(Statistical Information Courtesy of Professor Briggs' archives, The Herald and Erie Times-News)
WEEK THREE FOOTBALL PREVIEWS
With the exception of two Region 7 (Class 5A) games, every game Friday and Saturday in District 10 is a non-conference game. That includes 11 Mercer County area teams, who will all face non-local teams Friday night.
One team will not be in action Friday night. Sharpsville originally planned to host Seneca but the Bobcats will not make the trip due to Seneca's depleted roster. However, Sharpsville found a late replacement in Akron Manchester. Those teams will meet Saturday night at 7 p.m.
Sharpsville looks to improved to 3-0, as do Farrell, Grove City, Slippery Rock and West Middlesex. West Middlesex visits Maplewood in the district's only matchup that features two 2-0 teams. Greenville hosts Iroquois in the only clash between 0-2 teams on the district card. Meanwhile, Mercyhurst Prep hosts Hickory in a playoff rematch from last season.
West Middlesex at Maplewood, 7:00 p.m.
Undefeated West Middlesex hits the road for the first time in 2018 Friday night when the Big Reds head to Crawford County for a possible Class 1A playoff preview. West Middlesex improved to 2-0 with a 47-0 Week Two blanking of visiting Lakeview as the Big Reds' defense held a second straight opponent scoreless. The only points against West Middlesex this season came in the opener, when Eisenhower recorded a safety.
It's the first time that West Middlesex has held consecutive opponents out of the end zone since October 27-November 10, 2006, when West Middlesex downed Linesville (20-0), Lakeview (42-0) and Iroquois (42-5) in a three-week period.
The West Middlesex defense has recorded a touchdown in each of the first two games this year. Jason Davis returned an interception 60 yards for a touchdown against Eisenhower while Zach Long followed with a 57-yard interception return to the end zone against Lakeview.
West Middlesex owns the county's top statistical defense, allowing only 67.5 yards per game so far this year. The Big Reds also lead the county with a plus-5 turnover margin.
Offensively, senior running back Clayton Parrish shares the county lead with four rushing touchdowns this year. He is third overall with 259 rushing yards, having posted back-to-back 100-yard outings this year. Senior quarterback Jake Bowen has thrown for 114 yards on 8-of-18 passing while also rushing for 54 yards on 11 attempts.
Maplewood has won four straight regular season games dating back to last season. The Tigers opened the season with a 56-7 win over Lakeview in Week One, then held off Cochranton last week, 35-28, in the Region 2 opener. Junior quarterback J.D. McFadden threw for 153 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing for 69 yards against Cochranton. He threw five touchdown strikes at Lakeview.
McFadden is second on the team with 145 rushing yards, four behind senior running back Chevy Blake. Senior Camron Bienio and freshman Jesse McFadden each have four catches this year. Bienio has three touchdowns while Jesse McFadden has two scores. Overall, eight of J.D. McFadden's 12 completions have gone for touchdowns. McFadden threw for 1,709 yards and 16 touchdowns last year while also rushing for 680 yards and nine scores.
Maplewood averages 368 yards of offense per game. The Tigers also feature All-Region kicker Hunter Groger, who is 13 for 13 on extra points this season.
Head coach Bryan Borkovich (29-37) is in his seventh season at Maplewood. He is a Blackhawk High School graduate who then played collegiately at Westminster under head coaches Jerome Schmitt and Jeff Hand.
This is the first meeting between the programs since West Middlesex earned a 28-6 win at Maplewood October 25, 2002. West Middlesex has won eight straight games in Crawford County. The Big Reds' last setback in that county came October 23, 2009 -- a 29-23 defeat at Linesville.
The game can be heard on 790 WPIC. Live stats available here.
Hickory at Mercyhurst Prep, 7:00 p.m.
Hickory's rugged opening portion of the 2018 season continues Friday night when the Hornets head to Erie to face 2-0 Mercyhurst Prep at Veterans Stadium. Friday's game is a rematch of the 2017 District 10 Class 3A semifinals, in which Mercyhurst Prep earned a 28-10 victory at Erie McDowell High School.
Hickory dropped to 0-2 last Friday night with a 27-24 setback at archrival Sharon in the Region 5 opener for both teams. The Hornets rallied from an early 14-0 hole to take a 24-21 lead into the fourth quarter.
