(Statistical Information Courtesy of The Herald and Erie Times-News)
WEEK SEVEN FOOTBALL PREVIEWS
The seventh week of the high school football season is not unlike the sackful of candy a child would bring home after going Trick or Treating later in the month for Halloween. This week's schedule has a little of this, a little of that, some mystery items and maybe a nice surprise or two.
First place in Region 1 is at stake as West Middlesex hosts Cochranton while Grove City leaves the area for a Region 5 game at DuBois. Sharon hosts an Ohio power in non-conference action while Sharpsville hosts Hickory in the renewal of a fierce but not regularly played rivalry. There's a forfeit involved too.
Cochranton at West Middlesex, 7:00 p.m.
Both West Middlesex and Cochranton enter Friday's Region 1 battle with 2-0 conference records. Friday night's winner will have the inside track to a quarterfinal bye in the District 10 playoffs and to almost the same extent, first place in the league.
West Middlesex ran its win streak to three last Friday night with a 14-0 Homecoming win over visiting Mercyhurst Prep. The Big Reds rushing defense held Mercyhurst's potent ground attack to minus-20 yards. Meanwhile, West Middlesex's triple-option offense chewed up 247 yards, including 211 from sophomore fullback Clayton Parrish. West Middlesex executed 56 offensive plays and owned an 18-minute advantage in time of possession.
Cade Franks and Joshua Porterfield both intercepted passes for the Big Reds, who are plus-7 in turnover ratio during their three-game winning streak.
The three teams that own wins over West Middlesex -- Sharpsville, Wilmington and iroquois -- are a combined 17-1 this year.
Cochranton fell from the ranks of the unbeaten last week with a 26-21 home loss to Titusville as the Rockets scored on the final play of the game. Cochranton stopped a two-point conversion with 1:52 left to preserve a 21-20 lead. However, a deflected punt gave Titusville possession at the Cochranton 40 with 10 seconds left.
Sophomore Curtis Freyermuth led Cochranton with 90 rushing yards. He also completed 3 of 6 pass attempts for 45 yards. Versatile sophomore Kohl Bernarding threw for 65 yards, two touchdown and two interceptions in five total attempts. Freyermuth has rushed for 556 yards and five touchdowns this season while also throwing for 310 yards and four scores. Bernarding has 423 passing yards and 10 touchdowns to his credit this year.
Logan Shreve leads Cochranton with 19 catches for 246 yards. He's also the second-leading rusher with 317 yards and six rushing touchdowns. The Cardinals average 325 yards per game. Cochranton opened league play with wins over Cambridge Springs (22-18) and Youngsville (56-21). The Cardinals also own victories over Class 2A programs Maplewood (28-0), Seneca (43-13) and Saegertown (50-13).
This is the first meeting between the teams since November 7, 2014, when West Middlesex rolled to a 62-0 win in the District 10 Class A quarterfinals. The teams also met in the 2013 quarterfinals, with West Middlesex securing a 46-32 win. The last regular season meeting came September 7, 2007 as Region 1-A opponents. West Middlesex earned a 44-0 home win.
The Big Reds also earned league wins over Cochranton in 2004 (43-6), 2005 (18-0) and 2006 (49-6). In 2003, West Middlesex defeated Cochranton for the District 10 Class A title, 7-6, in double overtime. Quarterback Bobby Michaels booted the decisive extra point in that victory. Kolten Hoffman, the quarterback of West Middlesex's 2006 state finalist team, held for Michaels' kick. It was Hoffman's only play of that game.
The game can be heard on News/Talk 790 WPIC. Live stats available here.
Grove City at DuBois, 7:00 p.m.
For the first time in six years, Grove City heads to DuBois to meet the Beavers at historic E.J. Mansell Stadium. The Eagles (6-0) have broken into the Harrisburg Patriot-News Class 5A state rankings as the No. 7 team in the Commonwealth after rolling past Slippery Rock last week on Homecoming, 47-6.
Grove City's balanced offense once against surpassed the 400-yard mark by gaining 225 rushing yards and adding 211 passing yards. Seven Grove City receivers caught at least one pass from record-setting quarterback Kameron Patterson. A.J. Turner caught five passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns. Fullback Trey Adams caught three balls for 36 yards and ran for a game-high 125 yards and one touchdown while backfield partner Cordell Sanders scored twice on the ground.
Brayden Martin returned a fumble 35 yards for a touchdown and Molek Walker had a 66-yard punt return to the end zone, marking Grove City's sixth and seventh non-offensive touchdowns this year, respectively.
