(Statistical Information Courtesy of Professor Briggs' archives, The Herald and Erie Times-News)
WEEK SIX FOOTBALL PREVIEWS
The regular season ends this weekend for the 13 teams in the Mercer County area with another seven-game card. Five of the seven games have playoff implications as District 10 has announced that four teams will qualify in Classes 1A, 2A and 3A. Five of this week's games will be played Friday night. Both Saturday games will be held in Hermitage. Kennedy Catholic hosts Reynolds in an afternoon Class 1A game. The scheduled regular season concludes Saturday night when Hickory hosts 3A rival Slippery Rock.
Starting next week, teams have the option of playing additional regular season games, up to a maximum of 10, as per PIAA guidelines.
Before proceeding to this week's previews, here is an overview of the playoff landscape in District 10:
Already In: Reynolds (5-0), Eisenhower (5-0), Cambridge Springs (4-1)
Contending For Final Spot: Iroquois (3-2), West Middlesex (3-2), Mercer (2-3), Maplewood (2-3), Saegertown (2-3), Union City (2-3)
D-10 Games With Playoff Implications: West Middlesex at Mercer, Iroquois at Union City, Northwestern at Maplewood, Cochranton at Saegertown
Already In: Wilmington (5-0), Northwestern (5-0)
Not Officially In On District 10 Bracket, But They're In: Farrell (3-2)
Contending For Final Spot: Lakeview (2-3), Sharpsville (2-3)
D-10 Games With Playoff Implications: Lakeview at Cambridge Springs, Wilmington at Sharpsville
Already In: Hickory (5-0), Fort LeBoeuf (5-0)
Guaranteed A Spot From Region 6 By D-10 By-laws Unless They Opt-Out: Corry (1-4) or North East (0-5)
Contending For Final Spot(s): Fairview (2-3), Girard (2-3), Grove City (2-3), Slippery Rock (2-3), Mercyhurst Prep (1-4), Sharon (1-4)
D-10 Games With Playoff Implications: Fairview at Mercyhurst Prep (Sat.), Fort LeBoeuf at Girard, Sharon at Grove City, Slippery Rock at Hickory (Sat.), North East at Corry
West Middlesex at Mercer, 7:00 p.m.
One District 10 Class 1A playoff berth remains open. Two of the contenders for the spot will meet in the Mercer County seat Friday night when West Middlesex makes the 12-mile trek up Route 318 to Mercer.
Along with a win over West Middlesex, Mercer needs Union City to defeat Iroquois to create a four-team tie at 3-3 for the final District 10 playoff berth. Wins by Cochranton (over Saegertown) and Northwestern (over Maplewood) would be beneficial to the Mustangs' cause. West Middlesex would presumably clinch the fourth spot with a win and a Union City victory. Any ties would be resolved over the weekend by District 10's selection committee.
West Middlesex improved its playoff chances by chalking up a 26-0 home win over Kennedy Catholic last Friday night. The Big Reds' top-ranked defense held Kennedy to 44 total yards, three first downs and a 1-for-14 effort on third down. West Middlesex set up two touchdowns in the third quarter by blocking one punt and forcing another kick to be shanked.
Junior fullback Ian Smith and senior quarterback Ty Tate both ran for a pair of touchdowns. Smith leads West Middlesex with 308 rushing yards while Tate has 184 yards and a team-high five rushing touchdowns. Tate ranks eighth in the county with 676 yards of total offense.
Defensively, West Middlesex has not allowed a touchdown pass this season. Opposing quarterbacks are 11 of 42 (26.2 percent) against the West Middlesex defense. Additionally, opponents have converted only 9 of 50 (18.0 percent) third downs against West Middlesex. West Middlesex allows a county-low 147.4 yards per game.