Senior wide receiver Michael Filardi caught a career-high seven passes for 55 yards and a touchdown for Hickory while backup quarterback Michael Henwood scored on a three-yard bootleg that put Hickory up 24-21 in the third quarter. Starting quarterback Hayden Gallagher completed 15 of 27 passes for 168 yards and also ran for a team-high 45 yards.
Filardi is tied for second in the county with 11 receptions this season. No player has been involved in more offensive plays in the county this season than Gallagher. He has rushed or thrown on 97 of Hickory's 120 offensive plays this year. Senior kicker Sam Scarton leads the county with three field goals, including his career-best 52-yarder on the final play of the first half at Sharon.
Defensively, Hickory has forced a county-high six turnovers this year. The Hornets are also holding opponents to 101 yards per game and 3.2 yards per carry. Hickory's 3-5-3 scheme will be tested by Mercyhurst's potent offensive attack.
Mercyhurst, which has scored 80 total points over the first two weeks, features a talented trio of running backs. Senior Zack Helsley ran for 1,788 yards last season and classmate Khalil Barnes added 980 yards in 2017. Barnes leads the Lakers with 276 yards this season. He averages 12.0 yards per carry. Helsley has 178 yards and a team-leading four touchdowns. Sophomore Steve Smith emerged in Mercyhurst's 47-6 win over Corry last week as he scored three rushing touchdowns.
Quarterback Mike Krafty, a senior, played extensively as a sophomore. He highlighted his 2016 season by throwing for 178 yards in a 14-0 loss at West Middlesex. Krafty backed up the graduated Jake Brooks last year. This year, Krafty is 8 of 23 for 68 yards.
Mercyhurst Prep opened the season with a 33-18 win at Meadville. Helsley (124) and Barnes (122) both went over the 100-yard mark. Barnes also returned a kickoff 79 yards for a touchdown.
Helsley ran for 177 yards and three touchdowns in last year's playoff victory over Hickory while Barnes added 100 yards. Gallagher threw for 109 yards and also ran for a Hickory-best 51 yards.
In Week One, Sharpsville coach Paul Piccirilli earned his 200th win when the Blue Devils downed Hickory. Last week, Sharon head coach Jim Wildman secured his 250th victory when the Tigers nipped Hickory. Fifth-year Mercyhurst head coach Jeff Root is not pursuing a major milestone, but a win would even his record at 22-22.
Mercyhurst has won 14 straight regular season games, which is tops in District 10. This is Hickory's first game at Veterans Stadium since a 24-0 win over Erie Strong Vincent in the 2014 opener.
Northwestern at Wilmington, 7:00 p.m.
Undefeated Northwestern looks for its third straight win over a Mercer County foe when the 2-0 Wildcats visit Wilmington in non-conference action. It is Wilmington's home opener.
After opening the season with a 19-12 home win over Greenville, Northwestern pulled out a 10-7 home win over Mercer in Week Two. Preston Rusner's 31-yard field goal in the third quarter broke a 7-7 tie. Quarterback Derek Albert threw for 147 yards on 8-of-12 passing for the Wildcats, including a 36-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Dohanic.
Albert and Dohanic have been two major keys for the Northwestern offense. Dohanic leads Northwestern with 133 rushing yards and three total touchdowns while Albert has 120 rushing yards. Albert has also thrown for 166 yards on 10-of-21 accuracy this year.
Wilmington led Farrell 12-0 after one quarter before yielding 31 straight points to the homestanding Steelers in a 31-19 defeat. Senior halfback Cameron Marett ran for 136 yards and two touchdowns while fullback Noah Hunt added 70 yards on carries.
Marett leads the county with five touchdowns and 30 points. His 279 rushing yards rank second in the county. No team has executed more running plays through the first two games this season than Wilmington (100).
Wilmington and Northwestern last met November 4, 2011. Wilmington earned a 28-0 win that night. Northwestern has lost six straight games on artificial turf. The Wildcats last won on artificial turf September 18, 2015, earning a 30-0 win over Mercyhurst Prep at Veterans Stadium.
The game will be heard on Sports Radio 96.7.
