Saturday, October 18, 2008

Friday night thoughts, Week 8

I left last night's Canon-McMillan at Bethel Park game with a couple distinct impressions.

1. Bethel Park receiver John Schademan is a clutch, big-game performer. He's done it all year and he did it again last night.

2. The Black Hawks have nice offensive balance. They might be good enough to get to Heinz Field. We'll see.

3. Canon-McMillan is vastly improved on defense. The Big Macs took away Bethel Park's power running game and as Coach Guy Montecalvo said after the game, "Nobody has really run on us all year."

The defensive line played another great game. And it seemed linebacker Brad Strimel was in on every tackle. On one play, he picked up the Bethel Park ball carrier and tossed him to the turf like he weighed 30 pounds.

4. That said, C-M still has a propensity to yield the big play and it cost them against Bethel Park. Whether it's a misread or a blown coverage, seems that pass defense lets C-M down in big games. It's getting better, but it must get better in order to contend for a WPIAL championship.

5. C-M quarterback Steve Roach wasn't particularly accurate last night, but he made plays when needed. He had a couple big third down conversions and he looked like the fastest offensive player in the game.

** McGuffey clinched its first playoff berth since 1994 with last night's win over Waynesburg and South Allegheny's loss. The Varsity Letters said all year that the Highlanders were a tough, playoff-caliber squad.

Given how hard they played Greensburg Central Catholic and Jeannette, I doubt any conference champ wants to draw McGuffey in the first round.

** Any on else surprised to see the 14-0 win for Monessen over Carmichaels? The Varsity Letters expected a shootout.

** Fort Cherry coach Tim Garry told me earlier in the week he was very worried about how well Burgettstown's offense matched up against the Rangers' defense. The Blue Devils, behind freshman quarterback Dylan Bongiorni, can throw the ball. They did, but they also ran well.

Still, despite the 34-33 score, don't get down on the Rangers. Good teams find ways to win games like this.

And Burgettstown is a much better football team than it was a month ago.

** I'll say the same thing about Ringgold. The 7-3 win over West Mifflin doesn't look impressive, but it is a win and it guaranteed Ringgold a playoff berth with a winning record for the first time this decade.

In it's previous three playoff appearances, Ringgold had losing records.

** Remember last week when the Varsity Letters said to remember Charleroi freshman running back Quinten Briggs?

Well, he put up 267 yards and three touchdowns against Wash High Friday night.


Anonymous said...

Bethel Park is a really good football team...but if they are going to get to Heinz field they are going to have to get through one of two roadblocks: Gateway or McKeesport. We'll see.

Clairton alum said...


Clairton gets a lot of criticism every year, some of it deserved, for a lack of sportsmanship, lack of compassion, dirty play and so on. As a Clairton grad i do understand some of it, but i also know that because of the bears reputation, some of that criticism is blown out of proportion.

This today from The Daily News Mckeesport from Avella coach Frank Gray:

"I cant tell you what kind of respect I have for the kids on that Clairton team. They were truly great hosts, and they treated us with incredible respect. I really hope they go all the way. Thats a nice group of kids to treat us the way they did. They are the best Class A football team I have seen in my 30 years of watching Class A football. They are incredible. They are better than the Duquesne teams that won WPIAL titles. Their team speed is incredible..."

"Boxing legend Roy Jones Jr. has become a fixture on the Clairton sideline this season. He signed memorabilia before the game, and a number of Bears delivered the gifts to the Avella locker room at halftime..."

We have a negative reputation...but Clairton is not all bad.

Anonymous said...

FC/Burgettstown was a great game.

FC was much bigger and much faster than Burgettstown, but Burgettstown was 1 play away from winning in dramatic fashion. My heart goes out to the kids from Burgettstown. If a few unlucky things don't happen to them, we're talking about a major upset today instead of an extremely narrow FC victory. Burgettstown showed a lot of determination and should hold their heads high.

If FC can sure up their defense, they will be a major factor in the upcoming playoffs. Their offense can score from anywhere on the field. I can see them getting to the semi's if they get the right seed.

R. Keith Taylor said...

Ringgold kept on shooting themselves in the foot. Everytime they would get it going, they would turn it over. Ringgold played a terrible game and was able to sneak out a win. The play calling was ok. West Mifflin was content with a 3-0 lead and did not try to score after they had the lead. Kudos to RHS for making the playoffs. We live to fight another day!!! Another thing. If Avella decides to play in the post season toilet bowl game, they should play on a day that there is no playoff games. I would love to see them play.

Anonymous said...

ringgolds quarterback shane mountain led yet another game winning drive.. he seems to put it together when it comes to crunch time

J.D. Billy said...

I don't think Bethel would have a problem with McKeesport. Gateway, is a different story, they are just on another level no one else in the WPIAL is capable of playing on. But as for McKeesport, I know they are traditionally a very strong veer/option team, and can make a few passes when needed. I think Bethel's defense is VERY capable of stopping this. And as for Bethel's offense, I don't think McKeesport would have an answer for their running AND passing game.

Anonymous said...

gateway plays so flawlessly, and from watchin the penn hills game on comcast, they seem to play with great character and sportsmanship too

Anonymous said...

And chartiers valley wins again on another missed extra point in overtime, leaving them at a pretty 6-2 instead of a very possible 4-4.. I really hope they don't get overrated again such as how the trib rates them as #4 in AAA.

Anonymous said...

Yah mountain puts it together in crunch time but he was the reason there was a crunch time for the rams, he played awful. Ringgold loses in first round if he plays that way because the team they face will be way better than West Mifflin.