| Sports

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Guido: New faces dot WPIAL playoff picture

TribLIVE Sports Videos

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Top high school sports

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By George Guido
Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Nineteen new teams will be part of the 64-team WPIAL football playoff field when the postseason gets underway Friday night.

Apollo-Ridge, Kiski Area and Valley are among the teams that haven't made the playoffs for several seasons, but posted strong 2012 campaigns.

Among the 45 repeat teams from last season is Springdale, which has qualified for its 11th straight playoff trip, best in Alle-Kiski Valley history.

Burrell, Freeport and Knoch are the other schools that return to the playoffs.

One school ending a long drought is South Allegheny, which is in the postseason for the first time in 26 years.

The most recent Gladiators playoff game was in the '86 Class AA semifinals, a 14-0 loss to Burrell at Jeannette's McKee Stadium.

“We knew before the season we'd have a chance if we stayed healthy,” South Allegheny coach Pat Monroe said.

Monroe has a number of local acquaintances following his lengthy coaching stint at Duquesne, which closed in 2007.

Quarterfinal action is set for Nov. 9-10 and the semifinals Nov. 16-17. Saturdays will be used as a backup date, if needed.

The finals will be Friday, Nov. 23, the day after Thanksgiving, at Heinz Field.

“We're so fortunate and grateful to get into Heinz Field,” said WPIAL executive director Tim O'Malley during Monday night's playoff rollout in Green Tree.

Pitt has a home game against Rutgers on Nov. 24 at Heinz Field.

Here are other playoff sidelights:

• Freeport has made the playoffs 25 times, more than any other area school. The Yellowjackets also have qualified for the playoffs all five seasons under coach John Gaillot.

• The Penn Hills streak of 14 straight playoff trips came to an end with a 27-0 loss to Woodland Hills last week. Coach John Peterman had 12 starters missing from the lineup at one time or another.

Meanwhile, some playoff streaks were maintained:

• Aliquippa and Thomas Jefferson have qualified for the playoffs 18 years in a row, a WPIAL record. Woodland Hills is next at 17 consecutive seasons.

• Jeannette is in the playoffs for the 36th time, a record it shares with Aliquippa. The Jayhawks have had only one losing season since 1968, that coming in 1993.

Some schools will be facing opponents for the first time.

Knoch never has played West Mifflin, and Apollo-Ridge has never played Monessen.

Springdale has played Brentwood in the past, splitting decisions as Eastern Conference rivals in 2008-09.

Freeport last played Beaver Falls in the 1991 first round, with the Tigers routing the Yellowjackets, 58-7, at Geneva College's Reeves Stadium.

Burrell and Mt. Pleasant are foes from the old Keystone Conference during much of the 1970s, when the Vikings won four of five games.

In the last meeting between the two schools, the Bucs defeated Mt. Pleasant at home, 10-0, to begin the 1998 Class AAA playoffs.

Burrell is 8-2 when it opens the playoffs at home.

Valley has played Beaver twice in the playoffs, losing narrow decisions in opening-round games at home in 1981 and 1988.Kiski Area has played Upper St. Clair once, losing 35-10 in the 1982 playoff opener.

Speaking of Upper St. Clair, the Panthers are in the playoffs for the 26th time in the last 27 seasons, missing only in 1999.

George Guido is a Valley News Dispatch scholastic sports correspondent. His column appears Wednesdays.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Motorcyclist injured in Westmoreland flown to Pittsburgh
  2. Dude’s The Man captures Adios at The Meadows
  3. 2 killed in single-vehicle crash in Pittsburgh
  4. Rossi: Nothing huge, but Huntington helped Bucs
  5. 2014 showing has Steelers RB Harris confident he belongs
  6. Marte’s 2 fine defensive plays rescue Pirates in victory over Reds
  7. Pirates trade for Dodgers 1B/OF Morse, Mariners LHP Happ
  8. Steelers OLB coach Porter teaches as passionately as he played
  9. Dek hockey summer camp ranks swell thanks to social media
  10. Monongahela uses modern technology to connect people to the city’s historic past
  11. Steelers training camp has California University link