Class 1A got the playoffs rolling last week, now it’s time for everyone else to join the party.
It’s officially win-or-go-home season, save a couple of regular-season contests that teams picked up to extend their season, as well as McDowell and Butler, who will play their 6A D10 title game next week.
Class 3A promises to provide plenty of intrigue, as defending champion Hickory is the No. 5 seed, where they will battle No. 4 seed Sharon, with the winner to take on top seed Slippery Rock, which received a bye. On the bottom half of the bracket, No. 3 seed and Region 3 champion Grove City battles No. 6 seed Fairview, with the winn to take on No. 2 seed Fort LeBoeuf.
In Class 1A, No. 2 seed Eisenhower, No. 3 seed Reynolds and No. 5 seed Maplewood all moved on, with No. 1 seed Cochranton receiving a bye and now facing Maplewood.
Farrell is the prohibitive favorite in Class 2A, but lurking on the bottom half of the bracket are unbeaten Northwestern as well as defending champion Wilmington.
In Class 4A, Meadville is the No. 1 seed and favorite and will face Harbor Creek in the semifinals, with General McLane and Warren facing off in the other semifinal. Defending champion and PIAA semifinalist Oil City is not in the playoff field.
Defending PIAA Class 5A runner-up Cathedral Prep opens its playoff run with Brashear in a subregional contest.
Games in Class 1, 2 and 5A are on Friday, with Class 3 and 4A on Saturday.
CLASS 1A SEMIFINALS
No. 2 Eisenhower (7-2) vs. No. 3 Reynolds (5-4), Carter Field, Titusville, 7 p.m.
A rematch of last season’s Class 1A title game, won by Reynolds, 27-0. Both teams lost a lot from last year’s teams, but both have reloaded nicely. Eisenhower is coming off a 39-0 win over Saegertown in the quarterfinals, while Reynolds was tested before pulling away late from Cambridge Springs, 34-20.
Running game and defense, that’s been the theme for Eisenhower, which had its third shoutout of the season last week. Offensively, the line paved the way for Benji Bauer and Keegan Eckstrom, both of whom went over 100 yards on the ground. Eckstrom needed just seven carries to reach his number, while Bauer actually had over 200 yards (219) and three scores.
Reynolds has faced the gauntlet of the Region 2 slate this season and has grown because of it. Brayden McCloskey threw for four touchdowns in the win over Cambridge Springs, while Jalen Wagner had 178 yards on the ground. Wagner has put together a terrific season, rushing for 1,389 yards and 17 touchdowns.
No. 1 Cochranton (7-0) vs. No. 5 Maplewood (5-4), Meadville H.S., 7 p.m.
Cochranton decided to go to a Region 2-only slate this season and it’s paid off in a big way, tying with Northwestern for the region title. Rushing and defense, that’s been the trend for the Cardinals, who have allowed just 29 points all season, including four shutouts. The most points they allowed is 13 in a 34-13 win over Eisenhower on Sept. 17.
Offensively it’s been a whole lot of ground game for the Cardinals with Jack Martinec, who has rushed for 1,682 yards in just seven games and 21 touchdowns. Noah Cummings has thrown for a trio of touchdown passes, two of which have gone to Wyatt Barzak.
Maplewood has followed a similar recipe, and have allowed single-digit points six times this season, including in last week’s 19-7 quarterfinal win over Mercer, a game win in which Ben Gilberto (103 yards) and Logan Kennedy (73 yards) both had rushing touchdowns. In Cochranton’s 28-0 win over the Tigers on Oct. 15, Martinec has over 200 yards on the ground and all four Cochranton touchdowns.
CLASS 2A SEMIFINALS
No. 1 Farrell (7-0) vs. No. 4 Greenville (7-3), Hickory H.S, 7 p.m.
Farrell came into the season as the favorite in Class 2A, and have only added to that by their regular season performance, which has seen them outscore opponents 402-35 with four shutouts while averaging 57.4 points per game. That included a 58-0 win over Greenville in the opener.
Anthony Stallworth has rushed for 1,312 yards this season for the Steelers, becoming the program’s all-time leading rusher in the process while averaging 14.0 yards per carry. and scoring 18 touchdowns. Kabron Smith has thrown seven touchdown passes and Trian Holden 11, with Kylon Wilson collecting 437 receiving yards and 10 scores and Omar Stewart Jr. 254 receiving yards and seven scores. Taidon Strickland leads the defense with 60 tackles, 13 of which have gone for loss.
Greenville is coming in red-hot. Since starting the season 1-3, they have rattled off six wins in a row over Kennedy Catholic, Mercer, Reynolds, McDonald (Ohio), Harbor Creek and Conneaut (Pa.). Levi Swartz has rushed for 944 yards and 16 scores, while Jalen Ritzerts has thrown for 857 yards and seven scores, five of which have gone to Jase Herrick.
No. 2 Northwestern (7-0) vs. No. 3 Wilmington (6-2), Edinboro University, 7 p.m.
The defending champion Greyhounds draw the unbeaten Wildcats in an intriguing semifinal matchup. Northwestern’s defense has been brilliant, allowing just 40 points in seven games, with their closest game a 22-7 win over Class 4A Warren.
Logan Stagl leads the team with 63 tackles and Brent Swift 58, while Jordan Donhanic has five sacks and Cam Perkins and Eric Steinle a pair of interceptions each. Quarterback Ryan Tewell has put together impressive numbers, throwing for 1,320 yards, 24 touchdowns and just one interception. Jake Kelley leads the team with eight receiving touchdowns and Ben Campbell (348 yards) and Gage Hanisek-Brockett (343 yards) leading a balanced ground game.
