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High School Spotlight

November 14, 2010

BANGOR – Jared Pierce threw for 158 yards and two touchdowns as visiting Berwick came from behind to defeat Bangor Area 28-21 in a Class AAA Eastern Conference showdown Friday night.


After both teams traded punts it took Berwick one play to get on the scoreboard. Quarterback Jared Pierce hit Sean Ridall for a 64-yard bomb. The two-point conversion failed and the Dawgs led 6-0 with 7:19 left in the first quarter.


The Slaters answered right back with a 7-play 68-yard drive. Quarterback Drew Nicholas rolled out of the pocket and threw off balance to Ryan Hester who got behind the defense for the 27-yard touchdown catch. Ryan Fraunfelter’s extra point put Bangor up 7-6.


The Dawgs went on the move again late in the first quarter. They put together a 16-play drive that started at their own 14-yard line. Caleb Getterolf scored on a one-yard touchdown run and Pierce called his own play and went in for the two-point conversion to give the Dawgs a 14-7 lead with 5:48 remaining in the first half.


The Slaters went on to run five straight running plays led by Scott LaValva as he broke tackle after tackle and had two big runs to setup his eight-yard touchdown run. The extra point went wide left and the Dawgs led by a slim margin 14-13.


The first big turnover of the night went in favor of Bangor. Pierce’s pass was called a lateral and Bangor recovered the ball deep in Berwick’s territory. The Dawgs defense came up big and forced a field goal attempt by Bangor. The kick was no good by Fraunfelter. The Dawgs took over on downs with 1:08 remaining in the first half.


Jeremy Freeman’s punishing running on Berwick’s opening drive in the second half led to the only score of the third quarter. Pierce threw a strike to Ridall on the slant pass that went 35-yards for the score. The two-point conversion failed when Bangor’s Josh Pensyl sacked Pierce. Berwick led 20-13.


After the Dawgs defense stopped Bangor and forced a punt, Pensyl recovered the fumble on the punt return by Berwick. A personal foul by Berwick gave Bangor a first down and goal on their eight-yard line.


With 1:59 remaining in the third quarter Bangor was facing a third down and 13. Nicholas tossed a pass to LaValva who took it in for the score. But a holding penalty wiped out the touchdown and pushed Bangor back to the 27. The Dawgs defense dodged another bullet as LaValva pass fell incomplete. They took over on downs.


Things started to get interesting in the fourth quarter. Bangor’s defense stopped the fake punt by Berwick with 6:38 remaining in the game. Bangor would take over on the 43.


It looked like Bangor’s drive ws going to end on an interception by Ridall. But a pass interference call gave Bangor a 1st down and 10 on Berwick’s 13. After three straight run plays LaValva scored on the one-yard run with 4:01 left in the game.  Trailing 20-19 Russ Horn followed his offensive line right into the end zone for the two-point conversion. Bangor led 21-20.


LaValva finished the game rushing for 156 yards and two scores.


Head coach Frank Scagliotta talked about Scott LaValva’s career, “Well there surely aren’t words to describe what he has meant to our program the last four years. The kid has done everything to make our program successful.”


The Dawgs got the ball back and a penalty by Bangor gave them good field position late in the game. Pierce’s short passing game set up the game-winning touchdown. Freeman broke free right up the middle and went 31-yard for the score with 2:59 remaining in the game. Freeman snuck in for the two-point conversion and the Dawgs jumped right back into the lead 28-21.


Berwick head coach Gary Campbell talked about the game winning drive saying, “Resiliency has been our motto all year long. That was a heart breaker when they scored the touchdown late. We could have packed it in but we came right down and made the plays.”


Bangor’s season came to an end on a fourth down incompletion. Berwick ran out the clock and moved on to the Class AAA Eastern Conference finals. They will face Valley View who won 28-7 over Coughlin.

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Plymouth Meeting, Pa., Two weeks after combining to score 82 points in their first meeting, everyone wondered what kind of fireworks would happen the second time the Archbishop Wood Vikings and Cardinal O’Hara Lions met. This time the defenses played more a part in Wood’s 24-7 victory last night at Plymouth Whitemarsh High and the D12, PCL, AAA championship as their reward.


