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December 3, 2012

Weekend Wrap: Coatesville explodes onto scene

With the semifinals looming, this edition of the Weekend Wrap reflects on the state quarterfinals and how we whittled it down to four teams in each classification.

CLASS AAAA

How's this for a string of offensive performances: 38 points, 42 points, 63 points, and 59 points.

That's what Coatesville has lit up the scoreboard for in its four playoff games. Few teams can match it this year, and none have in the larger classifications. The Red Raiders are on an impressive tear, and the question is quickly becoming whether any defense has the speed to keep up with its weapons. Engineered by Emmett Hunt, Coatesville's offense has used running back Daquan Worley and receivers Chris Jones and Dre Boggs as assassins.

Jones and Boggs caught Hunt's four touchdown passes as Coatesville blitzed Spring-Ford 59-28. Worley added another two scores. Spring-Ford tried to keep pace, trailing 35-21 at the half, but the Rams just couldn't maintain the all-out sprint. Hunt has been masterful all year, throwing for over 2,700 yards, tossing 40 touchdowns, and throwing just two interceptions.

Not all that far away from the site of Coatesville's explosive performance, La Salle continued to demonstrate why counting them out earlier in the year after a loss to St. Joseph's Prep may have been foolish. The Explorers have been willing to try to out-pace opponents in the playoffs, but against Parkland in the quarterfinal, La Salle's defense took center stage.

La Salle's defensive pressure bulldozed the Parkland line, sacking Trojans quarterback Tim Baranek early and often in a 28-7 win. La Salle registered 12 sacks on the day and held Parkland's normally explosive offense - complete with a couple 1,000 yard rushers, including Baranek - to under 150 yards until the final moments.

As for the offense, La Salle had more than enough. Chris Kane connected with Sean Coleman five times for 120 yards and two touchdowns, and La Salle took advantage of the excellent field position it had courtesy of its defense to build a 28-0 lead.

In the central part of the state, revenge was a major motivator for Wilson West Lawn against Harrisburg. Wilson lost to the Cougars 21-14 back in Week 2, and while few predicted that a rematch would occur in the District 3 title game, Wilson wasn't about to let the opportunity slip by.

This time, it wasn't close. Wilson romped, winning 39-14 as running back Jimmy Brooks scored four total touchdowns, including two on punt returns. But most impressive was Wilson's calling card all year: It's stingy, physical defense. Harrisburg had run wild over opponents, but Wilson shut the Cougars down, holding them to 50 total yards on the ground. In fact, Harrisburg scored just one offensive touchdown, as Kyle Martin returned a fumble 92 yards for the other score.

North Allegheny was similarly dominant against McDowell. After spotting the Trojans an early lead, North Allegheny rattled off 56 consecutive points in a 56-6 whipping of the District 10 representative. Thirty-five of those points came in the second quarter alone, as Mack Leftwich was a crisp 14-of-15 for 284 yards and five touchdowns. Two of his scores went to Gregg Garrity and two went to Skylar Cox.

Meanwhile, after McDowell marched 65 yards on its opening touchdown drive, North Allegheny held the Trojans - including physical backs James Conner and Khyre Drayer - to 70 yards in the final three and a half quarters.

CLASS AAA

An afterthought all year, Colin McDermott is making sure Allentown Central Catholic goes out in a blaze of glory. The senior running back steamrolled Selinsgrove for 379 yards and five touchdowns as Allentown Central Catholic once again made it back to the semifinals with a 41-13 win.

McDermott now has 50 scores on the season, and the Vikings have needed every single one. Allentown Central Catholic is just 9-5, winning deep into the playoffs despite going through what many thought would be a rebuilding year. Selinsgrove led 13-7 at the start of the second quarter, but McDermott and Allentown rattled off 34 straight points.

As a thanks, Allentown gets a familiar face in the semifinal: Archbishop Wood. The other Vikings romped past Interboro, using a familiar formula to capture another playoff win. Archbishop Wood leaned on Andrew Guckin for another 100-yard performance, plus four touchdowns, as it built a 35-0 lead at the half and spent the second quarter idly letting the mercy rule take care of the clock.

Wood's defense held Interboro to just four rushing yards and 155 total yards of offense. The win means Wood will take on Allentown Central Catholic in the semifinal for the third straight year.

Another semifinal regular of late is also back, as Bishop McDevitt grounded out a 21-10 win over West York. Alec Werner threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns while Rashad Lawson and Andre Robinson combined for 150 rushing yards. McDevitt's defense made sure West York didn't have the same kind of production. West York had just 154 total yards of offense, and its normally prolific running game didn't have a single 100-yard rusher.

In the end, McDevitt was just too talented for West York. The same could be said for Cathedral Prep against West Allegheny. Though West Allegheny held a 10-0 lead in the first half, Prep outscored the Indians 27-3 the rest of the way to move on to the state semifinal.

