By Matt Popchock
We’re in the home stretch of the 2011 WPIAL football regular season, so here’s a quick look at the teams that have punched their ticket to the postseason, and the teams that have some work to do to get there heading into Week 8.
We’ll list which teams have officially clinched a playoff berth, which teams have been officially eliminated from playoff contention, and which teams are “in trouble” (those with either zero or one conference wins through Week 7)…
(16 spots are available in each classification; the top four teams in each conference qualify)
WHO’S IN: Pittsburgh Central Catholic, Penn-Trafford, North Allegheny, Upper St. Clair, Mount Lebanon, Woodland Hills, Penn Hills, Gateway
WHO’S OUT: Pine-Richland, Butler, Norwin, Latrobe
WHO’S IN TROUBLE: Hempfield, Plum, Kiski Area, Baldwin, Peters Township, Canon-McMillan
NOTES: North Hills hosts Seneca Valley in Week 8; each team owns two conference wins, so the winner moves into fourth in the Northern Seven Conference…Fox Chapel needs a win over Plum and a Central Catholic win over Altoona in Week 8 to clinch a playoff berth…Baldwin visits Canon-McMillan in a battle of Great Southern Conference teams trying to avoid elimination…Connellsville, which posted the longest losing streak in WPIAL Class AAAA history last season, can make the playoffs if McKeesport wins at Hempfield.
WHO’S IN: Central Valley, Thomas Jefferson, Knoch, Indiana, Franklin Regional, Ringgold, Greensburg-Salem
WHO’S OUT: Ambridge, Elizabeth Forward, McGuffey, Valley, Albert Gallatin
WHO’S IN TROUBLE: Laurel Highlands, Uniontown, Hampton, Kittanning, Moon
WHO’S IN: Aliquippa, Beaver Falls, Greensburg Central Catholic, Jeannette, Seton-LaSalle
WHO’S OUT: Freedom, Mohawk, New Brighton, Charleroi, Brownsville, Southmoreland, Yough, West Shamokin
WHO’S IN TROUBLE: Apollo-Ridge, Deer Lakes, Quaker Valley, South Allegheny
NOTES: Riverside needs a win at New Brighton in Week 8 to avoid elimination…Mount Pleasant can clinch a playoff berth for itself and East Allegheny with a win at home over Waynesburg, which would simultaneously eliminate the Red Raiders…Burgettstown, Keystone Oaks, and Steel Valley are each on the bubble with two conference wins apiece; Burgettstown visits Keystone Oaks in Week 8, while Steel Valley has a chance to eliminate Quaker Valley at home.
WHO’S IN: Beth-Center, Bishop Canevin, Sto-Rox, Clairton, Fort Cherry
WHO’S OUT: Mapletown, West Greene, Geibel, Carmichaels, Avella, Bentworth, Leechburg, Wilkinsburg, South Side Beaver
WHO’S IN TROUBLE: Union, Neshannock
NOTES: Six teams are still alive for three remaining playoff spots in the Eastern Conference; Avonworth, leading that group with five conference wins, can punch its ticket with a win at home over Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Week 8. OLSH, a program in just its second year of existence, is another of the six that still has a chance. Riverview must upset Bishop Canevin at home Saturday to avoid elimination…Rochester is in, and Neshannock is out if the Rams beat the Lancers; Cornell faces the same scenario against visiting Union in Week 8…Monessen will clinch a spot with a win over visiting Jefferson-Morgan, and Frazier will do so with a win at California…with a win at Serra Catholic, Brentwood would get in and also eliminate the Eagles.
CITY LEAGUE (one playoff berth remaining):
WHO’S IN: Brashear, Perry, University Prep
WHO’S OUT: Nobody
WHO’S IN TROUBLE: Langley, Oliver, Carrick
(Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/mpopchock)