1 Pine Richland 4-0, D7; Big changes in the rankings this week but not with these guys who continue rolling over everything in their path, downing previously undefeated Penn Hills 43-6. No real surprise there unless more was expected from PH. Decent balance with Phil Jurkovec throwing for 168 yards and running back Jordan Crawford rushing for 138 yards on 16 carries. To date the Rams have outscored opponents 179-42 with the toughest part of the schedule up next, traveling to Bethel Park this week followed by a home game against Central Catholic. Its crunch time and a Wpial playoff preview with undefeated Bethel Park looking like the top dog in the competitive Southeastern Conference with Mt. Lebanon their biggest threat. Pine Richland looks like they’ll run away with the Northern with comparatively pedestrian attacks at Central Catholic and North Allegheny. But all of that comes after what could be a stiff challenge from Bethel Park, by far their toughest opponent to date. The Black Hawks proved they can bang with the big boys defeating North Allegheny in the opener 35-15. They owned the clock and had nearly 350 yards rushing in that one. Humm! 2 Cumberland Valley 3-0, D3; Cumberland Valley jumped on Bishop McDevitt early and often, racing out to a 21-3 first half lead then coasting to a 49-23 blowout win. Few do that to McDevitt except DeMatha and the likes. For an offense that often just pounds you stupid with painful drives, they used the big play in this one featuring 47 and 58-yard rushing scores, an 82-yard kickoff return for six and a 99-yard fumble return for another score. They’re looking better every week with the win against Coatesville in the opener and now a road win against struggling Bishop McDevitt (2-2). Tough times for McDevitt in their new digs with losses to Harrisburg 34-0 and now CV. 49-23. They’re home this week to hapless Chambersburg (0-3) who forfeited last week’s game to Red Lion. 3 Pittsburgh Central Catholic 3-1, D7; Make that 3 in a row since the disaster in Erie with last week’s 42-14 throttling of Hempfield at beautiful Spartan Stadium. The Spartans are an extremely young group (inexperienced OL, soph Qb) playing without their starting quarterback Justin Sliwoski while starting sophomore Blake Remeley in his place. Sophomore starting quarterbacks in 6A! But it was still an impressive win where Central Catholic got it going offensively, particularly with Qb Troy Fisher completing 15 of 23 for 234 yards and 3 touchdowns. Their average score in games played since the Cathedral loss is 32-7. Seneca Valley is next, a 2-1 team they routed last year 42-14. 4 State College 3-0, D6; State High is looking real good against a real weak schedule blasting McCaskey 45-12, Hollidaysburg 55-27 and Mifflin County’s Huskies last week 56-7. But they are playing a lot of people and getting a rhythm for the coming Mid Penn wars. This one was no contest, building a 49-0 half time lead then coasting, holding Mifflin County to 109 yards rushing and 73 through the air. They had 4 rushing Tds, 2 touchdown tosses, one by Qb Tommy Friberg, another by tailback Triston Lyons….a pick returned 44-yards for a score plus a fumble in the end zone for another 6. Always a good sign doing what’s expected of you against a weaker opponent. They come to the Harrisburg area Friday to play Mechanicsburg’s other team, the Mechanicsburg Wildcats, getting a taste of the area before a return trip to Mechanicsburg to play Cumberland Valley 2 weeks later. 5 Bethel Park 3-0, D7; What’s with the schedule maker giving the Black Hawks’ crossover games with North Allegheny and Central Catholic? After slamming Norwin 27-7 while holding them to 16 rush yards plus the season opening 35-15 win against North Allegheny and Pine Richland coming in Friday, we’ll see if they’re up to the task. They were last year in Gibsonia losing a tough one 31-24 then again in Districts, 35-32. Bethel’s pounding methodical offense (232 rushing vs Norwin) may give the Rams fits as the O-Line is veteran, large and physical, with a supporting defensive cast (16 rush yds for Norwin) that is under rated, allowing but 29 points. And it’s the right offense to slow the Rams down if they can prevent a runaway 14-0 1st quarter, putting them in a hole. About Bethel’s D, maybe it’s time for young talent like sophomore DE Aaron Beatty (6-4, 210) to get some props! He’s one of the unsung heroes of the team that will get some needed recognition if they come away with the win. There’s a lot of good football played in the South Hills. 