WPIAL "Second Round" Playoff Match-ups
The first round of the WPIAL playoffs for high school football among all classifications pretty much followed suit as expected. The W-Zone predicted 81% (26-6) correct games in week one of the playoffs and looks to follow up the good week with some quarterfinal games and semifinal games. Expect most of the match-ups to go similar to last week in favor of the higher seed, whom went 25-7 last week.
- #1 Pine-Richland (11-0) vs. #5 North Allegheny (8-3)
Pine-Richland continues to cruise as Phil Jurkovec continues to put up numbers before halftime in the Quarterfinals against Norwin. North Allegheny showed no mercy to higher seed Mount Lebanon who could not move the ball effectively. Expect Jurkovec to play a little more this week as North A. puts up a good fight till the third quarter as the Rams eventually prove worthy of being ranked number 1.
Prediction: Pine-Richland (1)
- #2 Pittsburgh Central Catholic (9-2) vs. #6 Penn Hills (8-3)
This match-up is scary to look past. PCC has been very sketchy throughout the season and has not been dominated in any recent game, barely beating Peters Township 27-20 the week prior. Penn Hills comes off an emotional win over higher seeded Bethel Park winning 30-28. The teams met before as PCC pulled the shutout 21-0 in the regular season. Expect Penn Hills to break through this week and fight till the end of the game. However, I do like PCC to finally show up and play well during the entire 60 minutes, winning against a good Indians team.
Prediction: Pittsburgh Central Catholic (2)
- #1 Penn-Trafford (10-1) vs. #4 Upper St. Clair (8-3)
Penn-Trafford and a tough first round match-up against Fox Chapel and escaped with a 28-21 victory in the first round. Upper St. Clair won a defensive battle 6-3 over a really good Franklin Regional Team. Penn-Trafford statistically on paper is the better team and we at the W-Zone believe in statistics - expect Penn-Trafford to win in the end.
Prediction: Penn-Trafford (1)
- #2 Gateway (10-1) vs. #6 McKeesport (8-2)
Ahh...goody goody. The match-up we all wanted. A rematch of last year's crazy game between the Gators and Tigers is going to happen. Last year Gateway and McKeesport played each other in the Semifinals where a last second, last play, last tipped, then lateraled football catch helped McKeesport upset Gateway 41-38. Expect the same here as Gateway comes into the game as the higher seed, but both teams match up well. The Tigers did lose seniors to graduation last year, but they proved tough against #3 seed West A. last week. Expect another grind out game that may come down to once again the team that has the last possession will win.
Prediction: Gateway (2)
- #1 South Fayette (11-0) vs. #4 Montour (8-2)
South Fayette looks to continue to be undefeated on the season after a 6th consecutive undefeated regular season followed by a big 35-0 shut out of West Mifflin. Montour stormed back being down big to promising New Castle, winning 35-31. This is another rematch, with the prior being broadcasted on AT&T Sports Network where South Fayette crushed the Spartans. W-Zone predicts the same again...a huge win by the Lions to move on to the finals.
Prediction: South Fayette (1)
- #2 Belle Vernon (10-0) vs. #3 Thomas Jefferson (9-1)
Notice a trend? so far the higher seed seems to be the dominated team as well as prediction...and...it stops here. Belle Vernon is undefeated and had no trouble in the first round winning 42-7 over Mars. Thomas Jefferson has only one loss on the season and had no trouble in the first round winning 42-0. No this prediction is not based upon the points given up last week, but more about match-ups. This teams met a couple weeks back, with Belle Vernon taking the win 21-17. Expect the flip side as the Jaguars pull off the upset and moves to the finals.
Prediction: Thomas Jefferson (3)
- #1 Aliquippa (11-0) vs. #5 Beaver (9-2)
Oh another Beaver Valley Conference match-up eh?? Let's have it. This is what we wanted...again! Aliquippa handled South Park in the first round 49-12, but was shall we say "media-scared" as they only led 8-6 in the first quarter. Beaver had no problem against #4 Elizabeth Forward winning 40-20 and continue their winning streak. This match-up like most other games this week is a rematch. Aliquippa beat Beaver 30-10 mid year with the first touchdown (defensive) being scored against the Quips. W-Zone predicts 20+ points by Beaver, but not enough...yet...to dethrone the team to beat.
