By Chris Rossetti, www.d9sports.com
Special to MaxPreps.com
PITTSBURGH – North Allegheny’s stay in the MaxPreps.com Pennsylvania Top 25 was short lived.
The Tigers, who moved into the Top 25 at No. 24 last week, weren’t able to justify the high ranking falling to two-win Pine-Richland 24-20 Thursday night.
The Rams (3-4) won the game on a 1-yard touchdown leap by Mitch Elliot with 17 seconds to play.
“All we needed was a touchdown,” Elliot told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “And that’s all I wanted when I jumped. I wanted the six.”
The game was a see-saw affair between the two neighboring schools that were playing for the first time ever. The lead changed hands seven times, including four times in the second half.
North Allegheny (4-3) appeared on its way to victory up 20-17 with just over two minutes to play, but Ian Hennessy forced a Tiger fumble that gave the ball to the Rams at the NA 33-yard line.
Hennessy also caught a 51-yard touchdown pass from Eric Kordenbrock in the third quarter that gave Pine-Richland a 17-13 lead. But Alex Papson, who ran 24 times for 117 yards, gave North Allegheny the lead back for the final time on a 4-yard run later in the quarter.
Kordenbrock was 10 of 21 passing for 156 yards and two touchdowns for Pine-Richland, while Elliott ran 87 yards and the score. Mike Locke went 12 of 18 passing for 154 yards for North Allegheny.
Districts 9/10: Flemings Lifts Erie Strong Vincent to Conference Title
Deonte Flemings scored two touchdowns and threw for a third to lead Erie Strong Vincent, ranked No. 1 in Class AAA by the PA Football News and No. 16 in the state by MaxPreps.com, to a 62-0 win over visiting Bradford Friday night. The win clinched the District 10 Region 6 title for the Colonels (7-0).
“It feels great,” senior Josh Edwards told the Erie Times-News. “It’s our first region championship."
Strong Vincent outgained Bradford (5-2), a District 9 school, 453-74.
WPIAL/D10: Williams’ Run Seals Gateway Win Over Erie McDowell
With nationally-ranked Gateway feeling the heat from unranked Erie McDowell, Brian Williams, who ran for over 300 yards last week, broke free for a 77-yard touchdown run that sealed a 30-18 win for the Gators (7-0), the No. 2 ranked team in Pennsylvania by MaxPreps.com.
Gateway seemed very much in control of the game when Josh Vermeulen returned a kickoff 72 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter to put the Gators ahead 21-11. A Ryan Lichtenstein field goal then made it 24-11.
But Erie McDowell wouldn’t go down without a fight, as A.J. Fenton hit Nate Bailey with a 36-yard scoring pass to cut the lead to 24-18 with just over three minutes left.
The Trojans then forced Gateway into a third-and-4 situation and seemed ready to maybe pull the upset when Williams broke free for the game-sealing touchdown.
The scoring run helped Williams finish with a game-high 190 yards. Fenton, Erie McDowell’s Wisconsin-bound quarterback, had 303 total yards of offense including 158 rushing and 145 passing. He surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing mark on the season and now has 1,020 career rushing yards.
District 9: Bladel Reaches 3,000 Career Rushing Yards
Needing 48 yards for 3,000 career rushing yards entering Redbank Valley’s game with visiting Punxsutawney Friday night, Bulldog senior running back Alex Bladel wasted little time reaching the milestone, needing just 58 seconds to break a 14-yard touchdown run.
The score was one of two on the night for Bladel, who finished with 165 yards in Redbank’s 20-0 win. Bladel now has 3,117 career yards.
“I can’t say enough about him,” Redbank Valley head coach Brandon Rapp said. “He’s a great kid and has earned it. He’s exactly what you want in a football player. He works hard for everything he has gotten and is just outstanding. His teammates wanted him to get it more than he wanted it.”
WPIAL: Bethel Park, Beaver Falls Roll to Wins
Bethel Park, the No. 8 team in MaxPreps.com Pennsylvania rankings, and Beaver Falls, the No. 10 team, both rolled to wins Friday.
Bethel Park (7-0), behind 113 yards rushing and one touchdown from Lyle Marsh and two Patrick Lynden field goals rolled past Peters Township 39-6.
Meanwhile, Beaver Falls (7-0) jumped out to a 21-0 lead at the end of the first quarter and cruised to a 45-24 victory over Mohawk.
Tony Omogrosso and Todd Thomas had huge games for Beaver Falls. Omogrosso was 8 of 16 passing for 259 yards and two touchdowns with Thomas catching four of those passes for 210 yards and both scores. Thomas also ran for a touchdown.
WPIAL: Top Performances
Some other top performances from the WPIAL Friday included four runners each going over 200 yards and four quarterbacks in addition to Omogrosso going over 200 yards passing.
On the rushing side of things, Ringgold’s Simon Bekavac ran for 284 yards and two touchdowns in the Rams 33-13 win over Belle Vernon, East Allegheny’s Monte Ashby had 225 yards rushing and five scores in the Tigers 41-0 win over Waynesburg, Keystone Oaks’ Dion Wiegand gained 205 yards in a 14-7 win over Quaker Valley and Laurel Highlands’ Tom Bradley added 203 yards and two touchdowns in a 43-14 pasting of Albert Gallatin.
Meanwhile, Blackhawk’s Zach Hayward was 25 of 36 passing for 308 yards and four touchdowns, including the game-winner in the fourth quarter to lead the Cougars to a 32-28 upset win over Montour.
Hayward was joined in the 200-yard passing club by Ambridge’s Zach Nichi (261 yards), Fox Chapel’s Julian Salerno (229) and Sto-Rox’s Paul Jones (208).
District 9: Brockway’s Kuhar RRR Roadhouse D9 Player of the Week
In District 9, Brockway’s Ben Kuhar earned the RRR Roadhouse D9Sports.com District 9 Player of the Week award amassing 330 yards of total offense and three touchdowns in a 34-28 upset of Johnsonburg. Kuhar ran 32 times for 142 yards and two touchdowns and caught five passes for 188 yards and a score.
Kuhar wasn’t the only Rover to have a monster game. Sophomore quarterback Derek Buganza continued his breakout season going 17 of 27 for 361 yards and three scores in the win.
Additional top District 9 performances came from Clarion-Limestone’s Zac Roller (252 yards rushing, 2 touchdowns), Karns City’s Josh Callender (185 yards rushing, 2 touchdowns, 24 yards receiving), Moniteau Tyler Armagost (259 yards passing, 3 TDs, 75 yards rushing), Tony Campbell (194 yards receiving, 3 TDs) and James Shope (124 yards rushing, 3 TDs, 12 yards receiving, an interception on defense), St. Marys’ Kevin Hoy (93 yards rushing, 4 TDs), Curwensville’s David Kalgren (124 yards passing, 3 TDs; 25 yards rushing, an interception on defense) and Clearfield’s Jarrin Campman (136 yards rushing, 2 TDs; 5 of 5 passing, 114 yards, 2 TDs).
Chris Rossetti covers western Pennsylvania for MaxPreps. He may be reached at email@example.com