High School

“Mr. High School Sports” – WPIAL Playoff Picture Update

Footballs

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

By Matt Popchock

(mpopchock@kdka.com)

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)

CLASS AAAA:

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.

CLASS AAA:

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

 NOTES: There are several bubble teams in the Parkway Conference; Central Valley is at Blackhawk, Hopewell is at Ambridge, Montour is at West Allegheny, and New Castle is at Moon in Week 8. New Castle can eliminate Moon with a win, and Hopewell must beat Ambridge to stay alive. With four conference wins, West Allegheny needs the least amount of help to clinch a playoff berth…South Park visits Trinity in Week 8, with the loser of that game likely being eliminated…Kittanning hosts Hampton, with the loser of that game likely out as well…Derry is at Uniontown, and Laurel Highlands is at Hollidaysburg in Week 8, with all four teams vying for the last spot in the Keystone Conference.

CLASS AA:

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.

CLASS A:

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)

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