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By Mike Copper, Tom Reisenweber, Jeff Kirik Erie Times-News staff bloggers
The Varsity blog is the 2013 winner of an international EPPY award for best sports blog. EPPYs are awarded to media-affiliated websites by Editor & Publisher, an industry trade publication. Varsity is primarily maintained by Times-News sports writers Mike Copper and Tom Reisenweber and sports editor Jeff Kirik.   Read more about this blog.
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Posts tagged "Mercyhurst Prep football"
Posted: August 29th, 2011

The Erie Times-News and are continuing District 10 football preview coverage this week, leading up to Friday’s season openers. Starting Sunday, the preview coverage included Region 6, McDowell and Region 4. The coverage will continue through Thursday. Included in each preview are complete rosters for each team.

Earlier, the Times-News published the 112-page Kickoff preseason guide and posted the online Summer Huddle series on the Varsity blog.

Check out the links to the Times-News team previews:
Sunday: McDowell preview
Sunday: Region 6
Monday: Region 4
Tuesday: Region 5
Wednesday: Region 2
Thursday: Region 3
Thursday: Region 1

Posted in: District 10, Football
Posted: July 25th, 2011

Mercyhurst Prep Lakers
Coach (season, record): Matt Morgan (7th season, 58-21)
2010 overall record: 12-1
2010 region record (place): 8-0 (champion)
2010 playoff results: Lost 39-0 to Farreel in the District 10 Class A championship.
Top players lost: Aaron Horton, Zack Palmer, Chris Kurzik, Brad Hesch, Brandon Czerwinski, Jeff Annunziata, Zach Murzynski, D’Andre Connor, Tyler Pullium
Top returning players: Cornelius Barclay, Mike Weber, Dwayne Canady, P.J. Wycech, Darrin Donikowski, Josh Agresti, Joe Desanti
Assistant coaches: Ryan Abbott, Nate Hain, Rich Krafty, John Graeb, Pete Szoszorek, James Cowles, Drew Botelho, Scott Gorring
Outlook: The three biggest strengths of Mercyhurst Prep in 2010 may be its biggest weaknesses this year. The Lakers were hit hard by graduation at running back, linebacker and offensive line. Mercyhurst has three starting offensive linemen back, but the departure of Zack Palmer, Brandon Czerwinski and Jeff Annunziata will be tough to replace. Mike Weber, a 6-foot 3-inch, 300-pound two-way starter will anchor the line along with Darrin Donikowski and Joe Desanti.

Mercyhurst’s rushing attack could wear teams out last fall. Speedy Aaron Horton, who set the District 10 single-season rushing record with 2,444 yards, and powerful Chris Kurzik made up a brutal offense to slow down. All three backs have graduated leaving a huge hole for coach Matt Morgan. Cornelius Barclay is hoping to fill that hole by transforming from a home-run threat to an every-down running back. Barclay was named to the Nike Combine All-Combine team in Pittsburgh in the offseason and his speed is impressive. He finsihed with 840 yards and 11 touchdowns on only 53 carries and could be a difference-maker for the Lakers.

The Lakers lost two of its top linebackers in Brad Hesch and Kurzik to graduation. They were leaders on the field and were a big part of a terrific defense. D.J. Mahoney will be in the mix at linebacker along with Mackenzie Kranz. The competition in camp for starting jobs should be intense. Mercyhurst has some experience back at quarterback with P.J. Wycech and in the secondary. If the Lakers can develop a few linemen and maybe get some help for Barclay, they will likely be back on top of Region 2 once again.

2 Mercer 7
9 at Iroquois* 7
16 at Cambridge Springs* 7
24 Eisenhower* 7
30 at Youngsville* 7
8 at Oliver 1
14 at Cochranton* 7
21 Saegertown* 7
28 at Union City* 7
4 Maplewood* 7

Tuesday: North East

– Tom Reisenweber

Posted: August 20th, 2010

Mercyhurst Prep has been on quite a roll over the past few years. The Lakers have gone 39-8 during the past four seasons, and that includes a 5-5 mark in 2008. Matt Morgan’s Mercyhurst Prep team appears to have the firepower to match last season’s 10-1 record and Region 4 title. Foremost among the Lakers’ weapons is star running back Aaron Horton, who rushed for 1,463 yards and scored 22 TDs as a junior.

Posted in: District 10, Football
Posted: November 7th, 2009

After reviewing the statistics and overall performances, here are our nominees for the Breakout Player of the Week.  In an oddity, receivers dominate this weekend’s poll.

Vote in the poll at upper right. We’ve added one player from Friday and several players from Saturday.

The winner will be announced Tuesday on the Varsity blog and will be featured in Friday’s sports edition.

Josh Niswonger, General McLane: 4 receptions, 49 yards; TD catches of 10, 18 and 5 yards, including the game-winner in the closing seconds.

