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WPIAL Class AAAA semifinal preview: Central Catholic vs. Penn-Trafford

| Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, 9:57 p.m.
Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review
Penn-Trafford running back Devin Austin slips by Penn Hills linebacker Kameron Richardson during a WPIAL Class AAAA first-round playoff game Friday, Nov. 1, 2013, at Penn-Trafford High School in Harrison City.

Class AAAA Semifinals

No. 2 Central Catholic (11-0) vs. No. 6 Penn-Trafford (8-3) 7:30 p.m. Friday, West Mifflin Stadium

When the WPIAL football committee released the Quad-A pairings Oct. 28, everyone, including Central Catholic coach Terry Totten, expected McKeesport to reach the semifinals.

Someone forgot to tell Penn-Trafford.

The No. 6 ranked Warriors (8-3) spoiled those plans by upsetting No. 3 McKeesport and reaching the semifinals for the first time since 1997. They will meet No. 2 Central Catholic (11-0) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at West Mifflin.

“I'm surprised Penn-Trafford advanced only in the sense that all you heard all season with McKeesport,” Totten said. “But after watching them on film, Penn-Trafford is a very good football team and well coached.

“They're a blue-collar type football team. They run the ball very well, nothing flashy, and are very physical.”

Penn-Trafford is riding a four-game winning streak that started with a win Oct. 18 at Gateway. The Warriors followed with wins against Hempfield, Penn Hills and last week against McKeesport.

“I'm not surprised we made it to the semifinals,” Penn-Trafford coach John Ruane said. “We had a lot coming back, and we played decent football down the stretch.”

Devin Austin and Tom Stinelli give Penn-Trafford a strong one-two punch in the backfield. It's no secret Penn-Trafford's running game opens things up for QB Brett Laffoon and WR Timmy Vecchio.

“Our game plan in every game is stopping our opponent's running game and forcing them to be one-dimensional,” Totten said. “Everyone is good at this level. If we look past this team to the WPIAL finals, we'll be a sorry bunch. I don't expect that will happen.”

— Paul Schofield

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