“Mr. High School Sports” – First Round Highlights
The First Round of the 2010 WPIAL Football Playoffs was already a night to remember for several members of the 64-team field, even though last Friday might have been a night some of them would just as soon forget. Though he’s not surprised some Cinderella campaigns ended, it never ceases to amaze Mr. High School Sports how unpredictable postseason football can be; a number of promising teams went down already, and history was made in a way we never saw coming.
In Quad-A the traditional powers ruled the night, and in Triple-A two of the most compelling teams in this year’s tournament rolled to impressive victories. Meanwhile, the king is dead in Double-A, and the best teams in Single-A each took giant steps toward a rematch at Heinz Field on a night sprinkled with upsets of varying degrees. Here is a quick look back at all 32 First Round contests:
Clairton 42, Carmichaels 0 – Not surprisingly, one of the first running clocks of this year’s postseason started in Clairton, where the state champion Bears (10-0) put the Mighty Mikes (6-4) away before halftime on the strength of a long touchdown run and two TD passes by Desimon Green, who finished with 219 all-purpose yards, including 113 in the air on just four completions. The Clairton defense held Carmichaels to 52 offensive yards and five first downs.
Bishop Canevin 24, Fort Cherry 16 – Fort Cherry quarterback Tanner Garry out-dueled his counterpart on the stat sheet, completing 16 of 24 passes for 237 yards and two scores, but the Crusaders (9-1) made the plays that mattered and used a steady diet of the run to hold the Rangers (5-5) in check. Matt Butter, who threw for 136 yards on 9-of-13 passing, called his own number from two yards out to give Canevin an early lead, then tossed what turned out to be a game-winning 28-yard TD pass to Bobby Gustine in the 3rd.
Monessen 33, Chartiers-Houston 0 – The Tri-County South champions would not be intimidated in the least by Chartiers-Houston QB Danny Lis, as the Monessen defense allowed him just 66 total yards and forced two interceptions to push the Greyhounds (9-1) to round two. The Buccaneers (7-3), whose streak of playoff losses goes to ten, couldn’t find an answer for a balanced attack led by running back Brett Crenshaw, who carried the ball 19 times for 120 yards and two touchdowns.
Springdale 35, Western Beaver 14 – The Dynamos (9-1) and their defense were too much to handle for the Golden Beavers (6-4) and their quarterback, Joe Dawida, who still managed to lead all Class A signal-callers last Friday with 218 passing yards in a 15-of-28 outing that featured one touchdown pass and a short TD run. Springdale hammered Western Beaver with its running game, as Sean Dugan (pictured left) racked up 166 yards and three touchdowns, including a 73-yarder, on just 11 carries.
Rochester 42, California 7 – Not even a leg injury to De’Andre Moon could slow down the Rams (10-0), the other Single-A juggernaut, who relied upon the arm of Jason Adamson to put the Trojans (6-4) away quickly, and he was a model of efficiency once again. Adamson completed all six passes, half of them touchdowns, for 155 yards, while fellow QB T.D. Conway threw for 112 yards on 12-of-29 passing and spoiled the shutout with a late scoring pass.
Beth-Center 34, Cornell 12 – The first playoff appearance in nine years by the Raiders (7-3) proved not to be a memorable one, despite receiving a valiant performance from Osyrus Fisher, who ran for an even 100 yards and a late touchdown on 12 carries. The Bulldogs (8-2) got an early touchdown run and a 2nd-quarter touchdown pass from Sal Faieta, who completed nine of 16 passes for 60 yards, to put Cornell in a first-half hole out of which it could never climb.
Avonworth 28, Brentwood 21 – A shootout between two of the most capable offense in Single-A needed a 95-yard punt return by Ryan Schmid in the final four minutes to give the Antelopes (9-1) the edge of the visiting Spartans (7-3). Cory Bauer threw for 176 yards and one touchdown in an 11-of-27 effort for Brentwood, and Avonworth tailback Jake Szolis stepped up and then some with 170 yards and three touchdowns on 28 rushes to set the stage for Schmid’s heroics.
