The WPIAL regular season is in the books. The 64 teams that will take part in the WPIAL playoffs have been decided and the brackets have been announced. I had to split this year’s Playoff Primer into two posts. This post contains Classes 2A and 1A. The Primer for Classes 6A, 5A, 4A, and 3A can be found here.
In 6A, 5A, and 4A, there are only 2 conferences so the top 4 teams from each conference reached the postseason with the top 2 from each conference hosting first round playoff games. In 3A, there are 3 conferences and only 8 playoff teams so the top 2 from each conference made the playoffs along with 2 “Wild Card” teams (the 3rd place teams with the best records). The 3A conference champions and one of the three second place teams will get home playoff games. In Classes 2A and 1A, there are 3 conferences and 16 teams make the playoffs so the top 5 teams plus one “Wild Card” team (the 6th place team with the best record) qualified for the postseason. The top two teams from each conference plus two of the three third place teams get home playoff games. For fully detailed standings, check out my WPIAL Standings Page.
For now, here is a quick look at the teams that reached the 2017 postseason and their notable playoff history. For reference, there were only 3 classifications of WPIAL football prior to 1980 and the PIAA Championship was not instituted until 1988. Classifications in the 6-classification model that started in 2016 are labeled with numbers (i.e. “4A”) while prior to 2016 they are labeled with just letters (i.e. “AAAA”).
Conference Record: 7-0 Overall Record: 9-0
How they got here: Washington completed their third straight undefeated regular season with the best offense and defense in 2A, averaging 45 points per game and allowing just 8 per game.
Recent History: Washington is making their 7th consecutive playoff appearance and 8th in the last 9 years. The Prexies lost to Neshannock in the semi-finals last year.
Best Playoff Result: Tied Johnstown 0-0 for the 1917 WPIAL AAA Championship. Won the 1920 and 1926 WPIAL AAA Championship. Declared the 1923 WPIAL AAA Champion. Won the 1993 and 2001 WPIAL AA Championship. Won the 2001 PIAA Championship, defeating Pen Argyl 19-12.
Conference Record: 6-1 Overall Record: 9-1
How they got here: The Cougars had the third-highest scoring offense in 2A (42 points per game) behind a trio of players that all went over 1000 yards in their respective categories. QB Geno Pelligrini had 2333 passing yards, RB Hunter Perry had 1060 rushing yards, and WR Dakota Romantino had 1033 receiving yards.
Recent History: This is Charleroi’s first playoff appearance since 2004.
Best Playoff Result: Charleroi was awarded the 1936 WPIAL AAA Championship on Gardner Points and defeated Aliquippa 13-12 in the 1959 Championship Game.
Burgettstown Blue Devils
Conference Record: 5-2 Overall Record: 6-3
How they got here: Burgettstown got off to a perfect 6-0 start but lost their last 3 games (including losses to Charleroi and Washington) that cost the Blue Devils a chance at the conference title.
Recent History: Burgettstown is making their 3rd consecutive playoff appearance. The Blue Devils have not won a WPIAL playoff game since before 1980.
Best Playoff Result: Awarded the 1929 WPIAL Class B (now Single-A) Championship based on Gardner Points (no Championship Game). Won the 1941 WPIAL AA Championship Game 34-7 over Crafton.
Conference Record: 4-3 Overall Record: 7-3
How they got here: The Bulldogs got off to an impressive 6-0 start, but won just 1 of their last 3 games, dropping them to 4th place in the conference.
Recent History: Beth-Center is making their 14th consecutive playoff appearance. They have not won a playoff game since 2010.
Best Playoff Result: Won the 1975 WPIAL AA Championship, defeating Kittanning 13-0.
Conference Record: 3-4 Overall Record: 3-7
How they got here: Frazier was not deterred by an 0-6 start to the season. The Commodores turned things around in October and won 3 of their last 4 games, including a Week 8 Casket Match against Bentworth, to make the playoffs.
Recent History: Frazier is making their 7th consecutive playoff appearance. Frazier has lost in the first round in 6 of the last 7 years and reached the semi-finals in 2015.
Best Playoff Result: Lost the 1983 WPIAL Class A Championship Game to Western Beaver 29-16.
