The official WPIAL playoff brackets will be released on Monday night during the official WPIAL selection show. The show will be broadcast over the airwaves on the TribLive High School Sports Network and also carried by our friends at WMBS in Uniontown. This year, 62 teams made the playoffs. For the first time since 2002, a coin toss was necessary to break a tie. Thankfully, this year’s coin toss did not eliminate any teams as all three had already qualified and was simply to determine which team got a home playoff game.
6A is the easiest bracket to project as six teams from the one conference make the playoffs and are seeded in the order that they finished in the final standings.
1. North Allegheny (8-0, 10-0) – First round bye, will face the winner of the Central Catholic-Seneca Valley game.
2. Pine-Richland (7-1, 8-2) – First round bye, will face the winner of the Mt Lebanon-Canon Mac game.
3. Mt. Lebanon (5-3, 5-5) – Finished third based on winning the three-way tie with Central Catholic and Seneca Valley on Tiebreaker Points.
4. Central Catholic (5-3, 7-3) – Finished fourth based on a head-to-head victory over Seneca Valley
5. Seneca Valley (5-3, 7-3) – Missed out on a home playoff game because they beat Norwin by 8 points in the season finale. If they had won by 10 they would’ve been the #3 seed.
6. Canon-McMillan (3-5, 4-5) – The Big Macs are making their first playoff appearance since 2008.
1. Gateway (7-0, 10-0) – The WPIAL’s past practice has been to give an undefeated defending champion the top seed. That doesn’t change here.
2. Penn Hills (7-0, 10-0) – The only other undefeated team in 5A is the Indians who have a roster loaded with talented players and an average margin of victory over 30 points.
3. Peters Twp (6-1, 8-2) – Peters Twp won their first conference title since the 1970s with their only loss to a 5A team coming by 2 points against Upper St Clair.
4. Penn-Trafford (6-1, 8-2) – Penn-Trafford gave Gateway their closest game of the year, a 20-point loss in Week 1, which was the Warriors’ only 5A defeat.
5. West Allegheny (6-1, 7-2) – West Allegheny lost by 14 to Peters and had a number of other close calls this year. In total, they were 4-1 in one-score games.
6. Mars (6-1, 9-1) – The Fighting Planets made their mark on the 5A scene in their first season in the classification with their only loss coming against Penn Hills.
7. McKeesport (5-2, 8-2) – The Tigers triple-option offense averaged 42 points per game.
8. Bethel Park (5-2, 6-3) – Bethel Park beat Upper St Clair in the season finale to finish 3rd and get a home playoff game.
9. North Hills (5-2, 6-4) – The Indians got off to a hot start but hit a rough patch mid-season when “Touchdown” Tyler Brennan got injured. He returned late in the year and North Hills won 2 of their last 3 but missed out on a home playoff game because of tiebreaker points.
10. Upper St Clair (5-2, 8-2) – The Panthers were the cardiac kids this year, going 6-1 in one-score games. They are probably the best team on the bottom half of the bracket, but got dropped to the #10 seed to avoid a conference re-match with Bethel Park.
11. Franklin Regional (4-3, 6-3) – After a 5-0 start to the season, the Panthers dropped 3 of their last 4 games as they faced some of the top competition in their conference.
12. Shaler (3-4, 4-6) – The Titans rolled over Fox Chapel in Week 9 to secure their first playoff spot since 2011. This is quite the story for a team that came into the season on a 24-game losing streak.
13. Woodland Hills (3-4, 4-6) – Woodland Hills needed a second-half comeback in Week 9 against Chartiers Valley to secure their 23rd consecutive playoff appearance. The Wolverines played both West Allegheny and Upper St Clair tight and are the team on the bottom half of the bracket that no one wants to draw.
14. Armstrong (3-4, 5-5) – The Riverhawks beat Fox Chapel in Week 9 then Kiski in Week 9 to earn their 3rd playoff berth in 4 years.
15. Latrobe (3-4, 4-6) – The Wildcats qualified for the postseason for the first time since 2009.
16. Kiski (2-5, 3-7) – The Cavaliers earned the Wild Card based on Gardner Points over Baldwin, making their first playoff appearance since 2015. Their Week 1 win over Shaler was the deciding factor.