6 Central Dauphin 2-1, D3; Last week’s win against Wilson at Wilson may be just the tonic that pulls this young team together. That and Qb Brady Straub performing like the quarterback Coach McNamee needs for his system to fire on all cylinders. Straub went a blistering 12 of 18 for 248 yards while the D did what the Ram D often does in shutting the Bulldogs down to 49 yards rushing in a 28-20 win. 49 yards! Carlisle’s undefeated Thundering Herd are next coming to Landis off a weak schedule. But in a tight Mid Penn race in the most competitive Big School conference (top to bottom) in the state….Central Dauphin 2-1, Harrisburg 4-0, Cumberland Valley 3-0, CD East 3-0 and State College 3-0….you can’t afford a slip up with Carlisle 3-0 sandwiched between Wilson and Cumberland Valley. Having said that, CD should crush these guys. 7 Mt Lebanon 3-1, D7; Mt. Lebanon survived a real scare from Canon McMillan but hung on to edge the Big Macs 24-17. Canon McMillan had no answer for Aiden Cain who caught 9 passes for 214 yards. Running back Antonio LaSoto had a strong outing as well rushing for 115 yards. Have to mention C-Mac’s rising sophomore Qb Tre Lewis (6-2, 180) who completed 20 of 28 passes for 258 yards. Like we said last week, they have some people that can hurt you and will score points. Still, it was a nice road win for Lebo who should move to 4-1 with a win at Altoona this week. After that comes a great inter-conference matchup with North Allegheny. 8 Manheim Township 2-1, D3; Township plummeted in the rankings from 4th to 8th after getting manhandled by Governor Mifflin 49-14, at home! This comes on the heels of Mifflin getting pounded themselves by undefeated 5A Cocalico the week before, 42-21. No shame ever losing to one of central PA’s top programs, but a 49-14 drubbing speaks to other issues (no injuries), possibly an inflated ego routing South Western 42-0 the week before after the big win against Central Dauphin in the opener. At any rate, Governor Mifflin’s Mustangs pounded them, rolling up a 424 to 142 total yardage advantage with their big back Isaac Ruoss (6-1, 215, sr) running roughshod for 282 yards on 32 carries. Quite a stud. The big question is will they bounce back? Hempfield’s 2-1 Black Knights, down the road in Landisville are no one to mess with, so we’ll know something about their character after this one. District-3 football is a study in parity this year with Central Dauphin, Manheim, and Wilson learning that the last few weeks. 9 Wilson 1-2, D3; You don’t often see Wilson at 1-2 but that’ll happen with a demanding schedule of Governor Mifflin, Spring Ford and Central Dauphin along with 7 and 8-pt losses. That tough slate will set them up for a run at their 10th straight LL-Section One title, beginning this week at home. There is not a lot to say about last week’s 28-20 loss to Central Dauphin with the maturation of Ram’s Qb Brady Straub mentioned above coupled with their defense in beast mode, holding them to 49 yards rushing. But give them credit coming back from a 28-6 deficit in the 3rd quarter. The next opponent is Warwick (2-1). They are a 35-27 loss to undefeated 5A muscle team Manheim Central from being undefeated, and they kept it close last year against Wilson losing 14-10. The Warriors are still the Warriors, wanting to beat you down with a big line and decent D. Their Qb this year is Grayson Kline, 6-5 225 pound senior who can fling it. This is a dangerous veteran team where Wilson can lose so expect them to come out on fire, pulling out all the stops to prevent a 1-3 start. Hard embracing Wilson after two losses but there are still a lot of good parts and strong history with this team. 10 North Allegheny 2-2, D7; This was a tough decision whether to put North Allegheny in the 10 spot, Central Dauphin East, Erie High or Warwick. Everyone knew North Allegheny would rout Shaler but it was still a great confidence builder after the 14-7 loss to Central Catholic the week before. 55-7 feel goods! Plus it snapped a 2 game losing streak and allowed the offense to get in gear following the 14-7 knockdown, drag-out affair with the Vikings. Racking up 410 total yards of offense is impressive against anyone. So is the 126 yards allowed. That should set them up well for consecutive road trips to Butler and Mt. Lebanon. If Butler’s first 3 games are any indication, they won’t offer much, having allowed 117 points through 3 games.