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Apple Tractor Presents: Protime predictions by Phil–State Championship edition with Breakdowns

Written by: on Thursday, December 7th, 2017. Follow Phil Myers on Twitter.


People collect things and many times things that have value, like baseball and football cards, old coins, crystal, valuable paintings, etc.  Protime’s idea as a teenager was to collect the plastic spoons from Dairy Queen.  He had his sights set on all the money they would be worth someday.  Protime had all the different sizes and colors of DQ spoons from the 60s and 70s, but alas that notion of riches never quite panned out.

A few years ago, Protime came up with a different idea.  Over the years teams collect wins like New Castle, Jeannette, Aliquippa, and Huntingdon in the west or Mt. Carmel, Easton, Berwick, and Steelton (Highspire) in the east.  Protime now collects grass from all the various venues he’s been to.  A small clump of grass pulls up easily, but he uses his moustache clippers to get a few blades if a field is turfed.

Every stadiums’ grass/turf are in jars, meticulously labeled and perched in alphabetical order on the basement shelf right beside Mrs. Protime’s canned fruits and veggies.  Once every high school stadium’s grass in Pennsylvania has been secured (about 350 to go), Protime figures that he will be the champion of high school football field grass collecting.

Speaking of champions, there will be 12 teams in Hershey this week vying for that title.  Protime wishes each and every team luck in their quest.  Protime went 9-3 last week and now sits at 279-65 (.811) for the year.  Here are the Premier Prognosticator’s predictions for the final week of the season.

Jeannette 14-1 vs. Homer-Center 13-1 – Jeannette is the all-time winningest team in District 7 with 735 career wins.  They are 7th in the west in point scoring this year with 582.  The key ingredient to the Jayhawks’ 2017 success is Robert Kennedy.  When quarterbacking, he’s thrown for 1,294 yards and 23 TDs.  When running, he’s covered 1,238 yards and scored 19 times.  And recently he’s been a receiver, catching several passes for 150 yards and a TD.  When he is a receiver, Seth Howard stands in at QB.  Howard has 564 yards and 7 touchdowns passing.  He also has a total of 10 scores combined running and catching.  Imani Sanders has 12 TDs doing the rushing/receiving thing.  Marcus Barnes (30-515-10) and Tre Cunningham (25-390-6) are the two top wide receivers.  The leading interceptor is, you guessed it, Robert Kennedy with 12.  Coach Greg Page has done a fantastic job with his Wildcats this year.  Jesse Lee and Mike McCracken are solid hard-charging running backs that are vital to the ball-control offense the Wildcats aspire to each game.  Lee has 1,375 yards with 21 touchdowns, while McCracken has 1,111 yards with 13 TDs.  Freshman Ben Schmidt barks the signals for Homer-Center and has thrown for 1,096 yards and 8 TDs.  Nick Schmidt has 15 receptions and 2 TDs, while Lee has 16 catches.  Dakota Sunday leads the defense with the most tackles plus he and Tim Alcon have 5 picks each.  For Homer-Center to win they must control the ball, win the turnover battle, and prevent big plays.  For Jeannette to come out victorious they must get enough possessions where they can capitalize on a few big plays and get the lead to force H-C to pass more than they’d like.  In Protime’s opinion this is possibly the toughest game to call, so the coin flip reveals Jeannette 24 and Homer-Center 20.

