The 3A playoff bracket got turned on its head in the final week when Central Valley blew out Aliquippa 45-6. The Quips are the defending 3A WPIAL and PIAA Champions and have reached Heinz Field each of the past 11 seasons. Central Valley was absolutely deserving of the top seed with wins over both Aliquippa and Big East Conference Champion North Catholic. Derry reached their first WPIAL final since 1945 last year and had to replace most of their starting lineup but still was good enough to finish second in the Big East Conference. The Big East had an exciting playoff race for the final spot between Burrell, Mt. Pleasant, Deer Lakes, and Freeport which was won by Mt. Pleasant on a head-to-head victory over Burrell.
Big East Conference
North Catholic Trojans
Conference Record: 8-0 Overall Record: 9-1
How they got here: North Catholic had a few close calls in conference play, including an 8-point win over Freeport and a 5-point win over Elizabeth Forward. In the end, their 13-3 victory over Derry gave the Trojans their 3rd straight conference title and 7th in the last 8 years. North Catholic’s only loss came against top-seeded Central Valley.
Recent History: North Catholic is making their 8th consecutive playoff appearance and 13th in the last 14 years. The Trojans have reached the semifinals 6 of the last 7 seasons and won the WPIAL and PIAA Championship in 2013.
WPIAL Playoff Appearances: 23
All-Time WPIAL Playoff Record: 25-21
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: 7-1 Overall Record: 8-2
How they got here: Derry rode a strong rushing attack and stout defense to the playoffs for a 4th straight season. Derry’s Justin Huss led 3A in rushing with over 1800 yards. The Trojans averaged over 31 points per game and held opponents under 13 per game, both marks ranking in the Top 5 in 3A.
Recent History: Derry is making their 4th consecutive playoff appearance. They reached the 3A Championship Game last year, falling to Aliquippa __.
WPIAL Playoff Appearances: 14
All-Time WPIAL Playoff Record: 4-13
Best Playoff Result: Derry Township was awarded the 1930 WPIAL Class A Championship based on Gardner Points. Derry lost in the 1945 AA Championship Game to Dormont 30-19. Derry lost in the 2018 3A WPIAL Championship to Aliquippa.
Elizabeth Forward Warriors
Conference Record: 6-2 Overall Record: 7-2
How they got here: The Warriors had the best defense in the conference, holding opponents to just 11 points per game. After back-to-back losses to Derry and North Catholic, the Warriors pitched two shutouts and won their last 3 games by an average of 28 points.
Recent History: For the first time in three seasons, Elizabeth Forward and Derry have not been involved in a 3-way tie for the conference title. This is the first time since 1998-2000 that Elizabeth Forward has made the playoffs in 3 consecutive seasons. The Warriors have not won a playoff game since 2000.
WPIAL Playoff Appearances: 15
All-Time WPIAL Playoff Record: 5-14
Best Playoff Result: Elizabeth Forward reached the WPIAL AAA semifinals in 1985, 1990, and 1999 but has never reached a WPIAL Championship game.
Mount Pleasant Vikings
Conference Record: 4-4 Overall Record: 5-5
How they got here: Mt. Pleasant won a head-to-head tie with Burrell for the final playoff spot. Their victory over Burrell was the Vikings only win in a 4-week stretch that included narrow losses to Derry and Deer Lakes. The Vikings rebounded to win their last two games over Freeport and Uniontown to finish in a tie with Burrell.
Recent History: Mt. Pleasant is making their first playoff appearance since 2016. Prior to their 2-year absence, the Vikings had reached the postseason in 13 of 14 years between 2003 and 2016 but only won 4 playoff games in that timespan.
WPIAL Playoff Appearances: 25
All-Time WPIAL Playoff Record: 16-23
Best Playoff Result: Mt. Pleasant won the WPIAL AAA Championship in 1983 and 1986, defeating Aliquippa in 1983 and Kiski in 1986. Mt. Pleasant Hurst was awarded the 1931 Class B (later Single-A) Championship on Gardner Points. Mt. Pleasant Hurst beat Wilmerding in the 1938 Class A Championship and tied Dormont in the 1942 Class A Championship (Note: Class A became AA in 1973). Mt. Pleasant Ramsay reached the WPIAL Championship Game 4 times, beating East Pittsburgh in the 1933 Class B Championship.
