Shade’s Brock Medva darted his way to the top of the area rushing statistics and landed in the No. 4 spot in the state, according to MaxPreps.com.
The 5-foot-9, 160-pound senior back gained 338 yards on 22 carries last Saturday at Ferndale. Medva scored three touchdowns in a 35-12 win.
Those numbers pushed Medva’s season total to 863 rushing yards on 93 attempts
– a whopping 9.28 average per carry and 215.8 yards a game.
“Brock’s a guy who’s been really special for us,” Shade coach Mike Pribish said in an understatement. “He has a great attitude and is a great team ballplayer. He’s a phenomenal running back.”
Shade is 2-2 entering a key WestPAC game against visiting Conemaugh Valley on Friday.
“We’re .500 and we have a chip on our shoulders, which is better than being down and trying to work our way up,” said Medva, a starter since his sophomore season and four-year contributor to the Panthers offense.
Including this season, Medva has rushed for 2,754 career yards.
“It starts with the line, everyone on the line except one freshman has experience coming into the season, and that helps. Everyone else contributes,” Medva said. “As long as they get me a hole I can do my own thing once I get an open space.”
Medva also credited senior fullback Dylan Glessner, a long-time teammate and friend.
Glessner ranks 18th in the area with 275 rushing yards.
Against the Jackets, Medva crossed the 300-yard milestone. But he’s been consistent with 100 or more yards gained in all four games.
He had a solid 103 yards against Windber in a close 20-6 season-opening loss.
Medva followed with 231 yards against Conemaugh Township in a 27-14 victory and nearly hit 200 against a tough Portage squad, netting 191 yards in a 35-14 setback.
“I’ve coached a lot of fine football players over the years at a lot of different schools,” Pribish said. “He’s a real pleasure to coach.”
Medva is looking beyond personal accomplishments.
He and his teammates are hoping to have a breakthrough year for a program that won a combined six games in the three previous seasons.
“This is a lot better than where we’ve been at since I was a freshman,” Medva said. “It’s good to be with all the seniors and have success on top of it. It’s a nice thing as long as we keep it going.”
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Turning point: On paper, Week 5 looks as if it will reveal a lot about the area’s top contenders.
In the LHAC, undefeated Richland hosts 3-1 Bishop McCort on Friday.
The Rams have been nearly unstoppable on offense and stingy on defense. The Crushers are coming off a big road win in Bedford.
Forest Hills and Cambria Heights each are 2-2 entering their game at Patton. The Rangers were dealt a tough blow when quarterback Joe Donoughe, then the area’s leading passer, went down with an injury in last week’s 14-0 loss to Bishop Guilfoyle.
Heights blanked Central Cambria 34-0 and is hoping to live up to somewhat lofty preseason expectations for a team that had struggled during a long stretch prior to a solid 2011 season.
Both Johnstown (2-2) and Somerset (3-1) will try to shrug off the effects of disappointing losses.
Previously winless Westmont used a late field goal and a turnover near the goal line to edge visiting and previously undefeated Somerset 17-14 on Saturday.
Richland piled up yardage and points in a 42-0 win over visiting Johnstown.
The Trojans visit the Eagles on Friday in a game that probably will have huge implications in the standings and psychologically for both the winner and loser.
Unbeaten Penn Cambria and Guilfoyle (3-1) play another marquee game on Saturday night at Mansion Park.
The Marauders have been impressive only one year removed from a disappointing season.
Former Panthers assistant coach Justin Wheeler has done a great job and will face one of his mentors in Panthers veteran coach Ernie Fetzer.
WestPAC powers North Star (3-1) and Berlin (4-0) will meet at the Snyder Complex on Friday. Conemaugh Township
(2-2) and Blacklick (3-1) clash in Nanty Glo.
An intriguing non-conference battle of unbeatens pits Heritage Conference frontrunner Ligonier Valley against WestPAC co-leader Windber at Windber Stadium.
The Ramblers have scored 125 points in the past three weeks.
Ligonier has three shutouts while outscoring the opposition by a combined
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One for Five: Even though area leading receiver Kyle Flick caught only one pass for a
12-yard touchdown against Johnstown before leaving due to a first-quarter injury, Richland’s junior standout still ranks fifth in the state with 429 receiving yards on 21 catches, according to MaxPreps.
Rams junior quarterback Matt Shaffer had an area-high 707 passing yards and ranked 21st in the state according to MaxPreps.
Mike Mastovich is a sports writer for The Tribune-Democrat.
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