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PIAA state football playoffs: Coatesville, St. Joe’s Prep set for semifinal games

If Coatesville and St. Joe's Prep can both win Saturday afternoon, the teams would clash for top Class 6A honors on Dec. 8.

Coatesville senior halfback Aaron Young runs for a 53-yard, third-quarter score in last Friday night's PIAA District 1 Class 6A final against North Penn.
Coatesville senior halfback Aaron Young runs for a 53-yard, third-quarter score in last Friday night's PIAA District 1 Class 6A final against North Penn.Read moreCHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer

St. Joseph's Prep has payback in mind when it faces District 7's Pine-Richland in a PIAA Class 6A football semifinal. The Hawks bowed to the Rams, 41-21, in last year's final.

Coatesville has to guard against overconfidence when it takes on District 3's Harrisburg in the other 6A semifinal, since the visiting Red Raiders whipped the Cougars, 37-6, in this season's opener.

If the Prep and Coatesville both advance to the championship game, there would be a rematch of last year's dramatic state semifinal. Overcoming an 18-point deficit in the third quarter, the Hawks outlasted the Red Raiders, 53-49.

Here is a closer look at Saturday afternoon's contests.

Class 6A Semifinal

Coatesville (14-0) vs. Harrisburg (12-1), at HersheyPark Stadium, 1 p.m.

Harrisburg quarterback Kane Everson has connected on 106 of 158 throws for 1,984 yards and 26 TDs. The 5-10, 165-pound senior has rushed 95 times for 827 yards and seven scores.

Everson is supported by running back Jahmir Plant (99 carries for 651 yards and eight TDs) and wide receivers Donte Kent (24 catches for 630 yards, 10 scores) and Rynell Gantt (19 for 434, six).

Defensively, the Cougars have a stalwart linebacker in Andrew White Jr., a 6-3, 225-pound senior who has committed to Texas A&M. He is a three-star prospect, according to 247Sports.

White registered 22 tackles as Harrisburg ousted Central Dauphin, 16-6, in the District 3 final.

The charge up front for Harrisburg is led by end Brian Yates (6-0, 210) and tackles Tony Patterson (6-2, 225) and Jeff Chisholm (5-10, 260).

Last season, the Cougars fell to District 3's Governor Mifflin, 24-14, in the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs.

Coatesville is trying to punch a ticket to the state final for the second time in the last eight seasons. The Red Raiders lost to District 7's North Allegheny, 63-28, in the 2012 Class 4A title game.

Pick: Coatesville, 42-14.

Class 6A Semifinal

St. Joseph's Prep (11-0) vs. Pine-Richland (11-2), at Mansion Park Stadium in Altoona, 1 p.m.

Pine-Richland graduated standout QB Phil Jurkovec, now at Notre Dame, but the squad from suburban Pittsburgh is still a major force.

The Rams are sparked on offense by dual-threat signal-caller Cole Spencer. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound sophomore has thrown for 1,420 yards and 15 touchdowns and rushed for 811 yards and 11 scores.

Speedy running back Luke Meckler has carried 174 times for 1,487 yards and 18 TDs. He rushed for 209 yards and two scores in last Saturday night's 56-33 defeat of District 6's State College.

Spencer spreads the ball among Meckler and wideouts Shane Cafardi, Eli Jochem, and Luke Mellor. The four have combined for 1,228 receiving yards and 12 scores.

Pine-Richland's beefy offensive line is headed by Notre Dame recruit Andrew Kristofic (6-6, 275), Michael Katic (6-4, 270), Bryan Bails (6-1, 300), and Michael Dorundo (6-2, 260).

The Rams defense is spearheaded by linemen Kristofic, Katic, Bails and Dorundo, linebackers Meckler, Tyler King, a Navy recruit, and Cooper Lawton.

Pick: Prep, 35-21.