1. Thomas Jefferson (7-0, 9-0) – The three-time defending WPIAL Champions completed a perfect regular season and easily get the top seed in 4A.
2. South Fayette (7-0, 9-1) – The Lions only loss this season was to Upper St Clair in Week 0, marking the 7th straight unbeaten conference slate they have completed.
3. Belle Vernon (6-1, 8-1) – The Leopards finally get on the other half of the bracket from Thomas Jefferson, who dealt them their only loss this season.
4. Blackhawk (6-1, 9-1) – The WPIAL has not shied away from conference rematches in the first round in 4A. We will see if they are willing to have Blackhawk and Beaver face off twice in a row, as the two teams played to a 14-13 result in Week 9.
5. Beaver (4-3, 7-3) – Beaver had a shot to get homefield advantage if they could have beaten Blackhawk in Week 9, but came up one point short. The decision between Beaver and West Mifflin for the 5th seed will be an interesting case study in how much the WPIAL values conference record vs overall record.
6. West Mifflin (5-2, 5-5) – The Titans performed well in conference play, but they also took a 14-0 loss to New Castle, the only 4A non-conference opponent they faced.
7. Greensburg Salem (4-3, 4-6) – The Lions clinched their first playoff spot since 2011 by beating Indiana in a Week 9 Casket Match.
8. New Castle (3-4, 5-5) – New Castle won a 3-way tie with Montour and Knoch on Tiebreaker Points to earn their 6th straight playoff appearance.
1. Aliquippa (6-1, 9-1) – Despite a Week 9 setback against Central Valley, the Quips were still the most dominant team in 3A this season.
2. Beaver Falls (6-1, 8-2) – The Tigers bounced back from a disastrous 2017 season that was plagued by transfers and injuries to dominate their conference schedule in 2018, averaging 38 points per game.
3. Derry (7-1, 9-1) – Derry won the three-way tie atop the Big East Conference based on Tiebreaker Points.
4. North Catholic (7-1, 9-1) – North Catholic got the second home playoff game in the Big East Conference based on a head-to-head win over Elizabeth Forward.
5. Elizabeth Forward (7-1, 8-1) – The WPIAL has traditionally seeded teams in a 3-way tie consecutively in the bracket, which would set up a rematch with North Catholic.
6. Quaker Valley (5-2, 5-4) – The defending 3A State Champions struggled out of the gate as they worked in new starters but won 4 of their last 5 to make the playoffs.
7. Central Valley (5-2, 5-5) – It was a tale of two seasons for the Warriors. After an 0-4 start things came together with a 1-point win in Week 4 over Keystone Oaks, which started a run where they won 5 of their last 6 games – including a Week 9 upset of Aliquippa. It will be interesting to see how the WPIAL compares their Week 1 loss to Quaker Valley against their Week 9 win over Aliquippa and if the Warriors hop the Quakers in the seedings.
8. Freeport (5-3, 5-4) – The WPIAL schedule-makers did not do Freeport any favors, slotting the Yellow Jackets against Derry, North Catholic, and Elizabeth Forward the first three weeks of the year. After an 0-3 start, Freeport rebounded to win 5 in a row and clinch a playoff berth.
1. Shady Side Academy (6-0, 9-0) – Led by QB Skyy Moore, the first WPIAL player to ever have TWO 1000 pass / 1000 rush yardage seasons, the Indians have clearly been 2A’s best team this year.
2. Charleroi (6-1, 8-1) – A 1-point loss to Beth-Center is the only blemish on Charleroi’s record which includes a Week 1 blowout of defending 2A Champions Washington.
3. Steel Valley (5-1, 8-1) – “What to do with Steel Valley?” is the biggest question in the 2A bracket. The Ironmen were tied with Shady Side Academy in the 4th quarter before the Indians pulled away, making their only regular season defeat in the last 3 years.