Grove City at Corry, 7:00 p.m.
Undefeated Grove City heads to Corry in non-conference action Friday night as the Eagles look to extend their 11-game regular season winning streak.
Through two weeks, Grove City owns Mercer County's most prolific offense as the Eagles average 54 points and 490 yards per game. Senior running back Tyler Greer leads the county in rushing yards (297) and yards per carry (11.9) this year. Greer also led the county in yards per carry (11.0) last season. Meanwhile, senior quarterback Brady Callahan leads the county in passer rating (230.7) and completion percentage (75.9).
Callahan threw for 240 yards on 10-of-14 passing last Friday in a 60-6 victory at Greenville. Greer ran for 96 yards while junior Colby Nelson picked up 128 rushing yards and two scores. Senior wide receiver Logan Lutz caught five passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns. Lutz also went over the 2,000-yard mark for his career and now has 2,082 receiving yards.
Lutz currently ranks second in the county with 11 receptions and 189 receiving yards.
Corry (1-1) opened region play last week with a 47-6 loss to Mercyhurst Prep. Quarterback Zach Lesher leads Corry with 72 rushing yards on the season. He also has 75 passing yards while backup signal-caller Trey Redrup is 4 of 9 for 78 yards this season.
Corry opened the season with a 39-14 win over Seneca.
Corry has won the last two meetings in the series with Grove City. The Beavers won 36-6 at Forker Field September 11, 2015. Four years ago, in the last meeting at Corry's Sheen Field, the Beavers pulled out a 32-29 win over Grove City. Those two meetings came as Class AA region foes.
Corry and Grove City played as Class AAA region opponents in 2008 and 2009. That came after a pair of non-conference meetings in 2006 and 2007. Grove City has won five of the eight meetings since 2006.
The teams have a league history that dates further back, however. From 1971 to 1976, the teams competed against each other in the Northwest Conference. The teams tied 14-14 in 1971. Grove City won 27-0 in 1972 and 40-14 in 1973. A teachers' strike at Grove City gave Corry a forfeit win in 1974. Grove City closed 1975 with a 15-14 win over Corry, then Corry earned a 6-0 win in 1976. Corry departed for the Erie County League after that season.
The game can be heard on Oldies Z-104 (WWIZ 103.9).
Mercer at Eisenhower, 7:00 p.m.
For the third straight week, Mercer heads north for a non-conference game. This time, the Mustangs head to Warren County, to take on Eisenhower. Both teams are coming off narrow defeats in Week Two. Mercer fell at Northwestern, 10-7, while Eisenhower fell to Union City in overtime, 46-44.
In Mercer's season-opening win at Cochranton, the Mustangs did not commit a penalty nor a turnover. However, the Mustangs had three turnovers and eight penalties last week at Northwestern. The Mustangs also turned over the ball on downs inside the Northwestern 5 in the first quarter after scoring on their first drive of the game.
Fullback Andrew Weinel scored the Mustangs' touchdown and finished with 44 yards on 17 carries. Halfback Aiden Bright led Mercer with 46 rushing yards. Bright leads Mercer with 119 rushing yards while fellow halfback Brian Shevitz has 83 yards. Quarterback Dylan Hetrick is 10 of 15 for 124 yards this season. He ranks third locally in completion percentage (66.7) and is fourth in the county in both pass efficiency (122.8) and yards per attempt (8.3).
Mercer's Delaware Wing-T offense may fare well against an Eisenhower defense that yielded 427 rushing yards to Union City's option-based attack last Friday.
Defensively, Mercer limited Northwestern to 200 yards. Mercer ranks third in the county in rushing defense, holding opponents to 97.5 yards per game. The Mustangs are No. 4 locally in scoring defense (8.0). That unit will face a stout test against Eisenhower's surging offense.
Sophomore quarterback Owen Trumbull completed 14 of 18 passes for 206 yards and three touchdowns in his second career start for Ike. Garrett Head caught five passes for 79 yards while on the ground, Ethan Chambers and Nate Holt ran for 52 yards each.
Head gave Eisenhower a 44-38 lead in overtime when he caught a six-yard touchdown pass. Union City stopped Chambers on the two-point conversion attempt, however. The Bears also scored a touchdown, then added the game-winning two-pointer on their overtime possession.
