Week four was a pretty amazing week for Warren County high school football.
Not only did three of the four teams score victories, but each of those victories was noteworthy in its own special way.
Warren's victory over Meadville pushed the Dragons to 4-0 for the second time in three years and Sheffield's one-point win over Cameron County was the first for new head coach Dave Fitch.
Times Observer photo by Ben Oviatt
Warren hosts Oil City for its Homecoming game at 7 p.m. Friday at War Memorial Field. Last week, Austin Jerman, pictured, pushed Warren to a 4-0 start with three touchdown passes and a touchdown run in a 49-28 Region 5 win over Meadville. Jerman had close to 250 yards of total offense, and three interceptions on defense, in the contest.
Perhaps no victory was bigger than Eisenhower's as the Knights and head coach Jim Penley took sole possession of first place in the Region 2 standings with a thrilling 26-25 victory over Mercyhurst Prep.
Week 5's action will be evenly distributed with a pair of games Friday evening and two more contests on Saturday afternoon.
Cochranton (3-1) at Eisenhower (3-1), 7 p.m., Friday, Eisenhower High School
Even before last Friday, the 2010 season was a distant memory for the Eisenhower football team.
Now, it's not even on the radar.
The Knights won their third straight game and staked their claim to Region 2 favorites with a thrilling 26-25 victory over Mercyhurst Prep last weekend at The Pasture of Pain. Aaron Lundmark's 13-yard touchdown pass to Nathan O'Brien with 17 seconds remaining sealed the win and John Pascuzzi's 40 carries for 249 rushing yards was one of the more memorable performances in Ike's storied history.
The Knights must now re-focus their energy and avoid an emotional letdown Friday when they upstart Cochranton Cardinals visit in yet another crucial Region 2 matchup.
"They are one of the best teams in our region as far as I can tell and we've got to be prepared to play with the target on our back now," said Penley. "Cochranton is a lot like us in what they do offensively and defensively. It's actually kind of creepy how similar we are. We need to be ready to play hard."
Cochranton nearly toppled Mercyhurst Prep itself in week three, ultimately falling 41-34. To this point, the loss to Lakers is the only blemish on the Cardinals 2012 schedule. A win over the Knights on Friday would put Cochranton into at least a tie for the Region 2 lead.
If its going to win, Cochranton will have to rely on a balanced offensive attack. Veteran quarterback Chad Eisenhooth has thrown for 578 yards and seven touchdowns (with just one pick) through four weeks and has a couple of potent deep threats in Garrett Adams and A.J. Nageotte.
Austin Andrews powers the running game with 353 yards and eight touchdowns and Jesse Staudt has proven to be a one-man wrecking crew on defense with four interceptions and two fumble recoveries to his credit this season.
Last meeting: October 21, 2011- at Eisenhower High School- Eisenhower 20, Cochranton 6
2012 Knights Leaders: Passing- Aaron Lundmark 22 of 54 for 436, 4 TD, INT; Rushing- John Pascuzzi 89 for 584, 5 TD; Receiving- Nathan O'Brien 12 for 337, 4 TD
Oil City (0-4) at Warren (4-0), 7 p.m., Friday, War Memorial Field
For the second time in three seasons, Warren will be looking to reach the midway point of the regular season without a single blemish on its record.
In order to do that, the Dragons will have to deal with the winless Oil City Oilers during Friday evening's Homecoming game at War Memorial Field.
Warren improved to 4-0 a week ago with a 49-28 pounding of region opponent Meadville. Friday's game is another important step in the Dragons' quest for a region championship and coach Brad Wright knows Oil City will be hungry and looking to play spoiler against Warren.
"We've been trying to emphasize all week that Oil City is going to come into this game inspired," said Wright. "It's a region game and no one likes to lose region games. With it being our Homecoming game, they are going to be that much more motivated to come in here and knock us off."
While the Oilers are 0-4 on the season, they could just as easily be 2-2. The Oilers narrowly lost to unbeaten Corry on a last second field goal and squandered a 14-point lead in a double overtime loss to Bradford.
Kevin Daly is the Oilers' primary threat in the back field. Of the team's 366 rushing yards this season, Daly has accounted for 239 of them as well as half of the team's rushing touchdowns (three of six).
