Friday, October 26, 2012

Games of the Week

It's the final meaningful week of the regular season for several teams.

Ligonier Valley (7-1) at Northern Cambria (6-2)
The formula is simple for Northern Cambria - win and the Colts claim their first Heritage Conference championship.
For Ligonier Valley, things are a little more complicated but still possible. The Rams must beat Northern Cambria and get help from Homer-Center, which plays Penns Manor. If LV and H-C both win, the Rams win the Heritage. If Ligonier and Penns Manor win, then Penns Manor wins the conference.
Got it? Good.
Ligonier Valley gutted out a one-point win over Homer-Center, and the Rams should be feeling good as the victory came without three of its top players - Ryan Torrance, Stuart Urch and Connor Maust. Torrance is back after he had to sit out the Homer-Center game because of his ejection during the Penns Manor game. Urch, who has 17 sacks, is also back. Maust is out for the season.
Here's a little fact: Northern Cambria has not lost at home. The Colts' losses came at Homer-Center and Berlin. Among Northern Cambria's home wins was one over Penns Manor in Week 1.

Cambria Heights (6-2) at Somerset (5-3)
Somerset knows it's not always easy dealing with the aftermath of a big victory. The Golden Eagles followed their first ever win against Bishop McCort with a loss to Westmont Hilltop in a game Somerset dominated statistically.
Cambria Heights, winners of five straight, are coming off a 21-19 win over Bishop McCort and face an hour bus ride south.
It will be interesting to see how the Highlanders' tough-as-nails defense, led by senior Donnie Contorchick, handles the Eagles' spread offense, led by playmaker Tanner Stull.

Bishop Guilfoyle (7-1) at Bishop McCort (5-3)
The time has come to drop the "surprise" label from Bishop Guilfoyle. The Marauders are flat out good, and figure to be one difficult out in the District 6-A playoffs.
So does Bishop McCort, which has played every team on its demanding schedule a tough time.
This game could be a first-round playoff preview, as it's not entirely out of the realm of possibility that the Marauders and Crushers clash again in two weeks.
Both teams have strong defenses, particularly up front.

North Star (6-2) at Blacklick Valley (6-2)
What do we know about the Cougars and Vikings after eight weeks?
Well, not much to be honest.
North Star has beat up inferior opponents, and the Cougars' lone win against a team with a .500 record or better is a 3-0 victory over Shade. That said, there aren't many playmakers around better than senior standout Tony Strasiser.
Blacklick Valley has its own playmaker in Johnny Sheesley, and he's putting together an all-state caliber season. But, like North Star, the Vikings have yet to beat a team with a winning record.

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