When Fort Cherry received the No. 5 ranking in Class A from the Observer-Reporter, the Rangers' placement drew the ire of a few readers of The Varsity Letters.
When it comes to skill players, Fort Cherry's ranks right up there with the better groups in Class A, and that group put on a show Saturday afternoon during a 55-40 win at Western Beaver.
Ryan Babirad and Corey Garry tallied three touchdowns apiece, while Tanner Garry threw for three. It's a strong trio of players, and when added with running back Jeff Whalen and a offensive line that always has size, Fort Cherry looks like a team poised for a breakthrough in 2011.
But one anonymous poster guaranteed that Fort Cherry would not finish second in the Black Hills Conference this season. Clairton is the prohibitive favorite to repeat as conference champs, and, yes, the Rangers could finish below the top two.
Well, Chartiers-Houston is far from being a pushover. The guess here is the Bucs will at least approach last year's win total, and they finished 7-3.
In quarterback Daniel Lis, Mykel Dorsey, Garrett Vulcano and Jevone Hairston, C-H has four more-than-capable runners. Players like Nate Grandelis make the Bucs a strong team up front.
When Fort Cherry plays at Chartiers-Houston during the final week of the regular season, expect the winner to get a home playoff game.
* At least a few coaches in the Tri-County South Conference believe that Beth-Center senior Deshan Brown is one of the league's premier weapons, and if the Bulldogs' results during a season-opening win against Frazier are an indciation, Brown will play a big role.
He caught five passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns from Sal Faieta.
Brown also intercepted three passes. He ranked among WPIAL leaders in that category last season.
During the preseason, I asked Brown is he had a knack for making plays on defense and he said he did not. Basically, he credited his interceptions to his ability to read what the offense was doing on a particular play and putting himself in the right position.
* There's a lot of season remaining but it looks like Ringgold and a handful of the area's Class A teams have the best chances for long playoff runs. Fort Cherry, Chartiers-Houston, Monessen and Beth-Center are quality football teams.
Got a chance to briefly talk with Canon-McMillan offensive coordinator Russ Moore - one of the more colorful guys I've come across - Friday night and one of the first things the former head coach at Waynesburg and Ringgold told me was to watch out for the Rams.
* As long as Mike LaRocka remains healthy, there's no doubt Burgettstown will be much improved from last year.
Imagine if Burgettstown had a slightly smaller enrollment (talking just a couple boys) and competed in the Black Hills Conference this season. The Blue Devils would be a playoff team for sure. Heck, maybe they still will be in Class AA.
* Really liked what I saw out of Kenyadda Brown Friday night against Trinity. When Brown got the football, his eyes and body were directed toward the line of scrimmage, and he's got the speed to blow past defenders.
* Also liked what I witnessed from Trinity back Tyler Yocca.
Trinity's offense did next to nothing during the first quarter, and it took a crafty run from Yoccas to get things going. Yocca set up Trinity's first touchdown - a one-yard run from Patrick Frey - with a 66-yard scamper where he found a small running lane, exploded through it, then made a nifty cutback to get past a Big Macs defender.
The Hillers new offense appears to suit Yocca's talents well.