Tonight's live blog will come from the Post-Gazette Game of the Week - Montour at West Allegheny. Follow along and look to the right of this blog for score updates and notes from other games, courtesy of @PGVarsityXtra on Twitter. If you have a score, photo or update, tweet it with #wpial and tag @PGVarsityXtra
Before we get to the "dozen predictions to go" segment, an interesting note on the local recruiting front:
Pitt offered a scholarship to Pine-Richland quarterback Phil Jurkovec yesterday. Jurkovec said he spoke with Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi and Narduzzi offered.
It is significant because it always seems to create interest when Pitt offers a WPIAL quarterback. But it's also significant because Jurkovec is only a sophomore.
The scholarship offer, though, should come as no surprise. It will probably be the first of many. By this time next year, Jurkovec might have many scholarships. He's that good.
First off, he has excellent size. He's in the 6-4 to 6-5 range. And he's a great athlete. Runs well. Good arm. Still will need to improve throwing as he gets older, but already throws it really well for a sophomore, and he should flourish in coach Eric Kasperowicz's system. He could be 6-6 and 200 pounds by the time he's a senior. That's great size for a quarterback who can run some.
So far this season, Jurkovec has completed 50 of 76 for 638 yards and rushed 38 times for 430 yards.
Jurkovec is the next two-sport star in the WPIAL. As a matter of fact, he might already be there. Jurkovec also is an excellent basketball player. He very likely will get Division I interest in basketball. He needs to improve his outside shot some, but is excellent 15 feet and in and extremely athletic. Throws down some nice dunks, too. Jurkovec made all-section last year as a freshman when he averaged 15 points a game.
There's more to Jurkovec to like than just the sports, though. In talking to him and others at Pine-Richland who know him well, he seems like an excellent young man.
But hey, from what I'm hearing, is little sister Jurkovec the real star of the family? I'm hearing she's a terrific volleyball player - and plays basketball, too.
Incidentally, Phil's older brother, Tom, also plays football for Pine-Richland.
Here is This Week In High School Sports show on Varsity Xtra:
Dozen Predictions To Go
Now, the weekly Varsity Blog segment. Fresh from the bakery with a "Dozen Predictions To Go" box. The lady behind the counter at Schorr's bakery had trouble finding 12 "top" games to put in the box. She had to scrape the bottom of some pans. Not like next week, when the schedule is loaded with top games.
The record last week was 9-3 (.750 pct.), which made the season record 35-13 (.729 pct). Here are this week's picks:
WPIAL CLASS AAAA
Upper St. Clair at Woodland Hills - The winningest coach in WPIAL history (Upper St. Clair's Jim Render) against No. 3 (Woodland Hills' George Novak). No word on the status of WH RB Miles Sanders (pictured), who was hurt last week. No matter. USC's losing streak is about to go to three. Winner: Woodland Hills.
Also, McKeesport over Hempfield.
WPIAL CLASS AAA
Montour at West Allegheny - I will be at this game, the Post-Gazette Game of the Week. The pregame story for this contest is injuries. Montour quarterback (Tyler Carswell) and leading rusher (Dave Haseleu) did not play last week because of injuries. They are questionable. Without them, will this game turn into a blowout? Winner: West Allegheny.
Belle Vernon at West Mifflin - Belle Vernon better not be looking ahead to Ringgold. West Mifflin lost to Ringgold by only 14-7 last week. Don't be surprised if West Mifflin wins this. But ... Winner: Belle Vernon.
Franklin Regional at Armstrong - Armstrong is 0-2 on the road and 2-0 at home. But that trend is about to change. Winner: Franklin Regional.
Also, Gateway over Hollidaysburg.
WPIAL CLASS AA
Highlands at Deer Lakes - Deer Lakes is one of the feel-good stories of the season. The Lancers are 4-0 for the first time since the school opened in 1969. But 5-0 will take a tremendous effort. Key to the game will be whether Deer Lakes can play ball control with its running game. Winner: Highlands.
Steel Valley at Freeport - This is only a non-conference game, but it matches two 4-0 teams. Steel Valley had a huge win last week vs. Seton-LaSalle. The Century Conference showdown with South Fayette is next week. Will the Ironmen be a little flat for the game in between? Maybe. But still good enough. Key to the game is Steel Valley's pass rush and secondary. Winner: Steel Valley.
Washington at Mount Pleasant - This is the third game in Class AA that matches two 4-0 teams. Washington's speed and running game should be the difference. Winner: Washington.
WPIAL CLASS A
Jeannette at Springdale - Springdale lost its first game last week against mighty Clairton. Jeannette gets Clairton next week. Will Springdale catch Jeannette looking ahead? I don't think so. Winner: Jeannette.
Also, Jefferson-Morgan over Bentworth and Bishop Canevin over Chartiers-Houston.