North Catholic 10, Sto-Rox 8 – What looked like it might be a promising season for the Vikings (7-3) ended rather abruptly for the Class A newcomers, who did not have to worry about containing Martin Long, but on this night it didn’t matter. William Green ran for a seven-yard touchdown in the second quarter to provide all the offense the Trojans (7-3) would need in spite of a great night from Sto-Rox QB Lenny Williams, who ended with 168 yards and one TD on 13-of-29 passing.
Aliquippa 41, Shady Side Academy 0 – The Quips (10-0) must have been particularly eager to get to their Quarterfinal rematch with the team they beat for the Midwestern Conference crown, because it didn’t take long for them to put the Indians (5-5) in their rear-view mirror. An 83-yard touchdown run by Dravon Henry, who finished with 177 yards on 14 carries and added another score in the 3rd, set the tone for a night that saw the Aliquippa defense limit SSA to 60 offensive yards.
Beaver 34, Deer Lakes 21 – A historic season for the football program at Deer Lakes came to an end last Friday with Beaver running back Darian Bradley keeping the Lancers (7-3) on their heels in every phase of the game. Bradley put the Bobcats (8-2) on a path to the quarterfinals by carrying 18 times for 133 yards and a touchdown set up by his own long kickoff return, then took an INT to the house from 34 yards out, as DL quarterback Pat Jones also managed 143 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the loss.
Ford City 21, East Allegheny 14 – As has been their trademark for some time, the Sabers (10-0) used no-nonsense defense to withstand a last-minute rally by the upstart Wildcats (5-5) and live to fight another week. In a game in which yardage came at a premium for both teams quarterback Cody Gispanski connected on nine of 14 passes for 79 yards and set up a pair of short-range touchdown runs by Mike Krochta, the second of which provided the game-winning points in the 4th quarter.
Seton-LaSalle 28, Mount Pleasant 6 – The Rebels (9-1) started quickly, and after quarterback Dave O’Brien passed them to a comfortable lead, they never looked back as they summarily dismissed the Vikings (6-4) and earned the right to play Ford City this approaching Friday. O’Brien finished with 155 yards and three touchdowns on 8-of-13 passing, with his game-clinching TD coming on a 63-yard bomb to running back Kevin Hart, who also scored on a one-yard plunge in the 1st quarter.
Keystone Oaks 20, Greensburg C.C. 16 – There will be no encore for Muzzy Colosimo’s Centurions (9-1), whose title defense went up in smoke against the 15th-seeded Golden Eagles (7-3) after a couple of pivotal 4th quarter plays by a familiar foe, wing-back Matt McCann (pictured left). He hauled in a 25-yard TD pass from Matt Buckley, who ended the night 7-of-13 for 93 yards, then broke free for a 33-yard scoring run with under two minutes left in regulation to cap off a 92-yard outing and give KO the upset.
Beaver Falls 19, Steel Valley 18 – The Ironmen (7-3) got yet another stellar performance from WPIAL rushing leader Delrece Williams, who led Class AA running backs last week with 236 yards on 25 pops, but they were their own worst enemy as the Tigers (9-1) knocked them off for the third time in four seasons. Defensive lineman Dominique Whaley hauled in a tipped pass and took the interception 20 yards for the winning score, then fellow lineman Trey Collier recovered a fumble, the fifth Steel Valley turnover, to preserve the lead when the Ironmen had threatened.
South Fayette 35, Ellwood City 0 – Finding themselves in an unfamiliar position were the visiting Wolverines (6-4), playoff participants for the first time in ten years, and they also found themselves in an unenviable position of having to defend South Fayette QB Christian Brumbaugh. He put the Lions (10-0) comfortably ahead with three touchdown tosses and completed eight of 15 throws for a Class AA-best 195 yards, while Trevor Florentini added to the advantage with 93 rush yards and two scores, including a 61-yard jaunt.
