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Trio of Champions to be Crowned in District 10; McDowell, Meadville Hit the Road for Subregionals

Grove City's Hunter Hohman.

It’s a championship weekend in District 10.

Three champions in Class 1A will be crowned as top-seed Grove City takes on No. 6 Slippery Rock on Friday at 7 p.m. at Slippery Rock University, while in Classes 1A and 2A it’s a battle of top seeds as Eisenhower takes on Reynolds in 1A at 1 p.m. Saturday at Edinboro University (Update: this game has been moved to Titusville), while Farrell and Sharpsville do battle in Class 2A on Saturday at 7 p.m. from Wilmington High School.

There are also a pair of subregional games, as 6A champion McDowell travels to State College to take on the unbeaten Little Lions on Friday at 7, while in Class 4A, Meadville makes the trip to Bald Eagle to battle D6 champion Juniata at 5 p.m. Saturday.

Let’s dig in.

           

CLASS 3A CHAMPIONSHIP

(1) GROVE CITY vs. (6) SLIPPERY ROCK

It’s a rematch of last season’s title game, won by Grove City, 28-20.

The Eagles (8-3) are making their seventh consecutive trip to the D10 final (they lost in 2020 to Hickory).

The two teams met back on Sept. 23, a thrilling 22-21 win for Grove City in which Hunter Greer hauled in a 13-yard touchdown pass from Hunter Hohman with 18 seconds left and Hohman ran in the 2-point conversion. This came on the heels of Slippery Rock taking the lead with William Mokel’s 22-yard touchdown pass to John Sabo with 49 seconds left.

Both teams competed in the gauntlet that was Region 3 this season. Slippery Rock is now 7-4 following impressive back-to-back playoff wins – 41-28 over Oil City in the quarterfinals and 28-0 over Hickory in the semis.

           

The Mokel-to-Sabo connection has been an effective one for the Rockets this season. Mokel has thrown for 1,979 yards, 18 touchdowns, and eight interceptions, with Sabo responsible for 610 of those yards on 43 receptions and eight touchdowns. Sam Schwartz has 375 yards receiving and two touchdowns and Maddox Allen has 310 yards and three scores

The ground game has also been very effective for the Rockets as well, particularly in the postseason. Allen has 959 yards on the ground and nine touchdowns on the season, including 182 yards and a pair of scores in the win over Oil City. Mokel has also rushed for 328 yards and a trio of touchdowns.

Grove City, meanwhile, rallied for a 22-21 win over Sharon last week, a game in which they trailed 21-7. This coming on the heels of a quarterfinal win over Fairview.

Backup quarterback Alex Hackwelder came on in relief of a banged-up Hohman to direct the game-winning touchdown drive for the Eagles, with GC head coach Sam Mowrey indicating after the game that Hohman is good to go for this game.

Hohman has turned in another strong season for the Eagles, throwing for 1,745 yards and 17 touchdowns and also rushing for 500 yards and 10 scores.

Greer and Gavin Lutz have formed a formidable 1-2 punch at receiver, with Greer accounting for 746 yards and seven touchdowns and Lutz 664 yards and eight touchdowns.

           

Anthony Nemec leads the ground game for the Eagles, who have won four straight, with 880 yards and seven touchdowns.

The winner will meet the Central-Martinsburg/Clearfield winner in the PIAA quarterfinals next week.

CLASS 2A CHAMPIONSHIP

(1) FARRELL vs. (2) SHARPSVILLE

This was a game in the regular season that was dominated by the Farrell (9-1) defense in a 48-7 win over the Blue Devils (9-2).

           

Farrell is making its eighth consecutive appearance in a D10 title game, and limited the vaunted Sharpsville offense to just 29 yards of offense in the win back on Oct. 7. They are coming off a 48-6 win over Seneca in the semifinals.

The Steelers’ defense has not yielded more than 14 points since a 40-38 Week 2 loss to Ursuline (Ohio). That unit is led by Marion Norris, who has 93 tackles. Malachi Owens, meanwhile, has 12.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks, while Kylon Wilson has three interceptions.