Wilmington 14-0 vs. Southern Columbia 15-0 – This is the first of 2 games pitting undefeated teams against each other.  The game also features 2 coaches with 725 wins between them.  Terry Verrelli of Wilmington has 314 victories, while SCA’s Jim Roth has amassed 411 wins.  In 34 years of coaching, Roth has never had a losing season and has double digit wins in 31 of them!  Roth has led So. Columbia to the title game 16 times now, winning 7 times and going for eight.  The Greyhounds of Wilmington love to run and they feature 3 backs of pretty equal ability, Bryson Verrelli (1,049 yards for 18 TDs), Cam Marett (887 yards and 16 TDs), and Jack Patton (1,207 yards with 15 TDs).  QB Robert Pontius has tossed the football for 10 touchdowns and has run for 11 more.  PK Jacob Winters has hit on 45 of 47 PATs.  The ‘Hounds are 6th in the west in scoring with 590 points and #1 (west) of the teams still playing in defense, allowing 105.  Defensively, Marett has stepped in front of 10 opposition passes.  He was injured last week and it would be a blow if not able to play this week.  Meanwhile, the Tigers of SCA are like a machine.  They lead PA in scoring with 767 points, averaging 51 a game.  It starts with RB Gage Garcia and his 2,137 yards rushing plus 26 receptions for another 388 yards.  He has 3,054 all-purpose yards with 36 TDs via the ground and 5 more catching passes.  QB Stone Hollenbach has pitched the pigskin for 2,366 yards and 27 tallies.  Julian Fleming is the go-to wideout with 63 grabs for 1,389 yards and 19 scores.  One of the busiest placekickers in the country has to be Elijah Hoffman with 98 out of 100 PATs made plus 11 out of 13 FGs made.  The Tigers have sacked opposing quarterbacks 50 times this year.  Cal Haladay and Max Tillett lead the team in tackles.  To win Wilmington must control the ball and make some big plays defensively.  The Tigers just need to do what they do.  Protime is excited to see these two squads go at it.  Southern wins 45-35.

Quaker Valley 13-1 vs. Middletown 14-0 – Quaker Valley has never been this far before and it’s only the second time for Middletown.  Coach Jerry Veshio has done a phenomenal piece of work with the Quakers, taking over just days before the season was to begin and molding these young men into a formidable team.  QB Ricky Guss can do it all.  He’s thrown for 2,125 yards and 25 TDs.  But then he has also rushed for 936 yards and 22 TDs.  His favorite receiver is Isaiah McNair, who has hauled in 48 passes for 916 yards and 14 TDs.  RB Jordan Tayor has 631 yards toting the ball, scoring 5 times plus another 3 TDs receiving.  The Blue Raiders have only lost once the past 2 years and that was to Beaver Falls in last year’s championship game.  For the 5th highest scoring team in the east (597 points), RB Brady Fox is up to 30 TDs now with 1,563 yards gained.  Fellow running back, Jose Lopez, has not played the past couple weeks due to injury, but leads the team with 1,749 yards.  Lopez also has 25 TDs running and another 2 receiving.  QB Scott Ash has 1,321 markers passing with 11 TDs.  Middletown has three wide receivers with equivalent stats.  Chris Plummer (13-349-3), Tre Leach (17-299-2), and Tyreer Mills (19-317-3) make things hard on defenses.  The Blue Raider ‘D’ is #1 of all the teams still playing, giving up 100 points.   Kyle Truesdale heads up that stingy defense.  The key to each team winning is whoever can play better defense, whether it’s being physical, making stops, or coming up with turnovers.  Protime’s crystal ball says Middletown finds a way, 35-33.

Erie Cathedral Prep 13-0 vs. Imhotep Charter School 12-1 – This is the rubber game of the series as these two have met the past two years with ‘Tep winning big in 2015 and Prep coming from behind last year.  The Ramblers of Erie are 3rd in the west in scoring (623) and actually 2nd in points per game (47.9).  They are led by QB Joe Mischler (Ohio commit) and his 3,057 yards tossing the agate plus 37 TDs for a QB Rating of 137.  He has a pair of great wideouts in Terry Roberts (37-1,127-15) and Tyler Oedekoven (40-1,110-9).  Roberts is an Iowa commit.  The RBs are no slouches either.  Billy Lucas has rambled for 985 markers and 19 TDs, and Matt Lupo has 862 yards with 14 TDs.  PK Anthony Lupo has booted 69 extra points and is 6 for 6 in the field goal department.  Lineman Fredrick ‘Juice’ Scruggs is a Penn State commit.  Defensively, Matt Bauer (Notre Dame) has 96 tackles, 19 for losses, and 9 sacks.  Hunter Orlando is the second leading tackler and Roberts has 5 INTs.  The Imhotep Panthers are paced by QB Jalen Sutton-Christian’s 1,656 yards for 21 TDs.  Tykee Smith took over for Isheem Young and raced for 235 yards last week, crossing the goal line on 5 occasions.  Carl Jones has 637 yards rushing and 5 scores, but has not played the past two contests.  Khadarius Sampson has 8 TDs and has accounted for 555 yards via the ground.  WR Yusuf Terry has garnered 39 passes for 796 yards and 7 scores.  Defensively, the Panthers are 5th in the east with 122 points allowed, but have been lights out since giving up 33 to Harrisburg in week zero.  Kamal Harrison is the team sack leader.  Prep has beaten Thomas Jefferson and Berks Catholic who had very good defenses.  Protime feels this will be no different.  Prep 31 Tep 22.


