It’s Hickory-Grove City Round 3, and this time it’s for the District 10 Class 3A championship.
Hickory has won both matchups of Mercer County foes this season, 41-21 on Sept. 11 and 28-7 on Oct. 7.
Quarterback Michael Henwood was brilliant for Hickory (7-0) in both matchups, throwing for a combined 576 yards.
Grove City (4-3), meanwhile, is coming in with a ton of confidence, having blanked previously unbeaten Fort LeBoeuf in the semifinal round, 30-0.
In that game, the Eagles’ ground game was terrific, led by Curtis Hovis, who rushed for 216 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
HIckory, the top seed, is coming off a 51-0 drubbing of Slippery Rock.
In that game, Henwood rushed for 194 yards and two touchdowns and threw for another 180 and a score, while Clay Wiesen had 151 yards and two touchdowns.
The winner will face the Bedford-Central winner next week in the PIAA quarterfinals.
Here’s a look at how the teams match up.
Hickory Offense (40.3 ppg.)
Henwood has put together a truly special season. The senior signal-caller has completed 64 percent of his passes for 1,698 yards, 18 touchdowns and nine interceptions. On the ground, he averages 11.4 yards per carry, rushing for 727 yards and 11 touchdowns.
The offensive line has been excellent and the playmakers at Henwood’s disposal have been equally impressive.
Ramarion Whitehead has been his go-to receiver, with 44 receptions for 859 yards and seven touchdowns. Rocco Iacino (18-33-3) and Matt Cannone (16-245-6) are also big-play threats.
In addition to Henwood, Wiesen has racked up 527 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.
Grove City Offense (23.1 ppg.)
Grove City has a talented quarterback of its own in Logan Breese. In fact, Breese and Henwood both went over 3,000 career passing yards earlier this season. For 2020, Breese has completed 60 percent of his passes for 839 yards and eight touchdowns.
Anthony Pereira is his No. 1 receiver with 33 receptions for 528 yards and six scores. Also watch out for Gavin Lutz (23-202-1).
On the ground, Hovis is coming off the monster game against LeBoeuf. For the season, he has rushed for 708 yards and six scores.
Hickory Defense (11.3 ppg.)
The Hornet defense has been superb, and it’s anchored by Iacino and Jackson Pryts, who both have 88 tackles, Iacinio with 10 for loss and three sacks and Pryts with 11 stops behind the line of scrimmage. Also anchoring the unit are Dalton Beatty (64 tackles, 4 sacks), Cannone (3 interceptions) and Henwood (2 interceptions).
Grove City Defense (19.1 ppg.)
The Grove City defense is coming off its best performance of the season, anchored by talented senior Zach Martin. For the season, Martin leads the team with 88 tackles, including a whopping 21 behind the line of scrimmage. Hovis and Cole Hammerman lead with four sacks each, while Hovis also has 48 tackles and Zach Rodgers a pair of interceptions.
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