Prediction: Aliquippa (1)
- #2 Quaker Valley (10-1) vs. #3 Seton-LaSalle (9-1)
Only three weeks removed from their past match-up, Quaker Valley and Seton-LaSalle meet again. The first match-up was one sided, as the Quakers beat the Rebels 42-7. Both these teams played very well in the first round, with the best 3A match-up going to QV and Derry in the first round. Expect Ricky Guss to dominate another game on both sides as the Rebels prove no better than the first time.
Prediction: Quaker Valley (2)
- #1 Steel Valley (9-0) vs. #9 Burgettstown (7-3)
A no-brainer team and an interesting team. That's the match-up here. Steel Valley has cruised through 2A play. Burgettstown broke records going 6-0 then following up with three straight losses to end the season...hence the #9 seeding. Burgettstown beat hopeful Neshannock in the first round and the Ironmen beat Laurel, a sloppy wild-card #16 team 42-13. Don't read too much into these teams as although Burgettstown is a good, solid team, the Ironmen is a great, solid team.
Prediction: Steel Valley (1)
- #4 Riverside (8-2) vs. #12 Avonworth (4-5)
A good solid win in the first round brings hope towards the Panthers. Avonworth pulled the upset over #5 Charleroi, a good but unproven team. Riverside beat Frazier with a bunch of ease. Expect all the big players for Riverside to come out again and play another solid three phases of the game against the Antelopes.
Prediction: Riverside (4)
- #2 Washington (10-0) vs. #7 East Allegheny (7-3)
Washington crushed the sad story of 2A Freedom Bulldogs. East Allegheny edge out Mohawk with a bunch of forced turnovers. Washington does not turn the ball over, while also being very productive on the scoreboard. No changes here as Washington puts up 40 plus on East A.
Prediction: Washington (2)
- #3 Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic (9-2) vs. #6 Serra Catholic (7-4)
Like most people, the W-Zone can't get a good edge out of CWNC. One week the Trojans look good on paper, the next week just so-so. Serra Catholic pulled off a close victory over #11 Beth-Center 27-20. Expect CWNC to play well and most likely pull the upset, but don't be surprised if the score is still close going into the fourth quarter.
Prediction: Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic (3)
- #1 California (11-0) vs. #9 Union (8-3)
California has crushed the Class A opponents like crazy. Union started the season on fire and then cold off a bit. California put up 51 in the first round where as the Scotties bested Fort Cherry by 9. Expect the Trojans to play well early and win convincingly by the third quarter as the Scotties good season run comes to an end.
Prediction: California (1)
- #4 Imani Christian (9-2) vs. #5 Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (9-2)
Ahh...the dreamed #4 and #5 seed match-up. Two Private schools with a 9-2 record. I like this match-up for both teams. Imani had a tough tough schedule with back-to-back losses to #3 Jeanette and #2 Clairton. OLSH had a tough season early but has been hot lately. A good game is definitely in sight, but the edge has to go to the higher seed once again. Imani with a big moral win and victory.
- #2 Clairton (8-2) vs. #7 Carmichaels (8-2)
Clairton had a weird stretch in their regular season ending with 2 losses. Carmichaels finished a good, tough season with 2 losses. However, one is #2 and the other is #7 and for good measure. Clairton has been dominating teams and have proven players returning from last year. Up and coming Carmichaels has not been tested lately and this sets up for a blowout early.
Prediction: Clairton (2)
- #3 Jeanette (10-1) #6 Rochester (8-2)
And the last match-up in the class A. The Jayhawks with one loss to Clairton in the last week of the regular season and a weird loss in that come in ready to prove they are worthy of the #3 seed. Rochester comes into the game battle tested with losses to OLSH and California, but big wins down the board specifically winning over Union big. Jeanette looks more well-rounded on the roster and have more skill players. Expect the Jayhawks to move on with little trouble.
Prediction: Jeanette (3)
*** Higher seeds favored in all games but one. ***