The first few weeks of a senior season can be crucial for Division I hopefuls. For Seneca Valley running back Forrest Barnes, an explosive game like the one he had against Connellsville could do wonders.
Barnes carried the ball 16 times for 305 yards, scoring seven touchdowns as Seneca Valley won 64-14. Barnes doubled his production for the season, as he's now picked up 577 yards and 11 scores through four games.
"It seemed like (Barnes) kept finding another gear out there," Seneca Valley coach Don Holl told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "He's a true track sprinter, and our offensive line gave him a chance to get out in the open, and he really made some things happen for us tonight."
Barnes scored on runs of 10, 96, 50, 31, 55, 23, and 5 yards, as Barnes picked up 278 of his yards in the first half. The 5-foot-9, 175-pound back has picked up some interest from local schools like Pitt and Ohio, but has yet to earn a scholarship offer. Barnes also has good hands and could earn looks as a slot-back.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Barnes is now third in the WPIAL in rushing.
Barnes' performance was arguably the highlight of the weekend, although two backs came close. Central Mountain's Von Walker scored six touchdowns and ran for 362 yards on 16 carries, while Central Bucks South's Josh Adams carried the ball 28 times for 325 yards and four touchdowns.
FORD LAUNCHING ASSAULT
There was little doubt that Cedar Cliff QB Andrew Ford would be one to watch this year. With a big target in Penn State TE-commit Adam Breneman, Ford figured to put up big numbers in his junior season. But when Breneman went out with a knee injury, many dialed down their expectations.
Instead, Ford and Cedar Cliff have run rampant over opposing defenses. Ford has done most of his damage through the air in launching Cedar Cliff to a 4-0 start, but this week he did it on the ground. Ford still threw for 321 yards and a touchdown, but he also ran for 123 more and picked up 5 rushing scores as Cedar Cliff beat Hershey 41-27.
Ford has already thrown for over 1,200 yards in just four games, and he's thrown for 15 touchdowns. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Ford already has interest from Maryland, Virginia, Pitt, UConn, Michigan, and Penn State, and if he continues his pace, there's little doubt more schools will be interested and begin handing out offers.
Every year brings a few early season surprises, and a few teams are off to starts that haven't exactly been common place. In the WPIAL, Hempfield is off to a 3-1 start, the best start for the Class AAAA squad in 15 years. Perhaps more remarkable is the start for Class A Avella. One of the smallest schools in the state and a perennial cellar-dwellar, Avella is off to a 4-0 start.
Out near Harrisburg, Lower Dauphin is off to a 4-0 start after two 1-9 seasons. Likewise, Class AA Bald Eagle is 4-0. The Wingate school has not started 4-0 since at least 1993. And in the PCL, Conwell-Egan is off to its first 3-0 start in nearly 10 years.
How's this for odd: West Allegheny scored on two safeties and very nearly had a third in a 28-10 win over Hopewell Friday night. All three incidents occurred on special teams, as Hopewell punter Nate Bowden spent much of his evening trying to corral the football. The first safety occurred late in the second quarter, when Bowden had to grab a snap only to find West Allegheny bearing down on him. Bowden tried to run for kicking room but ended up throwing the ball out of the back of the end zone. The safety was actually West Allegheny's margin at half time, as the Indians led 5-3.
The second safety occurred in third quarter, as this time Bowden had no chance to corral a high snap that sailed over his head and into the end zone. The final miscue didn't result in a safety, but helped West Allegheny put the game away. Bowden again was taken out of rhythm on the snap, tried to run for room to kick, only to get taken down at his own five yard-line.
Cardinal O'Hara running back/receiver Thaddius Smith had 231 total yards of offense while scoring five touchdowns in a 56-20 defeat of Archbishop Carroll...Cathedral Prep athlete Delton Williams continues to showcase his versatility, as the D-I prospect scored on a 99-yard interception return, 1-yard touchdown run, and 37-yard touchdown catch in a 69-0 dumping of St. Francis (N.Y.)...Hampton RB Anthony Bianco scored 3 times and ran for 265 yards on 21 carries in a 34-11 win over Laurel Highlands...Ringgold RB Demetrius Lewis ran for 261 yards and 3 scores on just 12 carries in a 30-13 win over Uniontown...Thomas Jefferson QB Joe Carroll and WR Zach Schademan connected for 5 touchdowns in a 40-7 defeat of Trinity...Gateway QB Thomas Woodson threw for 377 yards and 3 touchdowns in Gateway's 42-7 win over Altoona. Receiver Montae Nicholson had 204 yards on 6 catches in that game...Freedom running back Kahlil Caracter ran for 280 yards in a 39-19 loss to McGuffey..Harriton RB Andre Pendleton carried 21 times for 270 yards and 5 touchdowns in a 49-27 win over Penncrest...Wyoming Valley West RB Derrick Simms ran for 274 yards and 2 touchdowns in a 33-15 win over Berwick...Annville-Cleona QB Mitch Rodkey accounted for six touchdowns and 319 yards of offense in a 42-14 win over Northern Lebanon. Rodkey threw for two scores, but did most of his damage on the ground, racking up 278 yards and 4 touchdowns on 22 carries...Eastern York RB Alex Cooley ran for 297 yards and scored five touchdowns on 21 carries in a 44-26 win over Fairfield...Downingtown East QB Kyle Lauletta tossed the game winning TD as time expired to cap a 351-yard performance in a 35-34 win over Coatesville. Lauletta threw for four touchdowns...Port Allegheny QB Matt Bodamer went 28-of-35 for for 413 yards and tossed 7 touchdowns in a 70-8 rout of Coudersport
Clairton's winning streak is now at 51 and remains the longest in the nation...Frankford QB Tim DiGiorgio threw for 227 yards in a 27-6 win over Northeast, making him just the third QB in Philadelphia Public League history to surpass 3,000 yards passing, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.
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