High School

“Mr. High School Sports” – Week 5 Preview

By Matt Popchock
Footballs

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN) — Week Five of the 2013 high school football season gets underway with a handful of games kicking off at 7:00 tonight, and the rest at 7:30.

As you get ready to head to your game, here’s a look at the schedule for the latest MaxPreps Southwestern Pennsylvania top ten, and what’s at stake for each of them this week:

FEATURED GAME:

Class AAAA contender and No. 7 Pittsburgh Central Catholic (4-0, 4-0) seeks revenge on surprising No. 3 Seneca Valley (4-0, 4-0) at Highmark Stadium with sole possession of first place in the Northern Eight Conference up for grabs.

Last year, the Raiders, who did not have to face then-injured tailback Luigi Lista-Brinza, spanked Central, 34-7. Lista-Brinza ranks third in the WPIAL with 741 rushing yards, not to mention tied for third in scoring, with nine touchdowns.

Nevertheless, Seneca Valley has proven itself a team to be feared defensively, despite heavy roster turnover. It only allows 105.3 rushing yards per game, ranking fourth in Quad-A in that category.

Florida State commit and Central Catholic quarterback J.J. Cosentino was named Preseason Pennsylvania “Mr. Football” by MaxPreps, but he’s more likely to be used by head coach Terry Totten as a game manager. The key for the Vikings, currently the highest-scoring team in Quad-A, will be to come out hitting hard, and to channel the negative energy from that 2012 embarrassment into blowing the Raiders off the line of scrimmage for Lista-Brinza.

The key for the Raiders, led by head coach Don Holl’s son T.J. at quarterback, will be to mix it up and be patient with their dual-threat signal caller. Holl, among the top five most prolific passers in Quad-A, has 860 all-purpose yards and ten TD’s, and he needs to take care of the football.

One pivotal matchup might be Tre Tarpley, who leads Central with three picks, against any of Seneca’s top receivers, including team yardage leader Eric Mrkonja (169 yards, 3 TD’s).

Click here to listen to tonight’s featured game.

THE REST:

No. 1 Upper St. Clair (4-0, 4-0) at Baldwin (2-2, 2-2) – With the talented connection of Dan Altavilla to Luke Smorey, and a top NCAA prospect up front in Sterling Jenkins, the Highlanders are talking upset. Still, that’s a pretty tall order against the Panthers, who dominated a good Penn Hills team, and lead Quad-A with just ten points allowed. Pitt defensive end commit Rori Blair has four sacks, and USC can ground and pound with Trevor Morrow and Mac Pope.

No. 2 Aliquippa (2-0, 4-0) vs. Mohawk (2-1, 2-2) – It’s easy to tell why Paul Chryst is so interested in highly-touted defensive back Dravon Henry after the Quips brought New Brighton back to Earth. Henry, also the focal point of their offense, is among the WPIAL leaders with eight touchdown runs, and Aliquippa leads the district with 56.3 points per game.

No. 4 West Allegheny (4-0, 4-0) vs. No. 5 Central Valley (4-0, 4-0) – A perfunctory win at Tony Dorsett Stadium last week left the defending Class AAA champs second in the classification in total offense, and wildcat quarterback Tory Delmonico is tied for second in the district with nine total touchdowns. West A doesn’t throw much, so, for Jordan Whitehead, the No. 5 junior cornerback in the state according to 247Sports, that could take the edge off his defensive game. But look for Whitehead to run the ball effectively–if Central Valley’s defense, which leads the WPIAL with six points allowed, can pass this huge test.

No. 6 North Allegheny (2-1, 3-1) at Butler (1-3, 1-3) – It’s unusual to see the Tigers in the position of having to chase teams for the Northern Eight lead, but they should be able to gain some ground, or at least keep pace with Central and/or Seneca, against the Golden Tornado. New quarterback Jeff Clemens ranks fifth in Quad-A with 615 yards in the air, and two of his five touchdown passes have gone to Pitt commit Elijah Zeise, NA’s biggest deep threat.

No. 8 Sto-Rox (4-0, 4-0) at Northgate (1-3, 1-3) – The Vikings get a break from Big 7 Conference play when they take on a recent Class A Eastern Conference playoff qualifier tonight. Lenny Williams, being courted by Temple as a QB (and by some other schools as a defensive back, believe it or not), needs just 425 more yards and six more scores to break a pair of WPIAL records held by South Fayette great Christian Brumbaugh. Tonight, expect Williams to at least surpass Adam DiMichele as the top passer in Sto-Rox history.

No. 9 Thomas Jefferson (3-0, 4-0) at Albert Gallatin (1-2, 2-2) – The Colonials, once a sad-sack program, have made some strides, but TJ, with its smash-mouth style of play, will likely prove too much as it continues pursuing yet another Big Nine Conference title. This should be at least a compelling matchup of top running backs; Austin Kemp leads the No. 3 offense in Triple-A with 485 yards and six TD’s, while Collin Smith has amassed 603 yards and five touchdowns for Albert Gallatin.

No. 10 McKeesport (3-0, 4-0) vs. Altoona (1-3, 1-3) – The flex-bone is truly back, and the Tigers are very much alive in the hunt for a Foothills Conference championship. Coming off its 600th win in program history, which came at the expense of Penn-Trafford, McKeesport, the No. 2 rushing attack in Quad-A, should have a relatively easy night. Mikell Moore leads the offense with 395 yards and six touchdowns.

For a complete recap of Friday’s action, join Don Rebel of the MSA Sports Network and Mike White of the Post-Gazette for “The Fan High School Football Roundup” Saturday 7:00-8:00 A.M. on SportsRadio 93.7 The Fan.

(Contact me at mpopchock@kdka.com and/or follow me on Twitter @mpopchock.)

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