Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Monday Morning QB: Week Two


-- What can you say about Somerset's dominating performance other than, WOW? The Golden Eagles set the tone early with a big kickoff return from Jake Heiple, and never looked back from there. Heiple went on to be the big star of the game with four touchdowns in four different ways, but that's the great thing about this Somerset team, it could be anyone on any given night. Dylan Barnes, Raven Beeman, or Bryce Mostoller are also capable of carrying the offense. The Defense pretty much was dominant, and through two weeks these Eagles look as good as anyone.  Forest Hills was reeling before they even knew what happened, but any chance of them making it a game went out the window with Donoughe's injury that forced him to miss most of the game. Take a QB away from any team and it's going to be rough, take away a QB that means so much to his team like Donoughe does to Forest Hills, and it is a disaster waiting to happen. Somerset will head into their second big road game in as many weeks with a trip to Bedford, while Forest Hills hosts 1-1 Penn Cambria.  

-- Bishop Guilfoyle has matched Somerset step for step so far in most impressive LHAC team through two weeks. They easily dispatched Westmont 62-0, and that was pretty much expected. The Marauders keep rolling and keep riding the Chadbourn and McCloskey train. Not much to say about this one.  Westmont finally got one in the win column last week, but it was a little premature to think they could hang with BG. Westmont heads to Richland next week, and judging by their one common opponent, BG, it might be close. Guilfoyle welcomes Central Cambria to town, who is 0-2, but it will be their toughest test yet. 

-- And how about that Central Cambria-Bedford game? I don't think anyone expected such a high scoring game, but then again they have two very good quarterbacks leading the respective offenses.  Bedford had a slow start out of the gates with a 19-6 win over Penn Cambria, but the offense got rolling this week in a big way. I noted that I found it a little troubling Bedford had a small rushing output in week one, and just like that August Cook rushed for 232 yards and 3 touchdowns on Friday.  Having a back that can do that, and obviously we know what Montgomery and Shaffer can do, it really makes this offense special. Central Cambria is now 0-2, and obviously not the start they were envisioning. Seymour had one of the best games of his career with 331 passing yards, but it was not enough to take down Bedford.  Central Cambria obviously has some defensive issues through two weeks, and those need to be corrected in a hurry. Johnstown and Bedford were able to run for some big plays, and you know that will be Bishop Guilfoyle's game plan this week.  Bedford also runs into a very good Somerset team in a battle of 2-0 teams.

-- Johnstown has jumped out to a 2-0 start, but their win over Bishop Carroll proved to be costly. Starting quarterback, Jeremy Updyke and running back Terrell Jones, both went down with injuries. At this point, it sounds like Jones has a more serious injury, which is heartbreaking for him as it looked like he was ready for a big year. If Updyke can come back, the spread passing attack should be fine, but the running game will have to have guys like Devin Miller and Tavis Price step up this season.  Johnstown is far beyond where they were the past two seasons, and you just hope both kids have speedy recoveries.  Bishop Carroll goes down again, and the offense is really struggling through two games. David Swatsworth has done alright, but it appears they aren;t getting the push up front they were expecting from that big line.  Unfortunately for them, they did open with the two AAA schools in the league, so maybe they can get rolling soon. Bishop Carroll has a winnable one against Cambria Heights, while Johnstown goes cross-town to take on Bishop McCort at the Point Stadium.

-- Bishop McCort was able to get into the win column with a road win over Cambria Heights.  It was a senior, Marc Smith, that gave the offense steady production with a 100 yard rushing performance, but it was Levi Cook (sophomore QB) and Carnell Andrews (freshman WR/RB) that made some exciting plays to help ensure a win.  McCort will be fired up to play Johnstown in a rare September meeting of this rivalry, but will they have enough offensive firepower to go toe to toe with Kareem Gibson and the Trojans? Cambria Heights dropped another close loss after falling to Westmont in week one. The Highlanders are close to pulling in a win, but have trouble finishing out games.  They welcome Bishop Carroll to town this week, and it should be another chance for a close game, and a potential win for the Highlanders.

