Friday, October 11, 2013

WPIAL Week 7 Games of the Week and Playoff Scenarios

With two-thirds of the season in the books, the schedule is winding down an the playoff picture is rapidly becoming clearer. In Quad-A, 10 of the 16 playoff spots are already decided with 3 more capable of being locked up tonight. Only 7 8 spots have been decided in AAA (Montour clinched a spot with their Thursday night win over Blackhawk). Four of the remaining spots in the AAA bracket can be decided tonight. In AA 8 teams have also clinched but only 3 more can lock up spots this week. Class A is still wide open with only 4 teams having secured their spots in the postseason. At least one conference title will be won tonight (by the winner of the Washington-Mt Pleasant game) but two other schools (North Catholic and Beth-Center) could earn their conference crowns as well. Don't forget to check out my WPIAL Standings Page, the only one you'll find with Gardner Points and WPIAL Points Tiebreakers.


Game of the Week
North Allegheny (3-1, 4-2) at Central Catholic (5-0, 6-0)
Highmark Stadium

This game lost a little of its luster when North Allegheny fell to Gateway in a non-conference game last week. However, this is still two perennial powerhouses of Quad-A battling it out with the conference title on the line. Central Catholic has already scored victories over Seneca Valley and North Hills, who are currently tied with North Allegheny for second place with only 1 conference loss. The traditional North Allegheny-North Hills showdown still looms on the horizon, but if the Tigers want any hope of holding on to their conference crown, they will need to topple the Vikings. North Allegheny will need a big week from Pitt recruit Elijah Zeise, who leads the team with over 500 receiving yards and is a shutdown corner. Central Catholic has gotten big contributions from their running game and Luigi Lista-Brinza is just 80 yards away from a 1000-yard season.

Bethel Park (5-1, 5-1) at Upper St Clair (6-0, 6-0)

A few weeks ago I chose two games in Class A for my Game of the Week. It's not something I do often, but this matchup in the Southeastern Conference is too good to pass up. Bethel Park was the only team to defeat Upper St Clair last season in a bizarre game where Bethel Park only tallied 107 total yards and 3 first downs. The Blackhawks got two big plays on special teams that made the difference last year. The two teams collide again this year with first place in the Southeastern Conference on the line. Bethel Park is led by RB Alex Minton who has 620 yards of total offense between rushing and receiving, leading the team in both categories. The Panthers hopes at revenge will be on the shoulders of Trevor Morrow (533 yards, 8 TDs) and Mac Pope (245 yards rushing, 135 yards receiving, 9 total TDs). The biggest question in this game is not if Upper St Clair will get revenge but if Bethel Park will be able to score at all against the Panthers defense who have not allowed a point since Woodland Hills scored 10 on them in the season opener.

Honorable Mention: North Hills (3-1, 4-2) at Seneca Valley (4-1, 5-1)

Playoff Scenarios

Foothills Conference
- Playoff Berths Clinched: McKeesport, Gateway, Penn-Trafford, Hempfield
- Kiski clinches a playoff berth with a win over Penn-Trafford or a Connellsville loss

Northern Eight Conference
- Playoff Berths Clinched: Central Catholic, Seneca Valley, North Allegheny, North Hills
- Pine-Richland clinches a playoff berth with a win over Shaler

Southeastern Conference
- Playoff Berths Clinched: Upper St Clair, Bethel Park
- Woodland Hills clinches a playoff berth with a win over Canon-McMillan


Game of the Week
West Allegheny (5-0, 6-0) at New Castle (4-1, 5-1)

I had some rousing discussions on Twitter this week about how outside of the top 4 teams (West Allegheny, Central Valley, Thomas Jefferson, West Mifflin), this is a down year for AAA. Most of this sentiment rises from the fact that the once brutally-tough Parkway Conference has lost its bite in the middle and bottom of the league. That said, we return once again to the Parkway for our AAA Game of the Week. New Castle's only loss this season was a 29-6 defeat to Central Valley in the opening week of the season. Since then, the Red Hurricane have gone 5-0 and scored over 32 points each week. Before Blackhawk stormed back against them last week, they hadn't given up more than 13 points since the opener against Central Valley. New Castle will lean on dual-threat QB Julian Cox and Ohio St recruit WR/DB Malik Hooker while West Allegheny will continue to ride the backfield duo of Chayse Dillon and Tory Delmonico who both have over 550 yards of total offense.