Eisenhower amassed 390 offensive yards last year in a 52-0 home win over Mercer in Week Eight. Eisenhower also won two years ago at Mercer, 7-6. Mercer opened each season from 2012 to 2015 with wins over Eisenhower, including a 41-14 home triumph in the 2015 lidlifter. Mercer also pulled out a 14-7 win over Eisenhower in the 2007 District 10 Class A quarterfinals.
Mercer will open its region and home schedules in Week Four against Reynolds in the county seat.
Reynolds at Saegertown, 7:00 p.m.
The Reynolds Raiders' season-opening road trip continues Friday night when the Raiders visit fellow Class 1A foe Saegertown in non-conference action. It's the first meeting between the programs since Reynolds earned a 52-7 win September 20, 2013 at Saegertown.
Reynolds looks to rebound from a 24-6 setback at Slippery Rock in Week Two. The Raiders led 6-0 after one quarter, thanks to Cole Toy's 25-yard touchdown run. Special teams helped foil the Raiders' bid for a second straight road win, however. Reynolds allowed a 54-yard punt return for touchdown in the third quarter and also had a fake field goal attempt intercepted in the game.
Reynolds is one of two local teams -- along with Grove City -- to have two men ranked among the top 10 locally in rushing. Sophomore halfback Jordan DeCarmen is fifth with 223 rushing yards while Tyrese Baker is 10th with 183 yards. Overall, Reynolds leads the county in rushing yardage, averaging 320.5 per game.
Saegertown dropped a 32-8 decision at region archrival Cambridge Springs last week. The Panthers broke through in the fourth quarter when Mason McClure threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Brady Merkel. Saegertown did yield two safeties to Spa last week. The Panthers fell to Titusville in the opener, 35-6.
McClure is 5 of 18 passing this year for 64 yards. Merkel has three catches for 58 yards and a score. Second-year head coach James Wolfgang has boosted the roster size significantly in comparison to recent years. Numerous underclassmen are playing major roles for Saegertown, which has dropped 22 consecutive games. The Panthers allow only 240 yards per game on defense.
Iroquois at Greenville, 7:00 p.m.
A pair of perennial playoff teams who are off to 0-2 starts will meet Friday night in a battle of rebuilding Class 2A teams. Both teams are coming off one-sided home setbacks last week against Mercer County foes. Iroquois dropped a 64-6 verdict to Sharpsville while Greenville fell to undefeated Grove City, 60-6.
Each team may look at the opposing defense as the tonic for their offensive struggles. Iroquois allows an average of 401.5 yards per game this season while Greenville allows 392.0 yards per game.
Greenville features senior halfback Brady Gentile, who ranks seventh in the county with 197 rushing yards. He ran for 155 yards and two touchdowns in the season opener at Northwestern. First-year starting quarterback Jon King completed a career-best six passes last Friday night against Grove City, including a touchdown pass to Brayden DiFrischia.
Jeremy Laniewicz leads Iroquois with 192 rushing yards and both Iroquois touchdowns this year. Matthew Tarr has added 112 yards on the ground.
Greenville has won 10 straight home games against non-local opponents. The last loss came September 2, 2011, when North East downed the Trojans at Stewart Field, 48-21.
Greenville opens its conference schedule next week at Sharpsville. Iroquois will also commence league play in Week Four with a trip to Conneaut, Ohio.
Slippery Rock at Franklin, 7:00 p.m.
Already armed with a road win over a Class 5A foe (General McLane), Class 3A Slippery Rock heads to Class 5A Franklin in a non-region clash Friday night. Slippery Rock is 2-0 for the first in four years after its 24-6 home win over Reynolds. Franklin, meanwhile, looks to bounce back from a 73-7 humbling at Route 8 rival Oil City. The game is Franklin's home opener.
An opportunistic defense, efficient offense and sound special teams have all combined to help Slippery Rock win its first two games. The Rockets share the county lead with six takeaways this season, helping the team post a plus-4 turnover margin. Slippery Rock also allows an area-low 31.5 passing yards per game.