West Middlesex limited Mercer to 59 yards and three first downs in the Big Reds' 35-7 home win September 25. Smith ran for 86 yards and a touchdown while Eddie Lowe opened the second half with a 76-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Senior Chris Smith intercepted a pass, forced a fumble and recorded a quarterback sack to help lead the defense.
Five turnovers and a blocked punt helped foil Mercer last Friday night against undefeated Reynolds. The Raiders converted three turnovers into touchdowns, scored right before halftime after the blocked punt, and then returned the second half kickoff for a touchdown in handing Mercer a 41-0 setback.
In recent weeks, Mercer has incorporated more spread elements into its traditional Delaware Wing-T offense. Last week, junior quarterback Ethan Wiley attempted a career-high 29 passes. That marked the highest total for a Mercer quarterback since Logan Clarke attempted 32 passes at Farrell October 24, 2014.
Wiley has thrown for 270 yards and two scores this season. Senior halfback Aidan Bright leads Mercer with eight catches for 80 yards. Bright also leads Mercer with 335 rushing yards and 726 all-purpose yards this season. He ranks third in the county with 56 points, fourth in all-purpose yards and No. 8 in rushing yards.
Turnovers are always a factor in football and could be an even greater element in Friday's game. Mercer ranks second in the county with 15 takeaways this season. Junior cornerback Donovan Pugh is tied for second in the county with three interceptions. Bright has two picks while sophomore safety Troy Baughman recorded his first theft of the season last week against Reynolds.
However, the Mustangs have also turned over the ball a dozen times, which is second-most locally. Four of those turnovers have come inside the opponents' 20-yard-line. West Middlesex ranks 11th out of the 13 area teams in turnover margin at minus-5.
West Middlesex has won eight straight in the series. Mercer last defeated the Big Reds in 2011. Mercer closed that regular season with a 42-6 win at West Middlesex. Two weeks later, the Big Reds toppled Mercer in the District 10 Class A semifinals, 44-34.
Mercer leads the all-time series 29-23-1. Mercer is 16-9 at home against the Big Reds. The modern era of the series began in 1971, when Mercer capped a 9-0 season by blanking West Middlesex, 30-0, in the season finale.
Mercer and West Middlesex competed in District 7's Tri-County League from 1971 to 1981 and then again from 1984 to 1989. The football programs moved to District 10 and the Mercer County Athletic Conference in 1990. Mercer is 17-16 against West Middlesex since 1990. The teams also played in 1928 and 1929. West Middlesex earned a 13-0 home win October 13, 1928. The lone tie between the teams came November 9, 1929 -- a scoreless draw at West Middlesex. West Middlesex discontinued football in the 1930s and resumed the varsity program in 1964.
The game can be heard on 790 WPIC. Live stats available here.
Sharon at Grove City, 7:00 p.m.
Grove City will meet Sharon for the sixth time in the last three seasons Friday night when the teams conclude Region 3 Class 3A play at Forker Field. A win could put Grove City into the District 10 playoffs. Sharon needs a win, along with wins by Mercyhurst Prep, Hickory and Fort LeBoeuf to form a logjam of 2-4 teams in District 10 Class 3A.
Both teams' respective playoff hopes diminished in Week Five. The Tigers nearly pulled off an upset win at Hickory last Friday night before falling 41-28. Sharon trailed 28-7 in the fourth quarter before rallying to tie the game. Meanwhile, Grove City fell in overtime at Slippery Rock, 17-14.
Offensively, Grove City and Sharon both average a county-high 63 plays per game. Yet, the two offenses could not be more different. Grove City uses a one-back, no-huddle spread attack. Meanwhile, Sharon has shifted to a methodical Wing-T attack that utilizes three running backs, along with dual-threat quarterback Brett Salsgiver.
Both teams eclipsed the 70-play mark last week. Grove City executed 70 offensive plays at Slippery Rock. Sharon ran 77 plays at Hickory, helping the Tigers accumulate nearly 37 minutes of possession time.