The first time these teams met the Vikings huge offensive line and the running of cousins Desmon and Brandon Peoples vs. O’Hara’s three man front provided the difference throughout. Last night O’Hara coach, Dan Algeo put more men in the box more often and it proved effective to some degree. But when you have a running back (Peoples) who could burst a big gainer at any time, there’s always a roll of the dice that you take.


Immediately the Lions keyed on the cousins and it was effective the first six times they touched the ball. After the Vikings first series and a punt, O’Hara was pinned on their own 11 yard line. After a three and out series and being forced to punt, the Vikings got good field position on the Lion 33.  Six plays later on a burst through the middle Desmon scored on a 23 yard run and a 7-0 lead.


It appeared that the Lions were going to be effective throwing the ball on their next series. Starting on their own 26 yard line, O’Hara then generated a 14 play, six minute drive with three completions from QB Ryan Laughlin for 45 yards. The drive stalled on the Wood 16 and Steve Weyler’s 32 yard FG attempt went wide right.


Wood went right to work on O’Hara’s missed opportunity with their own six play drive. The last two, Desmon’s 16 and 47 yard run. The latter was a beauty and a touchdown and a Wood 14-0 lead at the half.


O’Hara had immediately attempted to take momentum in the second half but two costly fumbles (the last on a muffed punt return and recovered by Wood’s Andrew Guckin) gave Wood the ball on the O’Hara 17. The Lions, with their backs to the wall and to the credit of their defense tightened up and forced the Vikings to add on to their lead with a Nick Visco 35 yard field goal and a 17-0 lead.


The momentum temporarily went the Lions way when on their very next offensive play; Laughlin hit Drew Formica with a 71 yard touchdown and clawing to within 10 at 17-7. However any chance O’Hara had of a comeback were immediately thwarted by Wood’s defense.  A host of Vikings sacked Laughlin for a 12 yard loss on their next series and swinging the momentum back Wood’s way.


The clincher for the Vikings was their next drive, which took up six minutes and ending with Peoples third touchdown of the night from the two yard line.


Just prior to game’s end Wood coach Steve Devlin got the water cooler treatment and immediately realized that the championship was theirs.


Wood is a team to watch as they move on. Besides Peoples, their defense and offensive line looked nothing short of sensational. There are not many weaknesses on this team. Quarterback Joey Monahan is very effective running the offense and their passing game will work when they need it. The OLine with guys like Frank Taylor, Brandon Archidiacono, Rory Clark, Chris Knott and Colin Thompson are all imposing. The defense had Laughlin on his heals all night, sacking him four times (two by Thompson).


In addition to his three TD’s, Peoples ran for 180 well earned yards and can score from anywhere on the field.


O’Hara finished the season losing only two (both to Wood) and would give any team in the state a difficult game. They played their hearts out and deserve credit for a great season including five shutouts. Wood now goes on to play the Public league champion Murrell Dobbins Tech for the D12, AAA championship at a venue to be determined.

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PEN ARGYL – North Schuylkill’s one two punch of Kody Flail and Ed Pavalko led their running attack in a 35-23 win over Pen Argyl Saturday afternoon.


The Green Knights went to the air and struck first on the scoreboard. Quarterback Nathan Hood found Joey Wagner for the 57-yard touchdown pass. The kicked failed and Pen Argyl led 6-0.


The Spartans would answer Pen Argyl’s drive by going to their strength, Ed Pavalko. He took over by running the ball five of the seven times during the drive. Kody Flail finished the drive with a four-yard touchdown run. Charlie Hutnick ‘s extra point put North Schuylkill up 7-6.


Pavalko talked about his offensive line, “Offensive line is everything and that is where it starts. If they get a good push off the ball all we need is a little gap and we have backs good enough to make a play.”


Pen Argyl would drive deep into Spartan territory. The Spartan defense held the Green Knights to a field goal attempt. Wagner’s 24-yard field goal puts Pen Argyl back up 9-7 with 11:45 remaining in the first half.


The Spartans would drive right down the field behind the running of Flail and Pavalko. Flail’s seven-yard score put the Spartans up 14-9.


Both defenses came up with turnovers mid-way through the second quarter. After a punt by Pen Argyl, the Spartans went on the move with 2:13 remaining in the first half.


