Mt. Pleasant surprised with No. 4 seeding in WPIAL playoffs
WPIAL executive director Tim O'Malley denied the allegation that the football committee protected Beaver Falls in the Class AA first-round pairings.
Mt. Pleasant coach Bo Ruffner and his staff aren't quite sure.
The WPIAL committee seeded Mt. Pleasant — ranked third in the latest Tribune-Review poll — fourth behind Kittanning, a team ranked sixth in the latest poll. Aliquippa and South Fayette were 1-2.
“There was discussion amongst the football committee,” O'Malley said after announcing the pairings at the Green Tree DoubleTree hotel. “The committee looked at the rankings of different organizations, the conference standings and the opinions of other people. The objective is to get the best four teams into the semifinals, so they decided to make Kittanning third.”
Shady Side Academy, which barely beat Jeannette and lost to Kittanning by a point, was seeded fifth, and Beaver Falls was seeded sixth after losing to Aliquippa on a controversial call in Week 8 and then falling to Class AAA No. 3 seed Central Valley in Week 9.
O'Malley said Beaver Falls' loss to Central Valley hurt its seeding.
“Most people probably felt we'd be the three seed, but the committee felt we should have been fourth,” Ruffner said. “One thing we realize that when you come down here it's out of our control. All you can worry about is your next opponent. We're going to focus on our first-round playoff game.”
Ruffner said he wasn't surprised that they got Valley as a first-round opponent Friday at home. All playoff games start at 7:30 p.m.
“Our conference has the history of playing the Allegheny Conference in the opening round,” Ruffner said. “Last year, we got Burrell.”
By seeding Mt. Pleasant fourth, the Vikings would likely have to contend with Aliquippa in the semifinals.
Yough, which finished third in the Interstate Conference, will play at Kittanning. The Cougars won their final three games, including a last-second win against Greensburg Central Catholic, to reach the playoffs.
Yough coach Mark Crovak said he too was surprised that his team got Kittanning. He expected to get second-place Shady Side Academy or Quaker Valley.
“We're just happy to be in, and hopefully we can advance,” Crovak said. “We lost some key components to our starting lineup. When we lost four in a row, we were without five starters. When we got those guys back, we're a different team.”
Greensburg Central Catholic, which defeated Jeannette in Week 9 to qualify for the playoffs, will face South Fayette in the first round.
Penn-Trafford, which earned a second-place finish in the Quad East and a home game with wins against Gateway and Hempfield, will host Penn Hills.
“I believe we're playing our best football of the season,” Penn-Trafford coach Ruane said. “Against Hempfield, we put everything together, and hopefully we'll carry that momentum against Penn Hills.”
For the second consecutive season, Hempfield will travel to Seneca Valley for its first-round game. Seneca Valley won 50-20 in 2012.
Franklin Regional was seeded fourth in Class AAA and will host Montour.