Salsgiver ran for 77 yards and three touchdowns while senior halfback Tyvell Richardson ran for 101 yards. Ja'On Phillips returned a punt 80 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, intercepted two passes and forced a fumble. He and tight end Shane Rowe both caught two passes.
Richardson leads the Tigers with 286 rushing yards and Salsgiver ranks second on the team with 223 rushing yards. Phillips ranks fourth in the county with 21 receptions. He is the only county player to return a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown this season. He's the first county player to achieve that feat since Farrell's Christian Lewis late in the 2018 season. Earlier in 2018, current Grove City senior Logan Breese also returned both a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown.
Phillips is tied for second in the area with three interceptions and ranks seventh in the area with 644 all-purpose yards.
Breese starts at both quarterback and cornerback for Grove City but missed last week's game at Slippery Rock due to a knee procedure. His status for this week remains questionable. Junior Zach Rodgers started in his place at quarterback at Slippery Rock. He threw for 157 yards and a touchdown on 13-of-26 accuracy. Freshman Gavin Lutz caught five balls for 40 yards while senior H-back Zack Martin caught a go-ahead 18-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.
Junior Curtis Hovis led Grove City with 125 rushing yards and a touchdown on 25 attempts. No area back has carried the ball more often than has Hovis, who has 108 rushing attempts. His 454 rushing yards rank fifth in the county.
Lutz added 55 rushing yards on seven carries at Slippery Rock. He ranks third in the county with 23 receptions. However, he is out for the remainder of the season due to a foot injury.
With Lutz out and Rodgers now at quarterback, junior wide receiver Anthony Pereira is the Eagles' lone remaining starting wide receiver from Week One. Pereira leads Grove City with 25 catches and 424 receiving yards. Both figures rank second in Mercer County.
Lutz's injury also creates a second vacancy at cornerback. Sophomore Hayden McCreadie started in Breese's place last week. Classmate Trey Reznor would likely man the other corner spot in Grove City's defensive backfield, with Rodgers playing free safety.
In the teams' first meeting September 26 at Sharon Tiger Stadium, Grove City jumped out to a 21-3 lead on the way to a 42-17 victory. Breese completed 12 of 20 passes for 264 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for a touchdown. Pereira caught seven passes for 168 yards and three scores while Martin scored on a 67-yard touchdown pass. Sophomore Anthony Nemec led Grove City with 60 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Labrae Norris led Sharon that night with a season-high 72 rushing yards on 15 carries. Phillips scored on a reverse while Salsgiver threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Simeir Wade.
Sharon leads the all-time series since 1916, 40-16-2. The Tigers have defeated Grove City in the District 10 Class 3A title game in each of the last two seasons.
Since Sharon rejoined District 10 in 1982, the Tigers have won 26 of 35 meetings with Grove City. The teams did not play between 1940 and 1982. After the 1939 season, Grove City joined Corry, Greenville, Oil City, Sharpsville and Titusville in a District 10 "Class A" conference. Sharon joined District 7 in 1944.
Sharon owns a 17-8-1 record at Grove City. That includes an abbreviated 7-6 win at Grove City on October 19, 1935. During the first half, Grove City guard Frank "Jiggs" Wolford collapsed and perished on the field after blocking for teammate Wayne Cookson on an interception return for a touchdown. Coroner Dr. William Applegate determined acute dilation of the heart to be the cause of death, according to the October 21, 1935 edition of the Greenville Record-Argus.
Upon hearing the announcement at halftime of Wolford's passing and the stoppage of the game, Grove City resident Thomas Surrena, 65, suffered a fatal heart attack in the seating area.
Since 1965, the top senior athlete(s) in each sport at Grove City High School have been honored with the Frank "Jiggs" Wolford Award.
The game will be heard on Sports Radio 96.7.
Lakeview at Cambridge Springs, 7:00 p.m.