4. Burgettstown (7-0, 9-0) – It will be interesting to see how the WPIAL seeds Burgettstown. The Blue Devils went undefeated thanks to a stifling defense that allowed just 5 points per game, but also played in one of the weaker 2A conferences.
5. Washington (6-1, 9-1) – The defending 2A Champions lost in Week 1 to Charleroi but have been outstanding since, outscoring opponents by an average of 37 points per game.
6. Mohawk (6-1, 7-2) – The Warriors edged Freedom for the Midwestern Conference title based on a head-to-head victory.
7. Freedom (6-1, 9-1) – For the second straight season, Freedom lost their head coach right before the end of the regular season.
8. South Side Beaver (5-2, 7-3) – The Rams finished second in the Three Rivers Conference due to a two-day loss to Burgettstown where the game was delayed on Friday night because of storms then finished on Saturday morning.
9. McGuffey (5-2, 8-2) – The Highlanders are the best team on the bottom half of the bracket and have a head-to-head win over Avonworth and a 6-point loss to Washington. If the WPIAL decides to use any creative seedings in 2A, it could be to move McGuffey into a more favorable slot (say, to the 6-11 matchup instead of the 8-9 game).
10. Avonworth (4-2, 7-3) – The Lopes have one of the most dangerous passing games in 2A but enter the playoffs on a 2-game losing streak after falling to McGuffey and Shady Side Academy.
11. Beth-Center (5-2, 7-3) – The Bulldogs needed a Week 9 Casket Match victory over Frazier to secure a playoff spot, but they are a dangerous team in the bottom half of the bracket that has a win over Charleroi. QB Bailey Lincoski joined the 1000 pass / 1000 rush club this year.
12. New Brighton (5-2, 5-5) – After a 1-4 start, New Brighton came on strong, winning 4 of their last 5 games including a comeback win over Riverside in Week 9, to finish 3rd in the Midwestern Conference.
13. East Allegheny (3-3, 6-4) – East Allegheny beat Valley in a Week 9 Casket Match to clinch a playoff spot.
14. Riverside (4-3, 6-3) – Through 8 games, all of Riverside’s results were by double-digits (either wins or losses). Their Week 9 loss to New Brighton by a 22-16 margin dropped them to 4th in the conference.
15. Seton LaSalle (4-3, 5-5) – The Rebels won their last two games – a 33-0 victory over Serra then an overtime win over Carlynton, to clinch a playoff spot.
16. Serra (4-3, 6-4) – Serra did not beat any other playoff teams this year and was the only team to lose to Shenango.
1. Jeannette (6-0, 10-0) – The defending WPIAL and PIAA champs went undefeated in the regular season and will get the top seed in 1A.
2. OLSH (7-0, 9-1) – There will likely be some debate between OLSH and Clairton for the #2 seed. Both suffered their only loss of the season by 15 points to Jeannette. Ultimately, I think the WPIAL gives the Conference Champions the slight edge here.
3. Clairton (5-1, 8-1) – There isn’t much difference between the #2 and #3 seeds, and Clairton has enough talent to make another run to Heinz Field. Clairton also beat West Greene head-to-head. Because of sanctions last year, the Bears can’t host at Neil Brown Stadium, which means their game will be played at a neutral site.
4. West Greene (6-1, 7-3) – The Pioneers won the coin flip to get the home game among the Tri-County South teams.
5. Imani Christian (4-2, 6-3) – Imani’s only losses to 1A teams were against Clairton and Jeannette.
6. Rochester (6-1, 9-1) – The Rams only loss was in Week 3 against OLSH and they defeated Monessen in Week 8. Due to Clairton getting the #3 seed, Rochester gets the #6 seed to avoid a conference re-match.
7. Monessen (6-1, 7-2) – The Greyhounds Week 1 upset over California was enough to carry them to the postseason. The Week 8 loss to Rochester drops them below the Rams in the seedings.
8. California (6-1, 6-4) – After dominating 1A and getting the top seed last year, California got off to a slow 1-4 start this year. The Trojans bounced back to win their last 5 games and enter the playoffs on a hot streak, including a 10-point win over West Greene that forced the 3-way tie.