“Mr. High School Sports” – WPIAL Playoff Picture Update
By Matt Popchock
We’re done with the penultimate weekend 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 9.
Upon further review, Class A is a little more wide-open than we originally thought after Saturday’s handful of games. That’s where one of the nine available 2011 WPIAL Football Playoff berths will be up for grabs.
We’ll list which teams are officially in the tournament, which teams have been officially eliminated from playoff contention, and which teams are on the bubble with one week to go till the start of the postseason…
(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, Erie McDowell, Seneca Valley, Shaler, Fox Chapel, McKeesport, Connellsville
WHO’S OUT: Pine-Richland, Butler, Norwin, Latrobe, North Hills, Altoona, Plum, Kiski Area, Hempfield
ON THE BUBBLE: Bethel Park, Peters Township, Baldwin, Canon-McMillan; with two playoff spots in the Great Southern Conference up for grabs, Bethel Park is at Baldwin, and Canon-McMillan hosts Peters Township in Week 9. Bethel Park is in with a win, while the others need help.
WHO’S IN: Central Valley, Thomas Jefferson, Knoch, Indiana, Franklin Regional, Ringgold, Greensburg-Salem, Montour, West Allegheny, West Mifflin, Chartiers Valley
WHO’S OUT: Ambridge, Elizabeth Forward, McGuffey, Valley, Albert Gallatin, Kittanning, Valley, South Park, Moon
ON THE BUBBLE: Blackhawk, Hopewell, New Castle, Trinity, Belle Vernon, Highlands, Mars, Hampton, Laurel Highlands, Hollidaysburg, Derry, Uniontown. The biggest mess entering Week 9, without question, lies within the Parkway Conference, as Rushel Shell needs a win and some tiebreaker help to keep his high school career and pursuit of the state career rushing record going beyond next Friday. Having said that, four teams in the Keystone Conference enter next weekend with 2-4 conference records; Hollidaysburg and Derry, who meet at Derry, reportedly have the inside track on Laurel Highlands and Uniontown by virtue of tiebreaker points.
WHO’S IN: Aliquippa, Beaver Falls, Greensburg Central Catholic, Jeannette, Seton-LaSalle, Beaver, Ellwood City, Mount Pleasant, East Allegheny, Washington, South Fayette, Burrell, Freeport, Shady Side Academy, Ford City
WHO’S OUT: Freedom, Mohawk, New Brighton, Charleroi, Brownsville, Southmoreland, Yough, West Shamokin, Riverside, Laurel, Waynesburg, South Allegheny, Summit Academy, Apollo-Ridge, Deer Lakes
ON THE BUBBLE: Keystone Oaks, Burgettstown, Steel Valley, Quaker Valley; these four Century Conference teams are fighting for the final playoff spot in the classification entering Week 9. K.O. can make life easy on itself–and on us–by pulling off an upset at Seton-LaSalle next Friday.
WHO’S IN: Beth-Center, Bishop Canevin, Sto-Rox, Clairton, Fort Cherry, Avonworth, Springdale, Monessen, California, Frazier, Rochester, Cornell, Brentwood, Chartiers-Houston, Western Beaver
WHO’S OUT: Mapletown, West Greene, Geibel, Carmichaels, Avella, Bentworth, Leechburg, Wilkinsburg, South Side Beaver, Riverview, Jefferson-Morgan, Neshannock, Union, Carlynton, Serra Catholic
ON THE BUBBLE: North Catholic, Northgate, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart; North Catholic can solidify its fate with an upset of Bishop Canevin next Friday. In that case, even if Northgate beats Avonworth, the Trojans win the tiebreaker. If the Crusaders win in Week 9, North Catholic drops into a fourth-place tie, and tiebreaker points would determine the playoff participant. Northgate currently has a one-point lead in tiebreaker points. OLSH needs Northgate to lose by ten points and North Catholic to lose by nine points in order to force a coin flip for fourth place.
CITY LEAGUE: Brashear has clinched at least a share of the regular season title with its win over Perry in Week 8. Nevertheless, the Commodores are in the playoffs, as is University Prep. Westinghouse and Allderdice are the most likely challengers for the League’s fourth and final playoff berth.
(Special thanks to the MSA Sports Network for their contributions to this post.)
(Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/mpopchock)