It was a little after 7 p.m. when Canon-McMillan football coach Mike Evans departed for Hempfield.
Moments earlier, he was reinstated to return to the sidelines after missing the Big Macs’ last two games. Just the night before, a 5-4 vote by the district’s board initiated a formal disciplinary process for Evans.
No speeding tickets and two toll quarters later, Canon-McMillan finished what was a rollercoaster of a week with its first victory of the season.
It turns out school officials can make correct decisions, so kudos to Canon-McMillan for that.
Here is what else we learned from Week 4 of the high school football season.
1. C-M connection continues
Hidden in the early struggles for Canon-McMillan this season is maybe one of the better quarterback-wide receiver duos in the WPIAL through five weeks.
Senior quarterback Jon Quinque and senior wide receiver Blake Joseph have been dynamic in the Big Macs’ offense, which had to replace a majority of their offensive production when wide receiver Drew Engel and tailback Josh O’Hare graduated.
Joseph is one of the pass-catchers thus far in 2019. He has 31 receptions for 311 yards and four touchdowns.
Quinque has been equally as impressive given the circumstances of being one dimensional in the second half of games when C-M trails. He has completed 77 of 127 passes (60.6 percent) for 936 yards and six touchdowns.
On Friday night, when Canon-McMillan defeated Hempfield, 21-12, Quinque found Joseph eight times for 102 yards and a pair of scores.
2. Devilish defense
Don’t look now but Burgettstown is in a familiar place.
The Blue Devils are undefeated – 3-0 in the section and 4-0 overall – and they have the best defense in Class 2A statistically speaking, allowing just 7.3 points per game.
How good has Burgettstown defensive coordinator Rich Druga’s defense been? In the first four games, the unit has only allowed 27 points. A safety in Friday night’s 42-9 win over South Side Beaver bumped the Blue Devils’ point per game average up.
The only team to eclipse 20 points in Burgettstown’s 11 games last season was South Side Beaver, the Class 2A runner-up.
Since the start of last season, the Blue Devils have five shutouts.
3. Ugly Friday night
There wasn’t much to keep you on the edge of your seat Friday night.
Of the 16 games involving local teams, only two were decided by single digits.
How ugly was Week 5?
The average margin of victory for those 16 games was more than 31 points, including four games that were decided by 40 or more points.
4. Conference showdowns set
Two conference games this coming Friday got a little more interesting with the results from this week.
After Blackhawk defeated Montour this past Friday, it put extra emphasis when South Fayette travels to Beaver County for a battle of two of the top three teams in the Northwest Eight Conference in Class 4A. Blackhawk, despite starting the season 0-2, is back to 3-1 in the section and 3-2 overall. South Fayette is 2-0 in the conference and 4-0 overall. The past two weeks, the Lions have played non-conference games.
Maybe the most compelling game next week is when two undefeated teams in the Class 2A Interstate Conference play to determine first place through six weeks.
McGuffey (3-0, 5-0) travels to Southmoreland (4-0, 5-0) in the battle of unbeaten teams. Neither team has played in a game determined by less than 10 points this season.
Washington (2-0, 5-0) is the other team in the Interstate Conference that doesn’t have a loss. The Prexies host winless Frazier this week.
5. Players of the Week
- Ben Jackson – Continuing to rack up yardage, the West Greene running back had 22 carries for 324 yards and four touchdowns in a 49-24 victory over Monessen.
- Josh Casilli – Recovering a fumble and intercepting a pass, Casilli also caught a pair of touchdown passes from Logan Pfeuffer in a 38-14 non-conference win over North Hills.
- Trent Cavanaugh – Leading Bentworth to its first win of the season, a 47-42 victory over Mapletown, Cavanaugh had 21 carries for 211 yards and three touchdowns.