Courtney Harden-Pullium, Strong Vincent: 4 receptions, 170 yards, including a 64-yard TD catch

Josh Rzepecki, Harbor Creek: 9 receptions, 125 yards; TD catches of 3, 3, 13 and 7 yards.

Braidy Westfall, Corry: 3 receptions, 132 yards, including TD catches of 80 and 49 yards. Also caught a two-point conversion pass.

Justin Wiley, Cathedral Prep: 8 carries, 91 yards; TD runs of 6 and 49 yards, 12-yard TD receptions — all in the first half Saturday

Ryan Myers, Union City: 80-yard TD reception, 74-yard kickoff return for a TD, 8-for-12 passing for 106 yards, 2-point conversion pass

Dan Odem, Farrell: 20-yard interception return for TD, 5-of-8 passing for 85 yards and and four touchdowns, 11-yard TD run

Chris Kurzik, Mercyhurst Prep: 18 rushes for 122 yards and a TD.

Matt Stapleford, Warren: 16-of-24 passing for 227 yards and 2 TDs, two-point conversion pass, TD runs of 3 and 10 yards

Note: North East’s Jimmy Bailey and Mercyhurst Prep’s Aaron Horton were previous winners and were not eligible to win this week.

Posted in: District 10, Football
Posted: October 25th, 2009

Fairview’s Peter Jackson ran for 249 yards — his third consecutive game with at least 227 yards rushing — to lead District 10 rushers. Strong Vincent’s Brandon Akins-Jones scored four touchdowns in a win over East. Those were among the highlighted top performances Friday.

We’ve added two players from Saturday’s games — Iroquois’ Jake Szoszorek and General McLane’s Nick Lombardo.

Vote in the poll at upper right through Monday night. The winner will be featured in Friday’s sports section. Here at the Week 8 nominees.

Peter Jackson, Fairview: 33 rushes, 249 yards, 77-yard TD run; now has 714 yards in his past three games and 1,129 yards on the season.

Brandon Akins-Jones, Strong Vincent: 15 rushes, 186 yards, TD runs of 66, 1 and 44 yards; eturned a fumble 92 yards for a TD.

Scottie Frisina, Corry: 7-of-17 passing, 135 yards, 2 TDs; 16 rushes, 152 yards, 2 TDs

Greg Garmon, McDowell: 8 rushes, 160 yards, TD runs of 64 and 3 yards; returned a kickoff 95 yards for a TD

Aaron Horton, Mercyhurst Prep: 16 rushes, 140 yards, TD runs of 59 and 5 yards; now has 1,117 yards on the season

Jared Burger, Union City: 25 rushes, 117 yards, TD runs of 11, 10 and 10 yards; now has District 10-leading 1,218 yards

Justin Wiley, Cathedral Prep: 8 rushes, 92 yards, TD runs of 1 and 51 yards; 2 receptions, 70 yards; returned punt 59 yards for a TD

Jake Szoszorek, Iroquois: Rushed 23 times for 226 yards and hade TD runs of 5, 6, and 9 yards; also became the Braves’ all-time leading tackler.

Nick Lombardo, General McLane: Rushed 10 times for 75 yards and 2 TDs; completed both of his pass attempts for 30 yards; returned an interception 43 yards for a TD.

Posted in: District 10, Football
Posted: October 20th, 2009

Mercyhurst Prep lineman Zack Palmer is the winner of the Breakout Player of the Week award after voting was conducted on the Varsity blog Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Palmer had three sacks and forced a fumble in the Lakers’ 46-0 win over Eisenhower on Friday.

Palmer will be featured Friday in the wrap of the Times-News sports section.

Here are the results from the poll:

Who's the District 10 football Breakout Player of the Week?

  • Zack Palmer, DT, Mercyhurst Prep (52%, 75 Votes)
  • Peter Jackson, RB, Fairview (17%, 24 Votes)
  • Shyquawn Pullium, QB, Cathedral Prep (11%, 16 Votes)
  • Jared Burger, RB, Union City (10%, 14 Votes)
  • Brandon Akins-Jones, RB, Strong Vincent (3%, 5 Votes)
  • Derrick Burns, RB, Wilmington (3%, 4 Votes)
  • Trevor Litwiler, QB, Linesville (3%, 4 Votes)
  • Jake Muye, RB, Seneca (1%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 145

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Posted in: District 10, Football
Posted: October 10th, 2009

Photo galleries from Week 6 of the high school football season are now available on

View or purchase photos from Friday’s North East-Fairview and Mercyhurst Prep-Iroquois games and Thursday’s Corry-Strong Vincent game.

Also, look for a photo gallery after tonight’s Bradford-East game.