Conference Record: 7-0 Overall Record: 8-2
How they got here: The Trojans came from behind to beat Riverside in Week 7, converting a two-point conversion to take a 1-point lead late in the 4th quarter and win the conference title. Both of CWNC’s losses this season were against 3A opponents.
Recent History: CWNC is making their 6th consecutive playoff appearance and 11th in the last 12 years. The Trojans have reached the semifinals 4 of the last 5 seasons and won the WPIAL and PIAA Championship in 2013.
Best Playoff Result: Won the WPIAL Class A Championship in 2013, defeating Sto-Rox 14-0. Won the PIAA Class A Championship in 2013, defeating Old Forge 15-14 in overtime.
Conference Record: 6-1 Overall Record: 7-2
How they got here: Riverside’s only losses this season were to Steel Valley and a 1-point loss to CWNC. The Panthers were otherwise very stout defensively, only allowing 40 points in their 7 wins.
Recent History: This is their 3rd playoff appearance in the last 4 years. Riverside reached the semi-finals last year and lost to eventual champion Steel Valley.
Best Playoff Result: Reached the WPIAL AA Championship 5 times in a 10-year span between 1984 and 1993. Won the 1985 AA title, defeating Swissvale 21-15.
Conference Record: 5-2 Overall Record: 6-4
How they got here: Last year’s 2A runners up got off to a slow start as they worked new players into the offense, but won their last 3 games to finish 3rd and earn a home playoff game.
Recent History: Neshannock is making their 6th consecutive playoff appearance and have reached the at least the semifinals in 4 of the last 5 years. Lost to Steel Valley in the WPIAL Championship Game last year.
Best Playoff Result: Neshannock’s trip to the Championship Game last year was the best playoff run in school history. In 4 of the last 5 years they lost to the eventual WPIAL champion (Clairton in 2012 and 2014, North Catholic in 2013, and Steel Valley in 2016).
Conference Record: 4-3 Overall Record: 5-3
How they got here: After going winless last year, Mohawk topped Laurel in Week 1 then won 4 in a row in the middle of the season to clinch their first playoff berth since 2005. The Warriors lost in Week 9 to Neshannock, which cost them a home playoff game.
Recent History: This is Mohawk’s first playoff appearance since 2005.
Best Playoff Result: This is only the Warriors 5th playoff appearance since 1980. Their best result was reaching the quarterfinals in 2005.
Conference Record: 3-4 Overall Record: 5-5
How they got here: Freedom got off to a 5-2 start but fired their coach after clinching a playoff spot in Week 6. They finished the season 0-3 after the coaching change.
Recent History: This is just the 6th playoff appearance for Freedom since 1980. The Bulldogs defeated East Allegheny in the first round last year and lost to Riverside in the quarterfinals. That victory over East A was their first playoff win since 2003.
Best Playoff Result: The Bulldogs have only won 2 playoff games in school history, both coming in 2003 when they defeated Shenango and South Park before losing to Aliquippa in the AA Quarterfinals.
Conference Record: 2-5 Overall Record: 3-7
How they got here: After winning just 1 of their first 8 games, Laurel beat New Brighton in Week 8 to clinch 6th place in the Midwestern Conference. They earned the Wild Card over Bentworth based on Tiebreaker Points.
Recent History: This is just the 4th playoff appearance for the Spartans in the last 10 years. Laurel also made the playoffs last year, defeating Chartiers-Houston in the first round and losing to Steel Valley in the quarterfinals.
Best Playoff Result: Won the 1980 WPIAL Class A Championship, defeating Clairton 14-12. Lost in the AA Championship game in 1977 and the Class A Championship Game in 1989.
Three Rivers Conference
Steel Valley Ironmen
Conference Record: 6-0 Overall Record: 8-0
How they got here: The Ironmen have not lost a game since the state moved to 6 classifications. They completed their second straight unbeaten regular season with an average margin of victory of 26 points.
Recent History: Steel Valley is making their 10th playoff appearance in the last 12 years. The Ironmen are the defending WPIAL and PIAA Champions. Last season they won all 15 of their games by mercy rule.
Best Playoff Result: Won 1982 WPIAL AAA Championship, 1988 and 1989 WPIAL AA Championships, and 2016 WPIAL 2A Championship. Won the 2016 PIAA Championship, defeating Southern Columbia 49-7.