Freeport 30, Jeannette 22 – A seesaw battle between two squads known for their defense turned out to be a much higher-scoring affair than imagined, at least for the underdog Yellowjackets (7-3), who edged the Jayhawks (7-3) to earn a date with South Fayette. Quarterback/defensive back Brendan Lynch racked up 176 yards and an early TD on just four completions and made a game-clinching interception in the final two minutes, and Jake Campbell ran for 79 yards and two second-half scores to provide the difference.
Montour 21, West Mifflin 13 – Although the Titans (4-6) made the Spartans (10-0) work for their first round victory, quarterback Dillon Buechel stayed true to form in leading Montour to the second round. He completed 16 of 22 passes for 205 yards and threw for two touchdowns, one of them in the 3rd quarter, to put the Spartans ahead to stay, even though the West Mifflin defense kept that team in the game by limiting Julian Durden to 77 rushing yards.
Indiana 42, Belle Vernon 38 – A game featuring two offenses with great potential was everything we thought it would be, and for the Little Indians (8-2), who picked up just their second WPIAL Playoff win ever, it was that much more memorable. Kyle Edgar led all Class AAA QB’s with 242 yards passing in a 7-of-12 outing that featured one big play after another, including two TD passes followed by a game-winning 56-yard strike to Tyrel Venay, while Edgar’s counterpart, Matt Naylor, produced 162 yards and one TD pass in a losing effort.
Mars 52, Hollidaysburg 20 – Not only did the Planets (9-1) rule the night in round one, but tailback Austin Miele was in his own galaxy, and for all I know, he might still be running as you read this. Miele set a WPIAL Playoff record with 448 rushing yards (seven shy of the overall single-game record) on 29 carries, to say nothing of his three touchdowns, which spoiled the District 7 postseason debut of the Golden Tigers (6-4). Chad Barton fought valiantly in defeat, throwing for 191 yards and one touchdown.
West Allegheny 35, Trinity 14 – This might be the start of another inspired playoff run by the Indians (7-3), made possible by another great performance from tailback Aaron McKinney, and it might also be the last appearance on the Trinity sidelines by longtime head coach Ed Dalton. Patrick Frey gained 95 yards on 12 rushing attempts and scored both TD’s for the Hillers (6-4), but it wasn’t nearly enough, as McKinney raced to 174 yards on 29 tries and scored three times to put the game out of reach.
Thomas Jefferson 42, Highlands 7 – The Jaguars (9-1) have been winning as a team all year, and last Friday they collectively put the Golden Rams (5-5) down on the canvas early in the ballgame with superior team execution. Running back Ryan Ruffing powered his way to 109 yards on 11 carries, with 68 of those yards coming on touchdown runs, and also scored on a 33-yard INT return, and quarterback Dom Presto helped trigger the mercy rule with a pair of first-half touchdown passes.
Hopewell 24, Franklin Regional 14 –Suddenly the Class AAA Quarterfinals got a whole lot more interesting, as the Vikings (6-4) kept their late-season surge going, and Rushel Shell (pictured left), notorious for being one of the best running backs in the country, showed off another side of his game to lead an upset of the Panthers (7-3). Shell caught a 19-yard TD pass and ran for two other scores on a night when he ran for 135 yards and tied Emmitt Smith’s high school mark (yes, “that” Emmitt Smith) of 28 straight 100-yard games, and the Hopewell defense held Dane Brown to 56 yards. Click here to relive any or all of the action from the 93.7 The Fan Game of the Week.
Central Valley 21, Ringgold 13 – Ringgold catapulted itself from the basement to perfection on the strength of an athletic defense and an equally fast ground attack that dictated the tempo every week, but in this First Round affair the Warriors (7-3) beat the Rams (9-1) at their own game for their first ever playoff win. Lukas Turley paced visiting Central Valley with 123 yards on 28 attempts and a 4th-quarter TD to salt away the victory, and backup QB Matt Bradford threw for 89 yards and a touchdown before running for the go-ahead score.
