-Clairton’s Tyler Boyd soon could be chasing two records. The senior running back has his Bears one win away from tying the 59-game streak set by Central Bucks West from 1997-2000, the longest in Pennsylvania football history. Clairton (11-0) will face Neshannock (10-1) on Friday in a WPIAL Class A semifinal. Boyd also might make a run at the PIAA career touchdown record established by Bishop O’Reilly’s Bryan Belles, a senior in 1998. Boyd would need 17 more to match the 123 scored by Belles. Boyd had 11 touchdowns combined in WPIAL playoff victories the past two weeks against Frazier (six) and Brentwood (five). Should Clairton reach the PIAA championship game, like it has each of the past four seasons, Boyd would have five games left in his senior season.
-Both Class AAAA semifinals in District 7 are rematches of games from earlier this season. No. 1 seed North Allegheny (11-0) gave No. 4 seed Seneca Valley (10-1) its only loss, 45-3 in Week 3. No. 3 seed Upper St. Clair (10-1) beat No. 7 seed Woodland Hills (9-2) in Week 1, 31-12. The WPIAL’s four championship games are Nov. 23 at Heinz Field.
-USO quarterback Akil Young set a Pittsburgh City League single-game record with 462 passing yards in Friday’s 47-38 victory over Somerset in a PIAA Class AAA playoff game. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound senior threw six touchdowns and completed 30 of 46 passes.
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DISTRICT 1 and 12
-No. 16 seed Wissahickon pulled off arguably the biggest upset in District 1-AAAA playoff history since the dawn of the 16-team format, with its titanic 38-35 victory over No. 1 seed and previously undefeated Downingtown East. Running back Dave Stellato scored four times and kicker Greg McDonough shrugged off the pressure and drilled a winning 22-yard field goal as time expired. The Trojans will face No. 8 seed Coatesville, who defeated Unionvile, 38-21, in the quarterfinals. Second seed Ridley held serve, but barely The Raiders slipped past Downingtown West 20-17.
-Mike Class continues to shine for Pennridge, as the running back rolled up 283 yards as the Rams thumped Abington 35-14. Class scored four touchdowns and each of those scoring runs covered 40 or more yards.
-The La Salle Explorers avenged their only regular season loss, edging St Joe’s Prep 28-27 in overtime. The Explorers gave up leads of 14-0 and 21-14 in regulation. The Prep scored first in OT, but a bad snap led to a missed PAT attempt. With a chance to win it, the Explorers’ Chris Kane found wideout Sean Coleman for their fourth scoring hook-up of the game. Ryan Winslow’s PAT won the game. It was La Salle’s fifth straight Philadelphia Catholic League Class AAAA title. La Salle will face Public League champ Frankford Saturday for the District 12-AAAA title. Archbishop Wood also won its fifth straight PCL title, defeating Monsignor Bonner 38-16.
-Northwest Area has been forced to forfeit its Eastern Conference Class A first-round win over Muncy. Northwest used an ineligible player and as a result, the Rangers are unable to play Friday’s championship game against Schuylkill Haven. The Rangers had to forfeit their 42-21 win over Muncy because a player who was ejected in a Week 10 game against Montrose played against Muncy. PIAA rules state that if a player is ejected from competition he/she is ineligible for the next game.
-Mike Baur’s 10-yard touchdown run with 10 seconds left to play gave Wyoming Valley West a 6-0 win over Emmaus in the opening round of the Eastern Conference Class AAAA playoffs. It marked the first time in Valley West history that the Spartans beat a District 11 team in the postseason. The Spartans get another shot at beating a District 11 team when it hosts Nazareth for the championship on Friday night.
-Lancaster Catholic senior RB Roman Clay hit a pair of milestones in the Crusaders’ 32-14 win over Hershey in the first round of the District 3-AAA playoffs last Friday. First, he went over 2,000 rushing yards this season. Second, he passed former Lebanon Catholic standout Tommy Long and became the Lancaster-Lebanon League’s all-time leading rusher. Clay has 2,245 yards this season, and his 5,688 career yards are now tops in league history.
-Clay can add to his career total on Friday when Lancaster Catholic hosts L-L League neighbor Cocalico in a much-anticipated District 3-AAA quarterfinal game. Lancaster Catholic and Cocalico are former Section 3 combatants; Cocalico moved up to Section 2 in 2004 and Lancaster Catholic joined Section 1 this season. In Lancaster County football circles, Lancaster Catholic vs. Cocalico is a major showdown. Cocalico has won eight games in a row since a Week 3 non-league loss to Governor Mifflin.
-Bishop McDevitt senior WR Brian Lemelle came within five yards of setting a District 3 record for receiving yards in a game. Lemelle had 11 catches for 249 yards and two touchdowns in the undefeated Crusaders’ 40-13 victory over Lampeter-Strasburg. Speaking of McDevitt, the defending champion and PIAA Class AAA runner-up the last two seasons, head coach Jeff Weachter’s team beat three of the eight teams remaining in the Class AAAA bracket.
-Harrisburg set District 3 records for points in a quarter and the first half when it scored 40 points in the second quarter against Mechanicsburg Saturday afternoon. The Cougars scored five offensive touchdowns on 11 plays and added a defensive touchdown to the mix. Harrisburg led 53-7 at halftime on its way to a 53-22 victory over the Wildcats.