Since a 54-0 loss to Farrell, Wilmington bounced back with blowout wins over Kennedy Catholic and Mercer. Luke Edwards has been a workhorse, rushing for 905 yards and 14 touchdowns. Tuff McConahy has had a strong season at quarterback with 664 yards and eight touchdowns, five of which have gone to Cole McCallister.
CLASS 5A SUBREGIONAL
Brashear (3-4) vs. Cathedral Prep (8-1)
Brashear does have some common opponents with the Ramblers, losing to McDowell 38-14 and beating Erie, 26-12.
The Ramblers’ lone loss this season came to McDowell, 31-12. Carter Barnes has emerged as one of the top quarterbacks in District 10, throwing for 935 yards and 15 touchdowns (to just two interceptions) and rushing for 324 yards and 11 more scores. Mike Parks eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark on the ground last week and has scored 19 touchdowns. Wakeem Page has scored six receiving touchdowns and is a threat everywhere on the field, as is DeMario Crawford (three receiving touchdowns).
CLASS 3A QUARTERFINALS
No. 4 Sharon (6-3) vs. No. 5 Hickory (6-3), Wilmington H.S., 7 p.m.
The Region 3 race was a wild one this season, and included a thrilling game back in Week 3 when Sharon beat Hickory, 14-7.
The Tigers come into the game 2-2 in their last four, including a 35-0 non-region win over North East in their regular-season finale. Mikey Rodriques has thrown for 1,386 yards and 14 touchdowns, with Ja’on Phillips arguably the most explosive receiver in D10 with 46 receptions for 825 yards and nine scores (17.9 ypc). Jayveerh White has emerged in the ground game with 518 yards and nine scores.
Hickory first-year starting quarterback Logan Woods has thrown for 1,820 yards and 25 touchdowns for a Hornets’ team that comes in winners of five of six. Woods has big-play receivers of his own in Ramarion Whitehead (637 yards, 8 touchdowns) and Keenan Scullin (568 yards, 5 touchdowns) and tight end Jackson Pryts (443 yards, 7 touchdowns). Sean Kennedy leads the team in rushing with 438 yards and five scores.
No. 3 Grove City (7-2) vs. No. 6 Fairview (7-2), Greenville H.S., 7 p.m.
Grove City emerged as the champion from this powerhouse region, putting together wins over Sharon and Hickory.They come in winners of five in a row.
The Eagles feature a 1,000-yard passer (Hunter Hohman, 1,511 yards) and rusher (Curtis Hovis, 1,011 yards, 11 touchdowns). Gavin Lutz has pulled in 47 catches for 434 yards and five scores, while Joey Hathaway has 22 receptions for 413 yards and five scores. Anthony Pereira also has five receiving touchdowns.
These two teams did meet back on Sept. 24, a 41-8 win for Grove City. Jared Gennuso is closing in on a 1,000-yard rushing season for the Tigers with 17 touchdowns and Tyler Corbin has thrown for five scores and Logan Frazao has 390 receiving yards and five scores.
CLASS 4A SEMIFINALS
No. 1 Meadville (6-3) vs. No. 4 Harbor Creek (3-7), Edinboro University, 7 p.m.
Meadville dominated Region 5 play, outscoring their opponents 325-14, including four shutouts. Their losses came to Grove City (50-48), Butler and Cathedral Prep.
It’s no secret what the Bulldogs want to do on offense, as they could feature three 1,000-yard rushers in Khalon Simmons (1,188 yards, 20 touchdowns), Griffin Buzzell (1,058 yards, 14 touchdowns) and Brady Walker (810 yards, 15 touchdowns). Buzzell also leads the team with 96 tackles, including 12 for loss and six sacks.
Meadville beat Harbor Creek 40-7 back on Sept. 17. Matt Cassidy has rushed for 680 yards and six touchdowns this season for the Huskies, who come in following back-to-back losses to Greenville and Girard.
No. 2 General McLane (5-3) vs. No. 3 Warren (5-4), Carter Field, Titusville, 7 p.m.
This game was a wild back-and-forth affair in the regular season, with GM outlasting the Dragons, 34-31 on Oct. 1. John Amon rushed for over 200 yards in that game for the Lancers, while Eric Dippold threw a pair of scores for the Dragons. Amon has rushed for 1,057 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, while Magnus Lloyd, Owen Martin and Eric Salamonsen all have multiple touchdown receptions.
Eric Dippold has stepped in and had a nice season at quarterback for Warren, throwing for 1,168 yards and 14 touchdowns. Ben White is another one of D10’s top receivers, averaging 27.2 yards per reception with nine scores. He also had a kickoff return for score in the GM game. Tommy Nyquist (717 yards, 6 touchdowns) and Ethan Senz (331 yards, 5 touchdowns) lead the ground game. Nick Pennucci, Gage Shaffer and Kody Vega lead the Dragons in tackles.
Regular season: Corry (0-7) travels to Girard (1-7) and Mercyhurst Prep (3-5) hosts Lakeview (2-7). Corry will be in search of its first win, while Lakeview is hoping to make it back-to-back wins after a thrilling 41-40 triumph over Franklin last week. In that game, Gavin Murdock rushed for over 300 yards and had the game-winning 2-point conversion in overtime.