Honorable Mention: Elizabeth Forward (4-2, 4-2) at Ringgold (4-2, 4-2)

Playoff Scenarios

Big Nine Conference
- Playoff Berths Clinched: West Mifflin, Thomas Jefferson
- The winner of Elizabeth Forward-Ringgold clinches a playoff berth
- If Elizabeth Forward loses to Ringgold, the Warriors can clinch a playoff berth with an Albert Gallatin loss
- If Ringgold loses to Elizabeth Forward, the Rams can clinch a playoff berth with a Trinity loss

Greater Allegheny Conference
- Playoff Berths Clinched: Highlands
- Franklin Regional clinches a playoff berth with a win over Hollidaysburg or a Knoch loss
- Mars clinches a playoff berth with a win over Knoch

Parkway Conference
- Playoff Berths Clinched: West Allegheny, Central Valley, New Castle, Moon
- Montour clinched a playoff berth with a win over Blackhawk on Thursday night


Game of the Week
Mt Pleasant (6-0, 6-0) at Washington (6-0, 6-0)

In the first two weeks of the year, Washington and Mt Pleasant disposed of Greensburg Central Catholic. In the last two weeks, Jeanette got the same treatment. Now only these two remain atop the Interstate Conference. With every other team holding at least two losses, the winner of this game will secure the conference title. Washington's season had a cloud cast over it when RB Shai McKenzie, one of the top players in Pennsylvania, suffered an ACL injury and was lost for the season. The Prexies responded with Malik Wells, Jordan West and Kurt Adkins picking up the load and continued to steamroll opponents. This week will be the biggest test of the season for Washington's defense as they will need to contain Viking RB Tyler Mellors whose 860 yards are the second most by any back in Class AA this season.

Honorable Mentions: Shady Side Academy (6-0, 6-0) at Jeanette (4-2, 4-2), Seton-La Salle (5-1, 5-1) at Quaker Valley (5-1, 5-1), Valley (4-1, 5-1) at Summit Academy (3-2, 3-3)

Playoff Scenarios

Allegheny Conference
- Playoff Berths Clinched: Shady Side Academy, Kittanning
- Valley clinches a playoff berth with a win over Summit Academy

Century Conference
- Playoff Berths Clinched: South Fayette, Seton-La Salle, Quaker Valley
- South Park clinches a playoff berth with a win over Steel Valley
- South Fayette plays a non-conference game but can clinch a home playoff game with a South Park loss

Interstate Conference
- Playoff Berths Clinched: Washington, Mt Pleasant
- The winner of Washington-Mt Pleasant wins the Conference Championship

Midwestern Conference
- Playoff Berths Clinched: Beaver Falls
- Aliquippa clinches a playoff berth with a win over Ellwood City
- Aliquippa clinches a home playoff game with a win and a Beaver loss


Game of the Week
Beth-Center (6-0, 6-0) at Frazier (5-1, 5-1)

The slate of games in Class A this week is one of the weakest of the season, but it does provide two intriguing matchups from the Tri-County South. Comprised mostly of small schools with even smaller football teams, the Tri-County South Conference has been heavily maligned since losing Monessen and California to the Black Hills Conference in the last realignment. Perennial TCS powerhouse Beth-Center already has a playoff berth wrapped up and takes on Frazier with the chance to avenge their only loss from last season. The Bulldogs can also wrap up the conference title with a win and an Avella loss to Carmichaels. Avella is just one win away from clinching their first playoff berth since 1976.

Honorable Mention: Avella (4-1, 5-1) at Carmichaels (4-1, 5-1)

Playoff Scenarios

Big Seven Conference
- No playoff berths clinched
- Sto-Rox clinches a playoff berth with a win over Western Beaver or a Rochester loss
- Neshannock clinches a playoff berth with a win over OLSH
- Laurel clinches a playoff berth with a win over Rochester
- Western Beaver clinches a playoff berth with a win over Sto-Rox and losses by Rochester, OLSH and Shenango

Black Hills Conference
- Playoff Berths Clinched: Clairton, Fort Cherry
- Monessen does not have a scheduled opponent this week but can clinch a playoff berth with a loss by Carlynton

Eastern Conference
- Playoff Berths Clinched: North Catholic
- North Catholic clinches the Conference Championship with a win over Wilkinsburg
- Avonworth clinches a playoff berth with a win over Springdale
- West Shamokin clinches a playoff berth with a Springdale loss
- Apollo-Ridge clinches a playoff berth with a win over Northgate and a Riverview loss

Tri-County South Conference
- Playoff Berths Clinched: Beth-Center
- Beth-Center clinches the Conference Championship with a win over Frazier and an Avella loss
- Frazier clinches a playoff berth with a win over Beth-Center or a Mapletown loss
- The winner of Carmichaels-Avella clinches a playoff berth
- The loser of Carmichaels-Avella can clinch a playoff berth with a Mapletown loss

No comments: