You have all been spoiled as high school football fans.
Yet, you’ve been spoiled with something that has nothing to do with what happens on the football field.
This was brought up to me numerous times because, well, it’s a typical conversation starter. The weather we’ve had on Friday nights this season has been unmatched to previous seasons. It’s been a joy that outside of being either a little too warm or cold, the weather has been near perfect during what is always an unpredictable September and October in Western Pennsylvania.
Let’s just hope it lasts through November.
With just one week left of the high school football regular season, here are five things we learned from Week 8.
1. Jackson breaks record
From one Pioneer to another.
The honor of Greene County’s all-time career rushing leader was passed from a former West Greene star to another Friday night.
West Greene’s Ben Jackson surpassed Rodney Wilson’s career rushing total to become the all-time leading rusher in Green County’s history. Jackson had 313 yards on 25 carries in a 62-8 win over Jefferson-Morgan at Kennedy Field.
Jackson now has 6,354 yards for his career with a nonconference game against Union to end the regular season and at least one playoff game. The Pioneers clinched the Tri-County South Conference title outright with Friday night’s win.
Wilson’s longstanding record, which he set before graduating from West Greene in 1993, was 6,304 yards.
Now, Jackson can aim at another record. With 39 touchdowns this season, Jackson is three away from the WPIAL record 42 scores Armstrong’s Zane Dudek had in 2016.
2. Phillis something special
Burgettstown football coach Mark Druga has talked about the advantage the Blue Devils have on nearly ever team it will play.
That advantage is kicker/punter Seth Phillis, who made a difference again Friday night as Burgettstown edged Brentwood, 16-13, to win the Three Rivers Conference title. It’s the second straight conference championship for Burgettstown.
Phillis had three field goals, including a 30 yarder with 2:29 left in regulation to break a tied game. He combines success on field goals and extra points with touchbacks on kickoffs and punting, which the Blue Devils hadn’t done much of this season.
It’s an advantage Burgettstown can and will clearly count on come playoff time.
3. Final statements
So what does the final week of the regular season mean for local teams?
Sure, a final win would only solidify or improve your seeding when the WPIAL unveils playoff brackets Oct. 28. However, local teams are playing for more than that.
In Class 6A, it was thought Canon-McMillan would need to win against Butler to secure a playoff spot this week. The Big Macs, however, have already clinched the sixth, and final, spot.
In Class 5A, if Peters Township and Moon both win – the Indians play at Baldwin and Moon travels to West Allegheny –they would share the Allegheny Eight Conference title. Moon would have the top spot and better seed because of the head-to-head tiebreaker.
In Class 4A, South Fayette will just look to keep the train rolling. If the Lions beat Montour, they will be the second seed behind Thomas Jefferson.
The biggest game of the week will be the battle in Claysville between Washington and McGuffey for the Class 2A Century Conference title. This game could impact a lot in the classification. If Washington loses, that could improve the seed of Burgettstown if the Blue Devils win. Washington and Burgettstown enter Week 9 undefeated. If McGuffey wins, that could mean the Highlanders, Washington and Burgettstown could have three of the top six seeds.
4. McGuffey makeover
The McGuffey school board voted to approve a turf project for the football field and to install a new track before next fall.
It’s not just any turf. The Highlanders will have gray turf that will be surrounded by a blue track.
Football coach and athletic director Ed Dalton said they will experiment with different parts of the project, including the lines on the field possibly being blue as well.
5. Players of the Week
- Ryan Magiske – The Peters Township battering ram of a running back had 18 carries for 114 yards and two touchdowns, one rushing and another receiving, in a convincing 30-7 win over Bethel Park.
Jared Hartman – It was a near perfect performance for the Belle Vernon quarterback. Hartman completed 25 of 27 passes for 277 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for a score in a 58-17 rout of nonconference foe Plum.
- Alex Conrad – Charleroi’s quarterback passed for 112 yards and three scores, two to Legend Davis, in a 63-0 shutout of Brownsville in the Century Conference. Conrad also ran for a touchdown.