DISTRICT 5 and 6
-The underdogs definitely had their day on the first weekend of District 6 Class A football action, as the fifth, sixth and seventh seeds all got through the quarterfinals along with top-seeded Bellwood-Antis. Bishop McCort dethroned Dan Ferens and defending champion Penns Manor, 32-29, and now will get to host No. 7 Northern Cambria, which hung around with Portage, shut down the Mustangs’ running game and pulled off a 20-14 win. Guilfoyle rushed for 280 yards to dispatch Juniata Valley in the 5-vs-4 game; the Marauders travel to Bellwood on Friday.
-Upsets weren’t limited to Class A. Sixth-seeded Forest Hills kept third-seeded Central off-balance and the Scarlet Dragon offense off the field with a possession passing game, piling up 205 yards through the air in a 21-7 District 6 Class AA quarterfinal win. Ligonier Valley will attempt to keep the Rangers from pulled a second straight upset on Saturday.
-There will be a District 6 finals rematch on Friday as defending Class AA champ Tyrone heads to Richland. The Golden Eagles survived a scoreless tie at halftime to get through Cambria Heights, 14-7. Richland stormed past Penn Cambria for the second time in a month in the quarterfinals, 28-0.
-Chestnut Ridge won its first district football championship by edging Everett, 22-21, in the District 5 Class AA finals. The Lions now will get a week off before having to take on the District 9 winner – the District 5 and District 8 representatives were supposed to meet this week, but Westinghouse, the only AA school in the Pittsburgh City League, declined to enter the playoffs.
-Mercer County put together a dominating week in small school football. West Middlesex, Sharpsville, Farrell and Lakeview swept the northern teams of Eisenhower, Cochranton, Mercyhurst Prep and Iroquois in the Class A quarterfinals. One day later, Grove City, Hickory, Wilmington and Greenville swept Corry, Northwestern, Fairview and North East in AA. Mercer County is guaranteed to send two football teams to the PIAA playoffs.
-In the bigger classfications, Cathedral Prep, the No. 1 Class AAA team in the state, will begin its postseason run against Warren Friday. The Ramblers feature quarterback Damion Terry, the all-time passer in District 10 history. Warren quarterback Austin Jerman is a collegiate prospect and is the school’s all-time passer. He has 4,097 yards and became the eighth quarterback in D-10 history to throw for 4,000 yards. The other Class AAA semifinal features traditional power General McLane against Slippery Rock, which was 0-10 two years ago.
-McDowell, which is possibly the best 5-5 team in the state, will take on Perry Friday. Perry hasn’t had much luck against D-10 after being routed 56-6 by Prep in Week 1. The other AAAA subregional features DuBois and State College. The winner likely travels to D-10 to play McDowell in the first round of the PIAA playoffs.
-Hickory running back DeShawn Coleman set the school career rushing record Saturday in a 48-22 win over Northwestern. Coleman, a West Virginia recruit, ran for 222 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries. He has 1,342 yards and 23 touchdowns this season after rushing for 2,393 yards and 31 touchdowns as a junior. His career total of 3,735 yards is 25 more than Andre Coleman (no relation), who had 3,710 after the 1989 season. Sharon graduate T.J. Phillips has the Mercer County and District 10 career rushing record with 6,241 yards.
-The rematch is set. Tri-Valley’s Blake Bowman went over the 2,000-yard rushing mark for the season and quarterback Dalton Miller attained the 1,000-yard mark rushing to lead the Dawgs to a 28-13 win over Marian on Saturday night in the district semifinal to set up a rematch against TVL rival Williams Valley for the district title Saturday night between the pines in Willamstown. Williams Valley nearly fell victim to upset in its semifinal, leading Shenandoah Valley 35-0 before the Blue Devils recovered four onside kicks and pulled within a touchdown at 35-28. The Vikings got a big touchdown from Cole Barnhardt for a two-score cushion to put the game away. The first matchup between the once-beaten Dawgs and unbeaten Vikings was decided in overtime. Tri-Valley led 6-0 with 32 seconds left in regulation before the Vikings drove 64 yards for the tying score. Both teams scored on their first overtime possession, but Barnhardt’s two-point conversion run gave the Vikings the win and ultimately the TVL title. Saturday night will the fifth playoff meeting between the programs since 2000 with Tri-Valley winning both previous games.
-Playing without its head coach, Rick Geist, who was suspended indefinitely following win over Panther Valley in Week 9 and subsequently resigned Nov. 4, North Schuylkill will play for the Eastern Conference Class AA title Friday night against Carbondale. The Spartans have rode the rushing of Ethan Motsney and Matt Gownley throughout the season and pummeled Wilkes-Barre Meyers 65-19 last Friday. North Schuylkill led 53-0 in the second quarter during that win. -Schuylkill Haven gained an Eastern Conference Class A title before stepping onto the field to play the final. The Hurricanes were awarded the championship after Northwest Area was disqualified for using an ineligible player in its 41-21 win over Muncy in last week’s semifinals. Muncy declined the option to face the Hurricanes on Friday, giving Schuylkill Haven the title.
-Parkland is trying to win its first District 11-AAAA championship since 2007. The Trojans play Pleasant Valley in the championship game. The last two times Parkland won the District 11 title, it went on to reach the PIAA Class AAAA championship game.
STATE HS FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK CONTRIBUTORS
Kevin Keating, Pottsville Republican
Jeff Reinhart, PennLive.com
Tom Reisenweber, Erie Times-News
Mike Drago, Reading Eagle
Dan Morehouse, WNPV Radio
Stephen Miller, Allentown Morning Call
Joby Fawcett, Scranton Times
Phil Cmor, Altoona Mirror
Jim Reeser, Wilkes-Barre Citzens Voice
Andrew P. Shay, The Patriot-News
Chris Harlan, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review