Week 5 was a week to remember.
Not only were Warren, Eisenhower and Sheffield all victorious, but the teams provided season highlights in those triumphs.
On Homecoming, the undefeated Dragons ran their record to 5-0 with a 60-36 victory over the visiting Oil City Oilers. Quarterback Austin Jerman threw for 195 yards, rushed for 174 more and finished with six touchdowns in the victory.
Photo by Denny Kyser
Warren’s Ryan Gorgacz (23) fights for more yards in a 42-0 freshmen football win over Corry on Thursday in Corry. Warren’s varsity is also on the road this week, with a Region 5 first-place matchup and battle of undefeated teams with Slippery Rock at 7 p.m. Friday.
In Eisenhower's 38-16 win over Cochranton, standout senior tailback John Pascuzzi set a new school record with 339 rushing yards. In his last two games, Pascuzzi has rushed 75 times for 590 yards with three scores.
Sheffield's dramatic 31-30 Homecoming victory over Coudersport included a 55-yard double pass on fourth and 19 and a game-winning touchdown pass with 22 seconds remaining. It also gave the Wolverines their first win over the Falcons since 1973.
Is there any way week 6 can top all that?
Time will tell.
Warren (5-0) at Slippery Rock (5-0), Friday, 7 p.m., Slippery Rock High School
To this point, it's the game of the year for the Warren Dragons.
Warren and Slippery Rock - who share the top spot in Region 5 with DuBois - will fight to remain perfect when the teams clash Friday at Slippery Rock High School. The Dragons are seeking their second 6-0 start in the past three seasons.
Warren held off a tough test from Oil City in week five, pulling away late for a Homecoming win. The Dragons have outscored their first five opponents by a score of 267-88, but head coach Brad Wright will be the first to tell you that the Rockets will give Warren their stiffest test to date.
"There's no doubt they are a quality opponent," said Wright. "They are a run heavy team and they execute very well. Our guys know this game is going to be won or lost up front. We were a little shellshocked in the first half against Oil City. We know we can't falter early. We need to play well the entire game."
The Rockets are 5-0 in 2012 and have defeated three of the same opponents as the 5-0 Dragons. The Rockets hold a 42-7 win over Meadville, a 25-3 victory over Bradford and a 45-20 win over East in games against common Warren opponents.
Ryan Currie poses a dual threat for the Rockets, leading the team in both passing and rushing. His running skills have been displayed more than his passing skills with 388 yards and nine touchdowns to this point in the year. Through the air, Currie has passed just 14 times, completing seven passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns.
Teammate Jeff Croll is also capable of carrying the load with 245 yards and three touchdowns this season and Frank Conlon had a strong game in last week's win over East, carrying nine times for 75 yards and a score.
Last meeting: November 2, 2007- at Slippery Rock University- Slippery Rock 49, Warren 24
2012 Dragons Leaders: Passing- Austin Jerman 47 of 76 for 724, 13 TD, INT; Rushing- Austin Jerman 40 for 426, 3 TD; Receiving- Mark Davis 15 for 213, 5 TD
Cambridge Springs (2-3) at Eisenhower (4-1), Friday, 7 p.m., Eisenhower High School
Cambridge Springs is the latest roadblock in Eisenhower's pursuit of a Region 2 championship.
If the Knights can topple the Blue Devils Friday at The Pasture of Pain, the team will also secure a Homecoming victory for the 2012 season.
The Knights stretched their lead in the region with a 38-16 victory over Cochranton in week 5. John Pascuzzi broke the school rushing record of Brad Hartley (291 yards) with a 339-yard and three touchdown performance.
Eisenhower coach Jim Penley said the story of Friday night's game could be in how his team responds with the target on its back.
"We've played a couple of huge games in which not many were picking us to win the last couple weeks," said Penley. "We responded very well in those games, but the question remains how will we respond in a game where a lot of people are picking us to win. We need to be able to give that type of effort even in a game we may be favored."
