GROVE CITY, Pa. – It’s a rematch of last season’s PIAA 3A quarterfinal as D10 champ Grove City hosts District 6 title winner Central-Martinsburg on Friday at Forker Field (7 p.m.).
Grove City is coming off a 42-23 win over Slippery Rock, the second time in as many years they have beaten the Rockets for the D10 crown, while Central disposed of D9 champion Clearfield last week, 35-6.
A week after coming off the field late due to injury in a 22-21 comeback win over Sharon, Grove City quarterback Hunter Hohman was at his best against Slippery Rock, scoring four rushing touchdowns and also passing for 150 yards.
It’s a Grove City team that comes in at 9-3 and has won five straight since a 24-14 loss to Hickory on Oct. 7. The Eagles have scored at least 35 points in four of their last five games.
Hohman, a junior, has put together another terrific season, throwing for 1,761 yards and completing 60 percent of his passes with a 17-12 touchdown to interception ratio. He has also rushed for 497 yards and 10 touchdowns.
The Eagles have a pair of talented receivers on the outside in sophomore Nathan Greer and junior Gavin Lutz. Greer has 53 receptions for 808 yards and seven touchdowns, while Lutz has 47 receptions for 752 yards and eight touchdowns.
Senior Anthony Nemec is approaching 1,000 yards rushing on the season with 967 yards and seven touchdowns.
Senior linebacker Nathan Boyd leads the defense with 92 tackles, including nine for loss, while Hohman has 84 stops and Greer three interceptions (the Eagles have 11 as a team).
That defense will be stopped with stopping record-breaking quarterback Jeff Hoenstine, who last season broke the Pennsylvania single-season passing touchdown mark in the 35-6 win over the Eagles, finishing with 57.
Hoenstine has put together another monster season as a senior, passing for 3,450 yards, and completing 70 percent of his passes with a 46-4 touchdown to interception ratio.
In a 35-6 win over Penn Cambria in the D6 title game, Hoenstine threw his 138th career touchdown, setting the all-time career standard by Pennsylvania single-callers, a record previously held by former Port Allegany star Matt Bodamer, who set the mark in 2012.
The Dragons (11-2) have won 10 in a row since a 1-2 start.
Eli Linenfelter has hauled in 24 touchdowns this season, tied with another star from that 2012 Port Allegany team, Nick Conway, for the third most in a single season in Pennsylvania history. He also has 83 receptions for 1,434. Hunter Smith is second on the team in receiving with 47 receptions for 545 yards and five touchdowns, while Shalen Yingling has 482 yards and seven touchdowns.
Hoenstine is also the teams leading rusher with 647 and seven touchdowns, while Kade Rhule and Smith both have 459 yards on the ground and a combined 11 touchdowns.
Smith (113 tackles, 16 tackles for loss) and Hoenstine (109 tackles) tackles lead the defense, while Jason Clark has amassed 11 sacks and Lingenfelter 11 interceptions.
The winner moves on to face the winner of the WPIAL championship game between Belle Vernon and Avonworth in the PIAA semifinals next week. Avonworth handed Grove City one of its three losses in the opening week of the season, 27-7.