Warren’s Homecoming game in Week 7
Region 1 vs. Region 2, homecoming against a former league opponent, and a must-win game in the AML North.
Week 7 promises to be busy for local football teams, with Youngsville and Eisenhower trying to break a history of rough outcomes against Mercer County squads West Middlesex and Sharpsville, respectively, and Warren welcoming Meadville to War Memorial Field for a non-region homecoming game on Friday.
On Saturday, Sheffield takes center stage as it looks for win number one against Coudersport on Wolverine Mountain.
Here’s a look at this weekend’s matchups:
Meadville (3-3) at Warren (1-5), War Memorial Field, 7 p.m., Friday
The Dragons get a break from their Region 3 schedule this week when they host the Meadville Bulldogs on homecoming at War Memorial Field. Meadville has wins over Fairview, Bradford, and Strong Vincent – but has fallen to more quality opponents in Conneaut, DuBois, and Central.
The Bulldogs are led by sophomore running back Journey Brown and senior Faizon McClure. Brown has racked up 414 yards and eight touchdowns this season while McClure has 309 yards and four scores.
The Dragons are led by the backfield duo of Kyle Kulka and Solomon Gross. Kulka – who has spent much of the year battling a shoulder injury – is the team’s leading rusher with 496 yards on 66 carries. Gross was out of the lineup last week, but has 325 yards on 45 touches in this season’s first five games. Ryan Shattuck is the team’s leading receiver with 26 catches for 290 yards and four touchdowns while Devin Nowacki has emerged as another weapon for quarterback D.J. Fehlman with 10 catches for 106 yards.
“Meadville has a strong football team, not the caliber of (Slippery Rock) or Hickory,” said Warren coach Greg Latimer. “Very run oriented ball team with an elusive passing game. If we play as a team, eliminate turnovers and minimize mistakes, it should be a good night for the Dragon football team, alumni, and fans.”
Eisenhower (3-3) at Sharpsville (5-1), Sharpsville High School, 7 p.m., Friday
With respect to Union City, you won’t find a bigger turnaround on anyone’s schedule than the Knights will see going from the Bears last week to Friday’s game against Sharpsville. The Blue Devils have been ranked as high as No. 5 in the Harrisburg Patriot-News Class A state rankings, but dropped to honorable mention after their first loss of the season last week against Lakeview.
For the Knights, Friday’s game is a chance to avenge a season-ending loss to Sharpsville in last year’s District 10 Class A quarterfinals. George Keck burned Ike for 147 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries in that game while Greg Popatak added 73 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. Both are back to lead coach Paul Piccirilli’s run-heavy offense.
Eisenhower quarterback Louie Head has 965 passing yards and eight touchdowns through the air to go along with 267 rushing yards and five scores on the ground. Jarrett Johnson has a team leading 26 receptions for 563 yards and four touchdowns.
“The keys for the rest of the season are to get better up front and control the line of scrimmage,” said Knights’ coach Jim Penley. “For this week, we have to play a perfect game. Sharpsville is one of the best for a reason. If we can control the line of scrimmage, we have a good shot. But if not they are a great team, and they will make things real tough for us.”
Youngsville (1-5) at West Middlesex (4-2), West Middlesex High School, 7 p.m., Friday
The Eagles are a young team, but the handful of remaining seniors remember their freshman season ending at the hands of West Middlesex in the 2011 D10 Class A playoffs. The Big Reds hope to keep their playoff hopes alive after region losses to Lakeview and Sharpsville earlier this season, while the Eagles are looking to answer for a lopsided loss to Iroquois last week.
To do so, they’ll need to find a way to contain senior running back Eric Lucich, who already has over 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground this season. Quarterback Trey Staunch has only thrown for 403 yards and three touchdowns so far, but is also a threat on the ground with 490 rushing yards and eight touchdowns.
Jake Lauffenburger leads the Eagles with 523 passing yards and nine touchdowns, including a 61-yard strike to Curtis Hoffner for the only score in last week’s loss. Hoffner added a big day on the ground with 100 yards on 13 carries while Noah Myers picked up another 41 yards on eight touches for Youngsville.
“This game is going to be a great learning experience for us,” said Youngsville coach John Victor. “The last couple of weeks have been hard on the team. We have multiple players out, for just about every reason possible, and we will be fielding a very young team this week. Going against West Middlesex, our younger players will get a chance to experience what it is like to go against a top notch team and we are hoping to build for the future off this experience. Next week and for the following weeks we should be getting back to full strength and we are going to treat it as our own personal playoffs.”
Coudersport (1-5) at Sheffield (0-6), Sheffield High School, 1:30 p.m., Saturday
The Wolverines aren’t completely out of the District 9 Class A playoff picture as of now, but Saturday afternoon’s game is a definite must win if they have any hopes of seeing the postseason. Coudersport hasn’t fared much better, starting the season at 0-4 before registering a win over Otto-Eldred in Week 5. Brock Wilson led the effort in that win with 104 yards on 26 carries.
Adam Higby eclipsed 1,000 yards passing in last week’s loss to Cameron County. Through six games, Higby is 69-of-183 for 1,062 yards and 10 touchdowns. His favorite target has been Marquis Clark, who has 17 catches for 445 yards and five scores. Logan Connelly has caught 16 passes for 238 yards and three touchdowns and Jake Johnson has returned from a preseason injury to give the Wolverines another weapon in the passing game.
“We shook things up tonight and a few senior fullbacks have moved up to the line to allow us to put the most athletic kids on the field,” said Sheffield coach Dave Fitch. “The keys are simple in which we must do the basics every play. We need to follow the playbook and on defense we must read our keys and be aggressive; it’s not an athletic issue, we have players at each position. We need to come out and play like a team and each person must do their one-eleventh and trust the guy next to him is doing the same.”