After a nine-month layoff, the high school football season is finally back and got underway on Friday night.
• East started the season off in style with a 46-8 rout of Franklin. The Warriors, who had just one win in 2008, were led by running back Alondre Hamilton. Hamilton quickly established himself as one of D-10′s leading rushers with 226 yards on just 10 carries and three touchdowns.
• The big game of the night was between archrivals Cathedral Prep and McDowell. Jeremy Barroner emerged as one of the top runners in the area on Friday. Barroner broke a 72-yard touchdown run in the first quarter for the Trojans, while finishing with 87 yards on six carries. The scary thing about McDowell’s offense, is that there are so many options. Nine different players carried the ball for the Trojans, with eight gaining positive yards.
• Prep’s offense struggled at times, but has a solid foundation to build on with Shyquawn Pullium and Justin Wiley. The two combined for 121 yards on 28 carries, while RaSean Thrower and Noel Oduho provide big targets on the outside for Pullium to throw to.
• Jeff Granger had his coming out party for Seneca on Friday with 64 yards on seven carries, with three touchdowns and an interception in the first quarter to setup a Bobcat touchdown. Jared and John Tracey combined for 92 yards rushing with three touchdowns.
• Strong Vincent’s biggest concern going into this season was replacing a vast amount of skill position players. Courtney Harden-Pullium decided to come out for the team after playing just basketball the past few years, and made an immediate impact.
Harden-Pullium caught two touchdown passes for the Colonels in a 21-19 loss to General McLane. Harden-Pullium finished with four catches for 141 yards and the two TDs, including a 66-yard reception. Steve Uplinger was called on in camp to replace D.J. Barney and Deonte Flemings at the quarterback position. Uplinger had a solid start on Friday, completing 6-of-11 for 168 yards and two TDs.
• McLane’s Nick Lombardo was touted as the talented replacement at quarterback for Kellen O’Neill, and he didn’t disappoint. Lombardo led a Lancer offense that looked sharp for most of the game. Lombardo carried the ball 12 times for 79 yards, while Cory Lee led the Lancers with 139 yards on 29 carries and two touchdowns.
• Billy Sobucki is coming off back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons, and is well on his way to a third. Sobucki gained 93 yards on 16 carries with three TDs in Girard’s 26-0 win over Eisenhower. A key for the YellowJackets is the emergence of Josh Williams as a complementary player to Sobucki. Williams carried the ball 10 times for 72 yards and two TDs. With Sobucki and Williams in the backfield, Girard can give each a rest and keep opposing defenses on their toes.
• It seems like Linesville’s Trevor Litwiler would play with two broken legs if his team needed him to. Litwiler missed the past six weeks with a broken thumb and was cleared to play on Thursday afternoon. All the time off meant nothing, as Litwiler rushed for four touchdowns and threw for one as Linesville routed Cambridge Springs 35-6.
• Mercyhurst Prep coach Matt Morgan received two transfers in the offseason, but he isn’t complaining. Rob Kaiser, a transfer from Prep, ran for two touchdowns in the Lakers’ 28-14 win over Mercer. Also contributing to the Lakers’ win was Tim Schwenk, a transfer from Harbor Creek. Schwenk carried the ball nine times and gained 107 yards with a touchdown. Schwenk is emerging as Mercyhurst Prep’s top back, while Aaron Horton, who made a late impact last season, had 76 yards on 16 carries. For more analysis on Friday’s games, click below
• Warren’s Matt Stapleford was thrown into the fire last season as the starting quarterback, but the experience is paying off immediately. Stapleford rushed for 51 yards, while completing 7-of-10 passes for 57 yards in Warren’s 45-0 rout of Harbor Creek.
• Bradford rushed for an impressive 460 yards against a solid Fairview team, thanks to Pat Pascarella’s 247 yards on 21 carries. Pascarella had touchdown runs of 16, 34 and 69 yards. He’s just a junior. Another junior, Mark Havers, ran for 106 yards on 20 carries. Meanwhile, Bradford held the potent Tigers’ offense to just 82 yards rushing on 31 carries. What a start for the Owls.
• Daishawn Mewborn of Maplewood is the type of player that coaches need to locate on every single play. Mewborn had a huge Friday night with three touchdowns, three different ways. Mewborn returned a fumble 56 yards for a touchdown, before pulling down a 14-yard reception for a TD and returning a kickoff 90 yards in Maplewood’s 48-20 win over Cochranton.
• Conneaut Lake’s Zach Wade had a big game on Friday with 119 yards on eight carries with a 76-yard touchdown. In the same game, Saegertown’s Dakota Schultz had 98 yards on 10 carries with a touchdown. Schultz is one of several players first-year coach Dave McDonald is trying out in the backfield to replace a talented running back corps that graduated.
• Iroquois’ Parrish Brown is emerging as a solid all-around athlete in Erie County. Brown gained 95 yards on 13 carries with one touchdown, while also returning a kickoff 84 yards for a TD. Jake Szoszorek is well-known on Iroquois’ team and scored two touchdowns from the fullback position on Friday.
• Oil City has two quarterbacks that coach Matt LaVerde likes to rotate in, but Mark Kulinski made a statement on Friday to get most of the reps. Kulinski completed 12-of-14 passes for 251 yards and three touchdowns. Division I recruit Ben Koyack also shined on Friday grabbing nine passes for 249 yards and two TDs.
• West Middlesex’s rushing combo of Nate Ash and Jeremy Jancso dominated on Friday. The two combined for 203 yards and one touchdown. The Big Reds’ duo will face a tough test next Saturday against Mercyhurst Prep at Veterans Stadium.
• B.J. Arrowsmith had to step in last season as the starting quarterback on Fort LeBoeuf after Colin Feeney suffered an injury. One season later, Arrowsmith is more experienced and is already impressing. Arrowsmith threw for 122 yards on Friday, including a 14-yard touchdown strike to Corey McWilliams, while also scoring a touchdown on the ground.
• Jamar Whitman was one of a few Farrell backs to have a big game in Friday’s 46-7 rout of rival Sharon. Whitman led the Steelers with 110 yards on eight carries with one touchdown. Kevin Brodie scored twice on 10 carries with 110 yards.
• Make sure to check back on Sunday for the Sunday update from Saturday’s action.
– Tom Reisenweber