Clearfield and Philipsburg-Osceola set for matchup|
Thursday, October 25, 2012
The high school football regular season is winding down and several area teams are still hoping to qualify for postseason play, while others are just trying to close the 2012 campaign on a positive note.
Clearfield has already clinched a Mountain League title and punched its ticket to the postseason, but will look to complete its fifth undefeated regular season under head coach Tim Janocko when it hosts a hungry Philipsburg-Osceola squad looking for its first win.
Curwensville is still battling for playoff positioning in District 9 Class A and needs a win at Sheffield in a Saturday afternoon contest.
Glendale, Moshannon Valley and West Branch are all still hoping for berths in the District 6 Class A playoffs, but all three are on the outside looking in and will need to keep winning and get help to move into the Top 8.
The Vikings travel to top seed Bellwood-Antis, the Warriors host fourth-seeded Juniata Valley and the Black Knights make the trip to Southern Huntingdon.
Purchase Line also has a road trip this week, as the Red Dragons look for their second win of the season at Saltsburg.
Here is a closer look at this week's games:
Philipsburg-Osceola (0-8) at Clearfield (8-0)
HYDE - With a winning season, a league title and a top seed in the district playoffs already attained, the Clearfield football team turns its attention to an undefeated regular season.
Standing in the way is a dangerous Philipsburg-Osceola team hungry for its first win.
"They can play loose. There's no pressure," Janocko said. "They can just come over and play a football game."
The Mounties know a thing or two about ruining a perfect season for the Bison, as their 40-33 thriller at Memorial Field last year was the only blemish on Clearfield's one-loss regular-season campaign. That, and the fact the teams are close geographically, gives the game a little flavor.
"It's added interest," Janocko said. "The kids all know each other. It should be fun."
P-O had struggled to put points on the board this season, scoring 7 or less in six of its eight losses. But the last two weeks, the Mounties totaled 33 points, and Janocko is expecting them to continue improving.
"They are a very capable team if they put things together," he said. "They moved the ball well last week against Huntingdon."
Nick Gray leads the Mounties offensive attack with 502 yards and two touchdowns. Dustin Shuey has 347 yards and a pair of scores, and Erik Smith's three rushing touchdowns pace the team.
"(Gray) is a big kid that can run the ball well," Janocko said. "They can move the ball."
The Bison are led by do-it-all quarterback Christian Lezzer, who went over 1,000 yards passing last week and is only 96 yards away from achieving the feat on the ground. Lezzer has thrown 13 touchdown passes and run for 14 more scores. He also has a reception for a score.
The Mounties will also have to contend with Bison running back Tyler Stratton and receiver Trey Jordan. Stratton has 845 yards and nine scores on the ground, while Jordan has 23 catches for 802 yards and 12 touchdowns.
"We have to be balanced," Janocko said of his offense. "They have some size and they may show a little blitz, so we need to keep them off-balance."
Clearfield has won 11 of the last 12 games in the series.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Bison Sports Complex.
P-O head coach Jeff Vroman was unavailable for comment.
Glendale (5-3) at Bellwood-Antis (8-0)
BELLWOOD - It doesn't get any bigger than this for the Glendale football team.
The Vikings' playoffs hopes aren't based solely on a win this week, but knocking off the No. 9-ranked team in the state would go a long ways in solidifying their playoff aspirations.
Bellwood-Antis has been in cruise control after topping Class AA rival Tyrone in Week 1 and has gotten stronger each week.
The Blue Devils have allowed 100 points so far this season, but have only allowed 17 in the past four weeks combined - and 14 of those came against Everett in Week 6.
"It's huge," said Glendale head coach Matt Irvine of his team's matchup. "Last week (Juniata Valley) was the biggest game we're going to play, but this is right up there. If we don't win, we'll need a lot of help. If we do, that almost guarantees us a spot.
"It's a huge game. Bellwood's been so good for so many years. If there's a chance of us knocking them off this Friday, it would shock some people and show how good our kids are."
What makes Bellwood-Antis so tough to defense is the team's balance.
Casey Gray has gained over 1,000 yards on the ground, while quarterback Seth Worthing has completed nearly 53 percent of his passes for 687 yards and eight touchdowns.
Cameron Worthing and Haden Degennaro each have added over 300 yards on the ground for the versatile Blue Devil attack.
"They do everything right on both sides of the ball," Irvine said. "They limit their mistakes and capitalize on everybody else's.
"They're not the same sized Bellwood that we're used to, but they have great coaches and they do the little things right and that's what makes them so good."
The last time the Vikings knocked off Bellwood-Antis came in 1980 when they won 22-21. The Blue Devils have won 12 straight in the series.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Moshannon Valley (4-4) at Southern Huntingdon (0-8)
THREE SPRINGS - After losses the last two weeks, the Black Knights travel to Three Springs to face 0-8 Southern Huntingdon.
Mo Valley's playoff hopes are hanging on by a thread and would be dashed with a loss to the winless Rockets.
The meetings each of the past two years between the teams have dictated who is going to the postseason. This year, only Mo Valley has the opportunity, and head coach Michael Keith hopes that his team can enter Week 10 with a chance.
"Our goal has been to get to the playoffs, and we need a win this week to keep that hope alive," said Keith. "Like the last two weeks, the outcome is going to be determined on the line of scrimmage. We need to come out fired up and ready to play."
Southern Huntingdon entered the season with a freshman quarterback and its skill positions primarily filled with sophomores. Quarterback Tyler Carowick and Co. struggled to find the end zone, but scored 20 of their 42 points in last week's loss to Everett.
