(Statistical Information Courtesy of Professor Briggs' archives, The Herald and Erie Times-News)
WEEK TWELVE FOOTBALL PREVIEWS
Two District 10 championship games and two district semifinals comprise this week's local football schedule. The key word for this week's game is "rematch" as three of the four games are return bouts from the regular season. The Sharon-Mercyhurst Prep game is a rematch of the 2017 District 10 Class 3A title game.
Class 1A Farrell aims for its fourth consecutive District 10 title while Wilmington guns for its third straight title in Class 2A. West Middlesex looks to end an 11-season district title drought while Sharpsville seeks its first D-10 title since 2014.
The Class 3A semifinalists will meet for the title game next week. According to the District 10 web site, the 3A title game will be Friday night, November 16.
CLASS 1A CHAMPIONSHIP -- SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10
Farrell vs. West Middlesex -- at Wilmington, 7:00 p.m.
For the second time in three years, Farrell and West Middlesex will clash for the District 10 Class 1A title. Two years ago, West Middlesex entered the title game as the Region 1 champion but Farrell avenged a regular season defeat in the championship round. This year, the roles have reversed as it is West Middlesex that looks to even the season series.
Farrell stormed out to a 28-0 lead in the first quarter of the teams' meeting September 14 at West Middlesex as the Steelers rolled to a 40-0 victory. Throughout the 2018 season, Farrell has used a stout defense along with an explosive and balanced offense. Both units were in top form that night as the Farrell defense held West Middlesex to five first downs and 106 offensive yards. That marked the first of Farrell's four shutouts this year.
Offensively, two Farrell players surpassed the 100-yard mark as quarterback Kyi Wright ran for 122 yards and tailback Christian Lewis added 100 yards. Each man also ran for two touchdowns at West Middlesex. Senior wide receiver Jourdan Townsend hauled in eight passes for 82 yards and a touchdown.
Farrell opened its playoff run last Friday night by downing county foe Reynolds, 62-6. Five different Farrell players ran for a touchdown. Lewis ran for 160 yards and two scores while Wright, Townsend, fullback Tymir Green and sophomore Jaden Harrison also ran for scores. Harrison finished with 107 yards and Green added a season-high 58 yards.
Townsend, who ran 71 yards for a touchdown, caught two touchdown passes in last week's win. He became District 10's all-time leader with 50 touchdown receptions. Junior wide receiver Brian Hilton also caught a touchdown pass from Wright, who went 5 of 8 for 85 yards.
Lewis leads the county in rushing yards per game (151.1) and ranks second in rushing yards (1,511) and fourth rushing touchdowns (22). His 13.4 yards per carry average leads the area.
Wright has thrown for 1,182 yards and 22 touchdown passes while only having one pass intercepted in his 97 attempts. He has completed 70.1 percent of his passes and is the area's top rated passer (245.2). Townsend, meanwhile has a county-high 18 touchdown catches. He ranks second locally in receptions (53) and yards (926). Townsend needs 74 yards for his second straight 1,000-yard season.
Farrell leads the county in scoring offense, averaging 53.5 points per game. The Steelers also lead the area in scoring defense, holding foes to 6.7 points per game. Farrell has also turned over the ball a county-low four times this season.
Like Farrell, the West Middlesex defense has recorded four shutouts this season. The Big Reds rank fourth among the area's 12 teams in scoring defense (13.1) and total defense (200.8). West Middlesex also holds opponents to 3.7 yards per carry, third-best in the area.
Last week, the Big Reds allowed a season-high 292 rushing yards against Union City. However, the West Middlesex defense stopped Union City on downs three times in the first half as the Big Reds earned a 34-14 win in the semifinals at Meadville. West Middlesex also recorded a safety and held Union City to a 3-for-13 effort on third down.
Offensively, West Middlesex piled up 300 offensive yards in the first half. Senior fullback Clayton Parrish ran for 229 yards and three touchdowns in the win. He also caught a 39-yard touchdown on a screen pass from Jake Bowen. Parrish passed Eric Lucich for the top spot on West Middlesex's career rushing list and now has 3,985 yards. Parrish leads the county with 1,600 rushing yards.