Serra Catholic Eagles
Conference Record: 4-2 Overall Record: 6-4
How they got here: Serra Catholic beat East Allegheny by 1 point in Week 9 to secure 2nd place in the conference and earn a home playoff game.
Recent History: This is Serra’s second straight playoff appearance. Last year the Eagles reached the postseason fir the first time since 2009. The Eagles made the postseason in 4 straight years from 2006-2009, winning the 2007 WPIAL Class A title.
Best Playoff Result: Won two WPIAL Class A Championships, defeating Clairton 12-0 in 1981 and defeating Springdale 10-6 in 2007. Lost to Steelton-Highspire 34-15 in the 2007 PIAA Class A Championship.
East Allegheny Wildcats
Conference Record: 4-2 Overall Record: 6-3
How they got here: East Allegheny was widley considered the top contender to Steel Valley in the conference and looked the part after a 5-1 start. However, they dropped 2 of their last 3 (to Steel Valley and Serra) to fall to third in the conference. Their non-conference win over Neshannock was enough to earn them a home playoff game.
Recent History: East Allegheny is making their 2nd straight playoff appearance. They have not won a playoff game since 2000.
Best Playoff Result: Won the 1992 WPIAL AA Championship, defeating Riverside 33-13. Lost in the 1992 PIAA Championship Game to Valley View 21-13.
Conference Record: 3-3 Overall Record: 3-5
How they got here: The Lopes won just 3 games this season but finished ahead of Brentwood thanks to a Week 4 victory. They beat South Allegheny in Week 8 to secure a playoff spot.
Recent History: Avonworth is making their 9th consecutive playoff appearance. They reached the Class A Championship Game in 2014 and have only lost in the first round twice in the last 9 years.
Best Playoff Result: Tied Union 13-13 in the 1959 Class A Championship Game (no overtime). Lost to Clairton 46-14 in the 2014 WPIAL Class A Championship.
Conference Record: 3-3 Overall Record: 5-4
How they got here: The Spartans have been streaky this season. After they got off to a 2-0 start with a strong win over Serra Catholic, they stumbled on a 3-game losing streak. They then won 3 in a row in October to lock up a playoff spot.
Recent History: Brentwood is making their 13th appearance in the last 16 years. Last year they won their first playoff game since 2012 by defeating Frazier in the first round. Lost to Washington in the quarterfinals last season.
Best Playoff Result: Have been to two WPIAL Championship Games. Lost to Farrell 14-8 in the 1976 AA Championship Game and lost to Monaca 21-13 in the 1985 Class A Championship Game.
Big Seven Conference
Conference Record: 7-1 Overall Record: 8-2
How they got here: After losing by a point to Northgate in Week 1 on a last-minute touchdown, OLSH rattled off 7 straight wins, including a Week 6 defeat of Rochester, to win their first conference title in school history.
Recent History/Best Playoff Result: Last season, OLSH made their first playoff appearance since they started playing WPIAL football in 2010. OLSH lost to Imani Christian in the first round.
Conference Record: 7-1 Overall Record: 7-2
How they got here: Rochester’s only losses this season were to two conference champions. They lost to OLSH in Week 6 which cost them the head-to-head tiebreaker for the Big Seven title and to Tri-County South champion California in a non-conference game.
Recent History: Rochester was one of the dominant programs in Class A in the 1990s and 2000s, reaching 11 Championship Games and winning 7 WPIAL titles between 1990 and 2010. The Rams ended a 3-year playoff drought last year and reached the semi-finals before falling to Jeannette.
Best Playoff Result: Won the WPIAL Class AA title in 1991, 1992, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2004. Tied Westinghouse 0-0 in the 1921 AA Championship Game. Won the PIAA Class A Championship in 1998, 2000, and 2001.
Western Beaver Golden Beavers
Conference Record: 5-3 Overall Record: 6-4
How they got here: After a missing the playoffs in 2016, Western Beaver won 5 of their first 6 games to start this season. They stumbled to a 1-3 finish, including losses to Sto-Rox and West Greene. Those losses prevented the Golden Beavers from getting a home playoff game.
