5 Things to Watch for Friday Night in Beaver Valley: Week 4

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Each week of High School Football in Beaver Valley brings a new set of stories to follow. Here are five things to watch out for on Friday as the WPIAL football season unfolds with several Week 4 matchups.

1. Clash of a pair of conference titans 4A Parkway

It’s no secret that the 4A Parkway conference is busy from top to bottom this fall, especially with the additions of Central Valley and West Allegheny this season. The aforementioned West Allegheny program will have its toughest test yet as a member of the 4A Parkway on Friday against defending WPIAL Class 4A and PIAA Class 4A champion Aliquippa Quips at Freedom High School’s Jimbo Covert Field, where the Quips will play their home games in 2022. With both teams boasting unbeaten records and star-studded top-flight attacks and defenses, the Week 4 game has the makings of a great start to the WPIAL football season. .

After:Times Game of the Week Preview: West Allegheny at Aliquippa

2. Beaver Falls has a chance to regain control of Midwest 2A

Beaver Falls head coach Nick Nardone spoke during training camp about the Beaver Falls Tigers needing to avoid a slow start like they did in 2021, putting a lot of pressure on themselves in a hole. 0-3. Sitting at 3-1 this season, the Tigers avoided that slow start. Now they have their sights set on another run through the 2A Midwestern Conference and a trip to Acrisure Stadium to try to redeem themselves after the 2021 projection. That run begins Friday on the road against the tough Neshannock Lancers, who have a record of 4-0 on the year and are coming off a decisive 48-20 win over Western Beaver in Week 3. Led by dual-threat quarterback Jaren Brickner and a host of offensive weapons in Isaiah Aeschbacher, Drey Hall and Brixx Rawl, the Tigers have a chance to immediately take control of the conference with a big win in Week 4.

After:Beaver County Friday Night Football Highlights Week 3

3. Freedom, Riverside gear up for old-school football

The great thing about high school football in small schools is that there’s still that semblance of old-school football in the curriculum. Such is the case for Freedom and Riverside, as the two teams prepare for a 2A Midwestern Conference showdown on Friday night in Ellwood City. The Panthers and Bulldogs both sport two-way standouts with Freedom’s Damien Grunnagle and Riverside’s Robert Janis, both of whom can carry the load offensively for their teams. There won’t be many gimmicky games of five sets wide offensively. Instead, these two teams want to run over you and impose their will. It’s old-school, three-yard football and a cloud of dust, and it should make for a great Friday night game in Week 4.

After:Grunnagle and Welsh lead Freedom to Ellwood City shutout 28-0 in conference opener

4. What can Jakub Pickett of Quaker Valley do for an encore?

In Week 3, Quaker Valley wide receiver Jakub Pickett made program history in the Quakers’ 40-22 win over Seton LaSalle. Pickett set the school franchise single-game record for receiving yards, passing five passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns. Pickett’s performance broke a record that stood for seven seasons, when Chris Conlan rushed for 160 yards in 2014. How the Quakers star will follow up that record-breaking Week 4 performance against arguably the best defense in the class WPIAL 1A in the south side Rams? On the year, South Side has allowed just 20 points on the year and has a terrific secondary under head coach Luke Travelpiece, led by all-conference safety Brody Almashy. It’s been a no-fly zone much of the year against the South Side, but Pickett will try to change this Friday night.

After:The Times Best Performances of the Last Week: September 12-18

5. Another difficult test for OLSH

If any doubt remains regarding the Chargers’ OLSH football program under first-year head coach Don Militzer despite the impressive start to the season, some of that doubt can be erased on Friday night against the Rangers of Fort Cherry in a massive WPIAL Class 1A Black Hills Conference Game. OLSH comes in at 4-0, while Fort Cherry is at 3-1. Matchups with defending WPIAL Class 1A champion Bishop Canevin Crusaders remain for both teams, but Friday night’s result in Week 4 will go a long way in determining the conference title. With another strong showing at home against Rangers, the Chargers will undoubtedly cement themselves as a true Class 1A powerhouse in the WPIAL.

After:The Times’ Top 10 Football Teams in Beaver Valley: Week 4 Rankings

Contact Joshua Carney at jcarney@gannett.com or 724-681-9136. Follow Joshua on Twitter: @ByJoshCarney

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