WesternPAFootball.net Notebook: Clairton joins elite “club”, Woodland Hills’ in rare territory, Warriors’ workhorse and a one-man wrecking crew
Written by: Josh Funk on Wednesday, September 19th, 2012
The WPIAL finally welcomed Allegheny County to the club.
The 600-win club, that is.
With its 54-6 victory over California Friday, Clairton etched itself as the first Allegheny County scholastic football program to reach an important milestone in all-time football victories.
The Bears won their 600th football game, and 50th in a row, over the Trojans. The Bears’ overall record as a program now stands at 600-341-47. Clairton began playing football in 1914 and won its first WPIAL championship in program history 15 years later. Clairton has won nine WPIAL championships, including five of the last six in Class A, and three consecutive PIAA titles.
While Clairton is the first program from Allegheny County to reach 600 all-time football victories, it is the WPIAL’s ninth all-time 600-game winner. New Castle, Greensburg-Salem, Jeannette, Monessen, Aliquippa, Washington, Rochester and Beaver Falls are also 600-game winners spread out amongst Beaver, Lawrence, Washington and Westmoreland counties.
New Castle became the WPIAL’s first-ever 700-game winning program in Week 2. The Red Hurricanes are Pennsylvania’s fourth 700-game winning football program.
During postgame comments following his team’s 49-20 victory over Lancaster Catholic Saturday, McDowell head coach Mark Soboleski didn’t beat around the bush when it came to what his Trojans’ defensive game plan was.
“We sold out to shut him (Roman Clay) down and it was our goal to not let him reach 100 yards rushing,” Soboleski said. “I give the credit to Jim Cacchione and Aaron Slocum. They are our co-defensive coordinators and they had our guys ready.”
McDowell held Clay, a career 4,198-yard rusher, to just 63 yards on 19 carries. Consider it mission accomplished for the Trojan defense and coaching staff, which allowed Catholic only 34 yards rushing on 23 carries as a team.
“That team is well respected and we knew what they were about,” Soboleski said. “We were focused all week and you could see that tonight.”
Woodland Hills rarely finds itself among the programs consistently in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette weekly statistical leaders for passing yardage. But Cody McClelland is changing that – through three games, McClelland has thrown for 559 yards and eight touchdowns. Woodland Hills is 2-1 overall and averaging 186.3 passing yards per game. McClelland threw for 206 yards and four touchdowns Friday.
Speaking of aerial assaults, how about some of the fast starts quarterbacks in the western half of the state have enjoyed?
Port Allegany’s Matt Bodamer already has thrown 15 touchdown passes (and 100 for his career thanks to a seven-TD effort Friday against Ridgway), but he’s not the only field general into double-digits for touchdown passes. South Fayette sophomore Brett Brumbaugh has 11 scoring passes, but Thomas Jefferson senior Joe Carroll leads the WPIAL, with 12. Carroll, in fact, has completed 27 passes this season, meaning he’s averaging a touchdown every 2.25 completions.
East Allegheny, meanwhile, has really racheted up its aerial assault under head coach Jason Ruscitto, formerly of Sto-Rox. Junior Kyle Whipple has already thrown for 678 yards through three games and is coming off of a 330-yard passing effort last Friday. Here’s the kicker – as a sophomore, Whipple threw for only 848 yards. At Whipple’s current pace, he’s on track to surpass that mark this week and finish the regular season with roughly 2,000 pass yards.
West Branch, a Class A program in District 6, has really given senior running back/linebacker Chad Speigle quite a heavy workload. He’s accounted for 109 of the Warriors’ 145 rushing attempts, 532 of the team’s 636 rushing yards and eight of the team’s nine touchdowns on the ground through three games. Speigle is averaging 36 rushing attempts per game, and is on pace to finish West Branch’s regular season slate with 363 carries.
Sto-Rox’ junior quarterback Lenny Williams threw for 400 yards Friday and eclipsed the 4,000-yard mark in career passing, but the Vikings were jousted by the Neshannock Lancers, 35-34. Neshannock scored 14 points each in the third and fourth quarters.
Williams, meanwhile, has thrown for 659 yards and six touchdowns this season and 4,221 yards and 47 touchdowns in his career. He could become Sto-Rox’ third career 5,000-yard passer later this season.
Talk about a one-man wrecking crew. Defending WPIAL AAA finalist Knoch has scored 16 total touchdowns this season, and senior Ben Tackett has accounted for 11 of them. Tackett has scored 10 touchdowns rushing and one receiving, amassing more than 470 all-purpose yards between rushing and receiving in the process. Knoch is 3-0, having won 15 of its last 16 games and 24 of its last 27.
Curwensville and Juniata Valley, reps of Districts 9 and 6 respectively, share more in common than a 3-0 start and each being Class A programs. The Golden Tide and Green Hornets are the only offensive backfields in the western half of the state who boast a pair of 400-yard rushers through three weeks.
For Juniata Valley, junior Jesse Claar has run for 460 yards and seven touchdowns and senior Brett Grissinger adds 413 yards and six scores. For Curwensville, senior Josh Greslick has totaled 442 yards and four touchdowns while junior Zach Tibbins’ 414 yards and four scores are not far behind.
Blackhawk junior quarterback Chandler Kincade is just 34 yards shy of establishing a new career high for single-season passing yardage. Kincade has thrown for 706 yards through three Cougar games to go along with five touchdowns. Kincade threw for 739 yards as a freshman and 547 as a sophomore, though he missed four games due to injury.
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