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Mars RB Schultheis hurt, out for season ..... Friday night leaders and video highlights

Written by Mike White on .

See highlights below of a few top games Friday night.

What is with the star running backs in the WPIAL, going down with injuries early in the season? It has happened again.

Mars's Josh Schultheis was injured in the first quarter of tonight's game against Indiana. Mars coach Scott Heinauer said Friday night that Schultheis sustained a broken tibia and is out for the season.

You heart aches when you hear these stories, but they are becoming all too common in the WPIAL, aren't they? Remember a few years ago when West Allegheny running back Mike Caputo sustained a broken ankle and never played again the rest of the season? He was supposed to be one of the best running backs that year along with Hopewell's Rushel Shell.

Then early last season, Washington stud Shai McKenzie sustained a torn ACL in the third game of the year and didn't play the rest of the season.

Josh SchultheisNow there is Schultheis (pictured in a game earlier in his career against Franklin Regional). He had run for more than 3,000 yards in two seasons and was on pace to becoming the all-time leading rusher at Mars. Now he probably won't play again this season.

With Schultheis, Mars was thought to be one of the best teams in Class AAA. Without Schultheis, Mars lost to Indiana, 29-26. A gigantic win for Indiana.

But Schultheis wasn't the only standout to go down tonight with an injury. Seneca Valley QB-LB T.J. Holl was injured late in the Raiders' 14-0 loss to North Allegheny. He was hurt on defense and watched the last part of the game standing on crutches on the sideline, with an ice pack on his right knee. Afterward, Seneca Valley coach Don Holl, T.J.'s father, said the severity of the injury is not known. But I will tell you that Don Holl is extremely worried.

Schultheis and Holl were both preseason Post-Gazette Fabulous 22 selections.

Here are highlights from North Allegheny beating Seneca Valley, 14-0, Friday night.



And here are highlights from Central Valley-Montour

Friday night leaders

Here are the top rushers,  passers and receivers from the first night of the season.

RUSHERS

298 — Jake Meyers, Elizabeth Forward

249 — Austin Kemp, Thomas Jefferson

210 — Curtis Moore, South Allegheny

209 — Anthony Welsh, Beth-Center

203 — Mirko Loncar, Hopewell

178 — Dewayne Murray, Steel Valley

178 — L.A. Ross, Frazier

170 — Scott Florence, New Brighton

 

PASSERS

261 — Zach Royba, Beaver (8 of 15)

253 — Zach Chandler, Avonworth (15 of 21)

243 — Matt Carr, Charleroi (13 of 24)

219 — Anthony Rush, Union (17 of 22)

214 — Alex Lasslo, West Shamokin (8 of 15)

193 — Daniel Walters, Hempfield (15 of 22)

189 — John George, Central Valley (9 of 12)

185 — Brett Brumbaugh, South Fayette (13 of 18)

180 — Alec Ferrari, Chartiers-Houston (11 of 21)

 

RECEIVERS

 

9 — Andrew Wingard, West Shamokin (158 yards)

9 — Dante Luther, Hempfield (148 yards)

8 — Chris Conlan, Quaker Valley (153 yards)

8 — Stephon McGinnis, Ambridge (65 yards)

7 — Mike Merhaut, Pine-Richland (169 yards)

7 — Tyler Carswell, Montour (70 yards)

7 — Jimmy Canello, Keystone Oaks (52 yards)

6 — Dylan Hochbein, Freeport (51 yards)

 

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Live Friday night blog -- North Allegheny wins 14-0

Written by Mike White on .

Live blog from the Post-Gazette game of the week, North Allegheny at Seneca Valley. For score updates around the WPIAL, look to the right for scores from @PGVarsityXtra twitter account. If you have a score or update, tweet to @PGVarsityXtra with #wpial. Send along photos also.

FINAL: NORTH ALLEGHENY 14, SENECA VALLEY 0

9:57 - Intercepted in zone by NA's Riley Trueman. 

9:54 Corbin Kessler is moving Seneca Valley. Raiders at NA 9.

9:52 T.J. Holl on crutches on sideline with ice bag on right left. Corbin Kessler now at QB for Seneca Valley.

NORTH ALLEGHENY 14, SENECA VALLEY 0

9:47 Well Seneca was ranked No. 3 in Quad-A. They will definitely be out of top 5. Jeff Clemens scores 8-yard TD run. 1:53 now left in game. 14-0

80 yards in 12 plays on that scoring drive.

9:40 NA driving again. At Seneca 21.

