Week 11 preview Much at stake in rare meeting of Bedford, Berlin Brothersvalley (WITH PICKS)

Nov. 4—Seventy years have passed since Berlin Brothersvalley and Bedford met in a scholastic football game.

The renewal of the series will have plenty at stake, as the third-seeded Bisons visit the undefeated, second-seeded Mountaineers in the first round of the District 5-8 Class 2A subregional playoffs.

Kickoff at the Snyder of Berlin Complex is at 7 p.m.

"They've had a ton of success this year in all three phases. Defensively, they've only given up a few points all year," Bedford coach Kevin Steele said of Berlin Brothersvalley. "They're aggressive. They move well.

"They'll certainly present their challenges."

Bedford (7-3) lost three times in the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference by a combined 12 points at Penn Cambria (27-20), at Richland (25-23) and against Central (38-35 in overtime).

Berlin Brothersvalley (10-0) won both the WestPAC title and the Appalachian Bowl. The Mountaineers have dominated while outscoring opponents 445-27.

"Bedford is by far the most physical team we've faced this year," Mountaineers coach Doug Paul said. "Very athletic. Three or four players, every time they touch the ball, they're extremely explosive.

"They run the triple option. It's a challenge. We haven't seen anything like that. On defense, they fly to the football and they're fundamentally sound."

The winner will advance to the subregional title game against either top-seeded Westinghouse (9-0) or fourth-seeded Chestnut Ridge (6-4).

Those teams will meet on Friday at Cupples Stadium, home field of the Pittsburgh City League champion Bulldogs.

"Now the postseason starts," the Mountaineers' Paul said. "District 5 2A, the strongest field I've ever seen, one through four.

"We've got a team (Bedford) coming to Berlin that is a few points away from being undefeated in the Laurel Highlands."

The two teams haven't met since Berlin Brothersvalley edged Bedford 19-14 in the final game of the 1952 season.

A year earlier, Bedford won 25-0 over Berlin Brothersvalley. Those are the only two meetings of the teams found in Tribune-Democrat records dating to the 1935 season.

"It should be a great first-round matchup," Steele said. "They have a great team, a traditional program with a lot of success. Very similar to our program. It should be a great atmosphere and should be a great game for the first round of the district playoffs."

Berlin Brothersvalley's defense has been a force throughout the season with players such as Cory Jose, Holby McClucas, Cooper Huston, Cody Kimmel, Ryan Blubaugh, Aiden Ream and Grant Mathias among the leaders.

The Mountaineers have 16 sacks and 11 interceptions.

Junior Pace Prosser is a veteran quarterback and safety.

Prosser has passed for 1,409 yards and 20 touchdowns and two interceptions on offense, and he's made five interceptions on defense, including a 55-yard pick-six return against previously undefeated Penns Manor in a 35-0 Appalachian Bowl victory at Windber Stadium.

"Our schedule this year was down some, but we are a pretty veteran team," Paul said. "Most of our starters are back from last year. A lot of these guys played as sophomores. Pace played as a freshman."

Bedford's offense features senior running back Ethan Weber, who ranks second in the area with 1,370 rushing yards and 16 rushing TDs.

Senior quarterback Kevin Ressler has passed for 601 yards and seven touchdowns, and he's rushed for 759 yards and nine TDs. Ressler was injured during an 18-7 win at Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic in Week 10.

Steele didn't have an update on his quarterback's status on Thursday.

"They're great athletes, but they're also strong," Paul said of the Bisons. "They're fast and strong. They're not a team that is only going to line up and physically try to maul you.

"They're not a team that's only lightning quick. They've got a combination of both."

Bedford had won four consecutive District 5-8 Class 3A subregional crowns before dropping to 2A. The Bisons advanced to the Class 3A state semifinal in 2020.

"The vast majority of our kids have played on the big stage in playoffs before," Steele said. "We certainly expect a big stage (Friday) night. You hope that experience builds confidence and helps them to relax and perform at the level they're capable of.

