When the time comes for the state's football writers to pick their player of the year for Class AAA, there will be a host of names considered.
Eastern York running back Alex Cooley is trying to run away with the award before the discussion even starts. The senior tailback already set a state record with 500 yards rushing earlier in the year, and he nearly pulled off the performance again this weekend. In the process, Cooley scored an astonishing 10 touchdowns in a wild 81-56 win over York Tech.
Cooley's record of 500 yards, set back in Week 5, nearly only lasted five weeks. Cooley carried 22 times for 492 yards, and Eastern York needed every carry the 5-foot-8, 190 pound back could give them. Every time Eastern York tried to pull away, York Tech would answer enough to stay within striking distance.
Cooley scored eight of his touchdowns on the ground, scoring on runs of 65, 79, 27, 68, and 56 yards in the first half. He added touchdowns runs of 27, 68, and 62 in the second half. Cooley also added a 55-yard touchdown catch from Thomas Taylor and a 60-yard fumble return for a touchdown.
Amazingly, Cooley's work on the football field - 2,830 yards and 38 touchdowns - wasn't enough to get Eastern York into the playoffs. Eastern York finished well beyond the cutoff for the 16-team field in District 3.
Allentown Central Catholic RB Colin McDermott is used to working in the shadows of others. On the same night where Cooley nearly cracked 500 again, McDermott racked up 422 yards and five touchdowns on 43 carries. McDermott's performance came in a 42-7 win over Bethlehem Catholic, and helped improve Allentown Central Catholic's record to 5-5.
McDermott has become Allentown Central Catholic's primary source of offense following the graduation of explosive quarterback Brendan Nosovitch. His performance Friday night set a new Lehigh Valley Conference record and pushed him past the 2,000 yard mark for the season.
SANDY FORCES POSTPONEMENTS
While most teams had to deal with Hurricane Sandy by postponing or moving practices, games across the commonwealth generally went off Friday and Saturday without a hitch. Some might have been sloppier than usual and a bit wet, but they were at least played. The most significant moves were field changes, such as the ones that occurred in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs. Teams without artificial surfaces elected to move their games off of grass fields to nearby turf fields.
A handful of games, though, were postponed to Monday, including a couple rivalry games in District 11. The headliner was Nazareth's game at Easton, though it appears that game won't have the heavy playoff impact once believed. Also postponed to Monday was the annual game between Pocono Mountain West and Pocono Mountain East, as well as East Stroudsburg North and East Stroudsburg South.
In District 1, Bensalem and Harry S. Truman also pushed their game back to Monday night, as did Greencastle-Antrim and James Buchanan in District 3.
Tri-Valley RB Blake Bowman carried 29 times for 268 yards and scored six touchdowns in a 42-28 win over Line Mountain...West Perry QB Zach Smith completed 16-of-32 passes for 361 yards and six touchdowns in a 42-35 win over Northern York...Harriton QB Patrick Moriarty threw for 381 yards and three touchdowns in a 36-35 win over Strath Haven...Corry RB Matt Cragg carried 31 times for 279 yards and four touchdowns in a 35-20 win over Union City.
Downingtown West RB Tino Bunhu carried 22 times for 257 yards and six touchdowns in a 49-13 win over Bishop Shanahan...Coughlin RB Zac Evans carried 29 times for 262 yards and five touchdowns in a 42-20 win over Crestwood...Dover RB Logan Ambrose carried 20 times for 262 yards and five touchdowns in a 54-12 win over Susquehannock...York Catholic QB James Dougherty completed 24-of-48 passes for 292 yards and five touchdowns in a 41-35 loss to York Suburban.
Blackhawk QB Chandler Kincade was 22-of-35 for 337 yards and two touchdowns in a 45-21 loss to Mars. Mars RB Josh Schultheis ran for 251 yards and four touchdowns on 26 carries in the game...Washington RB Shai McKenzie, the WPIAL's leading rusher, carried 16 times for 260 yards and six touchdowns in a 47-12 win over Shady Side Academy...Clairton RB Tyler Boyd needed just 10 carries to reach 238 yards and six scores in a 58-6 win over Frazier...Holy Redeemer QB Jimmy Strickland completed 22-of-28 passes for 447 yards and five touchdowns in a 46-7 win over Nativity.
Clairton's winning streak is now at 57. If they win the WPIAL Class A championship, they'll break Central Bucks West's state record of 59...Tamaqua's 12-0 win over Marian Catholic gave them their first 10-0 season in school history, as well as their first Anthracite League title...Cathedral Prep QB Damion Terry set a new District 10 passing record with 106 yards Friday night, giving him 6,116 yards for his career and breaking the mark of 6,045 set by Oil City grad Mark Kulinski.
Radnor defeated Lower Merion 35-7 to snap a 20-game losing streak...Clairton ATH Tyler Boyd scored his 100th career touchdown against Frazier Friday night. The state record is 123...Shippensburg captured its first league title in 24 years with a 35-6 win over Gettysburg. The win gave Shippensburg its first ever Mid-Penn Colonial title...Chambersburg's 41-14 win over Mifflin County gave Chambersburg its first winning record since 1998.
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