Tri-County West Conference
Central Valley Warriors
Conference Record: 7-0 Overall Record: 9-1
How they got here: For the second straight season, Central Valley topped Aliquippa in Week 9. This time, it was a dominant performance and the worst defeat the Quips ever suffered at The Pit. Central Valley’s only loss this season came against 4A top seed Thomas Jefferson. The Warriors averaged 40 points per game, the second-best mark in 3A.
Recent History: Since the merger of Center and Monaca School Districts in 2010, Central Valley has made at least the semifinals in each of their first 6 seasons. However, since the change to 6 classifications and their drop to 3A, they missed the playoffs once and have not won a playoff game since falling to Thomas Jefferson in the 2015 AAA Championship.
WPIAL Playoff Appearances: 9
All-Time WPIAL Playoff Record: 18-6
Best Playoff Result: Won WPIAL Championship in 2010 and 2014. Monaca won the WPIAL Class A Championship in 1975, 1982, and 1985. Lost 33-14 to Archbishop Wood in the 2014 PIAA Championship Game.
Conference Record: 6-1 Overall Record: 9-1
How they got here: Through 9 games Aliquippa looked the part of the Defending 3A State Champions. But for the second straight season, the Air Warfield offense was shut down by Central Valley in Week 9. A loss to Central Valley did not stop Aliquippa from claiming the WPIAL and PIAA titles last season, and they still finished the season with the top-ranked offense (42 points per game) and defense (10 points against per game) in 3A.
Recent History: Aliquippa is making their 25th consecutive playoff appearance, tied with Thomas Jefferson for the longest active streak. The Quips have reached Heinz Field in each of the last 11 seasons. After being upset by conference rivals two years in a row, they broke through last year and beat Derry to win the WPIAL title. The Quips went on to also win the PIAA title, their third in school history.
WPIAL Playoff Appearances: 43
All-Time WPIAL Playoff Record: 89-25
Best Playoff Result: Won the most WPIAL Championships of any school (17). Won WPIAL AAA Championship in 1952, 1955, 1964, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, and 1989. Won WPIAL AA Championship in 1991, 1996, 2000, 2003, 2008, 2011, 2012, and 2015. Won 1991 and 2003 PIAA AA Championships. The Quips are the defending WPIAL and PIAA 3A Champions.
Beaver Falls Tigers
Conference Record: 5-2 Overall Record: 8-2
How they got here: The Tigers only losses this season came against Central Valley and Aliquippa. They finished the season strong putting up at least 34 points in each of their final 5 games including a win over 4A Blackhawk.
Recent History: Beaver Falls is making their 12th playoff appearance in the last 13 years. In 2016, Beaver Falls defeated Aliquippa 35-22 in the WPIAL Championship then went on to beat Middletown 30-13 and win the State Championship. The Tigers lost to the Quips in the semifinals last year.
WPIAL Playoff Appearances: 18
All-Time WPIAL Playoff Record: 28-16
Best Playoff Result: Awarded the WPIAL AAA Championship in 1928 and 1960 based on Gardner Points (no Championship Game). Won 1984 WPIAL AA Championship over Riverside 14-13. Won the WPIAL and PIAA 3A Championship in 2016.
South Park Eagles
Conference Record: 4-3 Overall Record: 4-5
How they got here: The Eagles got their first win of the season in Week 3 against Keystone Oaks, but it proved to be the pivotal result that got them into the playoffs. South Park’s 4 wins all came by at least 13 points while their 5 losses were all by more than 21 points.
Recent History: Since winning the WPIAL title in 2005, South Park went through a bit of a rough patch, missing the playoffs in 7 straight seasons. The Eagles returned to the postseason in 2013 and have made the playoffs in 5 of the last 7 years.
WPIAL Playoff Appearances: 19
All-Time WPIAL Playoff Record: 13-15
Best Playoff Result: South Park won the WPIAL AA Championship in 1997 and 2005, defeating Shady Side Academy in 1997 and Greensburg Central Catholic in 2005. The Eagles went on to win the PIAA title both times, defeating South Williamsport in 1997 and Wilson Area in 2005. South Park was originially founded as Snowden Township. Snowden defeated Neville in the 1955 WPIAL Class B (later Single-A) Championship.
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