Scholastic Football: Three Teams Coached by Area Grads Eying Playoffs

Three Western Pennsylvania scholastic football teams coached by graduates of area high schools enhanced their playoff possibilities with wins last week.

Undefeated Wilmington, ranked No. 6 in Class AA by the Pennsylvania Football News and The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, hammered rival Sharon 42-7 to lock up the District 10 Region 3 Class AA League title and give Coach Terry Verrelli (Curwensville Joint High School, Class of 1965) his 199th victory. The Greyhounds\’ staunch defense held the 6-2 Tigers to one first down and three net yards. The losers scored on an interception return. Wilmington (8-0), which probably will be the top seed for the district playoffs, is 5-0 for its league finale at Northwestern Friday.

Corry (6-2) moved closer to its goal of making the District 10 Class AA chase with a 14-0 shutout of Fort LeBoeuf (0-8) at Waterford. The Beavers, coached by Homer DeLattre (Moshannon Valley H.S., 1992) had a 214-61 advantage in total offense, but they converted only one of six fourth-down attempts, keeping the game closer than it should have been. Corry is one of a trio of 3-2 teams in the District 10 Region 3 Class AA League behind 4-1 co-leaders Fairview and Harbor Creek. A five-team tie for first place is possible, though Corry must upend Fairview and North East must topple Harbor Creek this week. Corry\’s playoff hopes hinge on what happens in those two games, for the third 3-2 contender, Seneca, is favored over Girard.

Shaler has clinched a berth in the District 7 (WPIAL) Class AAAA Playoffs under coach Jacque DeMatteo (Clearfield Area H.S., 1986) at 3-1 in the Northern Five Conference after a 35-14 romp over Seneca Valley (3-5, 0-4). The Titans, 6-2 overall, could finish in a three-way tie for first place with a win over Erie McDowell (2-2) and a North Hills (2-2) upset of North Allegheny (4-0) this week. However, Shaler is third in tiebreaker points. Erie McDowell will be a rugged 4-4 opponent. Three of its losses were 7-0 to 6-2 North Allegheny, 14-10 to 6-2 North Hills and 21-20 to 7-1 District 10 power Erie Cathedral Prep.

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Triple-threat quarterback Calvin Grumley became the first Johnsonburg gridder ever selected District 9 Football Player of the Week after his all-around effort against Elk County Catholic Friday night.

The 5-10, 180-pound senior ran 15 times for 136 yards and two touchdowns, completed 10 of 21 passes for 127 yards and one score and kicked four extra points in the Rams\’ 36-0 win to earn the Week Seven honor. He also intercepted a Crusader pass.

Week Five co-winner Nick Sipes of Curwensville was one of four running backs who were considered for the award, which was initiated in 2000. Sipes gained 138 yards on 25 carries, scored two TDs and kicked three PATs in the Golden Tide\’s 21-8 victory at Ridgway that clinched the Allegheny Mountain League South Division championship.

Max Kutz of Brookville carried 16 times for 101 yards and two TDs and completed his only pass for a 46-yard score in a 35-0 win over Punxsutawney, Chris Cavallari of Coudersport carried 28 times for 140 yards and two TDs in a 22-0 win over Smethport and Taylor O\’Brien of Bradford gained 197 yards on just 12 carries and scored twice in a 21-13 conquest of DuBois.

Others named to the Honor Roll included Clearfield quarterback Andrew Janocko, who connected on 12 of 25 passes for 143 yards and one TD, and halfback William Bacharach, who carried five times for 39 yards and two TDs, including the gamewinner, in a 21-20 overtime squeaker against St. Marys and Curwensville quarterback Shawn Sopic, who ran for 91 yards on 18 carries and passed for 78 yards and one TD on five completions in 12 attempts.

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Curwensville (7-1) continues to be one of four District 9 teams receiving recognition in statewide rankings. The Golden Tide is an honorable mention selection by The Patriot-News (Harrisburg) rankings and an \”Others To Watch\” pick by the Pennsylvania Football News in Class A.