Big runs by Flail took the Spartans down to Pen Argyl’s 23. Ryan Henning scrabbled out of the pocket then threw the ball up to the end zone as a Pen Argyl defender was hitting him. Ethan Motsney fought off Conor Gum to catch the 23-yard touchdown pass with 44.9 seconds left in the first half.


On the next drive by Pen Argyl, Ethan Motsney would intercept Hood’s pass. The Spartans scored on the turnover by driving 52 yards. Scott Houser’s five-yard touchdown run capped off the Spartan drive. They led 27-9.


It looked like the Spartans defense came up with the stop but a personal foul gave new life to Pen Argyl. The Green Knights capitalized on the drive. Dylan Evans broke several tackles and went in for the 40-yard score. Hood threw a dart to Evans for the two-point conversion and Pen Argyl cut the lead to 27-17.


Both teams scored one more time in the third quarter. Mike Shinkus scored on a 19-yard run. Hood hit Wagner for the 22-yard strike to end a wild third quarter.


Hood finished the game passing for over 300 yards and two scores.


North Schuylkill led 35-23 going into the fourth quarter. The Spartans defense tightened up and shut down Pen Argyl ‘s passing game. The scoreless fourth quarter would end on a knee by Henning.


North Schuylkill’s Head coach Rick Geist talked about the adjustments in the second half, “Putting a extra defensive back in. It’s what we call cover 12 putting two safety over the top and man to man underneath.”


Despite sitting out for some of the game with an injury the work horse Ed Pavalko finish the game rushing for 160 yards.


Geist talked about Pavalko, “Ed is the heart and soul of the team.”


With the win they move on next week to face either Northern Lehigh or Jim Thorpe for the District 11 AA title.


Side note: North Schuylkill came into the game with 7 shutouts in 9 games. They gave up only 22 points in the nine games. In one game Pen Argyl scored 23.

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BRIDGEVILLE, Pa. – For all of the game planning, film study, practice and work that goes into a week of playoff football, North Hills’ veteran head football coach Jack McCurry was caught slightly off-guard. But not by the opposing game plan.

“I’ve got six shirts on, and long johns, and I’m still freezing for God sakes,” McCurry said as he stepped outside of the home locker rooms at Chartiers Valley High School.


But the play of North Hills’ defense, and senior Mark DeVita (#2) had to warm the 271-game winner at least a little bit.


DeVita caught five passes for 132 yards and kicked a 24-yard field goal while North Hills (10-1) denied Upper St. Clair (8-3) a tying two-point conversion run with 3:48 left in regulation for a thrilling 16-14 victory in the WPIAL AAAA quarterfinals.


With the victory, North Hills will play Woodland Hills, a 29-22 victor over Mt. Lebanon, next weekend in a WPIAL AAAA semifinal. The winner of that game would then face either Pittsburgh Central Catholic or North Allegheny for the WPIAL championship.


Never one to offer many thoughts after a loss, Upper St. Clair head coach Jim Render issued a one sentence reaction to his team’s performance.


“We played well in the second half,” Render said as he walked toward the visiting locker room.


The second half was much more kind to USC, as junior dual-threat quarterback Dakota Conwell was making run after run after run after pass after run for the red and black.


After USC forced a North Hills’ interception with 6:36 left in the third quarter, Conwell registered runs of 11, 6 and 10 yards (each of which gained first downs) to move the Panthers to the NH 21. Faced with a 3rd-and-5 situation, Conwell eluded pressure, rolled right, then back to his left, and fired a prayer into the end zone for Chris Colditz, who snagged the pass to get USC on the board. A successful two-point pass cut North Hills’ lead to just 16-8.


But USC was lucky to still have a chance in the ball game, as North Hills jumped to a 7-0 lead on a miracle play of its own. The Indians had set up 1st and goal at the USC 9, only to see a center snap sail well over the head of quarterback Taylor Schmidt for a 22-yard loss. Faced with a 4th-and-goal from the 27 yard line, fellow senior Steve Dutkowski hit DeVita for a touchdown to give the red and white a 7-0 lead.


DeVita was able to capitalize on the play because USC’s starting safety, Connor Scott, was injured on the opening play of the game and did not return.