It's a rematch of the season opener when Lakeview treks to playoff-bound Cambridge Springs in a clash of Region 4 teams Friday night. The game will not count in the region standings, but a win could vault Lakeview into the Class 2A playoffs. Cambridge Springs has clinched a Class 1A playoff spot.
It is also a short week for Lakeview, which fell last Saturday night at Northwestern, 31-14. The Sailors pulled to within 17-14 late in the first half when senior Lane Barber hauled in a 42-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Gavin Murdock. Northwestern (5-0) sealed the win with a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter.
Murdock completed 11 of 17 passes for 161 yards. He also ran for 75 yards, helping the Sailors accumulate 302 total yards. Junior running back Calogano Wilkins added 54 yards and Lakeview's first touchdown of the night.
Murdock and Wilkins have emerged as one of the area's most productive backfield combinations. Murdock ranks third in the area with 779 total offensive yards. He has a team-leading 315 rushing yards, along with 464 passing yards. Wilkins averages 5.9 yards per carry and has 219 rushing yards.
Cambridge Springs clinched a playoff berth with a 15-0 whitewash at Cochranton in the Region 4 finale last Friday night. Quarterback Trenten Wheeler threw a pair of touchdown passes in the win. He went 11 of 20 for 115 yards. Wheeler also ran for a team-high 49 yards on 16 attempts.
Wheeler's numbers mirror Murdock's at the quarterback position. The 6-foot-4 Wheeler has rushed for a team-best 352 yards. Wheeler has tallied 461 passing yards and eight touchdowns. Ayden Miller has added 202 rushing yards for Spa while Aidan Rauscher leads the Blue Devils with 13 receptions and 162 receiving yards.
Defensively, Cambridge Springs allows only 10.4 points and 199.4 yards per game. The Blue Devils held Lakeview to 172 yards September 12 in the season opener as Cambridge Springs secured a 41-13 victory.
Wheeler threw four touchdown passes and added 71 yards rushing. Miller ran for 124 yards and two touchdowns while Rauscher collected four catches for 39 yards and two touchdowns. Murdock went 6 for 16, good for 79 yards. Senior wide receiver Hunter Miller caught five balls for 68 yards and a touchdown in his varsity debut.
Cambridge Springs recorded five sacks and forced two turnovers.
Cambridge Springs leads the all-time series, 20-6-2. Both ties in the series came at Lakeview, a 6-6 tie in the 1981 opener and a 20-20 draw in the 1983 finale. The teams first met September 24, 1965. Cambridge Springs defeated visiting Lakeview, 20-7.
This is Lakeview's first trip to Cambridge Springs since September 19, 2003. That night, the Sailors dropped a 12-8 decision. Lakeview is 5-10 all-time at Cambridge Springs.
First-year Cambridge Springs head coach Nathan Liberty is 1-2 all-time against Lakeview. He spent five seasons (2012-16) as Cochranton head coach and fell to Lakeview in both 2012 (22-16) and 2013 (62-8).
Wilmington at Sharpsville, 7:00 p.m.
Riding a 21-game regular season winning streak, Wilmington visits Sharpsville in Friday night's regular season finale. While Wilmington (5-0) has sewn up the Region 2 title and a District 10 playoff berth, Sharpsville (2-3) remains alive for the remaining playoff spot. District 10 remains guarded about the selection criteria for at-large berths, but a win over Wilmington would greatly enhance the Blue Devils' résumé.
The passing game has become a larger part of most offenses at the scholastic level over the last decade. In recent years, Wilmington and Sharpsville have both featured explosive passing attacks. In 2020, however, the Greyhounds and Blue Devils have featured their respective Wing-T ground games. Wilmington has attempted only 27 passes this year, the lowest total in the area. Sharpsville quarterbacks have attempted only 40 passes, third-fewest locally.
