Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday Morning QB: Week Four


-- Somerset handled Richland, and that was pretty much expected. In 2013 the two teams met in a pivotal showdown, with Richland winning a close one. Things have changed big time since last season, and it showed up on Friday night.  Richland was able to post an early score, but that was all they could muster. Somerset scored the next 55 points to set the final at 55-6. The Golden Eagles have just been so dominant early on this season, and they are right where they want to be at 4-0 heading into the big showdown with fellow AAA school, Johnstown. Richland slips to 1-3, and they will welcome Bishop McCort to Herlinger Field on Friday.  Richland is certainly in a new territory from the past few seasons, but they still have playoff potential.  They need to right the ship this week with a winnable game against the Crushers.

-- Bedford came into Johnstown and dropped 50 on the Trojans in a very impressive win for the Bison. It was really the Austin Montgomery show all night long as he threw for 3 touchdowns and rushed for 4 more while topping the century mark in both passing and rushing yardage. The win was a big statement for Bedford, after playing Somerset tough last week, and now beating Johnstown on the road in convincing fashion this week, it really validates this football team as one of the area's best.  Johnstown was able to put up points and trade blows with Bedford for most of the night. Jeremy Updyke continues his impressive 2014 campaign as he went for 305 passing yards and two touchdowns on Friday.  Updyke is definitely one of the more under appreciated guys around, but if he keeps putting up these kind of numbers, more people will start talking about him. Johnstown will need a stellar offensive performance on Friday as they travel down 219 to Somerset.  Both teams can score in a hurry, and it should be an exciting game.  Johnstown has the tools to keep scoring with Somerset, but they need to prove they can come up with a stop when they need it, and they didn't display that in the Bedford game.

-- Bishop McCort eased past Westmont 26-14 on Saturday afternoon for their 14th consecutive win over the Hilltoppers.  McCort used a nice performance from their sophomore quarterback, Levi Cook. Cook was able to use both his legs and arm to lead the Crushers to victory.  The Crushers also got another strong performance from freshman, Carnell Andrews. Bright days are ahead with those two players, and they will have a big opportunity Friday as they travel up to Richland on Friday. McCort has a brutal stretch on the schedule coming up in two weeks, and a win against Richland will go a long way to keep them in playoff contention.  Westmont falls to 1-3. The Hilltoppers continue to move the ball methodically with their run game, but turnovers and the inability to get into the end zone have cost them.  They head down to Bedford for  a difficult road contest this Friday.

-- Bishop Guilfoyle is averaging 55 points through four games, and this team looks like a freight train coming through over everyone. The Marauders had little problem with Bishop Carroll on Saturday with an easy 55-0 win. The Marauders continue to spread the ball around and get multiple people involved, and this offense can beat you in many different ways with many different players. BG has a Saturday night home game with Penn Cambria. Bishop Carroll is now 0-4, and they are the only team in the league without a win to date. The Huskies played without five starters on Saturday, and the depth is really hurting for them as they are down to about 25 healthy players.  BC takes on Central Cambria in the battle of Ebensburg on Friday.

-- Central Cambria got into the win column on Friday with a big 33-16 win over Forest Hills. The Red Devils still have high expectations, but with that dreadful 0-3 start, it certainly put some doubt in some people's minds. Will Seymour put on a good showing with a 100 yard rushing performance after missing last week's game.  Seymour proved to be the difference this week, and the Red Devils are a much better team when he is leading the offense. They look to get their second win with Bishop Carroll making the short walk over to Red Devil Stadium on Friday. Forest Hills drops one without starting quarterback Joe Donoughe in the lineup. The Rangers managed to win last week without him, but taking on Central Cambria on the road without your starting QB is a really difficult task.  The Rangers will likely be without Donoughe a little longer, so they need to find a way to take care of Cambria Heights with a backup QB and a heavy dose of Shareef Blough.

-- Penn Cambria rolled over Cambria Heights 47-7, and that score is a little surprising. The Panthers haven't been able to score like that in a while so that's a bit unusual, and Heights' D has been playing well this season. Still, it was a big win for a Penn Cambria team looking to snag one of the 8 playoff berths in a wide open AA race right now.  Penn Cambria has quite the task of trying to take down  BG at Mansion Park. Cambria Heights is now 1-3 on the year with the loss. The Highlanders have been playing competitive games to date, but this one was a rough setback.  They get a crack at Forest Hills at home this week.


-- Tyrone a sound 42-3 victory over Philipsburg-Osceola.  The Golden Eagles are now 4-0, and look to be in cruise control atop the District Six AA race. Tyrone used an efficient 163 yard passing performance by Garrett Hunter, while also receiving a nice rushing day from Aleic Hunter, who posted three touchdowns.  Tyrone has a balanced offense, and a suffocating defense and they are certainly the favorite in AA through four weeks.  Philipsburg-Osceola drops to 0-4, and they head to New Paris to take on a very solid Chestnut Ridge team. The Mountaineers are in serious trouble of heading towards a win-less season, maybe they can begin to turn things around soon.

