A trio of District 10 football champions will be crowned this weekend, as the Class 1A, 2A and 3A championships are all up for grabs.
The 3A championship game, to be played at Farrell, will be at 7 p.m. on Friday, while the Class 2A (12 p.m.) and 1A (7 p.m.) championships will be on Saturday, are both at Meadville.
Here’s a closer look at each game.
CLASS 3A CHAMPIONSHIP
(1) SHARON vs. (2) HICKORY
Hickory’s 38-7 win over Grove City last week assured there will be a new District 10 champion this season, as GC was the two-time defending champ.
Sharon (9-2) handled Oil City, 39-16, but the Tigers will have to face Hickory (9-2) without leading tackler Brodie Miller (105 tackles, 19 TFL), as well as Shane Myers, both of whom were ejected for roughing the passer calls in the second half against the Oilers.
The two teams met back on Sept. 8, a 12-0 win for Sharon. In that game, Sharon’s Mister Ham threw for 73 yards, all of which and a touchdown went to CC Harrison, while Ham also had 110 yards rushing and a touchdown and Cortez Nixon had 80 yards on the ground. Sharon also limited Hickory to just 91 yards of total offense, including 35 yards rushing by Zander Telesz and 26 by William Acrie.
The two defenses are stifling, with Sharon giving up just 67 points on the season, including six shutouts. Bryson Roberson (103 tackles, 9 TFL, 3.5 sacks), Angelo Fromm (73 tackles), Ike Friday (57 tackles, 9 TFL, 5 sacks), Bishop Root (5 interceptions) and Lamont Austin (3 interceptions) lead the way.
Hickory, meanwhile, has allowed just 153 points on the season (13.9 ppg.). Timmy Krivosh (103 tackles, 8 TFL, 4 interceptions), Sean Kennedy (71 tackles, 12 TFL), Keenan Scullin (62 tackles) and Jadon Phillips (3 interceptions) lead the way.
Offensively, Ham has done it all for the Tigers this season. He has rushed for 843 yards (7.1 ypc) and thrown for 1,316 yards with 14 touchdowns and three interceptions. Nixon has rushed for 728 yards (7.1 ypc.), while Ham’s top targets are Harrison (34-397-7), Austin (25-282-2) and Root (22-371-2).
Telesz has been a dual threat as well for Hickory, throwing for 1,413 yards and a 17-6 touchdown to interception ratio, while rushing for 498 yards (5.7 ypc.) and eight touchdowns. Kelvin Morrison has rushed for a team-high 650 yards (7.9 ypc.) and eight touchdowns, while Kennedy has 519 yards on the ground (6.3 ypc.) and eight touchdowns. Tylon Cousin (33-529-6), Luke Nevil (17-305-5) and Acrie (13-207-3) are the top receivers.
The winner will play the Clearfield/Central-Martinsburg winner in the PIAA quarterfinals next week.
CLASS 2A CHAMPIONSHIP
(1) FARRELL vs. (2) MERCYHURST PREP
Two teams that seemed to have been on a collision course all season finally meet for the D10 title. Farrell handled Sharpsville last week, 36-7, while Mercyhurst Prep took care of Sharpsville, 49-0 for its fifth shutout of the season.
Farrell (10-1) is the two-time defending D10 champion and holds wins over Hickory, Sharon, Grove City and Harding (Ohio) among others, this season. The general consensus is that the Lakers (10-0), while dominating their competition, hasn’t played as tough a schedule this season as Farrell. The Lakers played only two teams that reached the playoffs this season – Fairview in Class 3A and Eisenhower in Class 1A. Nevertheless, their 586-36 point differential is staggering.
Outside of a 44-18 loss to Cathedral Prep (still alive in Class 5A playoffs), Farrell has held its opponents to just 8.3 ppg. It’s a defense that is led by Marion Norris (122 tackles, 10 TFL), Juelz Johnson (81 tackles, 12 TFL), Omario Boatwright (55 tackles, 5 TFL), Danny Odem (3 interceptions) and Otis Lowe (4.5 sacks).