Offensively, the Steelers have scored at least 35 points in every game this season. Kylon Wilson is a Swiss Army knife, accounting for 529 yards and 17 touchdowns rushing and 927 yards and 10 touchdowns receiving.

Quarterback Kabron Smith has been very efficient, throwing for 1,804 yards and 22 touchdowns to just four interceptions, with Lamont Samuels accounting for 432 yards and six touchdowns receiving.

The ground game also prominently features Brandon Chambers, who has rushed for 850 yards and eight touchdowns.

Sharpsville was ineligible for the playoffs last season after their merger with West Middlesex. The Blue Devils are coming off a thrilling 21-14 come-from-behind win over Mercyhurst Prep in the semis.

Quarterback Caullin Summers has put together a special season for the Blue Devils, throwing for 2,129 yards and 22 touchdowns (six interceptions), while also rushing for 829 yards and 13 scores.

Summers and Garen Levis, District 10’s leading receiver, has formed a great connection, with Levis accounting for 55 receptions for 1,104 yards and 12 touchdowns. Braedon Summers also has six rushing touchdowns and a pair of receiving scores.

Senior Christian Snyder leads the Sharpsville defense with 144 tackles, including 17 for loss, while Blaze Campbell has 85 tackles, with 11 going for loss. Braedon Summer has 9.5 sacks and Kalvin McCullough has five interceptions (the Blue Devils have 19 as a team).

The winner will meet the Westinghouse-Central Clarion winner in the PIAA quarterfinals next week.

CLASS 1A CHAMPIONSHIP

(1) EISENHOWER vs. (2) REYNOLDS

The two teams everyone expected to get this point are here, with the unbeaten 11-0 Knights set to battle the 10-1 Raiders for the D10 crown.

The two-time defending D10 champ Raiders and Knights have met in the playoffs each of the last two years, with Reynolds winning 56-27 in the semifinals a year ago and 27-0 in the title game in 2020.

Reynolds had no problem in a 44-6 win over Maplewood in the semis last week. It was a different case for Eisenhower, as they rallied for a 25-20 win over Maplewood, with Benji Bauer scoring on a 58-yard touchdown run with just under three minutes to play in the fourth quarter.

Both teams featured a dominant defense and strong rushing attacks.

Reynolds has allowed single-digit point totals in six of its wins. The Raiders have also eclipsed the 40-point mark eight times.

Jalen Wagner is the program’s all-time leading rusher, and he has been great in 2022, rushing for 2,434 yards and 35 touchdowns, averaging 11.4 yards per carry.

It’s much more than just the rushing attack for Reynolds, however, as quarterback Brayden McCloskey has thrown for 1,584 yards and 14 touchdowns. Haydin McLaughlin has accounted for 757 of those yards and nine touchdowns, while Santino Gentile has also hauled in a pair of scores and has 352 yards.

Eisenhower, meanwhile, was the only unbeaten team in District 10 during the regular season.

Bauer is also a record-setting running back, with his 1,961 yards on the ground this season a program record. He has 23 touchdowns to go along with those yards, while dual-threat quarterback Shawn Pascuzzi has 406 yards (98 last week) and eight touchdowns, and Tucker Lindell has 584 yards from his fullback spot and six touchdowns.

Leading receiver Wyatt Lookenhouse is out due to injury, but tight end Kris Bunk is a major threat in the passing game, as is Bauer for Pascuzzi, who has 1,011 yards and eight touchdowns through the air.

Lindell and Bauer have 70 and 66 tackles respectively on defense and 21 tackles for loss, while Caleb Penley has 15 tackles for loss, Mikey Beaver has 14.5 tackles for loss, Bunk has five sacks, and Pascuzzi five interceptions (Garrett Jensen and Bauer have three each).

The winner will meet the Port Allegany-Brockway winner in the PIAA quarterfinals next week.