Recent History: This is Western Beaver’s 2nd playoff appearance in the last 6 years. They have not won a playoff game since 2008.
Best Playoff Result: Won the WPIAL Class A Championship in 1976, 1983 and 1994.
Conference Record: 5-3 Overall Record: 7-3
How they got here: Union got off to a hot 4-0 start. A loss to Western Beaver was the only blemish on their record through 7 games, but they lost to both OLSH and Rochester down the stretch, which prevented them from finishing in the top 3 and having a shot at a home playoff game.
Recent History: This is the second playoff appearance for the Scotties in the last 3 years. Prior to that, they had just 2 playoff appearances between 2001 and 2014.
Best Playoff Result: Tied for the 1959 WPIAL Class A title with Avonworth (no overtime).
Conference Record: 3-5 Overall Record: 3-7
How they got here: The Vikings were not deterred by an 0-6 start to the season. Their wins over Western Beaver and Summit Academy earned them enough Gardner Points to win a three-way tiebreaker with Shenango and Summit for 5th place.
Recent History: Sto-Rox played in AA the last two years and missed the playoffs. Prior to that, they reached the Championship Game in three straight seasons (losing to Clairton twice and North Catholic once).
Best Playoff Result: McKees Rocks was awarded the 1935 and 1936 AA Championships based on Gardner Points. Stowe won the 1937 AA Championship, defeating Ramsay 13-0. Sto-Rox was awarded the 1966 AA Championship based on Gardner Points and won the 1987 AA Championship
Summit Academy Knights
Conference Record: 3-5 Overall Record: 4-5
How they got here: Summit’s head-to-head win over Shenango in Week 6 was enough to earn them the head-to-head tiebreaker and the Wild Card spot. Summit played tight games against the top competition in the conference all season.
Recent History/Best Playoff Result: This is the second playoff appearance in school history. The prior appearance was a first round loss in 2013.
Conference Record: 6-1 Overall Record: 7-2
How they got here: The Bears lost back-to-back games to Imani and Aliquippa in the middle of the season but closed strong with a 40-7 victory over previously-unbeaten Jeannette. Clairton won a 3-way tie for the conference title with Jeannette and Imani based on Tiebreaker Points and the head-to-head victory over Jeannette.
Recent History: Clairton is making their 12th consecutive playoff appearance. They have won 9 of the last 11 WPIAL Championships. The Bears are the three-time defending WPIAL Champions. Last year ended with a loss to Bishop Guilfoyle in the State Championship for the second time in three seasons.
Best Playoff Result: Awarded the 1929, 1931, and 1954 WPIAL AAA Championship based on Gardner Points (no Championship Game). Won the WPIAL Class A Championship in 1989, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, and the WPIAL 1A Championship in 2016. Won PIAA Class A Championship in 2009, 2012, 2011, and 2012.
Conference Record: 6-1 Overall Record: 9-1
How they got here: The Jaywhawks rolled through their first 9 games, including an offensive shootout with Imani, but fell to Clairton in the season finale. This was the 6th loss for Jeannette to Clairton over the last 4 seasons.
Recent History: Jeannette lost to Clairton in the WPIAL Championship each of the last two seasons. The Jayhawks have only missed the playoffs twice since 1994 (most recently in 2013).
Best Playoff Result: Tied McKeesport and New Castle for the 1932 AAA title on Gardner Points (no Championship game). Won the 1939 and 1956 WPIAL AAA Championship. Won the WPIAL AA Championship in 1971, 1981, 1983, 2006, and 2007. Won PIAA AA Championship in 2007, defeating Dunmore 49-21.
Imani Christian Saints
Conference Record: 6-1 Overall Record: 8-2
How they got here: Imani lost back-to-back games to California and Jeannette, the later of which saw 5 of their players ejected for an on-field altercation. The short-handed Saints managed to top Clairton the following week. Imani finished 3rd by losing the three-way tie on Tiebreaker Points after they beat Leechburg by only 6 in Week 9.
Recent History/Best Playoff Result: Imani Christian reached the playoffs for the first time in school history last season. The Saints defeated OLSH in the first round and lost to Rochester in the quarterfinals.
Conference Record: 4-3 Overall Record: 5-5
How they got here: There has been no middle ground for Springdale this season. They have either blown out their opponents or lost in a blowout. The Dynamos have allowed 33 points per game, the most of any 1A playoff team.
