WPIAL Class AAAA semifinal preview: Upper St. Clair vs. Woodland Hills
CLASS AAAA SEMIFINALS
NO. 1 UPPER ST. CLAIR (11-0) vs. NO. 4 WOODLAND HILLS (9-2)7:30 p.m. Friday at Baldwin Stadium
It's a battle of titanic football programs and their coaches to match.
Top-seeded and unbeaten Upper St. Clair (11-0), guided by Jim Render, the WPIAL's all-time leader with 375 coaching victories, squares off against fourth-seeded Woodland Hills (9-2) and coach George Novak, who ranks fourth with 277, in the Class AAAA semifinals on Friday night at Baldwin.
USC and Render got the best of Woodland Hills and Novak, 16-10, in the regular-season opener, the first of two consecutive losses by the Wolverines. Woodland Hills since has won nine in a row and were runner-up to the Quad Central-winning Panthers.
It was a measure of revenge for Upper St. Clair after losing to Woodland Hills in the 2012 semifinals, 42-20.
“From 1988-2012, the two of us have been in the finals 20 times,” Render said. “That's interesting, and we're playing in the semifinals again, so one of us is going to go to the finals again. That speaks pretty good for both programs.”
Though it is a long way back to that Aug. 30 opener, neither coach has forgotten the dogfight their teams put up at Woodland Hills.
“They're very good defensively; well-coached,” Novak said of USC. “They have one of the top defenses in the state.”
After giving up 10 points in the opener to Woodland Hills, the Panthers posted five consecutive shutouts and 6 of 7 before allowing just one touchdown in the regular-season finale against rival Mt. Lebanon.
USC has given up just 66 points in 11 games.
— Dave Mackall
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.