"We've been in the playoffs before. We've had some success," he said. "Our kids should be prepared for that level of the stage. Their team would be in a very similar boat as well."

The remainder of district playoff games involving area teams, with Friday kickoffs at 7 p.m., follows:

District 5 Class 1A

No. 3 Conemaugh Township (6-4) at No. 2 Windber (9-1)

Last week: Northern Cambria 34, Conemaugh Township 20; Windber 31, Portage 0.

Last meeting: Windber 61-0 in Week 9 this season.

About the Indians: After injuries decimated the lineup, Conemaugh Township is hoping to rebound as players return. The Indians won their first five games this season, but are 1-4 since then, including a three-game losing streak. Ethan Black is second among area receivers with 684 yards, and Jon Updyke is fourth with 628 yards despite each player missing time to injuries and Updyke filling in at quarterback.

About the Ramblers: The teams met for what might be the final regular-season game between the two county rivals due to new conference homes for each program. Two weeks later, the rivalry will renew.

Windber has won five straight games since its lone loss of the season to WestPAC and Appalachian Bowl champion Berlin. Windber's John Shuster surpassed 6,000 career rushing yards(6,162) and 2,000 yards this season (2,111) in last week's crossover game.

District 5-8 Class 2A

No. 4 Chestnut Ridge (6-4) vs. No. 1 Westinghouse (9-0) at Cupples Stadium

Last week: Penn Cambria 42, Chestnut Ridge 17; Westinghouse 40, Taylor Allderdice 8.

Last meeting: Westinghouse 42-28 in 2021 District 5-8 Class 2A semifinal.

About the Lions: Prior to last season's semifinal setback, Chestnut Ridge had beaten Westinghouse in the subregional three straight seasons in 2013 (55-20), 2014 (35-0) and 2015 (14-6). The Lions are on a three-game losing streak while facing conference front-runners Penn Cambria (42-17), Richland (40-14) and Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic (45-28). Nick Presnell has 1,112 rushing yards, Jeb Emerick has 453 receiving yards, and Nate Whysong has 1,281 passing yards.

About the Bulldogs: Westinghouse has outscored opponents 407-71 and only allowed two opponents to score in double digits — Steelton-Highspire (a 39-18 win) and University Prep/Sci-Tech/Obama Academy (a 55-12 win). The Bulldogs earned their 38th Pittsburgh City League championship this past week over Taylor Allderdice as Kehlil Taylor had 99 of his 155 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the third quarter. Keyshawn Morsillo passed for 129 yards and a pair of TDs to Sincere Smith in the City League title game.

District 6 Class 1A

No. 5 Portage (6-4) at No. 4 Juniata Valley (6-4)

Last week: Windber 31, Portage 0; Moshannon Valley 26, Mount Union 22.

Last meeting: Juniata Valley 21-7 in 2021 District 6 Class 1A playoffs.

About the Mustangs: Portage had a two-game winning streak snapped at Windber last week in the Heritage-WestPAC crossover. Leading rusher Isaac Jubina has 969 rushing yards and 16 TDs, but he suffered an injury late during a Week 9 win and did not play at Windber last week. Quarterback Andrew Miko has passed for 861 yards and 13 TDs. Receivers Bode Layo (431 yards, 10 TDs) and Mason Kargo (359, two TDs) have been two big targets.

About the Green Hornets: Junior Andrew McMonagle has 218 carries for 1,199 yards and 12 rushing TDs. On defense, McMonagle has 99 tackles, three interceptions and two sacks. Receiver Jacob Rodkey has 23 receptions for 331 yards and two touchdowns.

No. 7 Moshannon Valley (5-5) at No. 2 Northern Cambria (7-3)

Last week: West Branch 34, Moshanon Valley 19; Northern Cambria 34, Conemaugh Township 20.