The difference? Damion Terry and Delton Williams, naturally. Terry threw for 257 yards, ran for 108, and he threw for three touchdowns. Williams caught two of those touchdown passes, hauling in seven total passes for 118 yards.

CLASS AA

One of the few teams, regardless of class, that's matched Coatesville's offensive production in the playoffs is Imhotep Charter. The District 12 school continued its romp through the eastern side of the bracket, trouncing Pen Argyl 54-7. David Williams, a large component of Imhotep's offense all year, scored four touchdowns and ran for 196 yards.

In all, Imhotep gashed Pen Argyl for 456 yards, including 338 on the ground. Their opponent next week, Wyomissing, enjoyed a similar romp this weekend.

Wyomissing thumped Danville 52-0, getting an unexpectedly easy ride to the state semifinals. Wyomissing led 31-0 at the half and enacted the mercy rule on an opponent for the tenth time this season. Running back Mason Smith scored three touchdowns, needing just seven carries to pick up 145 rushing yards.

Notre Dame commit Alex Anzalone also picked up three touchdowns as Wyomissing ran for 392 yards.

Speaking of running, Karns City might want to look on the backs of their jerseys for the cleat marks left by Aliquippa's ground game. Aliquippa scored 31 points in the first eight minutes of the game, cruising to a 51-15 blowout. In the process, Aliquippa ran for 471 yards, with most of the carries going to back-ups and reserves. Dravon Henry led all rushers with 120 yards, but Terry Swanson chipped in 81 and Malik Shegog had 71. All of them were done for the game before the end of the second quarter.

While everyone else was busy enduring blowouts, Hickory and Richland tried to keep it a little closer. Well, Hickory tried. Richland wasn't willing. Richland scored 13 points in the first six minutes and a 31-0 lead before halftime. Richland ended up winning 38-12, as Hickory couldn't score until DeShawn Coleman finally got in the end zone early in the third quarter.

Richland quickly answered, though, and Hickory couldn't get much closer. Tannar Solarczyk carried 26 times for 153 yards and scoring three total touchdowns.

CLASS A

The best game of the weekend came between Bellwood-Antis and Delone Catholic. Bellwood-Antis scored the game-tying touchdown with just over 30 seconds left in regulation and then outlasted Delone Catholic in double overtime to win 33-26.

Casey Gray carried 25 times for 128 yards and three touchdowns. He scored the first touchdown of the game and the last, scoring on a 10-yard run in the second overtime. Delone Catholic led 20-12 into the fourth quarter before Haden DeGennaro plunged in from 1-yard out. Bellwood-Antis then converted the two-point conversion, and overtime was on.

After the two teams traded touchdowns in the first OT, and after Gray scored to put Bellwood-Antis up, the defense stepped forward. Bellwood-Antis forced Matt Guiffreda to fumble, ruining a 21-carry, 95-yard, two touchdown performance from the Delone Catholic back.

Bristol's magical run will not continue. The District 1 school had a 12-7 lead at the half, but that was all Bristol could manage on offense the rest of the game. Dunmore scored 27 unanswered points, including 20 alone in the fourth quarter, to win 34-12. Bristol had 136 yards from running back Donte Simmons, but he couldn't duplicate Dunmore's dynamic duo.

Austin Seamon ran 12 times for 172 yards and scored two touchdowns and Daiqwon Buckley had 19 carries for 166 yards and two touchdowns for Dunmore.

Port Allegany has said they want Clairton. They nearly didn't get past Sharpsville. Matt Bodamer had to find Tyce Miller for an 11-yard touchdown with seconds left on the clock to give Port Allegany a 28-21 win, allowing the state's all-time leading passer to take on Clairton next week.

It almost didn't happen. Port Allegany had a 20-7 lead until Brian Stafford tossed two touchdown passes for Sharpsville to give the District 10 champs a 21-20 lead. Bodamer tried to rally Port Allegany throughout the fourth quarter, but Sharpsville held the ball with just over two minutes left. But the Blue Demons fumbled on their own 40 with a little over a minute remaining. Bodamer finished 21-of-36 for 260 yards.

Clairton's 61st win may have come at a cost, as Titus Howard dislocated his elbow and will miss the game against Port Allegany, if not the rest of the season. In the meantime, Clairton's 53-0 romp over Berlin Brothersvalley will serve as the game in which Tyler Boyd became the WPIAL's all-time touchdown leader, as his 227 yards and five scores gave him 114 career touchdowns, breaking Rushel Shell's short-lived record.

Clairton had 394 yards of offense, and the Bears have annihilated District 5. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Clairton has outscored District 5 opponents 221-0 in the last five meetings in the playoffs.

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