Bowen threw for 109 yards and two touchdowns on 7-of-16 passing. In addition to the screen pass to Parrish, Bowen also tossed a 33-yard strike to senior wide receiver Logan Hurley. Bowen has thrown for 1,047 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also has 361 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.
Senior wide receiver Kaz Hoffman leads West Middlesex with 24 catches for 440 yards while Hurley has nine catches. Halfback Zeb Rubaker (21) and Parrish (11) are Bowen's top targets out of the backfield.
Farrell is 12-1 all-time in district title games, in Districts 7 and 10 combined. Farrell has won nine straight district championship games. The lone loss came 30 years ago to Wilmington, 10-7, in the District 7 Class A title game at Three Rivers Stadium. West Middlesex owns a 3-3 record in D-10 title games.
The winner will face the District 5 champion, Shade or Conemaugh Township, next week in the PIAA playoffs.
The game will be heard on Sports Radio 96.7. Live stats available here.
CLASS 2A CHAMPIONSHIP
Wilmington vs. Sharpsville -- at Hickory, 7:00 p.m.
Like Farrell and West Middlesex, Wilmington and Sharpsville will meet in the district title for the second time in three years. Both teams earned decisive wins in last week's semifinals. Wilmington downed Greenville, 44-13, while Sharpsville thundered past Northwestern, 55-6.
Friday night's title game pits the area's top rushing offense (Wilmington) against one of the district's most prolific passing attacks (Sharpsville). Wilmington averages a county-best 350.9 rushing yards per game. The Greyhounds' ground game has amassed 55 rushing touchdowns. Meanwhile, Sharpsville ranks second in the area in passing yards per game as a team (228.8).
Each team relied upon its offensive strength in the semifinals. Wilmington gained 342 rushing yards as a team, led by Cameron Marett's 98-yard, two-touchdown outing. Fellow halfback Ethan Susen added 96 yards and a score. Each halfback also caught four passes from senior quarterback Robert Pontius.
Pontius went 9 of 14 for 79 yards and a touchdown pass to Marett. Wilmington led 33-0 at halftime.
Sharpsville scored all of its 55 points in the first half of last week's semifinal triumph. Senior quarterback Nick Alexander threw for 322 yards and four touchdowns on 17-of-19 accuracy, helping the Blue Devils amass 499 offensive yards. He now has a Sharpsville-record 2,172 passing yards this season.
Senior wide receiver Luke Levis caught seven passes for 133 yards for two touchdowns while sophomore Danny Henwood added four catches for 63 yards and a touchdown. Junior running back Tristan Besser also caught a touchdown pass in the win. Senior fullback Kobe Joseph ran for 140 yards and four touchdowns on nine carries.
Friday's championship game features the No. 4 and No. 5 rushers in the county. Joseph ranks fourth with 1,082 yards while Marett's 1,073 rushing yards rank fifth. Alexander ranks third in the county in passing yards while Levis is fourth with 45 catches and 686 receiving yards. Cody George set Sharpsville's single-season records for catches (48) and receiving yards (488) in 1995.
Susen has added 557 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns for Wilmington while Pontius has rushed for 416 yards and a dozen touchdowns. He ran for 94 yards and three touchdowns in Wilmington's 48-14 win October 12 at Sharpsville. Marett ran for a season-high 190 rushing yards and two touchdowns, helping Wilmington chew up 403 rushing yards. Susen ran for a touchdown and also caught one touchdown pass.
Alexander threw for 240 yards on 20-for-30 accuracy. Levis caught eight passes for 69 yards while Joseph had five receptions for 92 yards and two scores. Sharpsville had only five rushing yards on 16 attempts.
Wilmington broke a 14-14 tie by scoring 20 points in the second quarter. Both teams have been dominant in the first halves of games this season. Wilmington has outscored opponents by a 346-58 margin in the first half while Sharpsville owns a 301-120 scoring edge in the first half.
Wilmington leads the area in total defense (144.1 yards per game) and fewest yards per play (3.5). Sharpsville leads the county with 27 takeaways.
The winner will face the District 5 champion, Chestnut Ridge or Everett, in the opening round of the state playoffs next week.