Seneca big lineman Tyler Hudanick just came off field holding left arm. On bench for now.

9:34 A 48-yard TD pass from TJ Holl to Mrkonja. But SV turns it over again. TJ Holl intercepted in end zone by Riley Trueman.

Below, NA QB Jeff Clemens dives for yardage. Photo from PG's Matt Freed

Jeff Clemens

NORTH ALLEGHENY 7, SENECA VALLEY 0

Trueman then completed pass for 4 yards and then ran 5 yards. Jeff Clemens came back in scored on 3-yard QB sneak. Mancuso kick. 10:33 left in game.

9:26 Riley Trueman goes into QB for NA and runs 24 yards to SV 12 on first play.

END THIRD QUARTER: NORTH ALLEGHENY 0, SENECA VALLEY 0

I wouldn't say it's a bad game. Teams are moving ball. Guys making some plays. But just too many key mistakes.

9:19 Unbelievable. Seneca at 2 yard line. Mason DeHart runs, churns, NA Ijhad Bonner rips out of his hands, Matt Sell recovers in end zone for NA.

Stop the mistakes!!!!!

9:17 NA punts. Seneca takes over at NA 33. Holl goes 27 yards first down to 6.

9:16 Former Ellwood City hoops coach Al Campman next to me doing color for Armstrong TV. Priceless.

9:14 Seneca gets to NA 30 but has to quick kick on fourth down. Another penalty on fourth down. Mistakes mistakes. Seneca could win just because of field position.

9:06 NA drives to Seneca 26. NA goes for first down on fourth and 8. QB Jeff Clemens sacked by TJ Holl. 7:17 left third still scoreless.

9:00 Second half underway.

Not exactly a good start for Tom Nola at Gateway. Losing 6-0 to Greensburg Salem after third quarter. Wow. I think I can hear the Gateway complainers all the way here in Harmony.

Is North Hills sleeper in the Northern Eight? Crushing Fox Chapel, 35-0. It could be North Hills pretty good and Fox Chapel still way below average. Or a little of both.

The beat goes on for Shaler. Losing again to Pine-Richland, 42-0. 

Indiana coming back on Mars 19-14. Interesting.

Thomas Jefferson crushing Ringgold, 28-6. Guess nothing has changed. TJ still good.

Penn Hills beating U. St. Clair 17-7 in another big AAAA game.

28-7 Central Valley over Montour. Jordan Whitehead 60-yard run.

I thought McGuffey might be ready to make noise this year. Forget it. 31-7 Mount Pleasant. Looks like MP and Washington in that conference.

HALFTIME: NORTH ALLEGHENY 0, SENECA VALLEY 0

First-half stats: Seneca leads in yards 189-141 but SV has three turnovers and five penalties for 85 yards. TJ Holl has been picked off twice and lost a snap. NA QB Jeff Clemens has been picked off twice.

8:30 I'm sure NA coach Art Walker said "anything but that." Jeff Clemens takes sack. NA can't get off field goal. That's it. Halftime. Filled with first-game mistakes.

8:38 Another SV mistake. Offside SV. NA now at Seneca 11.

8:26 Another mistake costly for SV. NA at Seneca 16 no timeouts. Clock running less than 25 seconds. SV had to call timeout. Too many men on field.

Timeout 18.7 left in half. Third down and 2. Better throw to end zone NA. Do have enough time to run play and get FG. I'd say yes.

8:24 NA just doesn't have team speed like they have had recently.

8:23 Little over a minute left in first half. NA at own SV 30. Third down and 5. Still scoreless.

8:17 Another Seneca mistake. Holl lets shotugn snap go through hands. NA recovers at own 37. SV was at NA 21.

8:13 Still no score. SV takes over at own 39. 6 minutes left in half.

8:09 Another bad mistake. Bad snap from center minus 14 yards. SV has to punt deep in NA territory.

8:07 Five Seneca players wearing red hats on sideline. Some of them give signals. Some decoys. 

8:04 PA announcer just called Seneca's Mason DeHart "Diesel" DeHart. Appropriate. Running hard. 44 yards on 7 carries.

8:02 Now here comes Seneca. Now at midfield. Maybe someone will score if they don't turn ball over.

END FIRST QUARTER

Seneca Valley 0, North Allegheny 0

Both teams with two turnovers. Both QBs doing some good things, but also making mistakes. Maybe typical first-game jitters.

7:59 Brad Hensler hard hit in the backfield, NA QB Clemns fumbles and Matt Schmitt recovers for Seneca. At 24.