Offensively, Slippery Rock features a balanced rushing attack, led by halfback Kaleb Kamerer (185 yards) and quarterback Vito Pilosi (154 yards). Kamerer also returned a punt 54 yards for a touchdown in the win over Reynolds while junior kicker Nathaniel Willison drilled a 22-yard field goal.
Franklin has allowed 952 rushing yards over the first two games. In Week One, Franklin allowed North East to rush for 327 yards in Franklin's 34-21 win. Last week, Oil City's power attack rumbled for 625 rushing yards.
While Franklin struggles to stop the run, the Knights excel at throwing the football. Junior quarterback Ian Haynes threw for 2,931 yards and 29 touchdowns in 10 games last season. For his career, Haynes has 4,902 career yards and will likely become District 10's 11th all-time 5,000-yard passer.
Dalton Buckley leads Franklin with eight receptions for 94 yards. Eli Stewart has a team-leading 148 receiving yards on six catches.
Slippery Rock won the last meeting between the teams, 61-0, October 18, 2013 at Franklin. The teams met as Class AAA region foes from 2010 to 2013, with Slippery Rock winning the final three meetings. Slippery Rock also won at Franklin in 2007, 23-12, in a conference matchup.
Farrell at Union City, 7:00 p.m.
Coming off a victory over Class 2A state finalist Wilmington, Farrell returns to the road to take on its first Class 1A foe of the season, Union City. The Steelers remain atop the PennLive Class 1A state poll after rallying past Wilmington, 31-19, last week.
Farrell trailed Wilmington 12-0 last week before posting 31 straight points. Kyi Wright's 22-yard touchdown pass to Brian Hilton gave Farrell a 19-12 lead in the third quarter while Jourdan Townsend followed with a 64-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Townsend leads Mercer County with 12 receptions this year. Tailback Christian Lewis has a pair of 100-yard outings this year and is fourth in the area with 255 rushing yards. Wright is second in the area in completion percentage (68.2) and passer rating (208.7). He has thrown for 211 yards and four touchdowns.
Union City evened its record at 1-1 last Friday with a 46-44 overtime win at Eisenhower last week. The Bears played without standout running back Gavin Henry due to injury. Union City's ground game did not miss a beat, though, as the Bears rolled up 438 rushing yards. Brayden Kinney ran for a career-high 338 yards and six touchdowns, including the game-tying touchdown and game-winning two-point conversion in overtime.
Farrell pulled out a 48-36 home win over Union City last season. Union City held a 75-20 edge in offensive plays but two Townsend touchdown returns helped Farrell earn the win. Townsend returned a kickoff 62 yards for a touchdown, then sealed the win with a 36-yard interception return in the closing moments. His 56-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter put Farrell ahead to stay.
Two years ago, Farrell won at Union City, 36-6. Farrell last lost a regular season game in Erie County in in 1982, falling at Erie McDowell, 41-7.
Farrell visits West Middlesex next week in both teams' Region 1 Class 1A opener.
Sharon at Fairview, 7:00 p.m.
Sharon goes on the road for the first time in 2018 Friday night when the Tigers visit another group of Tigers, Fairview. Each team picked up its first win of the season over a big rival in conference play. Sharon held off visiting Hickory, 27-24, while Fairview claimed a 28-6 win over backyard rival Girard in Region 6 action.
After committing four turnovers in a season-opening setback to Wilmington, Sharon forced four turnovers in Week Two against Hickory. C.J. Parchman returned an interception 58 yards for a touchdowns while Frank Shaffer and Trey Jones also had interceptions. The Tigers also had four sacks to help give head coach Jim Wildman his 250th career win.
Parchman caught touchdown passes of 75 and 20 yards from quarterback Lane Voytik. Parchman leads the county with 213 receiving yards. His 23.7 yards-per-catch average also leads the area.
Voytik ranks third locally with 360 passing yards. He leads Mercer County with 29 completions.
Fairview gave first-year head coach Nathan Liberty his first victory with the Tigers by rushing for 403 total yards against Girard. Chris Mohra ran for 183 yards and two scores while quarterback Mason Bender added 127 yards and two touchdowns. Elijah Larson added 93 rushing yards on 18 attempts. Fairview did commit 19 penalties for 191 yards.