Patterson has thrown for 1,368 yards and 20 touchdowns this year while completing 74 percent (79 of 107) of this passes. He leads District 10 in passing yards and touchdown passes. Patterson has been intercepted just twice this year.
DuBois (4-2, 2-2) also features an explosive passing game that is averaging 243 yards per game this season. Quarterback Matt Miller has thrown for 857 yards and 10 touchdowns after returning from injury. Braden Paulinellie filled in for Miller and has 588 passing yards and five scoring throws. Paulinellie's 427 rushing yards rank second on the team, just two behind teammate Brock Adams.
Adams ran for 91 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns last Friday night in a 29-13 home win over Taylor Allderdice from the Pittsburgh City League. DuBois has played four of its first six games at home, including a season-opening 30-20 win over District 9 brethren Clearfield. DuBois lost to visiting Conneaut (Pa.) in Week Two, 34-33. The following week, Meadville downed the visiting Beavers, 52-26.
Grove City is 24-0 all-time in Region 5 games. Clearfield County is the fourth different county that the Eagles have played in this season.
Hickory at Sharpsville, 7:00 p.m.
It's been 28 years since Hickory and Sharpsville have met as league rivals. Friday night, that drought will end when the 6-0 Hornets visit 5-1 Sharpsville at McCracken Field. It's the 50th all-time meeting and according to Bob Greenburg, the all-time series is tied 23-23-4.
Both teams are coming off road wins in Region 2 play last week. Hickory pulled away from pesky Lakeview, 40-8, while Sharpsville used two Marquis Altman interception returns for touchdown in the fourth quarter to pick up a 33-14 win at Greenville.
At Lakeview, Hickory halfback Chuck Carr moved into a tie for first place in Mercer County history with 92 career touchdowns after scoring five of the Hornets' six scores last week. Carr finished with 114 yards on 23 carries. Defensively, Hickory did not allow Lakeview to complete a pass.
Carr is tied for the District 10 lead with 25 touchdowns. Hickory's 6-0 record is its best start since the 1979 team opened 7-0-1. Hickory is 18-3 in its last 21 road games.
Meanwhile, Sharpsville is 29-3 in its last 32 home games, including an ongoing eight-game win streak. Last week, Sharpsville forced four Greenville turnovers and held the Trojans to 221 total yards and 10 first downs. Halfback Bobby Besser ran for three scores while Altman's two interception returns closed the scoring.
Besser leads Sharpsville with 469 rushing yards while fullback Kobe Joseph has 375 rushing yards. Quarterback Luke Henwood has thrown for 578 yards and seven touchdowns while being intercepted just once in 64 attempts. Sharpsville has seven non-offensive scores this season.
Sharpsville won the last meeting between the teams, 17-14, September 5, 2009 at McCracken Field. Hickory's last win in the series came in the 2008 opener, 20-13. Hickory and Sharpsville competed together in the Keystone Football League from 1982 to 1988. On October 21, 1988, Hickory scored a pair of second-half touchdowns to earn a 30-14 home win over the Blue Devils.
Sharpsville will also induct its first class of honorees into the district's Athletic Hall of Fame.
The game will be heard on Sports Radio 96.7.
Greenville at Wilmington, 7:00 p.m.
Region 2 foes Wilmington and Greenville renew their rivalry Friday night after a two-year interruption. Wilmington (6-0, 5-0) returns home after a two-game road trip while Greenville (3-3, 2-3) clinches a playoff berth with a victory.
Wilmington ran its win streak to six last Friday night with a 35-6 at Reynolds. Fullback Kyle Slicker ran for 104 yards and a touchdown. Slicker also caught two passes for 41 yards and a touchdown, helping Wilmington charge out to a 27-0 halftime lead.
Offensively, Wilmington averages 360 yards and 46.3 points per game this season. The 35 points at Reynolds actually marked a season-low for the Greyhounds.
Two late interception returns by Sharpsville snuffed out a Greenville comeback effort last Friday night at Stewart Field. Greenville quarterback Nate Bell left due to injury after completing 3 of 5 attempts for 69 yards and a touchdown. Senior Brady Kalchthaler, the Week One starter at quarterback for the Trojans, took over and completed 2 of his 9 passes. Kalchthaler also ran for 53 yards on seven carries.
Canyon Eells caught a 50-yard touchdown pass for the Trojans and also ran for a team-leading 63 yards. Eells is second in Mercer County with 130 rushing attempts this year. His 778 rushing yards also rank second in the area.
Greenville won the last meeting in 2013's regular season finale, 41-21. Wilmington's last win in the series came in the 2012 District 10 Class AA semifinals, 10-9, in double overtime. That marked Wilmington's ninth straight win in the series. Greenville earned a 20-10 victory at Wilmington September 24, 2004.