-- Penn Cambria scored 70 points total in 2013, but in a sense exploded for 28 in week two against Richland. The Panthers had a strong showing against Bedford in week one, and with this win, it certainly puts them into the conversation of making a run at being a playoff caliber team.  Sure, playoffs are a ways off from here, but not much was expected of the Panthers in 2014. Penn Cambria gets a crack at Forest Hills this week in Sidman, and the two schools have played in their fair share of big games in recent years, maybe another big one coming on Friday. It is pretty clear Richland is a brand new team from the one that was 26-2 in the previous two seasons. The Rams were so accustomed to rolling over teams, and it is obviously taking time adjusting, but I do think the talent is there. Colby Warshel and Dom Farina are two very good backs, and they will be able to break some big plays for the Rams this season, but the defense is still a work in progress. Richland will host cross-town rivals, Westmont, and it is a chance for Richland to get back to their winning ways.


--Berlin had an early mistake which led to a Safety and two point for Conemaugh Township, and the thought this might be a game appeared to be real. From there, the Mountaineers ripped off 44 straight points and costed for a 44-2 win over the Indians. Berlin got contributions from a number of players, and they won by 6 touchdowns without Braden Fochtman getting over 100 yards, and that should be a scary sign for the rest of the WestPac.  Township was not able to muster anything offensively, and after that big first half against Windber they have gone six straight quarters without an offensive score. The Indians have some talent, but we knew coming in they have a younger group and they'll be a team that grows as the season moves on. The Indians travel to Johnstown to take on Conemaugh Valley, while Berlin hosts Ferndale. Both teams should be able to cruise next week. 

-- Portage cruised once again, much like they did last week the Mustangs easily dispatched North Star 42-8. A 21 point second quarter really put everything out of reach, and Portage was able to cruise from there. The Mustangs rode a special performance from their main man, Caleb Kephart. Kephart rushed it 10 times for 140 yards and 3 scores. He's one of the best around, and has proved it through two games. North Star was expected to have some struggles this season, but they still find themselves at 1-1. It's early, but I think they can piece together enough victories to make a run at the playoffs. Portage has a tricky one at Windber, while the Cougars head to winless Blacklick Valley.

-- After a comeback effort fell short against Conemaugh Township in week one. the Windber Ramblers responded with a sound 41-6 win over Ferndale. The Ramblers are definitley a power running team, and Jared Maurizio and Shadoe Smith have done a good job through two weeks carrying the offense. Ferndale fell by a large margin once again, but the Jackets were able to show a sign of life with a Malik Ream 56 yard burst down the sideline in the first half, but that was all they could muster.  Windber has a big one with Portage at home next week, while Ferndale heads South for a tough order with Berlin.

-- Meyersdale rolled again for the second consecutive week, this time with an easy 55-13 win over Blacklick Valley.  Many feel that the Red Raiders are the one team that could take down Berlin or Portage, and take the WestPac crown. Although they have not been tested yet, Meyersdale is looking like that team. They have to host Shade this week, and the Panthers are a team that should provide more resistance than their two games. Blacklick Valley dropped their second straight lopsided loss, but now that they have two of the three best teams in the league out of the way, the Vikings should be able to grow and be more competitive in the coming weeks. They host North Star this week in what should be a good game.

-- Shade got on track this week with an impressive 41-13 effort against Conemaugh Valley at home. The Panthers have aspirations of heading to the postseason for the fourth straight season, and I think that is very likely. This is a good football team that will give some of the top teams trouble. I think they go into Meyersdale with nothing to lose, and could give the Red Raiders some problems.  Conemaugh Valley is an undermanned team, but they have been able to move the ball with a strong running game fronted by Brandon Galasso. Valley needs to sure up the defense a little, but it's going to be hard with so many players going both ways.


-- The aerial assault on opposing defense by the Mt. Union passing attack continued this week against Juniata Valley with a 57-0 rout. OK get this, Trevon Walker has 396 passing yards, 8 touchdowns, and no interceptions through two weeks. The Trojans have already outscored opponents 110-20. BJ Loner has six total touchdowns on offense, and this Mt. Union team looks to be the real deal.  It is hard envision any team in the ICC slowing them down anytime soon.Southern Huntingdon gets the next crack at Mt. Union, and the Rockets are 2-0. Juniata Valley looks to be in for a long year. The Hornets have been a competitive team for so long, but with the coaching change and losing last year's seniors to graduation might be too much for them to overcome this season. It is evident that the usual strong Juniata Valley rushing game is not nearly what it was, and if that is not working, JV is in trouble.  The Green Hornets travel to 1-1 Claysburg this week. 

