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Somerset County teams look to end the regular season on a high note

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The 2021 high school football campaign has reached the final week of the regular season for teams across the region.

Only two Somerset County teams, Berlin Brothersvalley and Windber, will enter the playoffs next week. Both teams will get some serious tune-ups for the playoffs against their Heritage Conference opponents.

WestPAC teams haven’t had much success in Week 10 in the past in these crossover clashes. The Somerset County teams will look to turn the tide this week.

Friday

Heritage-WestPAC crossings

Berlin Brothersvalley (7-2) at Homer-Center (7-2)

Berlin were slow to come out last Friday and lost to Southern Huntingdon 35-16.

This week, the mountaineers will be tasked with slowing down the Homer-Center Collin Troup running back. The senior carried 160 times for 1,023 yards and 16 touchdowns. His running mate, Landon Hill, added 620 yards and seven scores.

The Wildcats don’t throw the ball a ton, but quarterback Cole McAnulty has 899 passing yards with seven touchdowns and eight interceptions. Michael Krejocic is his first target with 24 catches for 523 yards and five touchdown catches.

Berlin will likely have to get McAnulty to throw the ball more. If mountaineers can get early saves, it makes Troup less threatening in ground play.

Offensively, the Mountaineers must distribute the wealth with quarterback Pace Prosser. He quickly turned into a double-threat quarterback in his first season.

Some empty sets to trigger ground play could lead to big air plays for Ryan Blubaugh, Holby McClucas, Carson Modrak and Will Latuch.

Last year: The teams did not meet.

Rip’s Choice: Homer-Center 35, Berlin Brothersvalley 28

Township of Conemaugh (3-4) at the buy line (4-5)

Conemaugh Township failed to stop the Conemaugh Valley ground game and lost a 27-14 loss last Friday.

During this time, the Indians were held to just 120 yards of total offense. Online play is going to be the key against the Dragons. If Conemaugh Township’s offensive line can step up and protect Tanner Shirley to run and pass to his away playmakers, the Indians will stand a chance in the fourth quarter.

Wide receivers Jackson Byer, Ethan Black, who has been fantastic recently, and Braden Adams need early touches to stretch the defense. This simplifies the offense and allows Shirley to call her own number.

The buy line has fallen four times in a row, including a 48-14 loss to Cambria Heights in Week 9.

Quarterback John Elick threw for 803 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions. Mello Sanchez leads the receiving body with 16 catches for 345 yards and four touchdowns. Three other players combined for 35 captures.

Brady Syster is the focal point of the rushing game with 619 yards and seven touchdowns on 85 carries.

Last year: The teams did not meet.

Rip’s Choice: Shopping Line 28, Conemaugh Township 24

North Star (3-5) at the Marion Center (4-5)

North Star beat Blacklick Valley 20-8, behind quarterback Connor Yoder’s three total TDs.

Senior tight end Ethan Yoder returns this week after serving a two-game suspension for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Berlin. He’ll add a much-needed target to accompany wide receiver Carter Weible.

North Star's Ethan Yoder runs away from the Berlin defense for great footage on a narrow screen during a WestPAC football game on October 1 in Boswell.

Quarterback Connor Yoder will need another stable performance like he did a week ago when he rushed for 145 yards and a score while throwing for 151 yards and two touchdowns.

Defensively, it starts up front for the Cougars. They must be disciplined and know their missions so as not to leave big winners in the field. Linebackers Bryce Shroyer and Cody Hause are the top two tackles at 79 and 66, respectively.

Last year: The teams did not meet.

Rip’s Pick: Marion Center 31, North Star 26

Meyersdale (0-9) north of Cambria (1-8)

Meyersdale went winless with a 9-0 loss to Everett last Friday. Coach Ryan Donaldson continues to play against both Daulton Sellers and his younger brother, Drake, at the quarterback in search of an offensive spark.

Daulton Sellers is the more mobile of the two. Drake is the most efficient passer. When Drake is at the helm, it allows Daulton to be a pass-catching option to the receiver.

In the last game of the season, Donaldson could do anything to seek that elusive victory.

If anyone other than Daulton Sellers can lead the game with any success, it will do wonders for the offense. But, the Red Raiders can’t just run between tackles. Someone up front has to set course to land the big winners on the ground.

Last year: The teams did not meet.

Rip’s Pick: Northern Cambria 14, Meyersdale 7

LHAC

Somerset (1-8) center (9-0)

Somerset dropped a heartbreaking Central Cambria 26-21 last Friday.

Ethan Hemminger, who had 245 rushing yards and three touchdowns, was unable to make a first down on the midfield’s fourth and 9th, allowing Central Cambria to score the game winner.

It should be a long night for the Golden Eagles against the Dragons. Central joined LHAC and dominated the teams.

It could be a difficult way for the elderly to come out. However, Somerset coach Brian Basile should use his subclasses in this game to figure out what it’s like to play against top programs and what they will need to improve for next season.

Last year: The teams did not meet.

Rip’s Choice: Central 48, Somerset 7

Rip’s Picks: Last week: 4-2; Total: 32-8

To note: WQZS 93.3 Sports will broadcast the Berlin Brothersvalley at the Homer-Center con. The pre-match show will start at 6.30 p.m. with kick-off scheduled for 7 p.m.


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