W.Pa. playoff picture comes into focus
With two weeks to go in the regular season, the playoff picture is becoming clear for many area high school football teams.
Starting with Friday, several teams still have a great deal to play for.
One of those teams is Monessen.
The Greyhounds (6-1, 6-1) are currently in second place behind Clairton in Class A's rugged Black Hills Conference. While chances of the Greyhounds catching the four-time defending WPIAL champion Bears (7-0, 7-0) in the conference are slim, Monessen has the inside track on earning a home playoff date in the first round of the playoffs if the Greyhounds win out against Chartiers-Houston (3-4, 3-4) and Carlynton (1-6, 1-6).
In the past, Monessen has had several home games in the playoffs, but often was beaten because, coming out of the weak Tri-County South Conference, it was not particularly battled tested during the regular season.
This year, however, has been a different story in the Black Hills. and a home game would be huge for Monessen in the first round.
Another team with its eyes on a home game in the first round is Frazier (5-2, 5-2) in the T-C South. If the Commodores win their final conference game against Mapletown (3-4, 2-4) next week, they will host a playoff game as the runner-up in the conference.
Elsewhere, other teams are playing for a first round home game, but several are literally fighting for their playoff lives.
In Class AAA, Elizabeth Forward, Ringgold and Belle Vernon Area are in a battle with Trinity for three of the spots in the Big Nine Conference. Five teams from each conference advance to the playoffs because there are only three conferences. The final spot goes to the sixth-place team with the best record.
Thomas Jefferson and West Mifflin, both uneaten, are locked in for the top two spots.
Trinity (4-3, 4-2) is third with Ringgold and EF (both 4-3, 4-3) next, followed by BVA (2-5, 2-4).
EF's situation is the most clear as the Warriors can punch their playoff ticket with a win over Albert Gallatin (0-7, 0-6) this week.
Ringgold would also clinch with a win over Trinity next week.
While BVA is on the outside looking in, the Leps' final two games are against oft-beaten Laurel Highlands (1-6, 1-5) and Albert Gallatin (0-7, 0-6). Two wins and a Ringgold win over Trinity would land the Leps into the postseason.
In Class AA, Yough (3-4, 3-3) needs to win its final two games against Greensburg Central Catholic (5-2, 4-2) and Southmoreland (2-5, 2-4) to earn a playoff berth.
Jeff Oliver is sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.