-- Bellwood-Antis rebounded after a heartbreaking loss to Tyrone with a 48-29 win over upstart Moshannon Valley. Cameron Wood was the star of the show as he rushed for four touchdowns in a dominating performance over Mo Valley. Jake Burch played another steady game at QB, and the Blue Devils seemed to let out some frustration by jumping out to a 28-7 halftime lead.  Bellwood is a good team, and they will head to West Branch this week to look to move to 2-1.  Moshannon Valley is led by the exciting Eric Sherkel, and he turned in another good performance last week. The final stats were not all that bad for Moshannon Valley, but Bellwood seemed to get things rolling early on, and Mo Valley struggled to keep up with the pace. We knew the Black Knights had a tough stretch to open the year, and it will continue next week with Tussey Mountain coming to town.

-- Everett had a sound 41-20 victory over Glendale in week two. I think the Warriors are a dark horse District 5 championship contender, as they do have an impressive team. Kyle Sheaffer is a good player, as is Jacob Jay. This team played the past few seasons in AA, but dropping to single A should pay its dividends, and could really surprise some of the main contenders. Glendale drops to 0-2, and they have a game with a solid Williamsburg team this week. The Vikings have a few pieces there, but I think they ran into two good teams in their first two games.

-- The annual Backyard Brawl was a one-sided affair with Tussey Mountain having their way with Northern Bedford. The Titans are the defending champs and had a rough opener against a good Central team, but the Titans played them fairly tough. It was only a matter of time until Tussey got things rolling, and Northern Bedford was the beneficiary of that. Daniel Taylor has been superb this season with two 100 yard rushing efforts to date. They will walk into a very difficult game this week with a road game against Eric Sherkel and Moshannon Valley.  Northern Bedford was not able to get it going against Tussey Mountain despite a solid effort by Austin Heck and the running game. The Panthers must travel to Everett this week in what will be a difficult road game. The two teams took part in an instant classic last season, and it could be another good game this year.

-- Southern Huntington was 1-9 last season, but with a win last week, the Rockets have already surpassed that total of wins and sit at 2-0. It was a hard fought victory against a talented Williamsburg group, but Southern Huntingdon found a way to pull it out 15-13. It is early in the year, but the Rockets sit at #4 in the District Six AA rankings. They will have a huge test this week with a road game against the high-flying Mt. Union team. It will be tough, but if they can control the tempo with Mason Parks, they might have a chance.  Williamsburg was not able to get a lot of points on the board last, and that's the name of their game. The Blue Pirates can score, and they like to do it in a quick strike style. They travel to Glendale this week in a winnable game, and the Pirates should get back on track to their goal of district playoffs.

-- Claysburg was able to hold off West Branch in week two by a score of 20-15 to get their first win of the season. The Bulldogs have been riding the success of Logan Johnson on the ground, as he already has posted 347 rushing yards in two games.  Claysburg will host Juniata Valley this weekend in a very winnable game for the Dogs.  West Branch was able to snap a 10 game losing streak in week one, but they were unable to make a winning streak in week two. They are tasked with hosting a very good Bellwood-Antis team in week three, and it will be a tough game to say the least.


-- Blairsville has looked strong early on as they opened Heritage Conference play with a 42-7 win over Marion Center. The game saw the return of Deion Robinson who missed last week's game, and all the senior back did was rush for 226 yards on 21 carries. Scott Thompson added a big game, and the two senior leaders look poised to carry Blairsville to big things this season. They have a home game with Purchase Line this week, and two of the better running backs in the district will go head to head with Robinson, and Grant Syster of Purchase Line. The Stingers got the ball run at them last week, and they had no answer for Blairsville at all. Marion Center gets a home game against the only winless team in the Heritage, Saltsburg. 