7:56 SV T.J. Holl picked off second time. Riley Trueman at SV 39 returns to SV 28.

7:53 This place close to packed. Big crowd.

7:51 Corbin Kessler doing everything for SV. Just picked off NA's Clemens on shor tpass at SV own 4. Definitely questionable if Kessler did get that INT before it hit ground.

7:48 NA two first downs on passes from Clemens to Byerly. Now at WV 30.

7:46 NA picks up two first downs. Gotta be quick typer for this one. Both teams no huddle.

7:43 NA holds. Seneca got to 6 but Johnny Sumpter INT in end zone. 8:06 first.

7:39 Seneca no inside NA 40

7:35 - Seneca Valley receives. First down already past midfield 

7:29 Shocking one. First quarter. Vincentian leads Brentwood, 14-0. Quite a WPIAL debut for Royals.

7:28 Not great start for Gateway under Tom Nola. Scoreless after first quarter vs. Connellsville. 

7:18 - Maybe bad news for Mars?? From @J_oshRizzo stud running back Josh Schultheis limped off field.

SSeneca student section

PREGAME

As the sun sets and another high school football season starts.

**** I don't know really what to expect from North Allegheny with so many new players. I don't know if their coaches know what to expect.

**** Word is North Allegheny's Josh Bergman, top returning rusher from last year, has been bothered by a hamstring injury. But he is expected to play.

**** Seneca Valley with new unis this year, with word "RAIDERS" on their rear ends. Don't know if I've seen that much before on high school uniforms.

**** Gotta hand it to North Allegheny assistants Bob Ceh and Doug Brinkley. Always willing to help, aren't they? Outside their locker room before the game, they helped out a struggling old man. "Hey buddy, your fly is down," said the affable Ceh.

 

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Predictions: A dozen to go ...... Live blog starts tonight

Written by Mike White on .

Varsity Blog programming note: High school football kicks off tonight and the live blog is back. Tonight, I will be at the P-G Game of the Week, North Allegheny at Seneca Valley. Follow the big game on the live blog, but also get scores from around the WPIAL and City League by looking to the right of the blog or following @PGVarsityXtra live score updates on Twitter.

Please send score updates from any games to @PGVarsityXtra on Twitter and use #wpial. And hey, there has to be some student sections ready to go for this first night. Student sections, send me photos @mwhiteburgh and they just might make the Varsity Blog.

Follow the Post-Gazette's @CraigMeyerPG, who will be at the Upper St. Clair-Penn Hills game, and @BREAL412, who will be at Ringgold-Thomas Jefferson.

And don't forget, we will have a complete wrapup of all WPIAL and City League games in tomorrow's Post-Gazette. We will have something on every game.

But for now, may we present a weekly feature. I stopped at Schorr's in West View, one of the best bakeries anywhere, and put in the order for pick-up every Friday. It's time for 

A dozen predictions to go

Here are picks for 12 games around the WPIAL and City League:

WPIAL CLASS AAAA

North Allegheny at Seneca Valley - Something tells me that even though it has only a few returning starters, North Allegheny is still going to be tough to handle. I think the Tigers will still be fairly tough on defense. The biggest question mark in this game is how good is Seneca Valley's defense? Winner: Seneca Valley.

Upper St. Clair at Penn Hills - USC will be good the second half of the season. But for now, ol' Jimbo Render might not be too happy. Winner: Penn Hills.

WPIAL CLASS AAA

Ringgold at Thomas Jefferson - Will all those homemade street signs for TJ football again be on Old Clairton Rd. leading up to Thomas Jefferson? I love those. As for the game, I know Ringgold has a number of starters back from a pretty good team last year. And I know Nico Law is one dang good dual-threat QB. But I also know never to go against TJ at home. Winner: Thomas Jefferson.


Also, Franklin Regional over Knoch, although Knoch could be sleeper team in Class AAA this year. .... And Central Valley over Montour.

WPIAL CLASS AA

Burrell at Valley - The Muzzster is back coaching. Muzzy Colosimo is Valley's new coach. Remember all those good teams he had at Greensburg Central Catholic? This Valley team isn't as good as those, but good enough to win this rivalry game. Winner: Valley.

Also, McGuffey over Mount Pleasant (I may be all wet about McGuffey against an always-good MP team. But just a feeling). ... New Brighton over Laurel.