CLASS 6A SUBREGIONAL

(10-1) MCDOWELL vs. (6-1) STATE COLLEGE

McDowell’s (10-2) tough regular season schedule against the likes of Bennett, Walsh Jesuit, North Allegheny, Cathedral Prep, Meadville, and St. Francis surely will help as they get ready to face the unbeaten Little Lions (11-0).

The Trojans have been playing some of their best football in the postseason, rolling to a 62-7 win over Butler in the D10 title game before disposing of Allderdice, 42-15.

The story on offense for McDowell has been the run game. Behind an offensive line that is led by Penn State recruit Cooper Cousins, Artis Simmons and the running game have feasted. Simmons is approaching the 2,000-yard mark for the season at 1,904 yards and 26 TDs, including six touchdowns in his last two games.

The passing connecting of quarterback Ben Moore and receiver Ray Jackson has also been impressive to watch, as Moore has totaled 1,573 yards, 18 touchdowns, and six interceptions, with 659 yards and eight of those touchdowns going to Jackson.

Troy Peterson and Carson Hardik anchor the defense from their linebacker positions.

The Trojans have scored at least 42 points during their current six-game winning streak.

State College, meanwhile, has one all but one of its games this season by double-digits, a 32-31 win over Downingtown East on Sept. 6.

The Little Lions are coming off a 28-7 win over Altoona in the D6 title game in which freshman D’antae Sheffey rushed for 176 yards and three touchdowns.

On the season, Sheffey has 1,428 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns.

Quarterback Finn Furmanek has thrown for 1,302 yards and 13 touchdowns, with Ty Salazer accounting for 539 yards and five touchdowns and Donte Nastasi 500 yards and four touchdowns.

Defensively, Stephen Scourtis has 19.5 tackles for loss, and John Scott has 91 tackles, including 17 for loss. Salazer has fiver interceptions to lead the secondary.

The winner will meet the winner of the WPIAL title game between North Allegheny and Pittsburgh Central Catholic next week in the PIAA quarterfinals.

CLASS 4A SUBREGIONAL

(10-1) MEADVILLE vs. (6-1) JUNIATA

This is a rematch of a matchup in the same round from a year ago when Meadville earned a wild 34-27.

In that game, Meadville led 20-0 late in the second quarter, only to watch as Juniata came all the way back to tie the game at 27-all in the fourth before Khalon Simmons’ game-winning 91-yard touchdown run with two minutes remaining.

Meadville (11-1) has rolled through two playoff games, a 62-14 win over Corry in the D10 title game, followed by a 40-12 win over University Prep. Juniata, meanwhile, earned a 17-7 win over DuBois last week.

It’s been a similar philosophy for the Bulldogs to get to this point in the season – a dominant offensive line, great play from its running backs, and a suffocating defense.

Khalon Simmons eclipsed the 2,000-yard mark in last week’s win over USO, and on the season has 2,042 yards and 37 touchdowns to go along with 491 yards passing and five touchdowns. Brady Walker, meanwhile, has 1,524 yards rushing and 20 touchdowns, and Amarri Lewis has 604 yards and eight scores.

Defensively, the Bulldogs own four shutouts this season and have given up more than 14 points just once this season (their only loss to McDowell).

Walker, Brighton Anderson, and Justice Esser lead the defense in tackles, and all have double-digit tackles for loss this season. Walker has also registered 10 sacks and Anderson has seven interceptions. Nic Williams also has four interceptions for the Bulldogs, who have 19 as a team.

Juniata (8-3) has gotten it done in the second half of the season on defense as well, not allowing more than 20 points in any game since a Sept. 30 loss to James Buchanan.

Jonathan Kauffman (65) and Lane Peiper (61) lead the team in tackles, while Jasper Shepps and Caleb Smith have five interceptions each (the Indians have 15 as a team).

Wyatt Enrenzeller has 703 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground, while Aaron Kanagy has 961 yards and five touchdowns, but has thrown 15 interceptions. Shepps has 387 yards and two touchdowns receiving.

The winner will meet the winner of the Jersey Shore, Allentown Central Catholic winner in the PIAA quarterfinals next week.

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