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EasternPAFootball.com - Your source for High School Football in Eastern PAEasternPAFootball.com - Your source for High School Football in Eastern PA

WesternPAFootball.net Notebook: A season of turnarounds; records tied and records broken; other tidbits

Written by: on Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

What a season of turn-arounds it has been for some western Pennsylvania programs.

Take Valley, a WPIAL AA school, for example. Think Chad Walsh deserves some consideration for Coach of the Year honors? His Valley teams in 2009 and ’10 were winless, but the Vikings rebounded for a six-win season and narrowly missed a seventh W in a 22-21 loss to Ford City Friday.

But Walsh’s Vikings aren’t the only turnaround team. Apollo-Ridge made a remarkable turnaround under John Skiba, posting six victories this season after traditionally finishing as a sub-.500 team playing in the Allegheny Conference as a AA school. A-R dropped to Class A this season. Back in August, longtime Alle-Kiski Valley prep sportswriter George Guido inked a preseason piece about Apollo-Ridge being “sick of losing.” The Vikings ended the regular season on a three-game winning streak.

Eisenhower, of District 10, won just three games a year ago. But Jim Penley’s Knights have posted a 7-2 record in 2012, and more than likely will push that mark to 8-2 after a Week 10 date with Cameron County.

First-year Cochranton head coach Nate Liberty has guided the Cardinals to a 6-3 record in District 10 Region 2 play. Cochranton plays in Class A.

And Cambria Heights, a AA school in District 6, is 7-2 overall and has beaten the likes of Forest Hills, Penn Cambria, Bishop Carroll and Bishop McCort in four consecutive weeks, and has steadily improved under head coach Jarrod Lewis into a District 6 playoff team.

Two WPIAL programs, Montour and Seneca Valley, each finished Week 9 with a pair of 100-yard passers in their respective games. For Montour, Tynen Greer and Ryan Mihelic each surpassed the century mark in passing and for Seneca Valley, Jordan Brown and Mike Jones each surpassed 100 yards passing. It’s the first time this season SV saw two passers with 100+ yards at Montour has accomplished the feat twice in October alone.

Thomas Jefferson quarterback Joe Carroll tied a school single-season record for touchdown passes Friday in a 28-14 victory over West Mifflin to help the Jaguars secure a Big Nine Conference championship. Through nine games, Carroll has thrown 33 touchdown passes, which ties him with Tyler Wehner’s record set during TJ’s most recent PIAA championship season in 2008. Wehner reached that mark in 16 games.

Another school single-season record went down in the WPIAL Friday night, and it happened for a Washington County program. Washington junior back Shai McKenzie, following a career-best 324 yards rushing in the Little Prexies’ 69-6 defeat of Waynesburg Central, set a new record for rushing yards in a single-season. The previous mark, of more than 1,700 yards, was set in 2001. McKenzie, in nine games, has 1,912.

Clearfield Area junior quarterback Christian Lezzer became western Pennsylvania’s first 1,000/1,000 quarterback for the 2012 season following a 42-7 victory over Philipsburg-Osceola. Lezzer has rushed for 1,046 yards and passed for 1,108. Lezzer is the Bisons’ first 1,000/1,000 quarterback since 2008, when Jarrin Campman rushed for 1,321 yards and threw for another 1,377.

Clarion Area, of District 9, reached a 9-0 mark in the regular season for the first time since 2000 (according to D9sports.com) with a 49-14 victory over Allegheny-Clarion Valley Friday. But the Bobcats, who are averaging 44.9 points per game and led by Old Dominion recruit T.J. Armstrong and others like John Katis, Damien Slike, Cameron Kirkland and Cody Hearst. The Bobcats could be aiming for the program’s first-ever 10-0 regular season with a victory Friday night over Brookville.

DuBois’ Garrett Brown set a school single-game record for rushing yards (359) in the Beavers’ 58-24 victory over Meadville Friday. Brown, who has only played in seven games this season, has already rushed for 1,570 yards and is the leading rusher in all of District 9 for the 2012 season.

Warren senior quarterback Austin Jerman is the school’s new career passing yardage leader, supplanting former Dragon quarterback Matt Stapleford with a 165-yard, three-touchdown passing performance in a 64-8 rout of Franklin Area Friday. Jerman is up to 3,821 yards passing for his career and 1,556 yards for his senior season. He’s led the Dragons to a 7-2 record and thrown 21 touchdowns against six interceptions.

Cathedral Prep senior quarterback Damion Terry has thrown 36 touchdown passes in nine games for the Ramblers, who are averaging 51.4 points per game and have topped 450+ points scored in a season for the sixth time since 1991. Terry, between his sophomore and junior seasons, threw a combined 36 touchdown passes (21 as a soph., 15 as a junior).

Berlin-Brothersvalley (9-0) could cap an undefeated regular season if the Mountaineers can defeat Windber Area (7-2) Friday. Berlin finished 8-3 a year ago and last won a District 5 football championship in 2004.

There’s a battle of unbeatens Friday night in the District 6 – Bellwood (9-0) vs. Richland (9-0) – both teams feature ground games averaging better than 200 yards per game. But Richland brings with it an aerial assault averaging more than 170 yards per game. Bellwood, for the first time in a while, is averaging fewer than 90 yards passing per game entering the contest.

Central Mountain’s Von Walker needs less than 180 yards each in two statistical categories to surpass a pair of milestones for the Wildcats. Walker needs just 175 yards rushing to pass the 4,000-yard plateau in career rushing and become CM’s first-ever 4,000-yard rusher. Walker also needs 159 yards passing to become the school’s first-ever 1,000/1,000 quarterback. He’s already rushed for 1,352 yards and has 841 passing.

Walker was the Wildcats’ featured running back as a freshman and sophomore, but emerged as a dual-threat at quarterback as a junior.

Port Allegany’s Matt Bodamer is now the state’s all-time leader in career passing yardage, with 9,787 following the Gators’ 55-20 victory over Brockway Saturday. The Gators and Rovers face off again in Week 10, at Port, for the Allegheny Mountain League championship game.

One note involving the Gators centers around receivers Tyce Miller (1,055 yards) and Nick Conway (910). With the exception of a couple of seasons, Pennsylvania has produced a 1,000-yard receiving duo on a near annual basis since 2004. Miller (15 TD receptions) and Conway (16 TD) could also be the first duo with 20+ TD receptions each, a feat which is not believed to have happened before on the same football team in the same season.


University Prep and Perry will meet for the Pittsburgh City League football championship game this weekend. U-Prep is led by 1,000-yard passer Akil Young and Perry’s Curtis Edmonds has more than 900 yards rushing entering the title game.

Follow Josh Funk on Twitter @Funk_pafb

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