Gateway 14-1 vs. Archbishop Wood 11-2 – This game will be a huge contrast in offenses.  Gateway will pass at least 30 times and probably 40 or more.  Wood will pound you with the running game.  Gateway scores a lot (552) but also gives up a lot (287).  The Gators are led by the dynamic duo of QB Brady Walker and WR Courtney Jackson.  Walker is currently the top passer in PA with 4,364 yards and 44 TDs.  He ranks as the #2 passer of all-time in District 7 with 8,546 career passing yards.  Practically one third of his 289 completions are to Jackson (93 snags for 1,885 yards and 23 touchdowns).  Isaiah Cameron had been the leading Gator running back, but an injury sidelined him.  Up stepped freshman Derrick Davis (who already has an offer from Pitt), but he got hurt last week and status is unknown for this week.  The placekicker is a good one in Jayson Jenkins who stands 5’2” and weighs 105 lbs.  Archbishop Wood is similar to Southern Columbia in that they are machine-like.  QB Jack Colyar doesn’t normally throw much, but does have decent stats with 1,152 yards and 10 TDs.  Florida commit TE Kyle Pitts is a favorite target with 20 catches and 4 TDs in accounting for 371 yards.  WR Ryan Loughlin has 23 grabs for 572 yards and 5 TDs.  Virginia Tech recruit, RB Nasir Peoples, has scurried for 1,571 yards and scored 25 times.  Chris Blackstone has 7 rushing touchdowns to his credit.  PK Bob Hennessey is 46 of 48 in the point after department and has 3 FGs too.  Gateway must keep the ball away from the Vikings and make stops on defense so they don’t get worn out.  Wood has to find a way to stop the ball control pass game of the Gators.  Protime thinks they will.  The Wood Vikings 35 and the Gateway Gators 27.

Pine-Richland 15-0 vs. Saint Joseph’s Prep 13-0 – This is the one almost everyone has been talking about and waiting for.  According to Maxpreps the number 8 team in the country, St. Joes, will be taking on the number 24 team in the USA, Pine-Richland.  The Rams have a great one at QB in Notre Dame bound Phil Jurkovec.  P.J. has pitched the pigskin for 3,772 yards, recording 38 touchdowns along the way.  He can beat you scrambling and running too as evidenced by his 1,136 yards and 20 TDs.  His Quarterback Rate is an out of this world 147.4.  Pine-Richland has other weapons at its disposal too.  WRs Jason DeFrancisis (70-1,132-10) and Lehigh commit Raymond Falcone (52-967-11) are two of Jurkovec’s favs.  Jordan Crawford leads the team with 1,200 yards on the ground, scoring 24 touchdowns.  Kenny White has 709 yards and 10 TDs lugging the rock.  PK Vittorio Orsini rounds out the #1 offense in the west (714 points) with 84 of 89 PATs made.  Tyler King (140 tackles), Anthony Cerminara (117 tackles), and Tommy Camino (17.5 sacks) head up a strong Ram defense.  QB Marquez McCray leads the Hawks with 1,414 yards passing and 13 TDs.  He has chalked up 511 yards rushing and 11 TDs.  RB Kolbe Burrell has scooted for 721 markers and scored 13 TDs.  His backfield mate, Marques Mason has traversed for 677 yards, entering the end zone 11 times.  Brandon Sanders heads up the receiving corps with 34 catches for 454 yards and 8 TDs.  James Cherry chips in with 22 catches, 307 yards, and 2 scores.  Anthony Tigano has 59 PATs and 7 FGs made thus far.  Defensively, Zach Bougess leads St. Joes in interceptions.  The Hawk defense, statistically, was one of the best in PA until Coatesville put up 49 on them.  They must not allow that to happen this week and they have to keep Jurkovec off the field to have a chance.  Pine-Richland has to take advantage of opportunities and not allow St. Joes to dictate how the game goes.  The difference in this game is Jurkovec and for that reason Protime is taking Pine-Richland in double overtime 48-45.

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