-- Clearfield moved to .500 with a 30-14 win over Huntingdon. The Bison have had a few tough games already, and I think they will have trouble this week with fellow District 9 team, Brockway.  I know Brockway is only class A, but they have a pass happy attack that should be able to score the ball.  Interesting game to say the least.  Huntingdon falls to 1-3, but in fairness to the Bearcats, they have had an awfully tough schedule in the early going.  Mt. Union, Tyrone, and Clearfield are now out of the way, and perhaps they can build some momentum with most of their difficult games behind them. Penns Valley on Friday should be a competitive game, as they too have had a tough early schedule and is looking to turn things around this week.

-- Central improved to 3-1 with a 41-12 win over Penns Valley. The Dragons used a very efficient 5-6 114 yard 3 touchdown performance from Noah Benton. Mike Mock, Justin Helsel, and Alex Hoenstine all provided excellent games, and the trio of playmakers for Central has been fun to watch this season. Bald Eagle will travel to Central this week. Penns Valley has had some tough games in the early part of the season, but flashed potential in their win over Bald Eagle two weeks ago. Perhaps they are able to get things back on track this week, but Huntingdon is in the same boat, so it should be a good game.

-- Bald Eagle dropped a 26-0 contest to Chestnut Ridge. The loss sets the Bald Eagles with a 1-3 mark through four games. Bald Eagle is looking to make it three straight trips to the playoffs, but they do have a pretty big hole they need to to climb out of soon if they want to make that happen. No easy task this week playing at Central.  Chestnut Ridge is like a half member to this league with all the games they are playing against Mountain League opponents. The Lions play five more MAC teams this season starting Friday with Philipsburg-Osceola.  Quietly, Ridge is putting together a nice season with their 3-1 start.

-- Bellefonte lost 49-20 to John Marshall of West Virginia on Friday.  John Marshall was ranked 20th in the AAA classification of West Virginia according to Maxpreps heading into the game. Bellefonte was able to put some points on the board, but the defense continues to struggle. They head to Tyrone on Friday.


-- Blairsville improved to 4-0 with a convincing 28-7 win over Ligonier Valley. The preseason favorites of the Heritage Conference have been outstanding this season. The defense is only surrendering 8.5 points per game. The offense is being paced by one of the best running backs in the area, Deion Robinson. The senior tailback rushed for all four of Blairsville's touchdowns in their win Friday, and already has 9 in three games. The Bobcats have a tough road contest with Northern Cambria on Friday, and of course the showdown with Homer Center looms next week. Ligonier was not able to muster much on Friday against Blairsville. The Rams have been an up and down type of team already this season as they sit with a 2-2 mark. Ligonier has some talented players, but many of them are freshmen and sophomores, and this inconsistency could be partly pointed towards that. Still, Ligonier is firmly in the running to get a AA playoff spot. They have to travel to Marion Center Friday for a game with the Stingers. 

-- Homer Center continues to roll in league play. After finishing a perfect 8-0 last year in the Heritage, the Wildcats are off to a 4-0 start this season. Homer has been pounding the ball on the ground this season behind seniors Ean Lee and Aaron Berezansky. Both players rushed for over 100 yards against Marion Center last week and helped lead Homer to a 38-20 win. Marion Center is now 2-2 following the loss. We will find out a lot about the Stingers in the coming weeks with a number of tough games in this hard to navigate Heritage Conference. 

-- Penns Manor moved to 3-1 with a 47-8 win over Saltsburg. It was the Comets third straight win, and the second consecutive week they managed to post 47 points on an opponent. Penns Manor heads to United this week, and Marion Center next week. As long as they play how they have been playing, the Comets could be 5-1 heading into a week seven showdown with league favorite, Blairsville. Saltsburg remains the league's only winless team. The Trojans have given up at least 47 points in all four contests, and they will look to get things corrected against 0-4 Westinghouse in Pittsburgh on Friday.

-- Purchase Line snapped a two game losing streak with a 33-27 win over St. Joseph's Academy. The Red Dragons are now 2-2 and welcome 4-0 Homer Center to town in a big game with a big running back showdown between Grant Syster and Ean Lee.

-- Northern Cambria rolled all over United 44-0 to improve their record to 2-2. The Colts opened with a pretty tough three game stretch, but this week they were able to coast over United a little. Northern Cambria is an intriguing team to me, as I truly believe they are capable of upsetting some of the top teams in the league on any given night. They will get a chance to take down Blairsville this week.  United now falls to 1-3 and 0-3 in the conference. The Lions play Penns Manor this week in hopes of springing a big upset.


-- Bellwood-Antis raced past Juniata Valley by a score on 58-7. Since being held to just 14 points in week one, they have posted scores of 48, 49, and 58 in consecutive weeks. Bellwood has a strong offense led by Jake Burch at quarterback. The junior play caller has thrown for 441 yards in four games. The running game has seen six different ball carriers get at least 15 rushing attempts.  It's crazy good balance on offense, and it's epitomizes Bellwood football. In probably the game of the year in the ICC, Bellwood will host Mt. Union this week. Juniata Valley is now 1-3 after the big defeat to Bellwood. It was a very lopsided loss for Juniata Valley, and they are reeling after making the playoffs for the past five seasons. It will take a big turnaround for Juniata Valley to get back into the postseason again. They welcome Moshannon Valley to town this week in a difficult game.

