The Leader: Armstrong County schools closing in on playoffs
The week finally came when the Pirates ended their postseason drought, and they even took the time to pick up a win while they were there.
Not even a person with the prognosticating prowess of The Leader could have predicted the Pirates becoming the darlings of the MLB postseason and a national feel-good story, but perhaps it's just the year for those sorts of stories when you consider the turnarounds going on for Armstrong County football teams.
Kittanning officially ends a three-year absence from the playoffs with its next win. West Shamokin is still in the driver's seat for its first playoff spot in 14 years of existence.
Redbank Valley was 1-8 last season but sits tied atop its division of the KSAC.
With those three teams going strong and return playoff berths on the horizon for Karns City and Apollo-Ridge, this year's football postseason might end up being more exciting for The Leader than even the Buccos' fantastic run.
Kittanning at Ford City
The 74th meeting of the Armstrong School District rivals has the teams in reversed roles from recent years. The Wildcats are atop the conference, while the perennial contender Sabers are in the middle of the pack. Anything can happen in rivalry games, but The Leader can't see Ford City scoring enough points to keep up in the annual cat fight. Kittanning, 34-21
West Shamokin at Wilkinsburg
This could finally be the week West Shamokin becomes a playoff team, but The Leader doesn't think it's going to happen quite yet — more on that below. That they won't clinch Saturday won't be any fault of the Wolves, who if healthy, should be able to put up points on the Tigers. West Shamokin, 40-22
Leechburg at Northgate
The Blue Devils are West Shamokin fans' second-favorite team this week, as a Leechburg win is part of the Wolves' playoff-clinching scenario for this week. Unfortunately for both teams' fan bases, The Leader can't see the Blue Devils' ending their own losing streak in Bellevue. Northgate, 26-20
Apollo-Ridge at Leechburg
Springdale is the Dynamos, but Apollo-Ridge is dynamic. Yes, the Dynamos have won two of their last three and broke 10 points for the first time all season last week, but it's going to take way more than 10 to keep up. Apollo-Ridge, 35-12
Burrell at Freeport
Freeport's offensive struggles have led to a disappointing season for a team that, barring a major turnaround, will see a six-year playoff run end. Burrell's playoff hopes are on tenuous footing, as well, but how can The Leader pick against a team called the Bucs this week? Burrell, 28-22
Moniteau at Redbank Valley
The records are deceiving, as winless Moniteau has faced a tough early-season schedule that included the leaders of both KSAC divisions, Karns City and Clarion. The Bulldogs will need to be sharp to stay over .500, and home field might be enough to put them over the top. Redbank Valley, 27-26
Keystone at Karns City
This isn't fair. The last-place team in the KSAC's Small School Division has to go on the road to face the Large School leader. Sorry, Keystone. Karns City, 56-14