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Grove City, McDowell Football Embark on PIAA Quarterfinals Friday

Grove City is fresh off the District 10 Class 3A title, while McDowell survived a stiff test, 27-13 against Westinghouse out of the Pittsburgh City League in their 6A PIAA opener.

The competition continues to stiffen in the PIAA quarterfinals on Friday, as Grove City has a date with Central Martinsburg, while McDowell squares off with WPIAL champion Mt. Lebanon.

Here’s a look at each matchup:

GROVE CITY (10-2) vs. CENTRAL MARTINSBURG (13-0), Slippery Rock University

The Eagles avenged a 34-7 loss to Slippery Rock by beating the Rockets 28-20 last week. Their opponent, District 6 champion Central Martinsburg, is unbeaten, having outscored its opponents 595-170, coming off a 20-14 win over defending D6 champion Bedford.

The Eagles, meanwhile, jumped out to a 28-7 lead en route to the win over Slippery Rock. In that game, Anthony Nemec rushed for 129 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Hunter Homan ran for a touchdown and threw for another to Zach Rodgers.

Nemec has seen a heavy workload in recent weeks with Curtis Hovis being banged up. On the season, Nemec 782 yards and 13 scores on the ground, while Hovis has 1,091 yards and 11 scores.

Hohman has saved his best for the postseason, accounting for seven total touchdowns over his last two games. He has thrown for 1,999 yards and 22 touchdowns and ran for 516 yards and six more scores.

The group of receivers is a talented one, led by Gavin Lutz (55 receptions, 557 yards, 3 touchdowns), Joey Hathaway (27 receptions, 577 yds, 6 touchdowns), Zach Rodgers (24 receptions, 271 yards, 4 touchdowns) and Anthony Pereira (19 receptions, 361 yards, 6 touchdowns).

Nathan Boyd leads the defense with 86 tackles, while Hayden McCreadie has 75. Nathan Wadsworth is tops for the Eagles with six sacks, while McCreadie and Lutz have four interceptions each.

That defense will be tasked with stopping a potent Martinsburg passing attack, led by record-setting quarterback Jeff Hoenstine.

All Hoenstine has done this season is throw for 3,330 yards and 54 touchdowns. His next touchdown pass will set the all-time mark for Pennsylvania in a single season.

Parker Gregg, a 6-0, 185-pound senior does it all for the Dragons. He has rushed for a team-leading 938 yards and 16 touchdowns and is also the leading receiver with 45 receptions for 972 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Eli Lingenfelter matches Gregg’s 13 receiving touchdowns on 869 yards, while Devon Boyles, Hunter Smith and Ethan Eicher all have over 300 yards receiving this season.

Eicher leads the team with 82 tackles, including 16 for loss, while Jason Clark has registered 10 sacks and Josh Biesinger three interceptions.

The Dragons have allowed 15 points or fewer in 11 of their 15 wins, including last week when they limited Bedford dual-threat quarterback Mercury Swaim.

The winner advances to play the WPIAL champion, either North Catholic or Central Valley in the PIAA semifinals.

MCDOWELL (9-2) at MT. LEBANON (12-0)

McDowell trailed 7-3 at halftime before rallying past Westinghouse last week.

Artis Simmons had a pair of rushing touchdowns in the second half and Ben Moore hooked up with Matt McGregor for the third score of the third quarter for the Trojans. Simmons accounted for 220 yards for the win.

The Trojans, who are looking for a return trip to the PIAA semifinals, have scored at least 35 points in eight games this season.

Simmons has rushed for 1,130 yards and 13 touchdowns, while Christian Santiago has accounted for 15 scores on the ground.

Through the air Moore has eclipsed 1,000 yards with ten touchdowns and nine interceptions. McGregor leads the team with 258 receiving yards and a trio of touchdowns, while Trey Doowine, Bryce Wood and Hunter Hodges are also threats in the receiving game.

They will need that offense to be on point against a Mt. Lebanon team that is coming off a 47-7 win over Pittsburgh Central Catholic in the WPIAL championship game.

The Blue Devils have scored at least 35 points in nine of their 12 games this season and have yielded seven points or fewer in seven contests, including a pair of shutouts.

Alex Tecza accounted for 192 yards rushing and four touchdowns in the win over Central Catholic, giving him 1,744 yards on the season and 22 touchdowns in helping the Blue Devils to their first WPIAL title since 2000.

Joey Daniels directs the offense from his quarterback position. He has thrown for 1,62 yards and 22 touchdowns, tossing three scores last week.

Eli Heindenreich is the leading receiver for the Blue Devils, with the Navy commit accounting for 974 yards on the season.

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