WPIAL teams to face off for final playoff berths
By Chris Harlan
Published: Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Belle Vernon fans will be rooting for Ringgold this weekend, and Freedom would surely welcome a New Brighton victory.
It's Week 9 of the WPIAL football schedule, and a few teams will be asking conference foes for help to reach the playoffs. Others will be counting their Gardner Points.
Not so for Northgate and Avonworth.
The Class A rivals meet Friday night at Northgate's stadium in Bellevue, and the winner earns the fourth and final spot from the Eastern Conference. No Gardner Points needed; the loser stays home come November.
“It doesn't get much better than that,” Northgate coach T.J. Wiley said. “We're playing our bitter arch-rival for all the marbles.”
Both were squarely in the playoff picture a few weeks ago, before Northgate's one-point loss to Apollo-Ridge in Week 7, and Avonworth one-point loss to Wilkinsburg in Week 8.
“What a mess we've made in the Eastern,” Wiley said with a laugh. “We're the wackiest conference in the WPIAL.”
Fifty teams have secured WPIAL playoff spots, leaving 14 still undecided one week before the Oct. 29 pairings meeting. Though finishing order may change, playoff spots in five conferences have been decided: Quad North, Century, Interstate, Black Hills and Big Seven.
In contrast, only Beth-Center has clinched a spot in the Class A Tri-County South, where Jefferson-Morgan (5-2), Carmichaels (5-2), Frazier (5-2) and Avella (4-3) vie for three spots.
In Class AA and A, the top four teams from each conference qualify for the WPIAL playoffs.
Class AAAA and AAA have only three conferences this season, so five teams from each qualify. A sixth-place team from both will be chosen as a wild card to complete the 16-team brackets.
“(The new alignment) has kept it interesting throughout the season,” Hopewell coach Dave Vestal said. “There were a lot of opportunities to stay in (the playoff chase).”
With a victory over the other on Friday, either Hopewell (3-4) or New Castle (3-4) can clinch one of two Class AAA playoff spots undecided in the Parkway Conference. Ambridge (3-4), which plays Blackhawk (2-5), seeks the other. Ambridge would win a head-to-head tiebreaker over New Castle, but not Hopewell.
“Even though people didn't predict us to make the playoffs, our kids were determined to get there,” Vestal said.
In the Quad Central, Peters Township (3-4) would qualify with a win over Canon-McMillan (1-6), or a Penn Hills (3-4) loss to Woodland Hills (5-2). In the Quad East, Kiski Area (3-4), Altoona (3-4) and Connellsville (2-5) are seeking the conference's fifth spot. Connellsville visits Altoona, and Kiski visits Latrobe (1-6).
In the Class AAA Big 9, Trinity (4-3) would qualify with a win at Ringgold (4-3), or a Belle Vernon (3-4) loss at Albert Gallatin (0-7). Hollidaysburg (3-4), Highlands (3-4) and Indiana (2-5) are competing for the fifth spot in the Greater Allegheny. Hollidaysburg, which visits Indiana, holds a tiebreaker over Highlands.
In the Class AA Midwestern, Freedom (2-4), Mohawk (2-4) and New Brighton (2-4) are tied for fourth. Only one will qualify. Mohawk can secure a spot with a victory at New Brighton. Freedom would qualify with a win over Riverside (1-5) and a Mohawk loss.
Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-380-5666.
Show commenting policy
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 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.
- Keisel might be at end of Steelers career
- LaBar: Bryan winning world title at WrestleMania 30 is only option
- Penguins’ leads evaporate in loss to Sharks
- McKeesport middle school student struck by dump truck dies in hospital
- Former public defender sues Fayette County officials over firing
- Sharks praise ex-teammate, newest Penguins player Goc
- Martin would consider extending stay with Pirates
- UPMC data breach, ID theft more expansive than thought
- Deer Creek mine discharge project should be wrapped up by late spring
- Randy Moss’ daughter proving to be a catch, too
- Qualifications of Peduto nominee for building inspection chief come up short