Wilmington leads the Mercer County area in rushing offense, averaging 345.2 yards per game. The Greyhounds average a county-high 9.3 yards per attempt. Senior running backs Ethan Susen and Darren Miller have combined for 1,047 yards and 14 touchdowns in five games this season. Halfback Susen has 585 yards and six scores while fullback Miller has posted 462 yards and eight touchdowns. Susen and Miller rank third and fourth, respectively, on the area's rushing leaderboard.
Miller ran for 106 yards and two touchdowns last Saturday night in Wilmington's come-from-behind 21-20 home win over Farrell. Susen ran for a team-leading 110 yards.
Sharpsville also features a productive halfback-fullback combination in the backfield. Senior halfback Danny Henwood leads Sharpsville with 427 yards and four touchdowns. Meanwhile, junior fullback Chris Roth has added 281 yards. Henwood leads Sharpsville with seven receptions and 656 all-purpose yards. He ranks sixth in the area in rushing yards and all-purpose yards.
Henwood ran for a career-high 185 yards and two touchdowns in a 24-14 home win over Greenville last Friday night. Roth added 66 yards and a score. Sharpsville amassed 258 rushing yards on 45 attempts.
The similarities between Wilmington and Sharpsville's offenses end there, though. Wilmington features four multi-year starters on the offensive line and senior Caelan Bender at quarterback. Conversely, Sharpsville has five seniors total on its roster this year. That youth can be found at quarterback, where sophomore Stephen Tarnoci and freshman Caullin Summers have both started this year for the Blue Devils.
Summers started last week in place of the injured Tarnoci. He is 3 of 7 passing this year. Tarnoci has completed 12 of 31 attempts in four games.
Bender has thrown for 299 yards and five touchdowns this year for Wilmington. He has not been intercepted. Bender has 236 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns.
The "Hounds Hammer" defense leads the county in scoring defense, allowing only 9.2 points per game through the first five weeks. Susen leads the area with four interceptions.
Wilmington has a county-low three turnovers this year. Sharpsville has an area-low three takeaways in 2020. Sharpsville is the area's least-penalized team, having been flagged only 16 times for 97 total yards in five games.
Wilmington leads the all-time series 12-4. The Greyhounds extended their win streak to seven games in the series with a 42-0 home win September 25 over Sharpsville. Bender ran for 100 yards and two touchdowns on four carries. He also threw a touchdown pass to senior split end Mason Reed. Susen added 96 rushing yards and a score. Roth led Sharpsville with 67 rushing yards on 14 attempts.
Sharpsville head coach Paul Piccirilli is the father-in-law of Wilmington head coach Brandon Phillian. This is the fifth matchup between the two men as head coaches.
Greenville at Farrell, 7:00 p.m.
Farrell (3-2) has clinched second place in Region 2, regardless of Friday night's results. A Farrell loss and a win by Sharpsville (2-3) would put both teams at 3-3, but Farrell owns a 2-0 sweep of the Blue Devils this year. Meanwhile, Greenville aims for a season split with the Steelers.
Farrell scored on its first four offensive possessions September 25 at Greenville, on the way to a 47-7 victory. Junior tailback Anthony Stallworth ran for three first quarter touchdowns. Junior linebacker Taidon Strickland closed the first quarter with a 65-yard interception return for touchdown and junior quarterback Trian Holden added two touchdown passes in the second quarter.
Stallworth finished with 157 yards and his three touchdowns on 10 carries. Brandon Chambers, Jr., added 75 yards and a touchdown on 11 attempts.
Stallworth leads Mercer County with 772 rushing yards, 15 rushing touchdowns, 104 total points and 934 all-purpose yards. He has already surpassed his 15-game total of 102 points from last season. Stallworth has 2,668 career rushing yards, which represents the No. 4 total in Farrell history. Allan Claiborne (1999-2001) ranks third with 2,870 yards. (Statistics courtesy Bob Greenburg).