Offensively, it’s been a balanced effort for the Steelers in 2023. Kabron Smith, who earlier this season broke the program record for career passing yards, has thrown for 1,945 yards with a 27-5 touchdown to interception ratio. Odem (45-567-7) and Brandon Chambers (37-409-9) are his top targets. Johnson, who took over at running back this season with Chambers sliding over to receiver, has rushed for 951 yards (6.5 ypc.) and nine touchdowns.
Mercyhurst’s Paul Johnson, meanwhile, has put together a stat line arguably as impressive as any in District 10 this season. Johnson has completed 69 percent of his passes for 1,335 yards and a 22-1 touchdown to interception ratio. He has also rushed for 891 yards (14.9 ypc.) and 16 touchdowns). JJ Ganska leads the ground game with 1,197 yards (12.0 ypc.) and 16 touchdowns. Ja’son Ellman, meanwhile, has 30 receptions for 612 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Ellman also has three interceptions on defense and Sean Sokolowski leads the team in both tackles and sacks.
The winner will face the Westinghouse/Central Clarion winner next week in the PIAA quarterfinals.
CLASS 1A CHAMPIONSHIP
(1) LAKEVIEW vs. (2) CAMBRIDGE SPRINGS
Again, a matchup between two teams that seemed destined for much of the season to make it to this point. Lakeview took care of business last week, avenging a regular season loss to Mercer with a 35-6 win. Cambridge Springs, meanwhile, used some late-game heroics courtesy of a Morgan Applebee to Preston Gorton touchdown pass with under a minute to play to rally past Eisenhower, 22-20.
There will be a new champion in Class 1A this season, as Reynolds, the two-time defending champions, lost to Eisenhower in the quarterfinals.
Lakeview (9-2) owns a 28-22 win in the regular season meeting between the two teams, Cambridge Springs’ (11-1) only loss of the season on Oct. 6. In that game, Mitch Tingley rushed for 222 yards and three touchdowns for Lakeview, while Leyton Zacherl threw a 65-yard touchdown pass to Danick Hinkson on the first play from scrimmage. Applebee threw for 74 yards and a touchdown to Gorton, who also had a rushing touchdown, while Brett Kania had 65 yards rushing.
Tingley has rushed for 1,414 yards (8.4 ypc.) and 19 touchdowns for a Sailors’ team that has scored at least 35 points in six of its nine wins. Aiden Osborne, meanwhile, has 344 yards on the ground and eight touchdowns. Zacherl has thrown for 1,044 yards and a 13-5 touchdown to interception ratio, with Hinkson (23-549-7) and Blake Skiles (20-418-5) his top targets.
Gavin Krupa (104 tackles, 7 TFL), Tingley (88 tackles), Osborne (87 tackles, 14 TFL), Luke Klonowski (72 tackles, 12 TFL, 6 sacks), Clarence Barber (4 interceptions) and Hinkson (4 interceptions) lead the defense.
Cambridge Springs’ rushing attack has been excellent this season, as they have outscored their opponents 484-121. Kania leads the way with 1,238 yards (8.3 ypc) and 18 touchdowns, while Preston Gorton has 619 yards (8.6 ypc) and 10 touchdowns, Josh Gorton 590 yards and nine touchdowns and Jordan Washington has 558 yards (13.0 ypc) and five touchdowns. Applebee has thrown for 837 yards and five touchdowns, with Preston Gorton (21-388-7) and Brandon Hoover (12-225) his top receivers.
Three players – Josh Gorton, Zeek Carson and Preston Gorton – have over 100 tackles for the Blue Devils, while Tristen Mazzadra has 16 tackles for loss and 12 sacks and Hoover three interceptions.
The winner will face the winner of the D9 title game between Redbank Valley and Port Allegany in the PIAA quarterfinals next week.