News and notes from around Pennsylvania high school football
Defending PIAA Class A champion Bishop Guilfoyle will endeavor to complete its second consecutive undefeated regular season this Friday night when the Marauders host 8-1 Somerset. Guilfoyle beat Class AAA Johnstown last week, as Evan Chadbourn scored on three short runs and Sam Keating hauled in two long touchdown passes from Josh Trybus.
Guilfoyle also registered its seventh straight game without allowing a touchdown.
Guilfoyle needs to win this week, though, because the Marauders are just one of three District 6 Class A teams with perfect records entering Week 10, and Moshannon Valley and Penns Manor both seem likely to win their games easily.
• The PIAA District 1 football playoff brackets will be determined next weekend. And Week 10 has a number of games with huge seeding and qualification implications.
In Class AAAA, there is a pair of league-title matchups between unbeaten squads. Downingtown East (9-0, 5-0 league) takes on crosstown rival Downingtown West (9-0, 5-0) for the Ches-Mont League National Division crown, and Perkiomen Valley (9-0, 8-0) battles Spring-Ford (9-0, 8-0) for top Pioneer Athletic Conference honors.
In a key Suburban One League Continental Conference meeting, neighbors Council Rock South (6-3) and Council Rock North (6-3) square off at Walt Snyder Stadium. According to district-playoff projection specialist Kyle Berger's Week 10 predictions, C.R. North would still earn a berth in the 16-team field if it loses. He has C.R. South in must-win territory.
Staying in the SOL, it looks like Neshaminy (6-3) has to knock off National Conference rival Pennsbury (7-2) to avoid missing the playoffs for the second straight year.
After losing to C.R. North on Friday night, Quakertown (8-1) needs to beat Continental Conference foe Central Bucks East (7-2) to ensure a top-eight seeding and a first-round home playoff game.
Central League co-leader Upper Darby (8-1) hopes to gain one of the top eight seeds by turning back visiting Garnet Valley (7-2). In Berger's Week 10 forecast, the Jaguars would still gain a berth if they fall to the Royals.
In addition to Neshaminy and C.R. South, Plymouth Whitemarsh (7-2), West Chester Rustin (7-2), Coatesville (6-3) — last season's District 1 runner-up — and Pennridge (6-3) are on the bubble for making the playoffs.
In Class AAA, Academy Park (9-0) is expected to gain a No. 1 seed and outright Del-Val League title by defeating Interboro (8-1) Friday night in Sharon Hill.
• Valley West and Lake-Lehman are looking to cap perfect regular seasons. For Valley West, it will be the first time since 1997 that the team finished the regular season undefeated.
As for the Black Knights, a victory over Dallas would give them the first undefeated regular season in school history.
• Since 2004, the WVC has seen eight teams produce two 1,000-yard rushers in the same backfield in the same year. The latest duo to join the list is Lake-Lehman's Nick Eury and Joey Vigil, who reached 1,000 yards in Week 9.
• Nine defensive touchdowns were scored in Week 9 in the WVC. Dallas and GAR combined for six of the eight scored on Friday night, and Meyers returned an interception for a score on Saturday to make it nine.
• Beginning this season, the annual UNICO Game All-Star Game, which features the top seniors in the WVC, will present the George Curry Award to the game's MVP. Curry is the state's winningest coach with 453 and he guided Berwick to six state championships.
• Lower Dauphin head coach Rob Klock joined the 100-win club in Week 9 as his Falcons took out Northern York, 38-7. Klock, who took over the program in 2002, won 23 games in his first two campaigns but endured four straight losing seasons from 2008-12. Lower Dauphin has gone 38-9 since, which included a District 3-AAAA championship run in 2013.
• Wilson, Solanco and Northern Lebanon have clinched no worse than ties for Lancaster-Lebanon League section championships. Wilson, which won its 56th league game in a row with a victory over Penn Manor in Week 9, can clinch its eighth outright Section 1 title in a row with a win over Warwick in Week 10. Solanco is the lone undefeated team in the L-L League and will at least share its first Section 2 title since 2007. Solanco needs a win over Manheim Central in Week 10 to clinch outright. And Northern Lebanon, which had to forfeit a pair on non-league wins for using an ineligible player earlier this season, can clinch its second outright Section 3 championship in a row on Friday with a win against Columbia.
