that high-powered offense. 

-- Glendale picked up their second straight win to get to 2-3 on the year.  The Vikings have one of the area's top talents in Shea O'Donnell, and he rarely gets the attention he deserved.  Glendale still has some playoff hopes at the halfway mark, and they will look to pull a big upset at Tussey this weekend. Claysburg-Kimmel is now 1-4 after being shutout for the third straight week. The offense needs to figure something out soon, or it could be a real rough finish to the year. The road doesn't get any easier as they head to Moshannon Valley this week. 


-- Portage improved to 5-0, but it proved to be a much more difficult road in week five than some expected. Portage needed all four quarters to escape with a 21-19 win over a scrappy Shade team. Sometimes playing in some tight games is just what certain teams need, as Portage should have some runaway kind of games coming up over the next two weeks. Portage will have no trouble with Ferndale this week.  Shade dropped to 2-3, but showed just what kind of team they can be. Playing with Portage was a sign they can play with anyone in District Five, and that makes that playoff race that much more deeper. The Panthers should get back into the win column with a game against Township this week on the road.

-- Berlin shook off their loss to Portage with a dominating win over Windber by a score of 41-0. Braden Fochtman put on one of the best performances of the year with an astounding stat. Fochtman rushed five times for 183 yards and four touchdowns. Five carries -  four go for touchdowns...unbelievable. The Mountaineers take on North Star this week. Windber falls to 2-3, and the road won't get any easier this week as they take on Meyersdale on the road. The Ramblers have had a disappointing season, and it really has been defensive oriented. The rushing defense has allowed some massive performances, and Meyersdale may put up another big day on the Ramblers.

-- Meyersdale rolled over Conemaugh Valley 47-0 on Saturday. The Red raiders have won all their games by at least 21, and they have pitched three shutouts. Quietly, Meyersdale has probably been the most dominant team in the area. They should handle Windber this week. Conemaugh Valley falls to 1-4 on the year. The Blue Jays look to win their second of the season against nearby rival, Blacklick Valley on Saturday.

-- North Star got back on the winning track with an easy 46-8 win over Frendale. The win snaps a three game losing streak the Cougars were riding. They have a tough road ahead starting Friday with a trip to 4-1 Berlin. Ferndale's rough season continued as they fell to 0-5. The Yellow Jackets have a tall task with Portage on Friday.

-- Blacklick Valley took down Conemaugh Township 42-28, and it actually sets the Vikings up for a very intriguing next few weeks.  Blacklick sits at 2-3, but with Conemaugh Valley, Ferndale, and a struggling Windber team ahead, a potential playoff berth is attainable. Conemaugh Township slipped to 2-3 with the loss. Austin Myers put up another big time performance, but not much else was working for the Indians.  They host Shade this week in a big game for both sides.

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