-- Mt. Union rolled over Moshannon Valley in a game some thought might be close.  The Trojans are now outscoring the opposition 208-27 through four games. Trevon Walker and BJ Loner have made for a lethal offensive connection, and the pair has the Mt. Union offense operating at a high level. Mt. Union gets their big stage on Friday, as they travel to Bellwood for what many are calling the game of the year for the ICC.  Moshannon Valley is a pretty good team, but they are in the midst of a three game losing streak albeit to some pretty good teams. The Black Knights have a chance to win out if they play well.

-- Northern Bedford got back on the winning track with a 26-0 win over Claysburg-Kimmel. The win snapped a two game losing streak and pulls the Panthers to a 2-2 mark. NBC has their work cut out for them this season, as they have a tough remaining schedule. They head to Southern Huntingdon this week in an important game against a AA opponent. Claysburg-Kimmel fell to 1-3 with the loss to Northern Bedford. They have a chance to turn it around with a game at Glendale on Friday.

-- Everett moved to 3-1 with a 48-13 win over Williamsburg.  I really like this football team, and they should be fully on the radar to make some noise in this league and in the district. They will look to go 4-1 this week with West Branch coming to town. I think they win and move on to 4-1. Williamsburg is now 2-2 with the loss. They are looking for their second consecutive winning season, and possibly a berth into the D6 A playoffs. As you look down the schedule, they do have some difficult games, but getting to 6 wins is possible. They play Tussey Mountain this week, and that will be a difficult game for the Pirates.

-- Southern Huntingdon dropped a close decision to Tussey Mountain 36-30.  I think this was a bit of a surprising outcome. I expected Tussey to run away with this one, but SHC put up a fight. It was the Rockets second consecutive loss, but they have played better than last season and they are an improved bunch. Tussey Mountain extended their winning streak to three with the win over Southern Huntingdon. The Titans have used a powerful rushing game through four weeks and that looks like it will be the plan the rest of the way. They have four games with at least 100 yards with Daniel Taylor's 446 yards leading the way.  They take on Williamsburg this week on the road in hopes of moving to 4-1.

-- Glendale posted their first win of the season with a 34-6 win over West Branch. The Vikings have a chance to make it two in a row with a game against Claysburg-Kimmel this week.  West Branch dropped to 1-3 with their third straight loss. They head to Everett this week for a tough road game.


-- Portage outlasted Berlin in what was one of the most highly anticipated games in the WestPac season. The Mustangs rolled to a 38-27 win behind a big performance by the star back, Caleb Kephart. Kephart torched the Berlin defense for 242 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. Portage will look for a 5-0 start with a road game against Shade this weekend. Berlin slips to 3-1, but played fairly well in the process.  Playing Portage on the road in that atmosphere was a tall task, but Berlin was hanging in there for most of the game. Braden Fochtman posted his second 100 yard output of the season, but still has yet to have one of those massive rushing games. Perhaps he gets it this week with Berlin heading to Windber to take on the Ramblers. 

-- Windber was able to bounce back after an embarrassing 56-16 loss to Portage by knocking off North Star 32-6. The Ramblers rode a Shadoe Smith four touchdown game to victory as they got back to playing Windber football of dominating in the running game and playing good team defense. It will be a tough game against Berlin this week, but if they can establish the running game, they may be able to keep it close.  North Star is now 1-3, but they get a winnable game with Ferndale at home on Friday. 

--Shade got to 2-2 with a 37-20 win over Blacklick Valley. The Panthers have played well against the teams they are supposed to beat, but have struggled against better competition. There is a good chance Shade makes the playoffs for a third straight season, and taking on a good Portage team at home should be a good postseason simulation. Blacklick Valley now falls to 1-3. The Vikings have some exciting underclassmen. and the future is bright. I still think they have a few wins left in them this season. I would say Friday's game is a toss-up against Conemaugh Township. 

-- Meyersdale moved to 4-0 and they have been every bit as impressive as Portage this season. Can the Red Raiders keep it up?  I think they can. This is a good football team with a very talented young quarterback, Riley Christner.  The young sophomore has already thrown for 518 yards on the season, and he has Meyersdale rolling. They had little trouble with Conemaugh Township last week, and they should roll over Conamugh Valley on Saturday. The Conemaugh Township Indians now fall to 2-2 with the loss. The Indians have relied heavily on Austin Myers this season, as they are giving the junior running back the ball nearly 40 times a game. Teams have been loading the box on him, but he has still found enough running room to keep the offense respectable.  They will travel to Blacklick Friday in a big game for both sides. 

-- Conemaugh Valley got their first win of the season by defeating rival Ferndale 23-6. The Jays received a big time performance from Brandon Galasso on the ground, and he spurred them to victory. Ferndale dropped to 0-4. The Jackets only have scored two touchdowns through four games this season, and times are tough for Ferndale.  Malik Ream is quietly one of the better players in this league, but not much else has been working for Ferndale. 

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