The game will be heard on Sports Radio 96.7. Live stats available here.
CLASS 3A SEMIFINALS -- SATURDAY
Grove City vs. Slippery Rock -- at Slippery Rock University, 8:00 p.m.
It's the first-ever postseason meeting between longtime rivals Grove City and Slippery Rock. This is the teams' second meeting in Slippery Rock but this game will be on the other side of Kiester Road after having met at Slippery Rock High School in September. Grove City trailed 7-0 early at Slippery Rock before scoring the final 33 points of that Week Five battle.
Grove City and Slippery Rock each earned one-sided victories over Erie County opposition in the Class 3A quarterfinals last week. Grove City blasted Girard, 48-7, while Slippery Rock rolled to a 44-3 win over Harbor Creek.
Grove City improved to 10-0 last Saturday night by amassing 489 offensive yards. Quarterback Brady Callahan posted his second five-touchdown outing of the season while going 13 of 15 for 252 yards.
Senior wide receiver Logan Lutz caught six passes for 173 yards and four touchdowns. He now has a county-high 63 catches, breaking his own single-season Grove City record of 62 catches, set last year. Lutz also broke A.J. Turner's single-season receiving yard record (1,016) as he now has 1,079 yards this year.
Grove City's rushing attack generated 227 yards. Senior fullback Tyler Greer led the way with 103 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown run. Colby Nelson added 62 yards on 16 carries.
Callahan leads the county with 2,222 passing yards and 24 touchdown passes. His 77.5 completion percentage also leads the county. Greer is eighth in the county with 944 rushing yards in nine games. Grove City leads the area in total offense, averaging 487.0 yards per game.
With leading rusher Kaleb Kamerer (746 yards) sidelined due to injury last week against Harbor Creek, quarterback Vito Pilosi and halfback David Duffalo carried a greater load for the Rockets. Pilosi ran for 132 yards while Duffalo had 117 yards and two touchdowns. Junior Nathan Hyatt also ran for two touchdowns while Patrick Shea and Nick Gills both caught touchdown passes from Pilosi.
Defensively, Slippery Rock held Harbor Creek to 146 total yards and six first downs last week. On the season, Slippery Rock ranks second in the area with 11 interceptions, trailing only Grove City (12).
Pilosi now leads Slippery Rock with 829 rushing yards. He also has 1,085 passing yards and could become a 1,000-1,000 rusher and passer with a big night against Grove City. Duffalo leads the Rockets with 20 receptions.
Callahan threw for 281 yards on 16-of-20 passing in the teams' September 21 meeting. Lutz had five catches for 125 yards while Greer ran for three touchdowns. Slippery Rock limited Grove City to 146 rushing yards on 46 attempts, an average of 3.2 plays per attempt. Kamerer ran for 81 yards. Grove City outgained Slippery Rock, 427-183.
Slippery Rock University is hosting West Chester in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference "state championship" game at Mihalik-Thompson Stadium earlier Saturday afternoon. That is why this game will start an hour later than normal.
Grove City has won 10 of the last 13 meetings and leads the all-time series 22-11. The all-time series is below:
|2018||Grove City, 33-7|
|2017||Grove City, 28-0|
|2016||Grove City, 47-6|
|2015||Slippery Rock, 52-18|
|2014||Slippery Rock, 47-21|
|2013||Slippery Rock, 49-21|
|2012||Grove City, 34-14|
|2011||Grove City, 55-0|
|2010||Grove City, 45-16|
|2007||Grove City, 28-17|
|2006||Grove City, 21-13|
|2005||Grove City, 34-31 (2 OT)|
|2004||Grove City, 24-0|
|2003||Slippery Rock, 33-14|
|2002||Slippery Rock, 7-0|
|2001||Slippery Rock, 34-6|
|2000||Slippery Rock, 60-19|
|1999||Slippery Rock, 37-30|
|1998||Grove City, 41-13|
|1997||Grove City, 22-6|
|1996||Grove City, 13-6|
|1995||Grove City, 26-13|
|1994||Grove City, 22-20|
|1993||Grove City, 36-0|
|1992||Grove City, 34-0|
|1991||Grove City, 41-0|
|1990||Grove City, 13-12|
|1989||Slippery Rock, 21-9|
|1988||Slippery Rock, 27-8|
|1985||Grove City, 27-0|
|1984||Slippery Rock, 22-13|
|1977||Grove City, 7-0|
|1976||Grove City, 29-20|
The game can be heard on Oldies Z-104 (WWIZ 103.9).