Reynolds at Mercer, 7:00 p.m.
Mercer can keep its faint playoff hopes alive Friday night by earning a win on Homecoming over visiting Reynolds (3-3, 2-3). Reynolds clinches a playoff berth with a victory.
A slow start doomed Mercer last week in a 42-0 setback at Sharon as the Mustangs fell behind 21-0 early. Offensively, Isaiah Bartolone (61) and Jimmy Amon (41) combined for 102 rushing yards at Sharon. Amon leads Mercer with 175 rushing yards while Bartolone is second on the team with 139 yards.
Reynolds opened the season with a 3-1 mark but is back to .500 after a modest two-game slide. Last week, visiting Wilmington charged out to a 27-0 halftime lead at Reynolds. The Raiders are in pursuit of its first District 10 playoff berth in 11 years. Only three of Reynolds' last 11 games have been true road games.
Reynolds' last road win in Mercer County came October 12, 2013 at Kennedy Catholic, 49-0.
Mercer and Reynolds also met in the county seat last year as Reynolds secured a 29-6 win. Reynolds picked up a 28-14 home win two years ago, while in the 2013 regular season finale, Mercer pulled out a 32-28 home victory.
Slippery Rock at Lakeview, 7:00 p.m.
It's the 50th anniversary of the first meeting between the programs, who each launched their varsity programs in 1966. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Lakeview and Slippery Rock met as league rivals in the Tri-County League before Lakeview joined the Crawford County League in 1977. This is the first league meeting in 40 years. Each team is 1-5 overall. Slippery Rock is 1-4 in Region 2 while all six of Lakeview's games to date have been region games.
Slippery Rock fell at archrival Grove City last Friday night in non-conference play, 47-6. Grove City limited Slippery Rock to 74 total yards of offense. Calvin Rossi's 11-yard touchdown catch from Bailey Mertens accounted for the Rockets' scoring. Rossi caught four passes for 28 yards. The defeat snapped Slippery Rock's three-game winning streak against Grove City.
Lakeview battled Hickory close into the second half until the Hornets pulled away for a 40-8 win in Stoneboro. Garrett Gadsby ran for a 75-yard touchdown and finished with a game-high 145 yards on four carries. Gadsby is Lakeview's leading receiver this year with eight receptions for 131 yards. He's also attempted 35 passes, completing eight. Gadsby leads Lakeview with four touchdowns and 26 total points
Slippery Rock won the first meeting between the teams, 13-6. That marked Slippery Rock's first-ever victory.
Youngsville at Farrell
Youngsville has forfeited its Region 1 game at Farrell. Farrell will improve to 4-3 overall and 2-1 in the conference.
Parma Heights Holy Name at Sharon
Sharon plays its only non-conference game of 2016 Friday night when Holy Name comes to Sharon Tiger Stadium. Sharon improved to 4-2 overall and in the conference last Friday night with a 42-0 victory over visiting Mercer.
Senior quarterback J.P. McComb directed Sharon's spread offense to 337 total yards, including 211 passing yards. McComb completed 14 of 18 attempts, including touchdown passes to Jeremiah Norris, Jayquan Odem, Frank Shaffer and Jaquan Waller. Odem also had a 13-yard touchdown run and Jordan Wilson scored on a nine-yard touchdown run. Sharon's defense forced four turnovers in recording its first shutout of the season.
Friday's game is the third of four consecutive home games for Sharon. Excluding last year's game with Struthers, Sharon is 12-1 in its last 13 home games. Last season, Sharon hosted Struthers in the season opener and had to later forfeit the win due to use of an ineligible player. In 2011, Sharon earned a 27-21 overtime win at home over Warren J.F.K.
The Tigers last lost a home game on the field to an Ohio foe September 1, 2000, when Ursuline defeated Sharon, 27-17.
Parma Heights Holy Name enters with a 4-2 overall mark, including a 3-0 record in Great Lakes Conference play. The Green Wave rallied from a 20-3 deficit entering the fourth quarter last week to stun Elyria Catholic, 26-23. Quarterback Joe Carter threw a pair of touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to Ben Revay, giving Holy Name the victory.
Carter finished the game with 404 passing yards on 28-of-52 accuracy. Carter has thrown for 1,346 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. He threw for 306 yards in a 20-17 win over Bay three weeks ago.
Holy Name currently sits 13th in Division IV Region 13. Other teams in that region include Struthers, Cardinal Mooney, Hubbard and Conneaut (Ohio). Holy Name went 8-4 last year and reached the region semifinals before falling to Mantua Crestwood.
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