The Leader examines West Shamokin's playoff chances
This could be the week for West Shamokin.
It seems like much more than just a year ago that The Leader was trying to predict — and missed (!) — the week that the Wolves would snap the WPIAL's longest losing streak. The Wolves have been a .500 team from the time of that first win over Riverview last year, and its 4-2 record this season has it ready for some more firsts.
West Shamokin reached four wins in a season for the first time Saturday against Wilkinsburg, and it hosts winless South Side Beaver in a game that would clinch the first winning regular season for the Wolves' program.
But crunching the numbers, it's the games in Springdale and Leechburg that could hand the Wolves their first-ever WPIAL playoff berth.
A likely Springdale loss to one-loss Avonworth would mean the Dynamos — a head-to-head loser against the Wolves — can get no more than four conference wins. The berth would then be official with a Leechburg loss to Riverview, but at that point it would be almost academic — the Blue Devils need to win out against Riverview, the Wolves and undefeated North Catholic to get to four wins.
That's enough of scenarios and possibilities, though. The Leader will just tell you how it's going to happen this week.
South Side Beaver at West Shamokin
The Rams are winless, but three of their last four losses were by single digits. West Shamokin is the better team, but the gap is closer than the records indicate. West Shamokin, 27-16
Riverview at Leechburg
The Blue Devils proved The Leader wrong and snapped their losing streak last week. So why not a winning streak to set up a Leechburg-West Shamokin game with playoff implications for both teams next week? Leechburg, 28-20
Northgate at Apollo-Ridge
Apollo-Ridge has been really good this year, but they've been overshadowed by some of the other stories going on in Armstrong County. Don't sleep on the Vikings going forward, and this game should be a signal of what's to come. Apollo-Ridge, 42-7
Ford City at Burrell
It's hard to get a read on this game because both teams have had some good moments and more bad moments this year. The Leader will think back to his math classes and resort to the transitive property of football — Ford City beat Freeport, Freeport beat Burrell, therefore... Ford City, 17-14
Deer Lakes at Kittanning
The Kittanning offensive line will be playing the role of a Mack truck, and there's Deer Lakes in the headlights. Spoiler alert: It doesn't end well for the deer. Kittanning, 48-7
East Allegheny at Freeport
Like Ford City/Burrell, this game is essentially an elimination game. The Yellowjackets got a great win last week, but East Allegheny has a big edge in the passing and kicking games with seniors Kyle Whipple and Vinny Barone. East Allegheny, 31-20
Redbank Valley at Clarion
Clarion has played like a juggernaut by winning all six of its games by 35 points or more. The Bulldogs' offense will get some things going, but this is a jump upward in class for Redbank Valley. Clarion, 42-17
Karns City at Punxsutawney
It's Punxsutawney's nickname, but the Gremlins are the much better team at chucking the football. Punxsy has maxed out at 34 points this year, and they'll probably need more to win. Karns City, 49-28