Oil City shows little hesitation in throwing the ball and quarterback Colton Cunningham has attempted nearly 20 passes per contest this season. His receiving corps features one of the best wideouts in all of District 10 in Logan Way. Way has 25 catches for 431 yards and six touchdowns this season, averaging six catches, 100 yards and nearly two touchdowns per game through the season's opening four weeks.
Last meeting: November 12, 2010 (District 10 playoffs)- Oil City 41, Warren 21
2012 Dragons Leaders: Passing- Austin Jerman 37 of 61 for 529, 9 TD, INT; Rushing- Austin Jerman 30 for 252, 4 TD; Receiving- Mark Davis 13 for 195, 4 TD
Coudersport (1-3) at Sheffield (1-3), 1:30 p.m., Saturday, Wolverine Mountain
Sheffield's 2012 season is looking an awful lot like its 2011 campaign.
If things stay true to form, Sheffield will end its season in the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
An important step in reaching that goal comes Saturday when the Wolverines entertain the Coudersport Falcons on Homecoming Day at Wolverine Mountain.
Last Saturday afternoon, first-year coach Dave Fitch earned his first varsity win as Sheffield used a late pick six by Mister Ussery to record a 13-12 win over Cameron County. Fitch says that first victory could go a long way in helping Sheffield rebound from an early season three-game skid.
"The win was important, but even more important was the way we were able to move the ball," said Fitch. "That gave us a lot of confidence not just last week, but also going forward into this week. The kids are upbeat and we're expecting good things on Saturday."
In 2012, Coudersport finds itself a ways removed from the days where it would annually compete for the Allegheny Mountain League title. That fact became even more evident after last week's 70-8 loss at Port Allegany.
Despite its 1-3 record, Coudersport remains a dangerous team. The running game features a two-headed monster of Mitch Freeman and Caden Wittman. Freeman has 373 yards and four touchdowns on the season and Wittman is close behind with 336 yards and three trips to the end zone.
Sheffield's offensive line will have its hands full up front with defensive lineman Forrest Tuttle looking to get after Wolverines quarterback Shequan Wright. Tuttle already has six quarterback sacks this season.
Last meeting: October 1, 2011- at Wolverine Mountain- Coudersport 7, Sheffield 6, OT
2012 Wolverines Leaders: Passing- Shequan Wright 24 of 78 for 387, 2 TD, 7 INT; Rushing- Shequan Wright 71 for 115; Receiving- Dylan Reynolds 8 for 107
Youngsville (1-3) at Mercyhurst Prep (2-2), 2 p.m., Saturday, Erie Veterans Stadium
If Mercyhurst Prep enters Saturday afternoon's game with Youngsville a little more angry than usual, the Eagles can blame their county rival Eisenhower.
Eisenhower stunned the Lakers with a 26-25 victory last Friday and the Lakers will enter this week's Region 2 contest looking to regain their footing.
Tailback Cornelius Barclay has to be salivating at the matchup he has against an Eagles defense that struggles to stop the run. Facing a similar defense against Cochranton, Barclay rushed for 279 yards and six touchdowns two weeks ago. Despite only having three games on the year (week two was a forfeit win over Union City), Barclay has 570 rushing yards and eight touchdowns.
"They have a powerful running game for sure," said Youngsville coach Luke Alex. "We've got to be ready to step up and play at a different level. We've changed a couple things with scheme and personnel and we hope that will allow us to limit the run this week."
Mercyhurst Prep quarterback Nick Evanoff is coming off his best game of the season, having thrown touchdown passes to Joseph Swanson and D'Ayrus Davis in the Ike loss.
Youngsville enters Saturday looking to snap a two-game losing streak. The latest loss was perhaps the most disappointing of the year as the Eagles were defeated, 20-14, last week at Maplewood.
Last meeting: September 30, 2011- at Mike Shine Field- Youngsville 25, Mercyhurst Prep 13
2012 Eagles Leaders: Passing- Jake Lauffenburger 16 of 34 for 262, 2 TD, 3 INT; Rushing- Rocco Gatta 44 for 315, TD; Receiving- T.J. Hardy 8 for 161, 2 TD