WPIAL Class AAA semifinal matchup: West Mifflin vs. Central Valley
Class AAA semifinals: (7) West Mifflin (10-1) vs. (3) Central Valley (9-2), 7:30 p.m. Friday at North Allegheny
If contrasting styles make for compelling fights, West Mifflin and Central Valley could produce a special WPIAL Class AAA semifinal Friday night at North Allegheny.
Central Valley's exceptional talent against the precision of the Titans' ball-control offense illustrates two contrasting teams with one common goal — to play next week at Heinz Field.
Led by tailback Jimmy Wheeler, the first West Mifflin running back to top 2,000 yards in a season, and an offensive line that has dominated almost every team in its path this season, West Mifflin is fresh off an upset over No. 2 seed Mars and feeling confident.
“It's not going to be easy,” West Mifflin coach Ray Braszo said. “But beating a team like that last week does have us feeling good. It's not cockiness, but it is confidence.”
Braszo's style is simple, but it works. He wants his team to run the ball effectively and have time-consuming drives, and against an explosive team like Central Valley, such a game plan is required.
Central Valley coach Mark Lyons knows what West Mifflin will do Friday, and he also knows having advanced knowledge of the Titans' plan is worthless.
“That's the thing about Coach Braszo's teams over the years,” Lyons said. “They don't try to trick you. His teams are going to be fundamentally sound, they're going to execute as well as anyone and they won't make mistakes. That's what they do. His teams have been that way for a long time, and nothing has changed.”
If West Mifflin is the stoic, predictable team in this matchup, Central Valley is the opposite.
Boasting one of the WPIAL's best players and one of its most explosive offenses, Central Valley would rather turn this contest into a shootout.
West Mifflin, Braszo promises, will have an eye on Central Valley wideout Robert Foster throughout the contest.