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WPIAL Class AAAA semifinal preview: Upper St. Clair vs. Woodland Hills

Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review - Woodland Hills' Art Thompkins runs for a 29-yard touchdown against Pine-Richland during a WPIAL AAAA first-round game Friday, Nov. 1, 2013, at the Wolvarena.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Sidney Davis  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Woodland Hills' Art Thompkins runs for a 29-yard touchdown against Pine-Richland during a WPIAL AAAA first-round game Friday, Nov. 1, 2013, at the Wolvarena.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Upper St. Clair quarterback Joe Repischak carries for a touchdown against North Allegheny during a WPIAL Class AAAA quarterfinal Friday, Nov. 8, 2013 at Baldwin High School.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Upper St. Clair quarterback Joe Repischak carries for a touchdown against North Allegheny during a WPIAL Class AAAA quarterfinal Friday, Nov. 8, 2013 at Baldwin High School.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Upper St. Clair's Ben Southorn breaks up a pass intended for North Allegheny's Clay Byerly during a WPIAL Class AAAA quarterfinal Friday, Nov. 8, 2013 at Baldwin High School.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Upper St. Clair's Ben Southorn breaks up a pass intended for North Allegheny's Clay Byerly during a WPIAL Class AAAA quarterfinal Friday, Nov. 8, 2013 at Baldwin High School.

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PLAYER TO WATCH

JOE REPISCHAK

Upper St. Clair

QB, Sr.

6-foot-3, 190 pounds

While RB Trevor Morrow has had a splendid year, Repischak has been the glue that holds together the USC offense. The senior has passed for 1,243 yards, completing 63.1 percent of his passes with just five interceptions. He's spread out his throws to 14 receivers, led by Morgan Lee (12 receptions).

how they got here

USC: Defeated No. 16 Kiski Area, 44-13, in the first round; defeated No. 9 North Allegheny, 41-23, in the quarterfinals.

WH: Defeated No. 13 Pine-Richland, 35-14, in the first round; defeated No. 5 Seneca Valley, 28-14, in the quarterfinals.

statistical leaders

USC: Passing: Joe Repischak, 70-111-1,243, 6 TDs; Rushing: Trevor Morrow, 148-1,009, 16 TDs; Receiving: Morgan Lee, 12-212.

WH: Passing: Harry Randall, 42-81-682, 8 TDs; Rushing: Miles Sanders, 103-1,018, 12 TDs; Receiving: Art Thompkins, 18-241, 2 TDs.

by the numbers

USC: All-time: 427-157-9

Playoff appearances: 32

Last title: 2006

WH: All-time: 211-97-0

Playoff appearances: 25

Last title: 2009

Prediction

Upper St. Clair, 21-14.

Top high school sports
Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, 9:57 p.m.
 

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

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