-- The defending Heritage Conference champions, Homer Center, continued their run of domination over their league members with their 10th straight conference win last week. The Wildcats beat up on Saltsburg by a final score of 50-28 to move them to 2-0 this season. Homer has not regressed yet, and they are riding the power running game led by Ean Lee, who went for 153 yards last week. Homer should get a good test this week by hosting a good Northern Cambria team.  Saltsburg, on the other hand, drops to 0-2, They are the only team in the league without a win, and the defense has given up 50 or more points in two straight games.  The defense needs to figure things out, because this league has too many good offenses, and that could spell all kinds of trouble for the Trojans. 

-- After 21 straight losses, United finally got a win. The Lions beat second year program, Saint Joe's Catholic Academy 15-2. The defense obviously came to play, and this should be a big confidence boost for a once proud program. The Lions should be able to manage another win or two this year, they are an improved bunch. 

-- In week one Ligonier lost a three point game, in week two, the Rams won a three point game. The Ligonier team is certainly giving their fans anxiety with all these close games, but it might be one of those kind of seasons where they make every game exciting. I said at the beginning of the year that Collin Smith may be the next big thing in the Heritage Conference. He struggled in week one, but showed up big in week two with 112 rushing yards and two scores. He was only 3-8 passing, but did not throw an interception. Ligonier hosts United this week.  Purchase Line is a good football team, and through two weeks I think they have a chance to contend with the top of the league.  Grant Syster is a special player, and alreayd has 8 total touchdowns on the season. He is a guy they can ride all year long, and they have a big test with league favorites, Blairsville, on the road.

-- Penns Manor and Northern Cambria was a hard game to figure, because we still don't know what both teams are capable of doing.  Penns Manor was able to respond to a a rough 18 point loss to Homer in week one, by coming out and grabbing an 18-7 win over Northern Cambria on the road. The Comets rode another strong rushing performance by Bailey Mumau, as he finished with 101 yards. Beck Banton came up with a big showing, and the Comets may be developing a traditional running game, rather than one dependent on the QB.  Northern Cambria had a bit of a surprising win in week one, but could not follow that up with a win here. The Colts are going to be a team that can gut out wins this season, and will be in close games in almost all of their games. I think they can go into Homer and give them a game, but it may be hard keeping up with that high-powered running game.


-- Tyrone and Central had the showdown of the week, and for the second straight week Tyrone came out victorious in a battle against a big rival. The odds on favorite to win D6AA right now is Tyrone, and they have survived two gut-wrenching games. The Golden Eagles have a solid defense that has made life difficult on Bellwood and Central so far, and they have an offense that has been getting just enough to win games. Garrett Hunter has been very good running the show, and he is going to grow into a good player this season. Central is right in the thick of the AA race, and I don't know if anyone expected that after losing what they lost from 2013. They went into Tussey Mountain, and took it right to them in week one, and played a close game with Tyrone in week two. Noah Benton has been solid in his first two starts, and he is only going to get better. Mike Mock, Justin Helsel, and Alex Hoenstine have been solid weapons in this offense. This is a good football team, and one that is better than we anticipated. Tyrone has a home date with Huntingon this week, and Central's brutal start to the season continues with a road game at defending AAA champs, Clearfield. 

-- Huntingdon was able to hold off Bellefonte 28-20 in week two. The Bearcats have found themselves a pretty good running back in Jon Wagner. the first year starter has already rushed for 157 yards in two games, and has been a catalyst for this offense. He will get a big time test this week going up against the Tyrone defense. Bellefonte dropped their 19th straight game in the loss, and they will look to avoid a 20th straight with a game against Philipsburg-Osceola.

-- Bald Eagle got their first win of the season with a 42-17 thrashing over Philipsburg. The Bald Eagles had expectations of making it to the district playoffs a third straight year, but with an opening season loss to single A, Moshannon Valley, it put some doubt in everyone's minds. Bald Eagle should be able to get win #2 with Penns Valey coming to town this week.  Philipsburg-Osceola has been reeling since 2011's 9-3 team. The Mountaineers have only won 1 game in their 22. 

-- After a tough 43-30 loss in West Virginia, Clearfield got the ball rolling back in PA with a 31-0 over Penns Valley. The Bison will have their first home game this week with Central, and it will be a very high profile conference game.  Look for this to be a good one. Penns Valley has been another struggling program in this league, as they look for their first winning season since 2007.  The Rams are not out to a good start, and will look to rebound with a game at Bald Eagle on Friday. 

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