Farrell pairs its Stallworth-paced rushing attack with an efficient passing game to produce one of District 10's most balanced and explosive offenses. Quarterbacks Christian Hartley and Holden have completed a county-best 69 percent (42 of 61) of their attempts this season. That tandem averages 13.3 yards per completion, also the area's top mark.
Holden completed 6 of 9 passes for 100 yards in the first meeting with Greenville. Hartley went 3 for 5, good for 35 yards. Brice Butler and Kylon Wilson each caught three passes, including a touchdown apiece.
Hartley ranks sixth in the area with 697 yards of total offense. He ranks fourth with 579 passing yards. Holden is 13 of 18 for 233 yards and three touchdowns. Butler ranks fifth in the area with 256 receiving yards on 13 receptions. He's second in yards per catch (19.7).
Butler caught four passes for 111 yards last Saturday night in Farrell's 21-20 defeat at Wilmington. Stallworth caught a 76-yard touchdown pass from Hartley while adding 167 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Hartley completed 5 of 7 attempts for 157 yards. The Steelers finished with 432 offensive yards.
Like Farrell, Greenville looks to rebound from a tough road setback after holding the lead in the first half. The Trojans led Sharpsville 7-0 after one quarter last Friday night but the host Blue Devils rallied for a 24-14 win over Greenville. Junior quarterback Jalen Ritzert threw for a career-high 153 yards on 6-of-10 passing. That marked the highest passing total for a Greenville quarterback since Nate Bell threw for 156 yards November 10, 2017 in a 28-14 playoff win over Sharpsville.
Senior wide receiver Rufus Byler pulled in four passes for 129 yards while junior tight end Cole Karpinski hauled in a touchdown pass. Byler has gained 285 yards on his 17 receptions this season. He ranks third in the county in receiving yards and sixth in catches.
Greenville allowed Sharpsville to convert 7 of 10 third-down opportunities last week. The Trojans rank 13th locally in third-down defense, allowing opponents to convert 23 of 39 (59 percent) situations. The Trojans' defense will face a Farrell offense that owns the area's second-best conversion rate on third downs, 53.6 percent.
Sophomore halfback Mason Dickens ran for a season-high 73 yards in the first meeting. He leads Greenville with 191 rushing yards. Dickens and bruising freshman fullback Malachi Hyde (136 yards) have been pressed into duty since the season's early moments.
Farrell leads the all-time series 21-9-2. Farrell is 11-4-1 at home against Greenville. Greenville last defeated Farrell on its home field September 30, 1966, when Ed Snyder's Trojans earned a 13-0 win at Farrell. Overall, Greenville's last win over Farrell came November 11, 1983. The Trojans pulled out a 7-6 home win over Farrell in the second annual Northwest Conference-Keystone Football League playoff game.
Greenville's last win at Paulekas Stadium came November 19, 1993 in the District 10 Class AAA title game. The Trojans edged Sharon, 9-7. In 1985, Sharon defeated Greenville, 53-7, for the inaugural District 10 Division I title at Farrell.
It is notable that in this COVID-delayed 2020 football campaign, the first meeting between Farrell and Greenville took place during an abbreviated season. Greenville earned a 39-0 win at Farrell on October 12, 1918. The Spanish Flu epidemic later halted the season that November.
Reynolds at Kennedy Catholic, 1:00 p.m.
In 60 previous seasons of play, the Reynolds High School football program has never completed an undefeated regular season. Saturday, the 5-0 Raiders can accomplish that feat with a victory at Kennedy Catholic.
Reynolds clinched the outright Region 1 title and a District 10 playoff berth last Friday by pulling away for a 41-0 win at Mercer. Defense and special teams played major roles in the Reynolds win. The Raiders forced five turnovers and held Mercer to 92 total yards on 47 offensive plays.
With Reynolds leading 7-0 in the closing moments of the first half, the Raiders blocked a punt in Mercer territory. On the final scrimmage play of the half, senior halfback Cole Toy scored the second of his three rushing touchdowns. Sophomore Jalen Wagner opened the second half by returning a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown to give Reynolds a 21-0 lead.