WPIAL CLASS A

Avonworth at Chartiers-Houston - I still say Avonworth will challenge for a conference title, despite the loss of several key players. By the way, did Avonworth coach Duke Johncour go to Duke? Maybe they'll someday name the field at Avonworth Coach J Turf. Oh, never mind. Winner: Avonworth.

Monessen at Greensburg Central Catholic - One of many good games in the Eastern Conference this year. Winner: Greensburg C.C.


Also, Rochester over Union and Frazier over Avella.

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WPIAL on display at Heinz Field ...... Two Brumbaughs will start ..... More state rankings

Written by Mike White on .

Starting tomorrow night, WPIAL football will be showcased at Heinz Field.

Before Thursday night's preseason game at Heinz, Steelers officials will unveil a new "WPIAL Champions" exhibit inside the stadium on the west concourse.

What will the exhibit look like? Well, we're not quite sure. 

"We haven't seen it yet," WPIAL executive director Tim O'Malley said with a laugh. "It will be some kind of wall mural that will somehow highlight our football champions. They reached out to us this summer to try and reach out to our schools to send back some art work of their helmets. I think a vast majority of our teams sent back. Other than that, I don't know what exactly it will be.

"The relationship we have with the Steelers, Heinz Field and the Rooney family is special. Every kid that put on a uniform this Aug. 11, I think their goal was to get to Heinz Field for the championships. So this is a nice thing."

"Only" 2 Brumbaughs will start

It had the makings of a three-day Brumbaugh QB extravaganza. But it turns out, only two of the Brumbaugh brothers will start for their teams this weekend.

It begins Thursday night when Luke Brumbaugh gets his first start as Robert Morris University's QB when the Colonials play host to Eastern Kentucky. (photo is of the brothers earlier this summer at South Fayette).

On Friday night, Brett Brumbaugh will start for South Fayette High School when the Lions play host to East Allegheny. Brett needs a little more than 1,100 yards to become the WPIAL's all-time leading passer.

There was a chance for the Brumbaugh triple crown Saturday. Christian Brumbaugh, the oldest of the brothers, was battling for the starting job for William & Mary. But when W & M plays at Virginia Tech Saturday, Steve Cluely will start at QB for W & M. He won the No. 1 job in preseason practices. There is still a chance Christian Brumbaugh, a redshirt junior, will play.

No matter what, the Brumbaugh parents intend to attend all three games.

More state rankings

The Post-Gazette released its state rankings last Friday. The Pennlive.com rankings are now out for Class AAAA, AAA, AA and A and Erie Epler has some info on the top teams in each class.

The four No. 1 teams in the P-G and Pennlive rankings are all the same - Clairton, South Fayette, Archbishop Wood and St. Joseph's Prep.

This and that

***** Lauren Waller is one of the best female golfers in the state. But she is back to beating the boys.

Waller is a senior at Canon-McMillan High School. But because Canon-McMillan doesn't have a girls team, she plays on the Big Macs' boys team. She sometimes finishes first in team matches and she is doing well again this year. Two weeks ago at the Tri County Athletic Lauren WallerDirectors Association Championships, she tied for fourth against the boys with a 76 at Village Green Country Club. 

During boys matches, Waller tees off at 85 percent of the boys distance.

Waller will go back to playing against the girls when the WPIAL girls individual championships come around. She is the defending WPIAL AAA champion.

By the way, Waller will play Division I college golf. She has made a verbal commitment to the Penn State women's team.

***** Looking at some preview information for the Perry football team in the City League, Rich "Moses" Giles could be one of the Commodores' running backs. Giles is a junior who is in his third school in three years. He attended North Hills as a freshman, Avonworth last year and now Perry.

***** Comcast cable television will once again show its "Xfinity Game of the Week" this season. One contest will be aired the day after the game and will be available "On Demand." Go to the "Get Local" and "Sports" folders. Chris Shovlin will handle the play by play and Ellis Cannon the color commentary.

Here is the game schedule for this year:

 August 29 – Ringgold at Thomas Jefferson

September 5 – Gateway at West Mifflin

September 12 – Beaver at Beaver Falls

September 19 – Seton-LaSalle at Steel Valley

September 26 – Kiski Area at Plum

October 3 – Franklin Regional at Hampton

October 10 – Penn Trafford at Shaler

October 17 – Peters Township at Bethel Park

October 24 – North Hills at North Allegheny

October 31 – First Round WPIAL Playoffs

November 7 – WPIAL Quarterfinals

November 14 – WPIAL Semifinals

 

 

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Setting the record straight on Rowan ..... Showtime and football notes

Written by Mike White on .