The teams last met in the District 10 playoffs November 8, 2014, with Sharon earning a 35-0 win at Edinboro University. The teams also met in the 2009 D-10 playoffs, with Sharon pulling out an 18-17 win.
Conneaut (Ohio) at Lakeview, 7:00 p.m.
Lakeview will host Conneaut (Ohio) in non-conference action Friday night as the Sailors aim to stop their 20-game slide. The Sailors opened their road schedule in Week Two with a 47-0 setback at West Middlesex.
After sticking primarily to the ground attack in the season opener against Maplewood, Lakeview quarterback Kendel Crocker attempted 16 passes at West Middlesex. Sophomore Burton Brocklehurst caught a pair of passes for the Sailors.
Defensively, Lakeview has allowed its first two opponents to complete 59.1 percent (13 of 22) of their passes, which is the highest mark among the 12 area teams.
Conneaut improved to 1-1 by downing visiting Cleveland John Adams, 49-26, last Friday night. Juniors Rylan Davison and Brandon Smile split time at quarterback in the win. Davison ran for 130 yards and two scores. He also threw a touchdown pass and caught a touchdown. Senior running back Mike Williams picked up 214 yards on 16 carries. Conneaut did commit six turnovers, however.
Smile threw for 1,057 yards and 11 touchdown last season. Williams ran for 1,489 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2017.
Conneaut is 11-3 against Pennsylvania schools since the start of the 2016 season. The Spartans are Division IV in Ohio nomenclature. Among the teams in Conneaut's OHSAA region are Girard (Ohio), Hubbard, Lakeview (Ohio), Poland, Ursuline and Struthers. The Spartans will also play Wilmington and Sharpsville later in the season.
Head coach Rocco Dobran is 33-39 in eight seasons at Conneaut. He is 32-20 since the start of the 2013 season.
Akron Manchester at Sharpsville, 7:00 p.m.
Until the middle of the week, it appeared that Sharpsville would have receive a forfeit from Seneca and in turn, have an open week in Week Three. However, Akron Manchester, an Ohio Division V school located south of Akron, also had an open date this weekend. That combination results in a Saturday night game at historic McCracken Field, where Sharpsville used to play all home games on Saturday nights.
Sharpsville improved to 2-0 last Friday with a 64-6 at Iroquois. Quarterback Nick Alexander threw for 255 yards and four touchdowns in the win. Senior wide receiver Joe Bornes caught a pair of touchdown passes while Kobe Joseph and Tristan Besser also caught touchdown passes from Alexander.
Safety Chayse Stevens-Luchey returned an interception 27 yards for a touchdown while Max Messett scored on a 52-yard punt return.
Alexander leads Mercer County with 495 passing yards and is third in passer rating (200.2). Wide receiver Luke Levis averages 23.5 yards per catch and is third in the county with 188 receiving yards.
Manchester fell to 1-1 last week with a 48-20 home loss to Gnadenhutten Indian Valley in non-conference play. Junior tailback Ethan Wright ran for one touchdown and also caught a second touchdown in the setback. Wright ran for 264 yards and four touchdowns in Manchester's season-opening 31-7 win over Chippewa.
Fellow junior Hunter Foster ran for 89 yards against Indian Valley after an 88-yard outing against Chippewa.
Manchester head coach Jim France owns a 384-122-3 record in 47 years (1971-84, 1986-present). He has earned 20 league Coach of the Year and has led the Panthers to 23 playoff berths since 1989. Manchester has won two straight Principals Athletic Conference (PAC-7) titles.
Last year, Manchester fell to South Range in Week Three of the regular season and then again in the regional finals of the playoffs. South Range also defeated Sharpsville in Week 10 of the 2017 regular season. Ironically, South Range leaving Manchester's schedule created the Week Three opening this year.
This is the first time that Sharpsville has hosted an Ohio opponent since October 3, 2003, when the Blue Devils fell to Warren John F. Kennedy, 14-6. In 2002, Sharpsville earned a 35-6 home win over Cleveland Heights Lutheran East. In 2001, Sharpsville defeated Brookfield (35-0) and Campbell Memorial (42-14) at McCracken Field. Sharpsville also defeated visiting Brookfield in 1999, 35-8.