WPIAL football conference preview: Class 2A Century
Washington (11-1 overall, 7-0 Century in 2016)
Washington had its 2016 season cut just short in the WPIAL semifinals after a 27-7 loss to Neshannock. The Little Prexies return plenty of talent to make another run at the WPIAL title game. The group includes senior Division I WR/LB prospect Isaiah Schoonmaker, as well as senior RB Nick Welsh, who ran for 414 yards last season. In addition, senior punter Ronnie Paith was all-conference last season.
Chartiers-Houston (7-4, 6-1)
The Bucs will look to maintain their spot among conference contenders despite graduating their leading passer (T.J. Johnson), rusher (Spencer Terling) and receiver (A.J. Meyers).
Frazier (5-6, 4-3)
Frazier used a late three-game winning streak to qualify for the playoffs last season before falling to Brentwood in the first round. Five starters return on offense, including WR/QB/DB JD Celaschi, who had 41 catches for 647 yards and 6 TDs. He will likely take over at QB for grad Chris Pierce (1,729 yards, 12 TDs).
Burgettstown (4-6, 4-3)
With nine starters back on offense, expectations are high for the Blue Devils, who will be led by WR/DB Ryan Lounder, who had 37 catches and seven TDs last season, along with two interceptions and two kick returns for scores. LB Austin Safreed anchors the defense after making 67 tackles last year.
Beth-Center (3-7, 3-4)
A pair of all-conference performers return for Beth-Center — junior RB/S Dominic Fundy and senior lineman Tim Trump. B-C reached the WPIAL playoffs despite a 1-5 start but fell to eventual PIAA champion Steel Valley in the first round.
Bentworth (5-5, 2-5)
Bentworth is coming a 5-5 season, where it posted nonconference wins over West Greene, Waynesburg and Riverview. Just two conference wins however kept the team out of the postseason. Gone is QB Josh Hughes (1,846 yards, 15 TDs), but senior WR/DB Ben Peternel returns after catching 59 passes for 1,062 yards and 10 scores.
Charleroi (5-5, 2-5)
Charleroi returns nine starters on offense and eight on defense, including all-conference QB/DB Geno Pellegrini. Junior WR/DB Dakota Romantino (23-466, 6 TDs) and WR/DBs Ryan Workman and Travis Lytle lead the returning skill group.
Brownsville (0-10, 0-7)
After going winless last season and being outscored 432-138, Brownsville hired William Maczko as its new coach to help lift the team out of the Century cellar. He replaces Jason House.
Players to watch
Beth-Center, jr., RB/S
Fundy ran for 1,106 yards on 196 carries and scored nine times last season en route to earning all-Century Conference honors. Fundy finished 39-1 and earned a PIAA silver medal at 182 pounds during wrestling season as a sophomore.
Charleroi, jr., QB/DB
Pellegrini earned all-conference honors last season after throwing for 1,013 yards and rushing for 521, factoring in on 17 touchdowns. He also had three interceptions on defense.
Washington, sr., WR/LB
Schoonmaker, a Miami, Ohio recruit, had a 55-yard interception return and a safety last season as an all-conference linebacker.
Games to watch
8.25 Monessen at Charleroi
Longtime neighborhood rivals will meet again in Week Zero for a nonconference bout. Charleroi got off to a good start with a 23-21 victory a year ago.
9.1 Burgettstown at Frazier
The conference opener for both teams will help give the winner an edge early on. Burgettstown won 27-19 last season.
10.13 Chartiers-Houston at Washington
This late-season matchup decided the conference champion last season as Washington won 28-6.
• Mike Steeber enters his eighth season at Frazier with a record of 48-24.
• Bentworth will host West Greene on Aug. 25 and Beth-Center on Sept. 22 at W&J's Cameron Stadium to allow larger crowds to attend.
• Washington outscored conference foes 288-40 last year.