• Elizabethtown snapped its 21-game losing streak in Week 9 with a riveting 16-10 Section 2 home win over Lancaster Catholic. Micah Garber hit Cole Epler with the game-winning 40-yard TD pass with time running out for the Bears, who handed first-year coach Bill McDonald — Lancaster Catholic's former offensive coordinator — his first victory as a head coach.
• East Pennsboro and Northern will do battle on Friday to decide who the Mid-Penn Colonial champion will be.
East Pennsboro (7-2, 5-0) is the defending champ, in just its second year in the division. A preseason favorite to contend, the Panthers have outscored opponents by 18 points per game and have just two losses, to Palmyra and 3-AAA power Bishop McDevitt. They have a pair of backs, Onasis Neely and Kyron Dennis, with more than 600 yards and Kyle Purnell has 18 TD passes to just five picks.
Northern (7-2, 5-0) was a sleeper to compete in the division after a down 2014 and only have losses against Middletown and Lower Dauphin. At 14.9 points per game, the Polar Bears have the stingiest defense in the division, riding that to a surprising perfect record in Colonial play. Both teams are firmly entrenched in the District 3-AAA playoff picture.
• It's shades of 2014 for Carlisle. The Thundering Herd (4-5, 2-4 Mid-Penn Commonwealth) are No. 17 in the 3-AAAA power rankings, one spot out of the playoffs. It's the same as last season, and the Herd must again beat Harrisburg (5-4) to get in. It would be the first time in more than a decade that the Herd have made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons.
• Camp Hill locked up sole possession of the Mid-Penn Capital with a big win over Trinity last week. The Lions (9-0, 6-0) are the defending 3-A champions and look poised to make it farther than last season's PIAA first round. Camp Hill need only beat Middletown (6-3, 4-2) to remain unbeaten.
• Hughesville upset defending District 4 Class AA champion Montoursville, 28-21, last Friday, beating the Warriors for the first time since 2010. The Spartans (7-2) have won six of their last seven games and scored 21 straight second-half points against a team that had outscored it 142-10 in four straight wins. Quarterback Landon Henry threw for 214 yards and three touchdowns to three different receivers. The first-time starting quarterback has thrown for 1,619 yards and 20 touchdowns with just two interceptions. He is only the second quarterback in Hughesville history to reach 20 touchdowns.
• Montoursville quarterback Brycen Mussina became the program's all-time leading passer in the Hughesville loss. Mussina, whose father is former Major League pitcher Mike Mussina, passed his uncle Mark on the passing list and now has 3,306 career yards with 34 touchdown passes. Mussina, a junior, also went over 1,000 yards for the season and has not thrown an interception in seven straight games.
• Loyalsock running back Marty Clark went over 200 yards for a fourth straight game, running for 215 yards and four touchdowns in a 48-18 win at Bloomsburg as the Lancers (8-1) captured the Heartland Conference Division-III championship. Clark has run for a District 4-high 1,990 yards and 24 touchdowns. The junior has 3,592 yards and 43 touchdowns in two seasons of high school football and has topped 100 yards in 18 of his 22 games, including all nine this season.
• North Penn-Mansfield quarterback Brock Burleigh went over 2,000 yards for the season as the Panthers beat Wyalusing, 22-8 and clinched a Class A playoff berth. Burleigh has thrown for 2,160 yards and 30 touchdowns, both district-highs. Burleigh is just the second quarterback in program history to reach 2,000 yards and 30 touchdowns, joining his older brother Bo who did so last year.
• Defending Class A champion South Williamsport clinched its fourth straight playoff berth and won its 20th straight NTL-Small School game, thumping Sayre, 35-12. The Mounties (6-3) have won three straight and have not lost to a District 4 Class A team not named Southern Columbia since 2011.
• The Class AA playoff picture remains fiercely contested and only three of the eight berths have been clinched entering the final week. Southern, Athens and Loyalsock have clinched. Montoursville and Hughesville are all but in, but Lewisburg, Troy and Danville all have to win to hold onto their spots. If one of those teams slip up and Mount Carmel wins, then the Tornadoes would move into the top 8 and earn a sixth straight district berth.
• Williamsport wide receiver Jerah Reeves, who has received four Division I offers, now holds nearly every single-season and career receiving record in program history. Reeves became the program's all-time leader in yards after a six-catch, 121-yard, two-touchdown performance against Crestwood. He now holds the career records for yards, touchdowns and catches. Reeves also broke his own single-season record for catches and now has a District 4-best 56 which is 15 higher than the second-place receiver.
• Jersey Shore running back Levi Lorson needs only 35 yards Friday to reach 4,000 for his career. Montoursville all-state running back Keith Batkowski needs only 37 to reach that milestone. If both running backs do so they will be only the fourth and fifth Lycoming County running backs to do so. The other three all were or are Division I players, including former NFL running back Gary Brown, NC State's Gary Brown and Lehigh's Dominick Bragalone.
• Berlin Brothersvalley already had clinched the top seed in the District 5 Class A playoffs, but the undefeated Mountaineers didn't show any let-up last Friday when they scored all of their points in the first two quarters of a 63-8 victory at Blacklick Valley. Berlin came up with six turnovers in the game, scoring on four of them, surpassed the 60-point mark for the second time this year and the 40-point mark for the seventh. The Mountaineers will play Portage for the WestPAC championship this week; Berlin beat the Mustangs, 28-6, on Sept. 25.
• The No. 1 seed in the District 6 Class AA playoffs will be determined this week when Central (Martinsburg) visits Ligonier Valley on Friday. The Scarlet Dragons currently are first in the district point standings, while Ligonier is second. Central is coming off a 39-0 win over Huntingdon, another playoff-bound team, last week, in which A.J. Hoenstine scored on three long pass plays, an 8-yard run and a fumble return. Junior Collin Smith, meanwhile, set a Ligonier record with 311 yards passing in the Rams' 42-12 win at Homer-Center.
• Juniata Valley currently is tied for the eighth and final spot for the Class A playoffs in District 6. The Green Hornets opened the year losing their first two games by a combined 93-13, but their 20-13 victory against visiting West Branch last week was their fourth in a row and improved their record to 5-4. Kris Harker tossed a pair of touchdowns to Seth Derugen, and Valley held West Branch scoreless over the final three quarters to secure the win. The Hornets still have a tough road to make it in to the postseason, needing to beat District 6 Class AA qualifier Huntingdon on Friday.
• Avonworth quarterback Zach Chandler threw for 365 yards and four touchdowns in a 50-49 win over Northgate on Friday night in a Class A matchup, and in the process broke the WPIAL's single-season passing record. His 2,807 yards for the regular season bettered that of Steelers backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski (2,754), who played at Seton-La Salle.
• The WPIAL announced its playoff pairings Monday night. Three defending WPIAL champions earned No. 1 seeds – Central Valley (8-1) in Class AAA, South Fayette (9-0) in AA and Clairton (9-0) in A. Woodland Hills (9-0), the state's top-ranked team, is the No. 1 seed in Class AAAA. First-round games will be held Friday. The championship games at Heinz Field are set for Nov. 28.
• In last Friday's game of the week in the WPIAL, a pair of unbeatens squared off in Class AA, as Aliquippa topped rival Beaver Falls, 44-21. The Quips have won 60 straight regular season games, joining Braddock (1954-59) as the only WPIAL teams with six straight undefeated regular seasons.
• Central Valley pulled off the biggest victory of Week 9 with a 23-13 win over top-ranked West Allegheny. Kurt Reinstadtler's 90-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter sealed the win and ended West Allegheny's 20-game home winning streak.
• The City League championship game is set, as Brashear and Allderdice will face off at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in a rematch of last year's title contest. Brashear won last year's game, 42-14. Allderdice is in the title game for the fourth time in five seasons. Brashear, led by Pitt recruit Therran Coleman, is chasing an 11th City title.
Contributors: Bill Hartlep, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review; Jake Adams, Carlisle Sentinel; Steve Bennett Wilkes-Barre Citizens' Voice; Eric Epler, PennLive; Geoff Morrow, PennLive; Jeffrey Reinhart, PennLive; Chris Masse, Williamsport Sun-Gazette; Phil Cmor, Altoona Mirror; Rick O'Brien, Philadelphia Inquirer