Some items that fell off my laptop.

Before we get to some football notes, let's address one basketball item. Can we set the record straight on some facts about Maverick Rowan? It seems there is plenty of wrong information circulating about Rowan.

Rowan is a Pitt recruit who played his first two seasons at Lincoln Park in Beaver County but last week decided he will transfer to Cardinal Gibbons in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Rowan accepted a scholarship to Pitt last summer before his sophomore year.

Maverick RowanHere are some facts about Rowan (pictured):

AGE - Rowan is 18. No, he is NOT 19. His birthday is early July and he will turn 19 next summer.

ELIGIBILITY - Rowan would have been eligible to play the next two years at Lincoln Park. Under PIAA rules, a student-athlete is ineligible only if they reach the age of 19 before July 1 of their senior years. Rowan would turn 19 a few days after July 1 of next year.

EIGHTH GRADE AGAIN - Yes, Rowan repeated eighth grade, but that would not have affected his eligibility in this state. Under PIAA and WPIAL rules, a student can repeat eighth grade and still have four years eligibility on the high school level, but those repeating eighth grade can NOT participate in school sports during that year.

PLAYING UP TO NINTH GRADE - An eighth-grade student can play "up" on a ninth-grade school team and it does not count as one of four varsity years. The clock starts when a student reaches ninth grade. There are athletes everywhere around the WPIAL who are in eighth grade and play on a ninth-grade team, but that does not count as a year of varsity. 

However, 8th graders in Pennsylvania are not permitted to play on JV and varsity teams. They can play on ninth-grade teams, though. And if a school chooses, an eighth-grader can play on a ninth-grade team, and then play again on the ninth-grade team the following year when he is in ninth grade.

ABOUT MONTVERDE - Yes, Rowan was considering attending Monteverde Academy in Florida, but Montverde has a high school and a prep school team. Rowan would've played on the high school team. And the coach of the high school team is Kevin Boyle, who had tremendous teams at St. Patrick in Elizabeth, N.J., before going to Montverde. The coach of Montverde's prep school team is Dante Calabria, a former Blackhawk High star. Calabria is in his first season at Montverde.

Alright, onto some football ...

The return of ...

We're back.

Yes, it's the return of the wildly popular Varisty Xtra's "This Week In High School Sports." Colleague Terry Shields and yours truly blither about some high school topics and pick the top games every week. The show will run weekly through basketball.

Here is the first of the year:

Game of the week

The Post-Gazette game of the week for the first night of high school football is North Allegheny at Seneca Valley Friday. It's a big Northern Eight Conference game right off the bat.

And does anyone in the WPIAL have a tougher schedule than North Allegheny the first few weeks? After Seneca Valley comes a home game against Pine-Richland. Then North Allegheny plays at Central Catholic, and meets Upper St. Clair the following week in a non-conference home game.

WPIAL flavor at Pitt

Looking at Pitt's depth chart today ... wow is there a strong WPIAL flavor on this team. There are 10 starters from the WPIAL and one from the City League.

The City League starter is Manesseh Garner of Brashear. The 10 from the WPIAL are Tyler Boyd (Clairton), Adam Bisnowaty (Fox Chapel), J.P. Holtz (Shaler), Jaymar Parrish (Gateway), Khaynin Mosley-Smith (Woodland Hills), Todd Thomas (Beaver Falls), Lafayette Pitts (Woodland Hills), Reggie Mitchell (Shady Side Academy), Terrish Webb (Clairton) and James Conner (McDowell). McDowell wasn't in the WPIAL for Conner's senior season, but McDowell played in the WPIAL in Conner's other years.

Facing a WPIAL QB

While Pitt has a number of starters from the WPIAL, the Panthers will open the season against a quarterback from the WPIAL.

Trent Hurley a graduate of Greensburg Central Catholic, will be Delaware's quarterback against Pitt in the season opener Saturday at Heinz. Hurley is the first three-year stater at QB since MattTrent Hurley Nagy from 1998-2000. Hurley has played at Heinz Field once before. It was in 2009 when he was the quarterback of a Greensburg Central team that defeated Aliquippa, 33-7, in the WPIAL Class AA title game.

I remember the last game Hurley played in high school. It was in a snowstorm in Hershey in 2009 when Greensburg C.C. lost to Lancaster Catholic, 21-14, in the PIAA Class AA title game. (Check picture of Hurley diving in the snow).

Hurley started his career at Bowling Green, but transferred after two years. He threw for more than 2,000 yards last season.

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