“That’s what we were thinking (to attack the area vacated by Scott),” DeVita said. “Fourth-and-27 is a tough situation. Too close to punt and too far to kick a field goal.”


NH pushed the lead to 13-0 with a Schmidt (17 rush, 83 yards) 10-yard scoring run with 6:10 left in the first half, and DeVita’s field goal as time expired in the first half pushed the advantage to 16-0. And North Hills’ defense, a traditional staple of the red and white’s program, had held USC to just 86 yards of offense on 22 plays, 41 of which came on a Conwell run for USC’s first first down of the game.


“We were kind of lackadaisical,” Conwell admitted. “But our line got hungry in the second half.”


USC’s line helped pave the way for a 139-yard rushing effort in the second half. And Conwell, who was just 2-of-8 passing in the first half, connected on six more passes in the second 24 minutes, including a 7-yard scoring pass to Colditz with 3:48 left in regulation to set up the deciding two-point play.


On the play, Conwell said the play (a quarterback keep out of the single-wing) was designed to go outside, but North Hills’ defense was ready.


“We turned him back in,” McCurry said.


And, as a result, Conwell was stuffed a yard and a half shy of tying the game.


All told, Conwell ran for 155 yards on 27 carries and completed 8-of-21 passes for 90 yards. He finished with more than 1,080 rushing yards and 920 passing yards for his junior season.


Dutkowski completed 10-of-15 passes for 188 yards for North Hills. Backs Josh Neurohr (5 rush, 19 yards) and Mike Seiber (9 rush, 36 yards) helped key an NH ground attack that finished with 115 yards on 32 carries.


Fullback Zach Deitrick added 37 yards on 10 carries for USC.

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EDINBORO, Pa. – Toward the beginning of the 2010 football season, Wilmington’s multi-sport star Sutton Whiting signed a letter of intent to play baseball at the University of Louisville.
During Satruday’s District 10 AA quarterfinal game against North East, Whiting, to use a baseball analogy, had a two-home-run game.
Whiting contributed to both Wilmington touchdowns – a 78-yard run and a 50-yard pass – and the Greyhounds’ (7-4) defense shut out the Grape Pickers’ (8-3) potent Wing-T offense 14-0 Saturday afternoon at General McLane High School’s Linden Field.
With the victory, the Greyhounds will face Sharon Area (9-2), a winner over Girard, next weekend in a District 10 AA semifinal at a site and time to be determined.
“We did a great job defensively,” said Wilmington head coach Terry Verelli. “If you can’t stop the power running stuff, you’ve got problems.”
In short, Wilmington put the Grape Pickers’ offense through the “proverbial” wine press. North East did move the ball on certain occasions against the Hounds’ Hammer defense, but it couldn’t crack the goal line.
Twice did the Grape Pickers’ move to or inside the Wilmington 20 yard line, and twice were the maroon and gold denied, turning the ball over on downs. The first such stand came with 1:11 left in the first quarter after NE had driven from its 44-yard line to the Hounds’ 20. The second came on NE’s initial second half possession (8:30 in the third period), driving from its own 30 to the WA 14.
“I don’t know that we did anything special,” Verelli said. “It was just having everybody (on defense) stay in their spot (and make plays).”
Wilmington also thwarted another North East drive with a Zack Llewellyn interception at the 18-yard line with :02 left in the third quarter. North East had gained possession at the Wilmington 41 following a Whiting fumble with 2:14 left in the third quarter.
But Whiting’s fumble was about the only miscue both he and the Hounds’ made this day.
Whiting got Wilmington on the scoreboard with :59 left in the first quarter following North East’s first turnover on downs. He took a power pitch designed to go right, but cut back left and had nothing but green space. He raced 78 yards, practically untouched.
Whiting’s final dagger came with 7:15 left in the fourth quarter. On a designed play, Whiting took a toss right, pulled up and hit junior Ryan Crawford for a 50-yard pass to push the advantage for the blue and gold to 14-0.
“It was a jet pass,” Whiting explained. “We’d run it once earlier in the season. I guess it worked.”
Whiting finished with 109 yards rushing on 13 carries and added 50 passing yards on his only attempt of the game. Quarterback Josh Tekac added a 2-of-3 passing effort for 16 yards and ran for 11 yards on eight attempts. Gunnar Donati added 23 yards on nine carries and Jake DeVido added five totes for 13 yards. Wilmington finished with 222 yards of offense (156 rushing) and six first downs.
North East was paced by Alex Svetz’ 22 rushes for 63 yards, giving him more than 1,000 yards rushing on the season. Tyler Johnson, a 1,070-yard rusher entering the game, was limited to 49 yards on 12 carries, and quarterback Curtis Bailey added 37 rushing yards and completed 4-of-15 passes for 45 yards.
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CLARION, Pa. – In the present day and age of major collegiate football, the famous phrase “style points” is often used in describing victories.