The Blue Devils are reeling after a 35-12 loss at the hands of Union City a week ago. Still, Devin Walker (36 of 79 for 544, 6 TD, 8 INT) has shown the ability to be effective under center and figures to try to challenge the Knights' secondary on Friday.
Walker is also featured in the ground game, but Colton Noble carries the majority of the workload with 92 carries for 621 yards and three scores this season. Walker's favorite target is Zach Stafford who has 16 grabs for 239 yards and two scores in 2012. Kristopher Silbaugh has just four catches, but three have gone for six points.
Last meeting: September 30, 2011- at Cambridge Springs- Cambridge Springs 12, Eisenhower 7
2012 Knights Leaders: Passing- Aaron Lundmark 27 of 64 for 491, 5 TD, 3 INT; Rushing- John Pascuzzi 123 for 921, 8 TD; Receiving- Nathan O'Brien 12 for 337, 4 TD
Sheffield (2-3) at Otto-Eldred (0-5), Friday, 7 p.m., Otto-Eldred High School
Sheffield's second win of 2012 will go down as one of the most memorable in school history.
Shequan Wright threw for two scores and caught two more touchdowns, sophomore backup quarterback Adam Higby tossed three fourth quarter touchdowns and Brendan Winslow made a catch on fourth and 19 with the game on the line as well as the winning touchdown with 22 seconds to go.
Still, after all the hysterics of week 5, the Wolverines and coach Dave Fitch must leave it behind and focus on trying to stretch its winning streak to three games Friday at Otto-Eldred.
"On paper, it's a winnable game. But what the game looks like on paper means nothing," said Fitch. "We've been notorious for playing some of our worst games of the season on the road in Otto. We tried to stress that on the kids this week and let them know just how critical a win in this game would be to our overall playoff chances."
Otto-Eldred has struggled in recent seasons and 2012 has been no different. The Terrors have done anything but terrorize the opposition and have started the season 0-5. Otto has lost those games by an average of over 26 points per contest.
Quarterback Dakota Vaughn has thrown for 509 yards through five weeks, but has been picked off nine times. He has also run for 257 yards and three scores. Otto's run game relies heavily on the legs of Sam Colebert who has a team-best 479 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
Last meeting: October 8, 2011- at Sheffield High School- Sheffield 42, Otto-Eldred 0
2012 Wolverines Leaders: Passing- Shequan Wright 35 of 99 for 587, 4 TD, 8 INT; Rushing- Shequan Wright 74 for 122; Receiving- Dylan Reynolds 10 for 160, TD
Union City (2-3) at Youngsville (1-4), Friday, 7 p.m., Mike Shine Field
Week 5 was a devastating week for the defending Region 2 champion Youngsville Eagles.
Not only did the team allow over 300 yards and four touchdowns to District 10 standout running back Cornelius Barclay of Mercyhurst Prep, but the team suffered injuries to its two most dynamic offensive weapons (Jordan Gurdak and Rocco Gatta) as well as two of its dangerous wideouts (T.J. Hardy and Mike Hamrick).
Youngsville coach Luke Alex couldn't comment on those injuries, but said the team "will have several new starters in the lineup this week."
Union City enters the game with momentum, having turned in one of its best performances during last week's 35-12 win over Cambridge Springs. Running back Josh Reinke is coming off a monster game in which he rushed for 180 yards and a score and added a 29-yard touchdown reception for good measure.
Teammate Shane Russell rushed for 112 yards against the Blue Devils and returned an interception 92 yards for a touchdown as the Bears won for the second straight week.
Last meeting: September 9, 2011- at Union City High School- Youngsville 5, Union City 0
2012 Eagles Leaders: Passing- Jake Lauffenburger 22 of 45 for 415, 4 TD, 3 INT; Rushing- Rocco Gatta 52 for 337, TD; Receiving- T.J. Hardy 9 for 192, 2 TD