NC ready for next test

South Park facing unbeaten Trojans at Mars Friday

October 8, 2020 Cranberry Local Sports

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Through four games, no team has been able to keep up with North Catholic's football team.

South Park is next in line to give it a shot.

The two teams will square off in an inter-conference meeting Friday at the Mars Athletic Complex. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

The Trojans (4-0) have outscored their opponents 207-35. They crushed Burrell last week, 66-8.

“With the COVID situation, we've told the kids to focus on what they can control,” said North coach Patrick O'Shea. “That's conditioning and preparation and they've done that. My coaches and I are very proud of they way they've performed.”

South Park (3-1) was undefeated prior to last week's 35-0 setback to a very good Elizabeth Forward team. Even with that result, O'Shea expects a stiff test from the Eagles.

South Park upset the Trojans in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs last year, 32-27. In that game, the Eagles gained 185 yards rushing. Eighty-three of those yards came from running back Nathan May, who has rushed for 183 yards and a 5.7 yards-per-carry average this year.

Adam Johnson leads the team with 274 rushing yards.

Eagles' first-year starting quarterback Harper Conroy has tallied 410 passing yards with four touchdowns and one interception.

“It's a lot of the same kids and same philosophy,” O'Shea said of the Eagles. “They are very physical and we have our work cut out for us.”

North's defense has been nothing short of stellar this season.

The Trojans are allowing an average of just 119 yards per contest. Their rush defense, which will be put to the test this week, is giving up just 37 yards per game.

“I really can't pick one or two kids out,” O'Shea said. “It's everybody from the line to the linebackers to the secondary. We have 15 or 16 guys who we rotate in on that side of the ball and they all rally to the football.

“A lot of credit goes to our defensive coordinator, Jay Bell. He does a tremendous job preparing the kids and getting them to look at fundamentals.

It's a big reason why we have a lot of depth.”

Junior quarterback Joey Prentice is lighting opponents up in his first season as a starter. He passed for 660 yards and 11 touchdowns and rushed for 293 yards and five other scores.

“His confidence in his own play has grown, but he also has confidence that the players around him are going to do their job,” said O'Shea. “No matter what grade you're in, if you're the quarterback, you're the leader of the offense and Joey has matured. He makes sure we keep an even tone.”

Moniteau (1-3) at DuBois (1-3)

7 p.m., Friday

Both teams are looking for a much-needed victory.

Moniteau is coming off a 47-14 setback to Brookville, while DuBois fell to Central Clarion, 15-7, last week.

The Warriors have been grinding out yardage in the running game. Mason Mershimer has emerged as the lead back, pacing the Warriors with 449 yards on 73 carries.

The passing game, though, continues to struggle for Moniteau, which has just 220 yards through the air this season.

DuBois has struggled against the run, however.

The Beavers are led by QB Cam-Ron Hays, who has thrown for more than 500 yards and a handful of touchdowns. He is also a threat to run.

Union/A-C Valley (3-1) at South Side (1-3)

7 p.m., Friday

Union/A-C Valley fell at Redbank Valley last week, 10-7. South Side dropped a 23-15 decision to Sto-Rox.

Falcon Knights' junior LB Carter Terwint is averaging 10.5 tackles per game. Sophomore DB Skyler Roxbury has intercepted three passes.

The Rams' offense features QB Aden Almashy, who passed for 924 yards and 8 TDs last year.

South Side's three losses, which also include setbacks to Avonworth and Western Beaver, have come by a combined 17 points.

South Side High School is located in Hookstown, 12 miles west of Aliquippa.

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Derek Pyda

Derek Pyda

- Graduated from Connellsville High School in 1996
- Graduated from Clarion University in 2000 with a Bachelors in Communications
- Have also written for Clarion News (Clarion, PA) and the Herald-Standard (Uniontown, PA)
- Started at the Butler Eagle on April 2, 2002
- Interests include sports, history and geography