Posted in: District 10, Football
Posted: October 10th, 2009

There were some amazing performances in District 10 Friday, including two in one game — the North East-Fairview showdown.

Remember, the winner of the poll in the upper right will be featured Friday on the new “spadea wrap” on the front of the sports section.

Here are some nominees. As always, let us know if we forgot someone, and we’ll add them to the poll. Players from Saturday’s games also are eligible.

Peter Jackson, Fairview: 36 rushes, 238 yards, TD runs of 60, 18 and 2 yards

Jimmy Bailey, North East: 22 rushes 115 yards, 3 TDs, including game-winner in overtime. Also had 68-yard punt return for TD.

Aaron Horton, Mercyhurst Prep: 17 rushes 241 yards, TD runs of 16, 56, 84 and 9 yards

Zach Greenawalt, McDowell: 4 rushes 89 yards, including 83-yard TD run; also went 2-for-2 passing for 54 yards, including 39-yard TD pass

Cory Lee, General McLane: 15 rushes, 125 yards, TD runs of 14 and 19 yards

Trevor Litwiler, Linesville: 12 rushes, 128 yards; 7-of-8 passing, 111 yards, TD

Jared Burger, Union City: 36 rushes, 182 yards, 2 TDs

Dallas Williams, Oil City: Game-winning 94-yard fumble return for TD on final play; also had 6 receptions for 75 yards, including a touchdown

From Thursday:

Kevin Green, Strong Vincent: 9 rushes, 100 yards, TD; also had 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown

Posted in: District 10, Football
Posted: October 3rd, 2009

Four photo galleries from District 10 games are now available for viewing on

Check out photos from Thursday’s Cambridge Springs-Mercyhurst Prep game, and Friday’s Cathedral Prep-East, Girard-General McLane and Fairview-Fort LeBoeuf games.

All photos are available for purchase.

Posted in: District 10, Football
Posted: September 21st, 2009
Aaron Horton, Mercyhurst Prep

Aaron Horton, Mercyhurst Prep, pictured in 2008

This week’s top football performer, as voted on by Varsity blog readers, is Mercyhurst Prep running back Aaron Horton.

The 5-foot 9-inch 170-pound junior running back had a huge first half Friday in a 42-7 victory over Youngstown. Horton rushed 12 times for 165 yards while scoring on runs of 12, 35 and 60 yards.

Horton teamed with fellow running back Tim Schwenk for five touchdowns and334 yards as the Lakers improved to 3-0 overall and 1-0 in Region 2.  Schwenk ran seven times for 169 yards and two TDs. Mercyhurst has won the voting on two of the three weeks after Schwenk was voted the top weekly performer in Week 1 of the season.

Mercyhurst will visit 0-3 Cochranton on Friday before hosting Cambridge Springs on Thursday, Oct. 1.

Posted in: District 10, Football
Posted: September 19th, 2009

Here are some candidates for the top honors this weekend:

Brandon Akins-Jones, Strong Vincent: 7 rushes, 129 yards, TD runs of 1, 61, 9 and 38 yards.

Gary Brown, East: 7-of-10 passing, 107 yards, 2 TDs; 6 rushes, 61 yards, TD

Jordan Elchynski, North East: 22 carries, 131 yards, 2 TDs

Zach Greenawalt, McDowell: 11 rushes, 178 yards, 2TDs; 57-yard TD pass

Aaron Horton, Mercyhurst Prep: 12 rushes, 165 yards; TD runs of 12, 35 and 60 yards

Dakota Schultz, Saegertown: 9 rushes, 102 yards, 3 TDs

Corey McWilliams, Fort LeBoeuf: 5 catches, 109 yards, 2 TDs (now has six TD receptions in three games)

Trevor Litwiler, Linesville: 21 rushes, 174 yards, 3 TD; 5-of-9 passing, 106 yards, TD

Jordan Kerner, Fairview: 7 rushes, 100 yards; TD runs of 11 and 63 yards

Jared Burger, Union City: 23 rushes, 164 yards, 2 TDs

Shyquawn Pullium, Cathedral Prep, 7 rushes, 225 yards, TD runs of 54, 69 and 72 yards, 4-of-8 passing, 73 yards, 2 TDs

There were many other worthy performances this weekend — more than we can list here. Who would you vote for? Who did we miss? Let us know.

Posted in: District 10, Football
Posted: September 15th, 2009

Farrell and Wilmington remain atop the polls in their respective classes of this week’s Pennsylvania Football News rankings.

The Steelers are first in Class A and the Greyhounds, PIAA champions in 2008, in Class AA. They are the only District 10 schools ranked in PFN’s four polls.

District schools which received honorable mentions were McDowell in Class AAAA, Bradford, Cathedral Prep and Strong Vincent in Class AAA, General McLane in AA, and Linesville and Mercyhurst Prep in A.

– Mike Copper

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