It’s a second season.
That will, at least, be the message for those local teams whose first half of the season ended up being a flop.
Those teams that are in position to fight for a conference title are looking to continue to ride the wave of success.
Here is what to watch for when the second half of the high school football season starts tonight:
1.Game of the Week: Blackhawk at South Fayette. The popular saying is that opposites attract. And the two teams atop the Northwest Eight Conference couldn’t be more different. Blackhawk is a ground-and-pound offense while South Fayette is a spread-it-out, air-it-out attack.
Joe Rossi has been the coach at South Fayette for 12 seasons and Zack Hayward in his first season with the Cougars.
And the differences don’t end there. The Lions haven’t suffered a conference loss since 2011. Blackhawk hasn’t made the WPIAL playoffs since 2012.
The one thing that meshes the two together is early season success. The winner will take a commanding grasp of first place in the conference when the Lions (2-0, 4-1) and Cougars (4-0, 5-0) meet 7 p.m. tonight at South Fayette.
Blackhawk (4-0, 5-0) has looked impressive, averaging 35.8 points per game and allowing less than eight points.
Kenny Gawley, Mar’Ques Watson-Trent and Josh Butcher each have more than 50 carries for the Cougars. Gawley leads the group with 68 carries for 361 yards and six touchdowns. All three average more than five yards per carry.
Defensively, Blackhawk has forced 13 turnovers and has 18 sacks but hasn’t seen an offense with the ability of South Fayette. Lions quarterback Jamie Diven is averaging 240.8 passing yards per game. Andrew Franklin and RayQuin are playmakers in the South Fayette (2-0, 4-1) backfield.
2.Injuries at Beth-Center: Both quarterback Bailey Lincoski and running back Dominic Fundy were removed from a loss last Friday to McGuffey because of injuries.
Lincoski took a helmet to the eye after his own helmet flew off during a play. The collision caused limited vision and lacerations. Fundy, meanwhile, tweaked an ankle.
Whether one, both or neither of the two leaders for the Bulldogs’ offense plays remains unknown, according to Beth-Center coach Joe Kuhns.
Losing even one of the players would be detrimental to the chances Beth-Center has against Interstate Conference foe Charleroi. Kickoff is 7 p.m.
Lincoski and Fundy have accounted for 74 percent of the total yards for the Bulldogs this season, and Fundy is 184 rushing yards shy of 4,000 for his career.
3. Offensive firepower: The weather might be getting cooler, but offenses around the area continue to heat up. Here are some offenses that just continue to put up huge numbers:
Charleroi – The Cougars average 59.3 points per game and lead the WPIAL in scoring Their lowest point total was 48 in a rainy game against Riverview.
McGuffey – Nobody can find the solution for the Highlanders’ offense. They have scored at least 40 points in each of the last four games.
Belle Vernon – After a loss to Thomas Jefferson, the Leopards have bounced back in a big way, scoring 49 points in consecutive games.
Washington – Coach Mike Bosnic promised his team would be better after losing to Charleroi in Week 1. The Prexies have scored 154 points in their last three games.
4. Still searching: There are still several teams looking for their first conference victory.
Mapletown, Avella, Carmichaels, Waynesburg and Ringgold have yet to find the win column in league play.
5. Jackson on the run: West Greene’s Ben Jackson will look to add to his already impressive numbers in a Tri-County South Conference game against Avella.
The junior running back has already eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the season and is second in the WPIAL in touchdowns (17).
Watch for Jackson to draw closer to Keystone Oaks’ Michael Daure, who is the touchdown leader with 20.
In last year’s game against Avella, Jackson carried the ball 10 times for 217 yards and four touchdowns in a 53-7 Pioneers win.