Playoff football through the years
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Five years ago
• Knoch advanced to the Class AAA semifinals for the first time in 15 seasons with a 28-7 victory over Highlands at Fox Chapel. Zach Geise threw for 169 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Knights.
• Springdale's Nathan Zurisko and Adam Shepherd scored touchdowns and the Dynamos defense stopped Western Beaver three times in Springdale territory in the second half to record a 13-6 Class A quarterfinal victory.
10 years ago
• Future NFL player Paul Posluszny of Hopewell scored two touchdowns and the Vikings defense held Knoch to 31 yards rushing as Hopewell defeated the Knights, 28-14, in the Class AAA quarterfinals at Golden Rams Stadium.
• After Freeport looked to be in the driver's seat with a Luke Westerman touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter, Seton-La Salle's Anthony Doria completed a touchdown pass to Mike Caputo with 40 seconds remaining, lifting the Rebels to a 28-21 quarterfinal win at East Allegheny.
20 years ago
• A 40-yard interception return for a touchdown by Knoch defensive end Jamey Stivers put the Knights on the scoreboard en route to a 27-0 opening-round playoff victory over Mt. Pleasant.
• Freeport tailback Ron DeJidas scored on a 95-yard run to go over the 3,000-yard mark in career rushing, but it wasn't enough as the Yellowjackets lost a heartbreaker, 25-24, to Beth-Center in a Class AA playoff opener.
25 years ago
• Ford City's first playoff trip in 79 years was a short one as Sto-Rox took advantage of three Sabers fumbles and an interception and rolled to a 48-7 victory. Gus Frerotte's 43-yard pass to Bill Zell accounted for Ford City's only score.
• Burrell's Mark Shemanski intercepted a Steel Valley pass from quarterback Ron Rojtas in overtime on Nov. 14, 1987, setting up David Beal's 2-yard run to lift the defending WPIAL champs to a 13-6 victory over the Ironmen in a Class AA first-round playoff encounter.
30 years ago
• Burrell won its first playoff game in 14 years with 21-7 Class AAA victory over Greensburg Central Catholic. Tom Brown rushed for 189 yards, scored a touchdown and picked off a pass.
• Freeport's Dan Bly intercepted a third-quarter pass and returned it 18 yards for a touchdown as the Yellowjackets defeated Northgate, 14-6, despite the loss of standout tailback Tom Kyler, on the bench with a leg injury.
40 years ago
• Leechburg and Deer Lakes played to a 22-22 stalemate in the AIC Bowl game at Kittanning. The Blue Devils scored 16 points in the last 40 seconds of the second period on touchdown passes from Dave Csonka to Jerry Kereszturi and Randy Tira.
50 years ago
• Arnold held on to defeat Springdale, 20-14, before a standing-room-only crowd at Veterans Memorial Field. Future NFL quarterback Dave Olivo threw two Lions scoring passes to John Alberta, and Ray Spolar ran for two Dynamos touchdowns.
• Verona got its ticket punched to the WPIAL Class B title game with a 14-7 victory over East Huntingdon in a battle of undefeated teams. Lineman Harold Mauro set a Verona record with 25 tackles in the game.
75 years ago
• Ford City and Kittanning always played on Armistice Day, no matter what day of the week it fell. In 1937, a Thursday afternoon crowd of more than 4,000 packed PPG Field and saw Ford City captain Joe Hornyak run 56 yards on a fake punt to propel the Glassers to a 19-7 victory.
George Guido is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media. Each Friday throughout the high school football season, the Valley News Dispatch will take a look back at the players, coaches and events that are part of local scholastic history.
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