Coudersport (8-0), which will host Curwensville in the Allegheny Mountain League championship game on Saturday, Nov. 4, moved up one notch to No. 8 in the PFN ratings. The Falcons join the Golden Tide on The Patriot-News honorable mention list.

In Class AA, Karns City (8-0) and Brookville (7-1) are considered possible Top 10 hopefuls by both organizations.

District 6 is well represented, including Tyrone (8-0) No. 5 in Class AA in both rankings and State College (7-1) No. 10 in Class AAAA in the PFN rankings.

The Patriot-News honorable mention list has State College in AAAA, Mountain Athletic Conference Seven Mountains Division champ Huntingdon (7-1) and Johnstown (7-1) in AAA, Bishop McCort (7-1) and Penn Cambria (7-1) in AA and Bellwood-Antis (6-2), Portage (7-1), Penn Cambria (7-1) and Southern Huntingdon (7-1) in AA. All of the teams except State College are on PFN\’s \”Others To Watch\” list.

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League standings:

District 9 League — Brookville 4-1, Bradford 4-1, Clearfield 3-1, Punxsutawney 2-2, St. Marys 1-4, DuBois 0-5.

Mountain Athletic Conference Seven Mountains Division — Huntingdon* 5-0, Clearfield 3-1, Bellefonte 3-2, Indian Valley 1-3, Punxsutawney 1-3, Lewistown 0-4.

Allegheny Mountain League South Division — Curwensville* 7-1, Johnsonburg 6-2, Ridgway 5-3, Brockway 4-4, Elk County Catholic 3-5, Kane 3-5.

Allegheny Mountain League North Division — Coudersport* 8-0, Cameron County 6-2, Otto-Eldred 3-5, Port Allegany 2-6, Sheffield 1-7, Smethport 0-8.

* — 2006 Champion

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EXTRA POINTS — Clearfield\’s potent passing attack is reflected in the District 9 statistics compiled by, as Janocko\’s 1,595 yards are more than 650 ahead of No. 2 Tyler Armagost of Moniteau, while tight end Adam Jury\’s 52 receptions for 795 yards are challenged only by Bison split end Doug Kephart\’s 32 receptions for 639 yards. Janocko\’s 109 completions and 195 attempts are highest by far, too… If Clearfield defeats Punxsutawney Friday, the District 9 League will end in a three-way dead heat of 4-1 teams. The Bisons lost to Bradford in the season opener and bounced back the next week to edge Brookville, which shocked then-unbeaten Bradford three weeks ago… Give Clarion credit for being ambitious. On their Keystone Shortway Athletic Conference bye week, the Bobcats challenged four-time defending state champion Southern Columbia Friday. The long trip to Catawissa resulted in a 35-0 loss, but the state\’s No. 1 Class A team went into the game averaging more than 50 points a game. The Bobcats are still in the District 9 Class A chase at 4-4… Clearfield native Rod Frisco, the highly-regarded scholastic writer for The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, spotlighted Jack Henzes of Dunmore for became the fifth football coach in the state with 300 wins. Henzes, who is 70 years old, is in the 40th season of his career, which started at Wyoming Area. Others with 300 victories: George Curry (Lake Lehman, Berwick and Wyoming Valley West), Mike Pettine (Central Bucks West), Frank Pazzaglia (Valley View) and Jim Render (Upper St. Clair). Frisco noted Henzes\’ father, John \”Papa Bear\” Henzes, amassed 251 wins at Blakely, which became part of the Valley View jointure… Closer to home, scholastic writer Mike White of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette came up with this interesting tidbit. Stephen Ford of Cambridge, Ohio, had 65 carries in a 41-35 win over Dover this season. Unbelievably, that\’s not a national record. Russell Gunter carried 72 times for Straughn, Ala., in a 1989 game. Many teams, if not most, don\’t run and pass 65 times in a game.

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