The first round of the WPIAL Playoffs is in the books! It was a thrilling night of high school football with a few games coming down to the wire. With only 4 teams making he 6A playoffs, this was the semifinals there and the Championship Game will be next weekend. All of the other classifications had 8 playoff teams, making this round the quarterfinals and next weekend the semis. All of next weekend’s semifinal games will be hosted by the higher-seeded team. Here are the results and game notes from tonight’s action along with a look at next week’s matchups.
North Allegheny 21, Seneca Valley 7 – Seneca Valley had knocked North Allegheny out in the semifinals in two of the prior four years. The Tigers are going to the WPIAL Championship Game for the first time since they won three straight titles from 2010-2012.
Central Catholic 35, Mt Lebanon 0 – Central Catholic got revenge on Mt. Lebanon for their defeat during the regular season. The Vikings defense took their 37 points allowed in the prior matchup to heart. Mt. Lebanon did not get a first down until mid-way through the third quarter.
1. North Allegheny vs 3. Central Catholic
Pine-Richland 47, South Fayette 7 – It was a record-setting night for the Rams. Miguel Jackson broke the Pine-Richland record for sacks in a career and Cole Spencer broke the record for touchdown passes.
Penn-Trafford 35, Upper St Clair 7 – For the second straight year the Panthers saw their season end at the hands of the Warriors. Ethan Carr was the star of the show, running for 188 yards and 2 TDs and throwing for another to lead Penn-Trafford to the semifinals.
Gateway 14, Penn Hills 0 – Derrick Davis scored an early touchdown but it was Gateway’s defense that proved to be the difference in the game. The Gators forced three turnovers with their backs against the wall inside the 5 yard line to keep Penn Hills out of the end zone. One of them was an interception by Davis, the others a fumble recovery and a fourth down stop.
Peters Twp 39, Woodland Hills 6 – Peters Twp’s defense came to play against a dangerous Woodland Hills offense. Luke Petrarca scored two defensive touchdowns and the Indians defense also produced two safeties. Peters Twp’s victory sets up a rematch of last year’s WPIAL final with Gateway.
1. Pine-Richland vs 4. Penn-Trafford
2. Gateway vs 3. Peters Twp
Aliquippa 31, Hampton 0 – Vaughn Morris threw 2 TD passes and the Quips defense returned a fumble and interception for touchdowns as the Quips reach the semifinals for the 14th straight year.
Belle Vernon 49, Chartiers Valley 21 – Chartiers Valley’s trip to “The Beach” was not what they had hoped for their first playoff appearance since 2015. Devin Whitlock ran for 3 TDs and Quinton Martin added three more for the Leopards. Belle Vernon locked down defensively as Jake Haney had 2 interceptions.
Thomas Jefferson 41, Mars 6 – TJ bounced back after losing to McKeesport last week to pound Mars. The Jaguars effectively took WPIAL-leading rusher Teddy Ruffner out of the game by jumping out to a big lead early. Jake Pugh threw 4 TD passes, with 3 of them going to Preston Zandier. Thomas Jefferson reaches the semifinals for the 23rd time in 24 years.
Plum 12, McKeesport 9 – The Mustangs got their first playoff victory since 2014 (when they fell to McKeesport in the quarterfinals). Plum gets some long-awaited revenge for that game in a defensive struggle. Eric Moore scored the decisive touchdown for Plum at the beginning of the third quarter and the Mustangs defense locked down for the rest of the second half.
1. Aliquippa vs 4. Belle Vernon
2. Thomas Jefferson vs 3. Plum
Central Valley 56, East Allegheny 7 – East Allegheny expressed some consternation about their seeding and poked the bear before the game, jawing at Central Valley during warmups. That bold strategy did not work out well as the Mercy Rule was enacted at halftime. Central Valley has mercy rule’d every team they have faced this season. Landon Alexander ran for two TDs in the first quarter and Ameer Dudley tossed 3 TDs to get Central Valley to the semis.
Keystone Oaks 28, South Park 24 – South Park held a 10-0 halftime lead and 24-14 lead at the end of the third quarter, but Keystone Oaks stormed back to take the lead with just over two minutes remaining in the game. With Logan Shrubb limited by an ankle injury, Kevin Drew and Mark Hutchin each ran for 2 TDs, with Hutchin scoring the game-winner.
North Catholic 35, Mt Pleasant 14 – Mt. Pleasant had no answer for North Catholic’s methodical ground game. Joey Prentice opened the game with 2 TD passes to Nick Maher then it was all Trojans on the ground with Kyle Tipinski adding 2 more scores.
Elizabeth Forward 34, Freeport 20 – The buzzsaw that is Elizabeth Forward’s defense flexed their muscles once again as the Warriors jumped out to a 27-0 halftime lead. Nico Mrvos and Kyle Flournoy each ran for 2 TDs to lead the Warriors to their first playoff victory since 2000. Freeport showed some grittiness and came back in the second half thanks to three Ben Lane touchdown passes, but the Yellow Jackets couldn’t overcome the first half deficit.
1. Central Valley vs 4. Keystone Oaks
2. North Catholic vs 3. Elizabeth Forward
Beaver Falls 42, Western Beaver 14 – Beaver Falls wins the Matsook Bowl. Western Beaver was coached by Ryan Matsook who coached Beaver Falls to the WPIAL and PIAA titles in 2016. Josh Hough scored five TDs for the Tigers, including a 97-yarder.
Apollo-Ridge 42, Washington 6 – The Allegheny Conference Champions dominated Washington to win just their 4th playoff game in school history. Washington fumbled on their first three drives which Apollo-Ridge turned into a quick 21-0 lead which they rode to victory.
Serra 21, McGuffey 14 – Terrell Booth scored twice through the air, the second to tie the game with 6 minutes left. Then in the closing seconds, Serra hit a big pass play to Jayvon Campbell-Holt for the game-winning 86-yard touchdown.
— Jeremiah Miller (@Miller_Jay66) October 31, 2020
Sto-Rox 21, Laurel 20 – Laurel jumped out to a 14-0 lead early but Sto-Rox battled back. Laurel had beaten Sto-Rox in conference play each of the last two seasons but the Vikings came back to score the game-winner on a QB sneak late in the 4th quarter.
1. Beaver Falls vs 4. Apollo-Ridge
3. Sto-Rox vs 7. Serra Catholic
Clairton 54, OLSH 20 – Dontae Sanders ran for 428 yards and 6 TDs to lead the Bears to a first round victory over OLSH for the second straight season. Clairton’s dominance in Class A continues as they reach the semifinals for the 15th straight season.
Shenango 28, California 21 – With star RB/LB Reis Watkins still missing the game for Shenango, CJ Miller stepped in and sparked the Wildcats ground game, running for 2 TDs including the game-winner with under a minute left. Ryan Lenhart also had a big performance for the Wildcats with an early pick-six and hauled in a 10-yard TD pass. Shenango held a 21-7 lead with 4 minutes left but Jaeden Zuzak scored twice for Cal to tie the game with under 2 minutes to go.
Rochester 34, Springdale 17 – Rashawn Reid scored 3 first half TDs and Sringdale couldn’t muster much offense to overcome a 28-17 halftime deficit.
Jeannette 62, Avella 14 – Jeannette freshman QB Brad Birch threw for 4 TDs and ran for another as the Jayhawks blew out Avella.
1. Clairton vs 5. Shenango
2. Rochester vs 3. Jeannette