Knoch 21, Greensburg-Salem 14 – The last of the Keystone Conference representatives didn’t go away quietly, but the offensive balance of the Knights (9-1) was enough to keep the Golden Lions (7-3) off-balance and keep that conference winless in the 2010 playoffs. Kyler Kenyon totaled 117 yards in the air on just four completions, throwing for one touchdown and running for another, and Andrew Rumberg-Goodlin broke the tie with an eight-yard TD run in the final five minutes.
Pgh. Central Catholic 37, Pine-Richland 10 – It took Central running back Damion Jones-Moore till the 2nd quarter to really get his legs underneath him, but the Rams (3-7) found out soon enough they’re two of the toughest legs to stop in the WPIAL. He effectively ended their season himself by running for 215 yards on 23 carries and four straight TD’s for the Vikings (10-0), including a 43-yard scamper, while Andy Borgen threw for 100 yards on 11-of-23 passing to lead Pine-Richland.
Gateway 37, Erie McDowell 21 – With the Trojans (7-3) making their WPIAL Playoff debut the Gators (6-4) showed they could handle the triple-option and opened up their own playbook en route to a decisive win at home. Greg Garmon led McDowell on the ground with 113 yards on 13 tries, but Gateway’s defense prevented the big play and quarterback Tom Woodson, while going 11-of-15 for 135 yards and one TD, also led Quad-A in First Round rushing yards with 219 and two more scores, including an important 43-yard run to paydirt.
Bethel Park 24, McKeesport 21 – For those who stayed up after the Penguin game to watch this one, their time certainly was not wasted, as Anthony Cinello threw his second touchdown pass of the night with 17 seconds remaining to cap off a 24-point, second-half surge by the Black Hawks (5-5) and a terrific upset. Tailback Sam Gooden scored all three touchdowns for the Tigers (8-2) and ran for 137 yards to put them out in front until Cinello found Chris Rizzo to complete a 102-yard effort by the QB.
North Allegheny 38, Peters Township 7 – The Tigers (9-1) wasted little time bouncing back from their Week 9 defeat, erasing an early deficit by feeding the Indians (5-5) a steady diet of Alex Papson. Papson rumbled for 126 yards on 23 carries and found the end zone three times, and quarterback Mike Buchert punctuated the victory by completing seven of ten passes for 171 yards and two more touchdowns.
Mount Lebanon 35, Plum 14 – I’ll give you one good guess at who carried the Blue Devils (10-0) to a convincing victory over the Mustangs (6-4) in round one…yep, it was indeed tailback Luke Hagy, up to his old tricks. He ran the rock 27 times for 169 yards and a pair of TD’s, plus an 85-yard punt return to the house, although Plum quarterback Chris Zdinak battled hard while throwing for 108 yards on 7-of-16 passing and a 3rd-quarter touchdown.
Woodland Hills 45, Norwin 7 – Lafayette, he is here, and the defending WPIAL champion Wolverines (7-3) are right there in the middle of the title chase again after sweeping the Knights (5-5) under the rug. Pitt recruit Lafayette Pitts needed just 11 runs to amass 232 yards and score four times, including 47- and 55-yard touchdown sprints, and quarterback Pat Menifee completed three passes for 84 yards, adding a touchdown of his own.
North Hills 20, Penn-Trafford 3 – Both defenses played at a high level throughout this contest, but the Indians (9-1) made the difference with big plays in the 4th quarter from their running game in yet another playoff triumph over the Warriors (4-6). Quarterback Taylor Schmidt added his second touchdown run in the 4th quarter to give North Hills some breathing room, and tailback Josh Neurohr, who carried 13 times for 79 yards, added one just for good measure.
Upper St. Clair 37, Penn Hills 21 – Revenge was the name of this game for the Panthers (8-2), who got back at the Indians (5-5) for last year’s playoff defeat by overwhelming them with the run. Dakota Conwell scrambled for 125 yards on 18 carries, running for a 1st-quarter touchdown and throwing for one later, while tailback Connor Scott (pictured left) contributed 154 rushing yards and two late scores to offset a great effort by Penn Hills’ Corey Jones, who ended with 216 all-purpose yards and two TD’s.
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