PIAA Class AAAA Western Quarterfinals
State College (8-4) vs. North Allegheny (13-0)
Mansion Park @ Altoona
12/3 1:00 p.m.
This is one of the very few times you can actually go back and look at common opponents and they are the common opponent. These two teams clashed in week one at North Allegheny and the Tigers came out on top (53-21). I'm sure both teams have improved since then. North Allgheny is rolling that to the leadership of junior quarterback Mack Leftwich (1,983/18 TD's and the legs of Vinnie Congedo, Nick Passodelis and Alex Deciantis. The legs of Leftwich have been very active as well and his ability to get into the end zone won the Tigers a WPIAL title. No team can run without linemen and the Tigers are led by arguably the best lineman in the state junior Patrick Kugler who holds close to 20 scholarship offers already. When Leftwich drops back to pass he likes to look for junior Brendan Coniker (426/6 TD's) who battled injuries this year, but is back to normal now. On defense, sophomore Elijah Zeise has been playing well at cornerback. Yes, he is the son of Paul Zeise of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. You don't start on a team as deep as NA, unless you can ball so that should tell you about Zeise's abilities. State College will rely heavily on the running exploits of senior Jack Haffner (2,050/27 TD's). Senior quarterback Josh Weakland hasn't had the type of season that he would have liked.
PREDICTION: North Allegheny 45, State College 14
Wilson (12-1) vs. Central Dauphin (12-1)
Hershey Park Stadium
12/3 6:00 p.m.
Wilson has played a decent schedule, after losing their first game to Governor Mifflin they have reeled off (12) straight wins. The Bulldogs feature a balanced offense led by senior quarterback Seth Klein (1,875/18 TD's) and the running of talented senior tailback Rodney Gillin (1,692/ 18 TD's). If Klein throws odds are he is going to try to find senior wide receiver Jacob Morgan (990/ 11 TD's). Defensively the Bulldogs are led by senior Dominic Moyer. The Rams have been battle tested winning a number of very close games. Their only loss was at the hands of Class AAA power Bishop McDevitt. The Rams will rely on a potent rushing attack led by by one of the states top junior back Zayd Issah (1,242/19 TD's), along with junior scatback Drew Scales (736/6 TD's) and bruising senior Adam Hollinger (547/3 TD's). Issah is also the teams leading receiver (538/8 TD's. Issah also stands out on defense where he is among the team leaders in tackles (93) and sacks (12). Senior defensive lineman Evan Schwan has recorded (15) sacks. Junior linebacker Daylin Russo leads the Rams with (105) tackles.
PREDICTION: Central Dauphin 28, Wilson 21
PIAA Class AAAA Western Finals North Allegheny vs. Central Dauphin
PIAA Class AAAA Eastern Quarterfinals
Nazareth (12-1) vs. LaSalle (11-1)
Bethlehem Area School District Stadium @ Liberty High School
12/3 1:00 p.m.
Nazereth scores a pile of points, but they have also given up a pile of points led by the talented arm of senior Dan Harding (3,494/31 TD's). Harding likes to hit his dimunitive junior wide receiver Alex Tonnies (598/6 TD's) and the Bridgeforth's Adam and Andrew who have a combined (130) catches for (2,091 yards) and (16 TD's). Freshman running back Jordan Gray has run for (1,529) yards. LaSalle's only loss was to New Jersey power Bergen Catholic. They are led by quarterback Matt Magarity (1,391/21 TD's) and senior running back Tim Wade (1,365/19 TD's). Magarity likes to throw to senior Colin Buckley (524/10 TD's) and junior Sean Coleman (584/7 TD's).
PREDICTION: LaSalle 35, Nazareth 28
North Penn (11-2) vs. Council Rock South (12-1)
@ Plymouth Whitemarsh High School
12/2 7:30 p.m.
The Golden Hawks have lost one game this season a close (13-10) defeat at the hands of Pennsbury. They like to run the ball and if that doesn't work they like to run some more led by senior quarterback Brian Donnelly (1,368/22 TD's) and senior Anthony Alimenti (858/11 TD's). The defense is led by Scout.com three-star defensive end P.J. Gallo, who is headed to Maryland. If we do the common opponent denominator North Penn defeated Pennsbury in last weekend's semifinals. The Knights will throw the ball a little bit more, but not much more. They rely on 1,000 yard rusher Kyle Mayfield and the punishing short yardage back Ralph Reeves. Dan Gervitz is a dangerous weapon on offense as is quarterback Corey Ernst. North Penn has a big line led by 320-pound John Garland and 285-pound T.J. Smink.
PREDICTION: Council Rock North 17, North Penn 14
PIAA Class AAAA Eastern Final LaSalle vs. Council Rock South