News, notes, scores, photos and videos from the opening night of the high school football season.
Taking on the No. 1 ranked team in WPIAL Class 5A, Mike Collodi and his players faced a stiff test in his debut as Mt. Lebanon coach Friday.
Not only did the Blue Devils pass that test, but also they did so emphatically.
Patrick Smith scored a pair of touchdowns, and Class 6A No. 3 Mt. Lebanon used an outstanding defensive performance to take down visiting Gateway, 28-7.
“It was awesome,” said Collodi, who went 56-24 in eight seasons at Elizabeth Forward. “I can’t say enough about the kids. They played their hearts out tonight. I commend them and I commend the assistants. It was a heck of a game plan on limited film and limited knowledge of the opponent.”
Smith scored the longest two touchdowns of the night, opening the scoring on a 79-yard scoop and score before adding a 28-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Beckham Dee’s 1-yard scoring plunge just before halftime gave Mt. Lebanon a 14-0 lead. Michael Malone added a 9-yard touchdown pass to Ezra Heidenreich in the fourth quarter.
Gateway scored its lone touchdown on Brad Birch’s 9-yard run that closed the scoring with 6:37 left in the fourth. Birch finished 13 of 18 for 133 yards and was sacked five times. Mt. Lebanon held a 15-10 edge in first downs and 267-141 advantage in total yards.
“They played so hard,” Collodi said of his defense. “Our M.O. going back to Elizabeth Forward was to always play fast and physical. They’ve carried that over and did that tonight.”
CENTRAL CATHOLIC ROLLS
Payton Wehner completed 14 of 18 passes for 265 yards and five touchdowns to lead Class 6A No. 1 Central Catholic to a 43-7 win against Class 5A No. 4 Woodland Hills at the Wolvarena. Wehner connected with Pete Gonzalez and Vernon Settles for a pair of touchdowns and also threw one to Jacob Sassic. Woodland Hills scored its only touchdown on Cam Walter’s 62-yard scoring toss to Scoop Smith. That cut the Central Catholic lead to 8-7, but the Vikings went on to finish the game by scoring 35 unanswered points.
PENN HILLS HOLDS OFF SENECA VALLEY
Pitt recruit Julian Dugger passed for 140 yards and two touchdowns and Amir Key added 108 yards and a touchdown on the ground to propel Class 5A No. 3 Penn Hills to a 33-20 home win against Class 6A No. 5 Seneca Valley. Jake Adams’ 32-yard field goal in the fourth quarter pulled Seneca Valley within 27-20, but Key’s 30-yard scoring run allowed Penn Hills to pull away. Dugger was 9 of 20 passing with scoring tosses to Cameron Thomas and Martel Palmer. Tajuan Bandy then added a 12-yard interception return, Penn Hills’ third touchdown in 30 seconds. Seneca Valley’s Kai West ran for 95 yards and a touchdown.
WESTINGHOUSE STILL HAS IT
Despite graduating many key players from last year’s PIAA Class 2A finalist team, City League No. 1 Westinghouse showed that it will be very good once again after the Bulldogs traveled to Class 1A No. 5 Clairton and returned home with a 28-0 win. Khalil Green threw for a touchdown and added a rushing score for Westinghouse, which also got touchdown runs from Khalil Mitchell and Ty Abram. Mike Richardson added 3½ sacks for Westinghouse, which has now won 40 of its past 44 games.
CENTRAL VALLEY RALLIES LATE
After trailing by two touchdowns with about eight minutes left, Class 4A No. 4 Central Valley stormed back to capture a thrilling 36-35 win at Austintown Fitch, Ohio. Mason Dixon scored on a 69-yard touchdown run to trim the Central Valley deficit to 35-28. Then, after Steven Rutherford found Quinn Connolly for a 14-yard score with under a minute left, the Warriors elected to go for a 2-point conversion and the win. Dixon ran it in to put the Warriors ahead. Rutherford also ran for two touchdowns in the game. Pitt recruit Davion Pritchard scored on an 85-yard kick return for Fitch.
NORTH CATHOLIC OUTLASTS SERRA
In a game that included 91 points and 13 touchdowns, Class 4A No. 5 North Catholic held on for a wild 49-42 win against visiting Serra Catholic at Stone Field in North Park. North Catholic’s Jack Fennell and Serra’s Quadir Stribling both had huge performances. Fennell ran for 171 yards on 14 carries and scored four touchdowns, one coming on an interception return for a score that extended the Trojans lead to 49-35 with under three minutes left. Stribling completed 31 of 47 passes for 427 yards and six touchdowns.