Carowick has completed nearly 50 percent of his passes for 256 yards, while Scott Carbaugh paces the Rockets with 193 yards on 36 rushes.
Chad Waite, who has 116 rushing yards, is the team's leading receiver with 10 catches for 100 yards.
"They're getting better every week," Keith said of Southern Huntingdon. "I'm sure they'd like nothing more than to play spoiler and get a win on their home turf for Senior Night.
"We have to read our keys, defensively, and try to get as much penetration from the linemen as we can."
The Knights have won the last four meetings in the series, dating back to the Rockets' 7-6 win in the opening contest of 2007.
Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.
Juniata Valley (7-1) at West Branch (4-4)
ALLPORT - The West Branch football team is looking to play the spoiler role on Friday evening at L.T. Drivas Memorial Field to a team it hasn't defeated since the 2002 season.
Juniata Valley will be trying to improve its playoff standing, where it sits in fourth place in District 6 Class A. A Hornet loss would greatly hurt their chances of hosting a playoff game.
The Hornets have scored at least 28 points in every game this season. Although they have the ability to score points in bunches against any opponent, they also have had problems on the defensive side, giving up at least 30 points four times in their 2012 campaign.
"They're a good team," said Warrior head coach Lester Smeal. "They're always well-coached and their head coach (Mike Smith) has been there for a while. They score a lot of points, but they also give up a lot of points on defense."
Juniata Valley all-purpose player Brett Grissinger has been a thorn in the side of every opponent the Hornets have faced this season. Grissinger is averaging 122.4 yards per game and is 21 yards shy of the 1,000-yard milestone.
Jesse Claar has also been a valuable asset in the backfield, rushing for just one yard less than Grissinger.
"They have always had two decent backs on their team," said Smeal. "We have to contain the edges. We got to see the same formation against Mount Union last week, so we're familiar it, but Juniata Valley runs it a little better."
After starting quarterback Jonathan Sanker was injured two weeks ago in a loss to Northern Bedford, backup quarterback Walker Williams led the Warriors to a 45-21 victory over Mount Union last week. Smeal said Williams will start again for the Warriors this week, but Sanker will play in the game.
"I was telling the guys this week that we can still finish the season with a record above .500," said Smeal. "They have more to lose than we do. If we play the way we are capable of playing football, we can play with anybody and I think the kids are starting to see that, too."
West Branch is asking fans to bring a canned good for the local food bank to the game on Friday evening. Items can be dropped off with the junior high players at the gate.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7.
Purchase Line (1-7) at Saltsburg (1-7)
SALTSBURG - While Purchase Line's first win of the season two weeks ago over United was very rewarding, the Dragons took their lumps from Penns Manor last week against one of the best players the area has to offer in Danny Ferens.
This week the Dragons hit the road for the last time this season, traveling to Saltsburg, which also beat United, 28-0 for their lone win so far this season.
Trojan running Brody Bieda rushed for 168 yards on 28 totes, while quarterback Tyler Frassenei rushed for two touchdowns and also threw one
"He is a good, solid running back," said Dragon head coach Brandon Overdorff of Bieda. "They will show you multiple formations on offense. They hustle and play hard. They're a good solid team."
"The quarterback can throw and run. He is young, but he's getting better each week. He can run and he can throw. We've had trouble stopping dual-threat quarterbacks this season."
While the Dragons haven't defeated Saltsburg since the 2008 season, last year's contest was an exciting game, but Purchase Line fell just short, 22-20, in the opening game.
Dragon running back Josh Huey scored three touchdowns in the game and rushed for 225 yards on 22 carries.
"At this point of the season, our kids know their assignments and what is expected effort-wise," Overdorff said. "It's up to them to execute and play hard.
"The game will come down to who wants to win more, our kids or theirs."
The game is set for 7.
Curwensville (6-2) at Sheffield (2-6) - Saturday
SHEFFIELD - After last week's disappointing, 13-12, home loss to Elk County Catholic, the Curwensville football team hopes to rebound against Sheffield.
"We have to," Curwensville head coach Andy Evanko said. "This team has been resilient, and we need to bounce back again. We need to show up and play a much better game than we did last week."
And the Golden Tide will need to do it on Saturday afternoon, something Evanko says his squads have struggled with in the past.
"Anytime we are out of our normal routine doing something we're not accustomed to, it's an issue," Evanko said. "And Sheffield is a good football team. They have good athletes and a good line and they're well-coached."
The Wolverines are led by quarterback Shequan Wright, who impressed Evanko in last season's meeting, a 37-0 Tide win.
"Wright was a problem for us last year," Evanko said. "He's a very talented athlete, and they use him very effectively."
Wright ran for 65 yards and kicked a field goal in last week's 21-3 loss to Smethport. He's thrown for over 800 yards and has six touchdown passes this season.
Evanko says the Tide defense can't just key on Wright and will have to contend with multiple looks from the Wolverines on offense.
"(Brendan) Winslow is also very involved in their offense," Evanko said. "And the offense is diverse. They'll line up in aces. They'll run a wing-T. They'll show twins, and they run a true pistol formation. They have a number of formations."
When Sheffield is on defense, Evanko expects it to be in attack mode.
"They're going to send everyone up the field," he said. "They will probably have eight guys in the box and send five or six of them into the gaps.
"But that shouldn't be a problem for us if we decided to show up and block the way we're supposed to. We can't take another game off. We have to show up and take care of our business."
Curwensville leads the all-time series, 8-0.
Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m.