Mt. Pleasant, Frazier learn WPIAL 1st-round opponents
The WPIAL released the pairings Monday for the upcoming football playoffs, which will begin with 32 first-round games Friday.
Mt. Pleasant and Frazier each qualified, and each will begin the playoffs on the road.
The Vikings finished the season with two straight wins to clinch third place in the Class AA Interstate Conference. Mt. Pleasant earned the ninth seed in the bracket and will travel to Burrell to begin the postseason. The Buccaneers shared the Allegheny Conference championship with Freeport and are riding a three-game winning streak.
“We kind of had a pretty good idea that we would be the ninth or 10th seed,” Mt. Pleasant coach Bo Ruffner said. “That was about the best we thought we would get.”
Mt. Pleasant's only two losses this season came against conference powers Jeannette and Washington. The Prexies and the Jayhawks earned the third and fourth seeds, respectively.
“We have some momentum after winning our last two games, and we are battle-tested from our games in the Interstate Conference,” Ruffner said.
Not surprisingly, Aliquippa earned the top seed in Class AA.
“I think it was pretty standard,” Ruffner said in regards to the Class AA bracket. “I think the committee did a good job.”
In Class A, the committee certainly didn't do Frazier any favors. The Commodores are the 16th seed, which means they must tangle with top-seeded Clairton.
The Bears are the Black Hills Conference champs and have won 56 games in a row dating to 2009. Clairton has won three straight state championships and four consecutive WPIAL crowns.
According to Frazier coach Mike Steeber, he went into the playoffs pairings meeting with no specific expectations.
“It was a tough call,” Steeber said. “Whatever we got is what we have to deal with because you can't change it.”
Frazier will enter the playoffs on a bit of a roll, having won four straight games. The Commodores, despite finishing with the same conference record as Jefferson-Morgan and Carmichaels, were relegated to fourth place in the Tri-County South due to head-to-head losses to the Rockets and Mikes. Jefferson-Morgan received the fourth seed, while Carmichaels received the 15th seed.
“We're playing our best football right now,” Steeber said. “It's definitely good to get back to the playoffs, and the kids had a nice stretch of wins to get us in.”
As expected, North Allegheny earned the top seed in Class AAAA while Thomas Jefferson garnered the first seed in Class AAA.
Jason Black is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-626-3534.