Toy paced Reynolds' punishing ground attack with 156 yards on 26 touchdowns. Senior halfback Dreyvin Livingston added 64 yards on 10 attempts while Wagner added 48 yards in a reserve role. He left the game with an apparent leg injury in the fourth quarter, however. Wagner is the only player in the area to return both a kickoff and an interception for a touchdown this season.
The Raiders average a county-best 45.2 points per game. Reynolds ranks second in the area in rushing offense, averaging 323.8 yards per game. Toy ranks second in the area with 685 rushing yards and 14 touchdown runs. Livingston owns 10th in the local rankings with 320 yards. His 9.1 yards per carry average is fourth-best in the area. Livingston also ranks seventh with 42 total points.
Reynolds leads the area with 17 takeaways and a plus-11 turnover margin. Eight different players have recorded an interception this year. Toy and Livingston share the team lead with two picks each. Last week, Clayton Rhoads and Quinton Earley recorded interceptions.
Reynolds allows only 9.6 points per game and 3.4 yards per offensive play.
Kennedy's defense forced two turnovers and limited host West Middlesex to 209 yards on 52 plays last Friday evening. However, a blocked punt and a nubbed punt helped set up two short scoring drives for the Big Reds, who earned a 26-0 win over Kennedy.
Sky'Ler Thomas and Blaze Campbell both intercepted passes for Kennedy, which now has 11 takeaways this year. Campbell is tied for fifth in the county with two interceptions.
In recent weeks, Kennedy's rushing attack has gained traction as running back Matt Jordan leads the Eagles with 179 rushing yards. The Eagles used junior Kole Tarary as a fullback against West Middlesex as Kennedy shifted from a spread attack to using more I-formation.
Sophomore quarterback Nick Ondo has thrown for 422 yards this season, the No. 7 total locally. He ranks fourth with 41 pass completions. Classmate Dajaun Young has a team-high 17 catches, ranking sixth in the county. Thomas is eighth with 203 receiving yards.
The teams met three weeks ago in Transfer and Reynolds turned each of Kennedy's seven turnovers into touchdowns. Reynolds scored a school-record 75 points in its 75-14 victory. Earley returned the opening kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown while Hayden McLaughlin's 68-yard interception return set up another score. Senior cornerback Luca Tofani scored on a 17-yard interception return.
Toy ran for 102 yards and three touchdowns while senior fullback Aidan Mull scored twice. Sophomore quarterback Brayden McCloskey threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to sophomore tight end Nate Miller. Senior defensive tackle Rocco John-Daniello intercepted a pass and recorded a sack.
Jordan ran for 54 yards while also catching six passes for 52 yards and a score. Campbell closed Kennedy's scoring by returning a fumble 83 yards to the end zone. Kennedy forced four Reynolds turnovers.
Reynolds leads the all-time series 21-8, including an 11-3 mark at Kennedy. The teams first met September 16, 1967. Kennedy won each of the first four meetings.
Slippery Rock at Hickory, 7:00 p.m.
Undefeated Hickory aims for its third all-time undefeated regular season Saturday night when the Hornets host Slippery Rock. Hickory has already clinched the Region 3 title, a berth in the District 10 Class 3A playoffs and presumably a home playoff game. Slippery Rock kept its playoff hopes alive with a comeback overtime win last week over Grove City. A win at Hickory would give Slippery Rock the No. 2 spot in the region and likely the most significant win of any 3-3 team vying for a playoff berth in Class 3A.
Hickory and Slippery Rock each earned home wins last Friday night against their respective archrivals. Hickory allowed a 28-7 fourth quarter lead to evaporate against visiting Sharon, but the Hornets scored the final 13 points of the game in a 41-28 victory.
