If anyone was hoping for the local high school football season to be flipped on its head, they didn’t have to wait more than two weeks.
On a Friday night filled with comebacks, upsets and madness, here is what we learned from Week 1:
1. Quite a debut: First-year Charleroi head coach Lance Getsy and the Cougars had to wait an extra seven days before getting their season started.
After threats cancelled Charleroi’s Week Zero game against Monessen, the Cougars put out their own message to the rest of the Interstate Conference in the form of a 64-33 win over Washington – watch out.
The Prexies played poorly, but that’s not to say that Charleroi just made them look bad.
Unlike last year, it was Charleroi’s offensive and defensive line that controlled the play. Charleroi had more than 500 yards of total offense and did it in multiple ways, big plays for touchdowns and methodically working the ball down the field on several drives.
The Interstate Conference is top heavy with Beth-Center and Charleroi atop the standings. McGuffey is undefeated at 2-0 but haven’t played a conference game. All three teams have looked dominant so far. Even though it was only the first game for the Cougars, putting up 64 points and defeating the defending WPIAL Class AA champion by 31 is a good start.
2. Big plays kill C-M, again: One of the 5 Things worth watching in Week 1 was whether Canon-McMillan could avoid giving up big plays against Mt. Lebanon.
Touchdowns of 74 and 41 yards allowed the Blue Devils to pull away from C-M and also answered that question. It’s been three straight years where Mt. Lebanon shifted the momentum and separated itself on the scoreboard with game-changing plays.
As expected, Drew Engel was great for the Big Macs, hauling in eight passes for 115 yards.
With the offenses C-M is going to face going forward, not finding a defensive solution could result in missing the playoffs for another year.
3. Better late than never: Burgettstown head coach Mark Druga admitted that the move to the Three Rivers Conference wasn’t going to be an easy one.
But the only thing the Blue Devils didn’t do better than Seton-La Salle for the majority of four quarters was score. They had their opening drive stall at the Rebels’ 23, then had a pair of possessions end inside the 10 without a point.
It wasn’t until a defensive spark – an interception by Jake Lounder that he returned for a touchdown – changed everything. Burgettstown then scored its first offensive touchdown with 2:12 remaining in the fourth quarter, which led to a 20-6 win over the Rebels.
It might be a challenging conference, but with the Blue Devils having four of their five offensive linemen returning, they can compete with anybody in it.
4. Tri-County confusion: The top four teams in the Tri-County South Conference standings are Monessen, Chartiers-Houston, West Greene and Bentworth.
Only West Greene made the playoffs in 2017. The other three combined for seven wins.
The conference favorite, California, hasn’t shown to have the nearly unstoppable offense it had one season ago. The Trojans couldn’t find any semblance of a consistent attack against Beth-Center in Week Zero, then stalled in the second half in a loss to Monessen.
Chartiers-Houston ended a 12-game losing streak when it defeated Jefferson-Morgan.
West Greene bounced back from an out-of-state Week Zero loss to Cameron, W.Va., with a win over Bentworth.
It’s way too early for the standings to mean much of anything, but with the wildness that Week 1 offered, who knows what’s in store.
5. Players of the Week: Zach Vincenti – The Fort Cherry senior saved his biggest moments for when they mattered most. Vincenti only ran for 72 yards in a defensive battle against Carlynton but scored a pair of touchdowns in the first and second overtimes to give the Rangers a 21-14 victory.
Ben Jackson – The senior running back returned to the numbers he put up during his freshman and sophomore seasons at West Greene, rushing for 227 yards and four touchdowns in a 41-6 win over Bentworth.
Geno Pellegrini – The leader and quarterback of the Charleroi offense completed 11 of 17 passes for 212 yards and five touchdowns. He also exposed Washington on the ground, running 14 times for 153 yards and two scores.
Staff writer Luke Campbell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.