This will be a completely different season of high school football than anyone has ever experienced. Recently, in response to the Governor’s recommendation, the PIAA decided to push back the start of the season by two weeks to engage in further discussions regarding a safe return to play for fall sports. Even though there is uncertainty about this season of high school football, there are many coaches and players who have worked their tails off to get ready for this season, and we felt their efforts deserved to be highlighted. Therefore, we are rolling ahead with our 2020 WPIAL Season Previews. This year, our WPIAL coverage is sponsored by the Small Player Big Play App, which provides schools the opportunity to fundraise by live-streaming their games and events. Check out their Twitter page and get the app for free on Apple or Andriod devices.
Washington has dominated the Century Conference over the last four seasons. Their only conference loss was to Charleroi in Week 1 of 2018. McGuffey and Charleroi have also been strong contenders. This season, Waynesburg drops down from 3A and joins the league, with the Raiders carrying an 18-game conference losing streak and looking to change their fortunes. Chartiers-Houston moves up from 1A after two years finishing in the middle of the pack in the Tri-County South.
The playoff format in 2A will be dependent on the State Tournament. If the PIAA hosts a state tournament, eight teams will make the 2A playoffs. If the PIAA does not host a state tournament, only four teams will make the playoffs. With four conferences in 2A, determining the playoff teams in either format will be relatively simple. In an 8-team format, the top two teams from each conference will make the playoffs while in a 4-team bracket, only the conference champions would make the playoffs. Be sure to keep tabs on our WPIAL Standings Page throughout the season and follow our WPIAL Twitter account @WPIAL_Blitz. Teams are listed in their predicted order of finish.
WPIAL ELO Rank (2A): 3
WPIAL ELO Rank (Overall): 57
The Prexies have been one of the strongest 2A teams in the six-classification era. Since 2016 they have lost just one regular season game, the 2018 opener against Charleroi. Washington has reached the WPIAL final twice in the last three seasons, winning the title in 2017 and losing to Avonworth last year. Washington will have to replace a number of offensive stars that led the team over the last few years after 11 seniors graduated. Junior RB Tayshawn Levy (450 yards, 4 TDs) will take the lead role in the backfield after averaging over 7 yards per carry last year. Mike Allen was a factor in both the ground game (291 yards) and receiving game (115 yards) and scored 6 times last year. Junior WR Brandon Patterson (279 yards, 1 TD) is the top returning receiver. Keep an eye out for senior RB Shaliek Cox who ran for 202 yards and 5 TDs last year, averaging an incredible 10 yards per carry. Washington had the highest-scoring team in 2A last year (40 points per game) and the second-best defense, allowing just 13 points per game.
WPIAL ELO Rank (2A): 5
WPIAL ELO Rank (Overall): 63
McGuffey is coming off their best season in decades, scoring their first playoff victory since winning the AAA WPIAL title in 1994. The Highlanders had the second-best offense in 2A, averaging a shade under 40 points per game. McGuffey’s triple-option rushing attack carved up opponents and they return 3 of their top 4 rushers. The trio of senior RBs all averaged over 6 yards per carry and is led by McKinley Whipkey (817 yards, 9 TDs). Nate Yagle was a factor in both the ground game (637 yards) and passing game (369 yards) and was the team’s leading scorer with 15 TDs. Jared Johnson (360 rushing yards, 171 receiving yards, 12 total TDs) burst onto the scene with a 4 TD performance against Southmoreland. The Highlanders have the talent to contend for the conference title once again this season.
WPIAL ELO Rank (2A): 6
WPIAL ELO Rank (Overall): 67
A year after a run to the semifinals, the Cougars put together another strong season where their only losses came to Washington and McGuffey. Charleroi made the playoffs for the third straight season but fell to Freedom in the opening round. Only 8 seniors graduated from last year’s team, but that included most of their significant contributors on offense. The top returning skill position player is junior Nikko Pelligrini who ran for 265 yards and 2 TDs last season. The good news for Charleroi is that their entire offensive line returns.
WPIAL ELO Rank (2A): 22
WPIAL ELO Rank (Overall): 94
Frazier bounced back from an 0-6 start to the season to win 3 of their last 4 games to build momentum heading into 2020. The Commodores return leading rusher Kenny Fine who scored 7 TDs last season. Junior Brayden Boggs split time at QB last season and Shawn Fordyce returns to lead the receiving cors after scoring twice last year. If the Commodores want to contend for a playoff spot, they will need to improve a defense that allowed 36 points per game last season, the fourth-highest mark in 2A.
WPIAL ELO Rank (2A): 14
WPIAL ELO Rank (Overall): 80
The Red Raiders move down to 2A carrying an 18-game conference losing steak. Waynesburg got off to a 2-1 start last year with two non-conference victories but lost their final 7 outings. Dual-threat QB Darnell Johnson returns for his senior season after throwing for 369 yards and 4 TDs and running for 664 yards and a team-high 9 scores. Fellow senior Nick Higginbotham (106 yards, 1 TDs) returns to the backfield in Waynesburg’s run-heavy attack. In stepping down from 3A to 2A, Waynesburg also gets a much more favorable travel schedule with teams from Washington and Fayette counties.
WPIAL ELO Rank (2A): 24
WPIAL ELO Rank (Overall): 101
The Bucs move up from 1A where they narrowly missed the playoffs last season. Their only losses came against playoff teams West Greene, Sto-Rox, and California. A number of young players figure to step into key roles this season. Terry Fetsko attempted a handful of passes last year as a freshman backup and should take over the starting role. The top returning rushers are a pair of juniors in Nathan Cavallo (296 yards, 3 TDs) and Tayvian Miller (146 yards, 3 TDs). On the outside, second-leading receiver Jimmy Sadler (259 yards, 7 TDs) returns for his senior season. With young players at the skill positions, this year will be a valuable campaign for building experience.
WPIAL ELO Rank (2A): 20
WPIAL ELO Rank (Overall): 90
The Bulldogs went through a rebuilding season last year, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2002. Even though they went just 1-9, they had a number of narrow losses to California (by 5), Brownsville (by 1) and Frazier (by 1). Junior QB Colby Kuhns split time under center last year and threw for 495 yards and 5 TDs. Kuhns is also Beth-Center’s top returning rusher (115 yards, 5.8 yards per carry). His potential to develop into a dual-threat QB will be the catalyst for Beth-Center’s offense. Keep an eye out for WR Blayze Vlicoss who averaged 20 yards per catch last year.