Last meeting: Moshannon Valley 40-20 in 2015 District 6 Class 1A playoffs.

About the Black Knights: Moshannon Valley has 1,347 rushing yards and 21 rushing TDs, with most of the load going to senior Levi Knuth (228-1,294, nine TDs) and junior Tanner Kephart (107-617, 10 TDs). Junior Sam Shipley has 104 tackles and two sacks, and junior Jalen Kurten has six interceptions.

About the Colts: Northern Cambria has won three of its past four games, with the lone setback a loss at Portage in the closing seconds in Week 9. Quarterback Owen Bougher is third in the area with 1,697 passing yards and 15 TDs. Peyton Myers leads the area with 894 yards and nine touchdowns on 51 receptions. Ty Dumm has 470 receiving yards and seven TDs on 28 catches.

No. 6 Homer-Center (5-5) at No. 3 Cambria Heights (7-3)

Last week: Homer-Center 45, Meyersdale 3; Northern Bedford 37, Cambria Heights 14.

Last meeting: Cambria Heights 31-12 in Week 7 this season.

About the Wildcats: Homer-Center won two of its past three games following a strech of four losses during five injury-riddled weeks. In only his second start at quarterback, Riley Clevenger rushed for 133 yards and two touchdowns last week in the Heritage-WestPAC crossover. Landon Hill gained 97 rushing yards and scored a touchdown last week.

About the Highlanders: Cambria Heights looks to rebound after a 23-point loss to undefeated Northern Bedford in the crossover series last week. Cambria Heights has dropped two of its past three contests. Tanner Trybus is among the area leaders with 1,101 rushing yards, but saw limited work with two carries for nine yards last week. The Highlanders have scored 339 points, an average of 33.9 a game. Cambria Heights is 4-0 at home and 3-3 on the road.

District 6 Class 2A

No. 8 West Shamokin (5-5) at No. 1 Richland (10-0)

Last week: West Shamokin 41, North Star 35; Richland 52, Central Cambria 26.

Last meeting: The teams have not played.

About the Wolves: West Shamokin won a high-scoring road game last week to secure the eighth playoff spot. The Wolves scored four of the game's first five TDs at North Star only to see the Cougars rally until fourth-string quarterback Dylan Wolfe completed his 244-yard, four touchdown night with a pair of late scores.

About the Rams: Richland is set to defend its fourth consecutive District 6 Class 2A crown after wrapping up an unbeaten regular season. On the ground, the Rams are led by Evan McCracken's 1,262 yards on 192 rushes, good enough for fourth in the area, while his 170 total points is second among all local players.

Quarterback Sam Penna has thrown for 1,814, trailing only Penn Cambria's Garrett Harrold for the region's top honors in that category. Austin Yarnick's 671 receiving yards paces the team with McCracken totaling 439 yards on 27 catches.

WPIAL Class 2A

Ligonier Valley (7-3) vs. Western Beaver (7-3) at Greensburg Salem/Offut Field

Last week: Ligonier Valley 51, Derry 7; Beaver Falls 44, Western Beaver 8.

Last meeting: Western Beaver 14-3 in 2020.

About the Rams: Ligonier Valley will compete in the WPIAL playoffs for a second straight season since rejoining District 7 in 2020. The Rams have won four of their past five games, including two straight wins by a combined margin of 93-14. Senior Haden Sierocky has 123 carries for 1,031 yards and 12 rushing TDs. He has 28 receptions for 378 yards and seven TDs. On defense, Sierocky has an area-high six interceptions.

Western Beaver has lost two straight games following a four-game winning streak. Tyson Florence has 144 carries for 1,194 rushing yards and 13 TDs.

Quarterback Xander Lefebvre has completed 52 of 114 passes for 914 yards and 12 TDs. Dorian McGhee has 15 catches for 477 yards and six touchdowns.

Mike Mastovich is a sports reporter and columnist for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @Masty81.