Friday, November 25, 2011

WPIAL Championships Preview

After a long season we have come down to it. Eight teams remain across the four classifications and will battle it out on the Heinz Field sod for the right to be called "WPIAL Champion." All four games will be televised on ROOT Sports. All four games will be stacked with Division-1 capable talent, so it should make for an entertaining day of high school football.

There's a lot of buzz around these title games this year as each game (including the Class A game between Clairton and Sto-Rox) is stacked with Division 1 prospects. The boys over at Blitzburgh Blog have a list of Four Players NFL Fans Should Watch today. The Post-Gazette takes a look back at the last 25 years of WPIAL Championship Games. If you're on Twitter, follow the #WPIAL hashtag for updates and chatter on the title games. Also, credit to the folks over at PA Helmet Project for the sick helmet images.


1. North Allegheny (12-0) vs 3. Upper St Clair (11-1)

North Allegheny is the defending state champion and has run through their season, easily defeating most of their opponents. This game is a rematch of the Week 3 showdown when the Tigers edged the Panthers by a touchdown. NA is led by a stalwart offensive line and QB Mack Leftwich, one of the top passers in WPIAL. Upper St Clair upset Central Catholic last week with first-time starting quarterback Pete Coughlin starting in place of dual-threat QB Dakota Conwell, who injured his ankle the prior week. These two teams played a tight game early in the year, and it should be another good matchup. Prediction: North Allegheny


3. Knoch (12-0) vs 5. Montour (7-2)

Montour is back in the Championship game after beating conference rival Central Valley. The Spartans are stacked all over the field with QB Dillon Buechel and RB Julian Durden. On the other side, Knoch has ridden an emotional rollercoaster of a season after one of their cheerleaders was killed in a car crash during the season. The Knights have played mistake-free offense (with the exception of last week against Franklin Regional) and solid defense. Knoch is led by QB Ky Kenyon and RB Andrew Rumberg-Goodlin. The last time the kids from Saxonburg played in a championship game was 1992. I've been picking against Knoch all season, and they've kept winning. We'll see if that holds. Prediction: Montour


1. Aliquippa (12-0) vs 2. Jeanette (12-0)

Aliquippa is back in the championship game for the fourth consecutive season. The last time they failed to reach Heinz Field was when Terrelle Pryor and Jeanette ousted them in the semi-finals in 2007. Now, they get a rematch with the Jayhawks who feature QB/DB Demetrious Cox who has a very similar skill set to Pryor. Aliquippa is stacked with athletes all around the field and in a matchup of perennial AA powerhouses, you have to like the Quips speed and experience. Prediction: Aliquippa



1. Clairton (12-0) vs 2. Sto-Rox (12-0)

Clairton has just been destroying people all season and hasn't given up more than 20 points all year. Their offense is a well-oiled machine with RB Tyler Boyd who has over 1700 yards rushing and a Pitt recruit at WR in Trenton Coles. On the other side, Sto-Rox's trio of Division 1 recruits in WR/DB Marzett Geter (Pitt), WR/DB Dontez Ford (Syracuse), and WR/LB Deaysean Rippy (uncommitted). The Vikings are led by sophomore QB Lenny Williams who is sure to attract the attention of Division 1 schools in the coming years. Clairton is the 3-time defending Class A champion and is looking for an unprecedented 4th consecutive title. For a Single-A championship game, these two teams are stacked with big-play athletes and it might just be the best game of the day. Prediction: Clairton

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