FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Youngsville Homecoming highlights Week 4 action

While Youngsville is busy gearing up for its Homecoming, fans of Warren, Eisenhower, and Sheffield are filling up their gas tanks for Week 4 of high school football.

With region and league play kicking into high gear, the Warren County teams went a combined 2-2 in last week’s action. The Dragons and Knights continued to roll through the competition with wins over region opponents, the Wolverines hung tough, but ultimately fell short against Brockway, and the Eagles struggled to find their footing against a more experienced Cambridge Springs team.

Week 4’s lone home game features Youngsville hosting Maplewood at Mike Shine Field. Meanwhile, Warren visits Meadville in a Region 5 match-up, Eisenhower travels to Erie to take on Mercyhurst Prep in a Region 2 showdown, and Sheffield kicks off its AML North schedule at Cameron County.

Warren (3-0) at Meadville (1-2), Meadville High School, 7 p.m., Friday

Warren hits the road in Week 4 to take on the Meadville Bulldogs, who dropped their first two games of the season before defeating Erie East last week, 12-6 in overtime. Ryan Harkness scored the winning touchdown for the Bulldogs, and has led the way with 315 rushing yards on 59 carries this year. Meadville’s two losses came courtesy of Northwestern (31-7), and Slippery Rock (49-16).

“Each and every game is important to our team development and Friday night’s game against Meadville is paramount,” said Warren coach Greg Latimer. “We must take Meadville out of their comfort zone and make them change their game plan. We gave up way too many rushing yards last week.”

The Dragons’ ground attack is led by junior Kyle Kulka, who is averaging over 13 yards per carry and scored all three of Warren’s rushing touchdowns in last week’s win over Bradford. Quarterback D.J. Fehlman is 26-of-41 for 405 yards and nine touchdowns through the air, and Tanner Stanz is the leading receiver with eight catches – six for touchdowns – and 127 yards.

Last year’s meeting: Warren 48, Meadville 28.

Sheffield (1-2) at Cameron County (1-2), Cameron County High School, 7 p.m., Friday

The Wolverines flirted with an upset last week, but the Brockway passing attack proved to be too much to handle as Sheffield fell to 1-2 on the year. This week, the focus shifts to the Red Raiders of Cameron County, who have thrown for only 267 yards in three games. That’s not to say quarterback Tucker Britton hasn’t been busy. He is the team’s leading rusher with 183 yards on 41 carries, and Caleb Burnside isn’t far behind with 153 yards on 20 attempts on the ground.

“Cameron County has been in every game they have played this year, and losing close games to Curwensville and Brockway tells me they have talent,” said Sheffield coach Dave Fitch. “I still feel we have the ability to play with anyone on our schedule, but we have to stop being our own worst enemy. We will continue to work on fundamentals until we understand the importance of protecting the ball and living to see another play.”

Sheffield will rely on the backfield duo of Brandon Kipp and Jereek Jackson, who have combined for a majority of the carries this season. Jackson has a total of 151 yards and two touchdowns, and Kipp has 114 yards through three games. Quarterback Adam Higby is 23-of-47 for 279 yards and one touchdown this year.

Last year’s meeting: Sheffield 13, Cameron County 12.

Eisenhower (2-1) at Mercyhurst Prep (1-2), Veterans Stadium, 7 p.m., Friday

The Eisenhower Knights are looking to make it three Region 2 wins in a row this Friday night against Mercyhurst Prep. The Lakers have suffered a slight drop off in 2013 compared to past years, having suffered losses to St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy and Cochranton, while defeating Union City in Week 2. Much of Mercyhurst’s offense has come from senior running back Joe Swanson (53 carries for 385 yards) and junior Eric Baer (57 carries for 360 yards). The Lakers have attempted just 23 passes in three games.

“It was the game that defined us last year,” said Knights’ coach Jim Penley, referring to his team’s 26-25 victory over the Lakers in 2012. “(Mercyhurst) Prep is down on numbers, but they are still a real good team. They have two of the toughest running backs out there and a tough defense. They lack some of the speed they have had in the past, but they are still one of the top teams in our region until proven otherwise. They deserve the respect they get from people, and I assure you we respect their ability to beat us if we do not play a great game.”

Eisenhower is led by senior quarterback Rob Wilston, who has thrown for 476 yards and rushed for 191 yards while scoring six total touchdowns on the year. Running back Alex Johnson has been his primary weapon with 341 all purpose yards and three touchdowns.

Last year’s meeting: Eisenhower 26, Mercyhurst Prep 25.

Maplewood (1-2) at Youngsville (0-3), Youngsville High School, 7 p.m., Friday

After three tough losses to start the season, the Youngsville Eagles host Region 2 opponent Maplewood in search of a Homecoming win. The Tigers suffered blowout losses in their first two games of the year before bouncing back last week with a region win over Union City. Miller Peters was the offensive standout in that game with 142 yards on 14 carries and a pair of touchdowns. On the season, Dane Barker has racked up 204 yards on 39 carries, while finding the end zone four times for Maplewood.

“This will be a pretty big game for us, being that it’s Homecoming,” said Eagles’ coach John Victor, “We can win this game if we learn to play as a team, stay disciplined, and eliminate the arm tackles.”

For the Eagles, quarterback Jake Lauffenburger has ran the ball 41 times for 114 yards while scoring both of his team’s touchdowns in losses to Fairview, Iroquois, and Cambridge Springs.

Last year’s meeting: Maplewood 20, Youngsville 14.