Recent History: Springdale is making their 4th consecutive playoff appearance and has reached the postseason in 15 of the last 16 years. Defeated Carmichaels in the first round last year before falling to Jeannette in the quarterfinals.
Best Playoff Result: Tied Glassport for the 1932 WPIAL Class A title (no Championship game). Won the WPIAL AA Championship in 1946 and 1973. Won the WPIAL Class A Championship in 2003. Lost to Bishop Carroll 28-20 in the PIAA Class A semifinals in 2003.
Bishop Canevin Crusaders
Conference Record: 3-4 Overall Record: 3-6
How they got here: The Crusaders saw a number of key players transfer over the summer, but they were still able to make the playoffs thanks to a Week 8 victory over GCC.
Recent History: Bishop Canevin is making their 3rd straight playoff appearance. The Crusaders have reached the postseason in 13 out of the last 18 years. Defeated California in the first round last year before falling to Northgate in the quarterfinals.
Best Playoff Result: Won the 1990 WPIAL AA Championship, defeating Washington 21-20. Lost in the 1990 PIAA AA Championship Game to Hanover Area 20-19 in overtime.
Tri-County South Conference
Conference Record: 7-0 Overall Record: 10-0
How they got here: The most impressive storyline of the year is the undefeated Trojans and 6’1″ 260-pound RB Jelani Stafford. California has run over everyone with the best offense in the WPIAL, averaging 54 points per game. In addition to obliterating the Tri-County South, they also have decisive wins over Imani and Rochester.
Recent History: Last year, California made their first playoff appearance since 2011. Prior to that, the Trojans had made the playoffs in 12 of 13 years but only won two games. California lost in the first round to Bishop Canevin last year.
Best Playoff Result: Won the 1949 AA Championship, defeating Dormont 38-6. Lost the AA Championship Game in 1965 and the Class A Championship Game in 1986.
Carmichaels Mighty Mikes
Conference Record: 6-1 Overall Record: 7-2
How they got here: Carmichaels’ only losses this season have come against conference champions California and OLSH.
Recent History: Carmichaels lost in the first round each of the last two years and will be making their 18th appearance in the last 20 years. Only once in that time did they make it out of the first round, a 2002 run to the semifinals.
Best Playoff Result: Won the WPIAL Class A Championship in 1952, defeating Wilmerding 12-6. Tied 0-0 with Rostraver in the 1962 WPIAL AA Championship (no overtime).
Fort Cherry Rangers
Conference Record: 5-2 Overall Record: 7-2
How they got here: Fort Cherry started the season with a 49-0 loss to California, but bounced back to find their groove and only lost one other game (to Carmichaels) the rest of the season. The Rangers scored at least 32 points in all of their wins.
Recent History: This is Fort Cherry’s 3rd playoff appearance in the last 6 years. The last three times they reached the playoffs (2011, 2013, 2016) they made the quarterfinals.
Best Playoff Result: Reached the Class A Championship Game in 1997 and 2001, losing to Riverview and Rochester.
West Greene Pioneers
Conference Record: 4-3 Overall Record: 7-3
How they got here: West Greene won their first 3 games of the season then nearly topped Carmichaels in Week 4. The Pioneers then won 4 of their next 5 before losing to California in the season finale.
Recent History: This is West Greene’s first playoff appearance since 1993, breaking the third-longest playoff drought in the WPIAL.
Best Playoff Result: West Greene reached the Class A WPIAL Championship Game in 1993, but fell to Duquesne.
Conference Record: 2-5 Overall Record: 3-7
How they got here: A 2-point victory over Jefferson-Morgan in Week 2 gave Monessen the head-to-head tiebreaker. They took a surprising loss to Avella in Week 8 but were able to beat Mapletown in Week 9 to draw even with Jefferson-Morgan and get the last playoff spot based on the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Recent History: Monessen missed the playoffs each of the last 3 seasons. Prior to that, they had made the playoffs in 26 of 29 years, dating back to 1985.
Best Playoff Result: Won the WPIAL AAA Championship in 1930 and 1961.
Don’t forget to check out the Class 6A/5A/4A/3A Primer!