Thank goodness “style points” aren’t needed come playoff time. Whether it be pretty or not, a win is a win. And there was nothing stylish about District 9 AA’s semifinal game.


Brookville (9-2) amassed 314 rushing yards and the Raiders’ defense held Moniteau (5-6) to just a single second half first down in a 14-7 victory Saturday night at Clarion University’s Memorial Stadium. The win catapults Brookville to the District 9 AA championship game, where the Raiders will face Brockway (10-0), who is averaging 49.9 points per game this season, Friday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. from Clarion University.


Raiders’ head coach Chris Dworek’s eyes lit up when he saw his team had amassed the 314 yards on 58 carries. And Dworek admitted the heavy dose of Ryan Kerr, Steve Kennedy and Conan Gilhousen on the ground was to hamstring Moniteau’s dynamic playmaker at quarterback, junior Kyle Armagost.


“Their QB is tough,” Dworek said of Armagost. “When he doesn’t have the ball in his hands, he can’t beat you.”


Truthfully, Armagost didn’t really beat Brookville’s defense that much, save for a 31-yard touchdown pass to Ethan Pry that capped a 96-yard scoring drive in the second quarter. Armagost, who entered the game with 1,268 passing yards and 1,156 rush yards, finished just 6-of-22 for 91 yards and ran 16 times for 23 yards.


For the game, Moniteau finished with just 59 yards rushing, five total first downs and 150 yards of offense. Brookville’s defense sacked Armagost four times in the second half and also forced an interception and three turnovers on downs.


“I’m proud (of the defense) almost every week,” Dworek said. “We had a great week of practice and their confidence was very high.”


But while the Raider defense was pinning back its ears and blitzing like the concept was going out of style, the Brookville offense did sputter at critical times. The Raiders had opportunities to add at least 20 points to their game total, but couldn’t cash in their chips.


Brookville’s initial possession ended with a turnover on downs at the Moniteau 5 yard line after Kennedy had the Raiders in prime position following a 51-yard run to the Moniteau 10. Gilhousen lost a fumble (recovered by Moniteau at its own 4 yard line) as the Raiders, up 7-0 at the time, were driving to a potential second touchdown with 3:22 left in the half. That turnover set the stage for Moniteau’s six play, 96-yard scoring drive.


Brookville also failed on two attempted field goals – one missed to the right and the other due to a bad center snap. The Raiders also committed six penalties for 50 yards and committed three turnovers (two fumbles and an interception).


“The penalties – that’s a mental thing – we’ve got to bounce back better after those,” Dworek said.


But there were plenty of positives for Brookville, too, like feature tailback Ryan Kerr, who finished the game with 197 yards rushing on 34 carries and scored both Brookville touchdowns.


Kerr got the Raiders on the board with a 2-yard dive up the middle with 30 seconds left in the first quarter. His 27-yard scoring run with 10:48 left in the game allowed Brookville to break a 7-7 stalemate.


“In the first Moniteau game, we realized he (Kerr) could be the workhorse in our offense,” Dworek said of #5. “He had a little spring in his step pregame.” (Kerr has run for more than 1,400 yards on the season).


Kennedy added 63 yards on 14 carries and also threw for 83 yards. Gilhousen added 29 yards on eight totes for Brookville.


Beyond Armagost, Moniteau was paced by freshman running back Dustin Geegan (9 rush, 36 yards) and receiver Ethan Pry, who had receptions of 41 and 31 yards in the first half and finished with five catches for 84 yards and a touchdown.

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