Sharon vs. Mercyhurst Prep -- at Meadville, 1:00 p.m.
Defending District 10 Class 3A champion Sharon continues the defense of its crown Saturday afternoon against undefeated Mercyhurst Prep at Meadville's Bender Field. Sharon rolled past Fairview, 56-21, in the quarterfinals while Mercyhurst Prep scored the final 48 points of the game in a 48-8 triumph over Conneaut.
The game features a clash of offensive styles as Sharon's dynamic passing game will look to offset Mercyhurst's powerful ground attack. Sharon averages 222.2 passing yards per game while Mercyhurst averages 351.3 rushing yards per game.
Sharon quarterback Lane Voytik threw for a career-high 353 passing yards on 19-of-25 passing against Fairview. He has gone over the 2,000-yard mark for the second straight season and now ranks second locally with 2,214 yards, only eight behind Grove City's Brady Callahan. No local back or receiver has been involved in more offensive plays than Voytik's 309 total plays this season.
Junior Ty Eilam caught six passes for a career-high 146 yards and two touchdowns while junior C.J. Parchman added five receptions for 140 yards and two touchdowns against Fairview. Senior Warren Nixon also pulled in five catches.
Parchman ranks third in the area with 48 catches for 832 yards. Eilam's 39 catches rank fifth, one spot ahead of senior tight end Frank Shaffer (32 catches).
While Mercyhurst's ground attack may get top billing Saturday, Sharon features piledriving senior running back Jordan Wilson. Wilson bowled over the Fairview defense for 180 yards and four touchdowns. Wilson has a career-high 1,335 rushing yards this season, which is No. 3 locally. No team has attempted more passes this year than Sharon (269) but Wilson leads county backs in carries per game (17.5).
Wilson now has 4,427 career rushing yards, which places him third all-time at Sharon behind T.J. Phillips (6,241) and Mike Archie (5,136).
Sharon limits opponents to 4.3 yards per carry, the fifth-lowest figure in the area. The Tigers' defense will be tested by Mercyhurst, which averages 9.0 yards per carry. Senior Zack Helsley leads the Lakers with 1,424 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns while fellow senior Khalil Barnes has 1,249 yards and 13 scores. Sophomore Steve Smith has added 548 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Senior quarterback Mike Krafty has thrown for 458 yards and nine touchdowns this season.
The Lakers amassed 492 rushing yards last Saturday against Conneaut. Smith ran for a career-high 195 yards and three touchdowns while Barnes had 162 yards. Helsley added 132 yards and two touchdowns. Helsley is Erie County's all-time leading rusher with 5,656 yards.
Defensively, Mercyhurst held Conneaut to 23 rushing yards and 97 yards of offense. Overall, the Lakers have yielded only 78 points on the season. Mercyhurst has won 23 straight games when holding the opposition to 19 points or less. Sharon has won 17 straight games when scoring 24 or more points.
Sharon defeated Mercyhurst in last year's D-10 title game, 21-14. Shaffer's 37-yard touchdown catch from Voytik in the fourth quarter broke a 14-14 tie. Mercyhurst outgained Sharon, 232-206. Mercyhurst held Sharon to 53 rushing yards. Wilson led the Tigers with 40 yards. Helsley led Mercyhurst Prep with 86 rushing yards.
The teams have three common opponents this season: Hickory, Conneaut and Fairview. Sharon defeated Hickory in Week Two, 27-24, while Mercyhurst Prep earned a 28-7 win over the Hornets in Week Three. Sharon owns two wins over Fairview (63-12, 56-21) while the Lakers blanked Fairview 48-0. Sharon defeated Conneaut, 48-12, while Mercyhurst downed the Eagles in last week's playoff opener.
The winner will play Grove City or Slippery Rock in next week's championship game.
The game will be heard on Sports Radio 96.7.