*** — Da’sjon Craggette, Southmoreland. Craggette scored touchdowns on runs of 61 and 58 yards and finished with 217 yards on 14 carries in Southmoreland’s 34-6 win against McGuffey. Craggette played at Greensburg Central Catholic last season.
** — Jonah Williamson, Trinity. Williamson made the most of his seven pass attempts, completing six of them for 198 yards and two touchdowns in a 47-2 win against visiting Perry. Williamson also ran for a touchdown.
* — Eric Doerue, South Park. Doerue ran for 183 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries to help South Park capture a 22-16 home upset of Class 3A No. 4 East Allegheny.
• Fort Cherry’s Matt Sieg, the leading returning rusher in the WPIAL, began his sophomore season in a big way by running for 196 yards and three touchdowns while also passing for a touchdown to lead the Class 1A No. 4 Rangers to a 42-6 win at Northgate.
• In one of the most exciting games of the night, Brock Cornell scored on a 2-yard run as time expired to lift host West Allegheny to a 20-17 win against Moon. It was the second touchdown of the game for Cornell, who finished with 31 yards on 15 carries and also registered a team-high 10 tackles.
• South Side quarterback Brody Almashy completed just 1 of his 8 passes for 19 yards, but used eight rush attempts to collect 151 yards and three touchdowns in a 33-6 win at Hopewell. Almashy scored on runs of 18, 2 and 58 yards.
• After neither scored in the first half, Class 6A No. 4 Canon-McMillan used a pair of very long second-half touchdowns to claim a strong 14-0 win at Penn-Trafford. Jayden Baxter scored on a 92-yard fumble return in the third quarter and Zach Welsh ran for a 93-yard score in the fourth.
• Upper St. Clair survived an upset bid when Ethan Hellmann found Charlie Bywalski for a 6-yard touchdown with 3:14 left to give the host Panthers a 24-21 win against Norwin. Hellmann also threw a 57-yard touchdown pass to Bryce Jones.
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS
Apollo-Ridge 18, Leechburg 16
Armstrong 49, Valley 16
Avonworth 35, Grove City 14
Baldwin 56, Brashear 0
Beaver Falls 28, Blackhawk 7
Bentworth 42, Brownsville 6
Bethel Park 33, North Hills 10
California 37, Frazier 0
Carlynton 46, Carrick 6
Canon-McMillan 14, Penn-Trafford 0
Central Catholic 43, Woodland Hills 7
Central Valley 36, Austintown Fitch, Ohio 35
Connellsville 48, Albert Gallatin 13
Cornell 20, Seton LaSalle 19
Ellwood City 27, Brentwood 26
Fort Cherry 42, Northgate 6
Freedom 25, Quaker Valley 7
Greensburg C.C. 37, Mount Pleasant 24
Hempfield 45, Greensburg Salem 6
Highlands 45, Ambridge 8
Indiana 28, Freeport 14
Jeannette 16, Burrell 13
Jefferson-Morgan 42, Chartiers-Houston 30
Keystone Oaks 7, Deer Lakes 6
Knoch 45, Hampton 38
Latrobe 56, Derry 14
Laurel 37, New Brighton 6
Laurel Highlands 50, Uniontown 13
Ligonier Valley 28, Springdale 14
Mapletown 29, Avella 12
McKeesport 35, West Mifflin 7
Montour 37, Mars 28
Mt. Lebanon 28, Gateway 7
North Allegheny 61, Allderdice 0
North Catholic 49, Serra Catholic 42
O.L. Sacred Heart 32, Shenango 10
Peters Township 35, Fox Chapel 0
Pickerington North, Ohio 35, Pine-Richland 14
Plum 28, Kiski Area 18
Riverview 41, Beth-Center 20
Shaler 38, Butler 7
South Allegheny 28, Yough 14
South Fayette 42, Chartiers Valley 14
South Side Beaver 33, Hopewell 7
Southmoreland 34, McGuffey 6
Thomas Jefferson 42, Franklin Regional 7
Trinity 47, Perry 2
University Prep 26, New Castle 20 (OT)
Upper St. Clair 24, Norwin 21
Washington 49, Monessen 20
Waynesburg 35, Carmichaels 0
West Allegheny 20, Moon 17
West Greene 28, Cameron 24
Westinghouse 28, Clairton 0
Steve Rotstein and John Santa contributed.