Slippery Rock, meanwhile, scored the tying touchdown with 12 seconds left in regulation on Ethan Plesakov's catch in the end zone. In overtime, senior Alex Duffalo boomed a 27-yard field goal to give the Rockets a 17-14 win over Grove City, along with a season split with the Eagles.
Hickory and Slippery Rock own the area's top passing attacks. The Hornets average 272.4 passing yards this season and have accumulated 16 passing touchdowns. Senior Michael Henwood leads the area with 1,232 passing yards and 15 touchdown passes. His 1,640 yards of individual total offense and 23 total touchdowns also pace the county.
Slippery Rock sophomore quarterback William Mokel has completed an area-best 79 passes on 141 attempts, which is also the area's top total. Mokel ranks second locally to Henwood with 910 passing yards. Mokel completed 24 of 44 passes for 279 yards in last week's win over Grove City. The 24 completions and 44 attempts are the most by any area quarterback this season.
The 24 completions are the most for an area quarterback in a regular season game since October 4, 2019, when Sharon's Lane Voytik went 29 of 40 against Grove City. The 44 attempts marked the highest total in a regular season game by a local player since October 5, 2018, when Sharpsville quarterback Nick Alexander attempted 45 passes at Conneaut, Ohio.
Both Hickory and Slippery Rock feature deep, balanced and explosive receiving units. Hickory junior wide receiver Ramarion Whitehead leads the county with 27 receptions for 600 yards. His 22.2 yards per catch average also ranks first.
Senior Matt Cannone has caught a county-best six touchdowns this year. He also threw an 85-yard touchdown bomb to Whitehead last week against Sharon. Cannone and senior tight end Rocco Iacino are tied for 10th in the area with 14 receptions each.
Slippery Rock is the only local team to have four players with 10 or more receptions this season. Junior wide receiver John Sabo leads the Rockets with 18 grabs this year while senior wide receiver Ethan Plesakov (16), junior halfback Ryan Montgomery (15) and junior fullback Shane Thompson (14) have all reached double figures. Sabo caught six passes for 120 yards against Grove City, becoming the fourth different player to lead the Rockets in receiving in a game this season.
Slippery Rock's offense managed only 104 yards against Hickory's stout defense in the Hornets' 45-0 win September 26 at Troy-Alan Stadium. Cannone, Henwood and Donovan Crockett all intercepted passes for Hickory. Hickory forced four total turnovers and held Slippery Rock to a 1-for-11 performance on third down.
Offensively, Henwood threw for 340 yards and six touchdowns. Whitehead caught seven passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns while Cannone also had two touchdown receptions. Juniors Jackson Pryts and Clay Wiesen each hauled in touchdown passes. Wiesen led the Hornets with 112 rushing yards on 13 attempts.
For the season, Hickory opponents average 3.4 yards per offensive play and are 19 for 66 (29 percent) on third down. Last week, Hickory allowed Sharon to convert 8 of 16 third-down opportunities, however. Sharon held a 77-26 edge in total plays and a 36:54-11:06 time of possession advantage.
Hickory maximized its 26 offensive plays by accumulating 468 offensive yards. Henwood ran for 234 yards and four touchdowns on 11 attempts. He also completed 5 of 10 passes for 124 yards. Whitehead grabbed three passes for 154 yards. He also had a 38-yard interception return. Senior linebacker Dalton Beatty had two quarterback sacks.
Four years ago, Hickory went 9-0 in the regular season. The 1948 Hickory squad posted a 7-0-1 mark.
Hickory leads the all-time series 21-10. The teams first met in 1988 as members of the Keystone Football League. That marked Slippery Rock's first season of football in District 10. Hickory is 9-4 all-time at home against Slippery Rock. That does not include a "home" game October 19, 1996 at Kennedy Christian's Butala Stadium. Slippery Rock earned a 14-2 win over the Hornets that afternoon. Field renovations prevented Hickory from playing on its home field in 1996.
The game can be heard on 790 WPIC. Live stats available here.