McKeesport football team gets 3rd seed, will face Peters Township
McKeesport's first-round draw in the WPIAL football playoffs left coach George Smith speechless as he left the latest pairings meeting Monday night in Green Tree.
It wasn't that the legendary coach was surprised with McKeesport's No. 3 seed in Class AAAA.
“I don't know what to say. I haven't seen them yet,” Smith said of 14th-seed Peters Township, who'll visit unbeaten McKeesport (9-0) at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
McKeesport claimed the Quad East Conference title and concluded its unbeaten regular season with a 49-12 victory over Gateway in the finale. Peters Township (5-4) enters the postseason as the fifth-place team in the Quad Central.
“We've seemed to be pretty good so far,” said Smith, who returned this year to the McKeesport sideline and earned his 200th career victory after taking a three-year leave.
McKeesport-Peters Township is among seven scheduled first-round games involving teams in the region, all at 7:30 Friday.
In another Class AAAA game, fourth-seeded Woodland Hills (7-2), the Quad Central runner-up who started the season with two losses, including a 33-20 setback to McKeesport on Sept. 7, plays host to 13th-seeded Pine-Richland (5-4), the fifth-place team in the Quad North.
In Class AAA, Thomas Jefferson (9-0) was given the second seed and will play host to 15th-seeded Hampton (4-5), one of five sub-.500 teams in the overall field.
Fifth-seeded West Mifflin (8-1) entertains 12th-seeded Moon (6-3); and 11th-seeded Elizabeth Forward (6-3) plays at sixth-seeded Mars (8-1).
Big Nine Conference winner Thomas Jefferson was seeded only behind top-seed West Allegheny (9-0), the Parkway Conference winner and defending WPIAL Class AAA champion. But the teams are virtual statistical mirror images: Thomas Jefferson averages 43.1 points and yields 6.2; West Allegheny averages 41.2 and 10.6.
“It went pretty much how I expected,” Thomas Jefferson coach Bill Cherpak said. “We're the last No. 1-seeded team to win Class AAA (in 2008), so it's been awhile. I'm not disappointed at all with being No. 2.”
Thomas Jefferson, which was seeded No. 1 in 2012 but lost to West Allegheny, 24-7, in the semifinals, handed West Mifflin its only loss, 35-0, on Friday. It held Jimmy Wheeler, the WPIAL's leading rusher, to 13 yards on 11 carries.
“It was our first loss of the year, so you really don't know how they'll react,” West Mifflin coach Ray Braszo said of his players. “It's a new season now. We'll practice hard and, hopefully, come to play.”
In Class AA, 14th-seed Yough (5-4) travels to third-seed Kittanning (9-0). In Class A, fourth-seed Clairton (8-1), which has won 71 of its past 72 games, welcomes 13th-seed Frazier (7-2).
Clairton, whose national-record 66-game winning streak was stopped by Monessen this season, hasn't lost much steam in earning the fourth seed.
“That loss to Monessen (42-24 on Sept. 20) is what did it. That's what dropped us a little bit,” said Clairton coach Tom Nola, whose Bears finished in a three-way tie for the Black Hills lead. “But our guys don't care. It doesn't matter anymore. We've had a good year, and they're getting better. They're ready to play.”
Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com.