With just two weeks left in the WPIAL regular season, the playoff races have started to take shape. After we interviewed Jacque DeMatteo last week, Hampton became the first team to clinch a conference championship by beating Indiana. A number of other teams clinched playoff spots this week, while a few races had big wrenches thrown into them. Check out all of the playoff scenarios heading into Week 8. One of those was in the 5A Northeast Conference where North Hills beat Pine-Richland for the first time since 2013. That 2013 season was Pat Carey’s first year as Indians head coach after he took over for legendary Jack McCurry. We were fortunate enough to interview Coach Carey this week after North Hills’ big win over the defending State Champions. We also talked about the playoff pictures across all of the classifications and answered a number of great questions from viewers.
WPIAL Blitz Show Player of the Week Presented by Brute Athletic
Wyatt Ringer (QB-Beaver)
Congratulations to our Brute Athletic Player of the Week Wyatt Ringer from Beaver. The Bobcats have been one of the resurgent teams in the WPIAL this season. After finishing near the bottom of the Parkway Conference last year, Beaver has now knocked off New Castle and Chartiers Valley. Chartiers Valley finished second in the conference last year, so this win puts Beaver in position to make the playoffs with a win this week over Montour. Wyatt has been the catalyst for Beaver’s offense all season, and on Friday night he had 164 rushing yards and 4 TDs along with 94 passing yards and a touchdown. His final rushing touchdown as the game-winner in overtime to give Beaver the decisive 35-28 lead. Check out his highlights from Beaver’s big win over Chartiers Valley:
There were a number of great performances this week. We had our first SIX touchdown performance of the season as Serra Catholic QB Max Rocco threw for 233 yards and 6 TDs, with 4 of them going to Terrell Booth. The WPIAL’s leading rusher, Steel Valley’s NiJhay Burt had his third 5 TD performance of the season, extending his lead by running for 251 yards. Franklin Regional QB Connor Donnelly engineered an epic comeback from a 40-14 deficit to beat Latrobe 41-40. Donnelly threw for 290 yards and 3 TDs and had a 4th quarter rushing TD. West Allegheny kicker Brayden Lambert hit not one but TWO field goals of over 40 yards, booting a 42 and 41-yarder in a 28-0 victory over South Fayette.
Highlands got themselves back into the 4A playoff conversation thanks to Chandler Thimons running for 130 yards and 3 TDs and throwing a touchdown in the Rams win over Armstrong. Quinton Martin returned to Belle Vernon’s lineup in a big way with 181 rushing yards and 2 TDs plus two more receiving touchdowns. Not to be outdone, his teammate Devin Whitlock threw for 177 yards and 3 TDs and added a punt return touchdown. Hampton’s Brock Borgo ran for 173 yards and 4 TDs as the Talbots clinched the conference title. Last week’s Player of the Week Julian Dugger threw three touchdown passes to his brother Jaden Dugger and ran in another score as Penn Hills topped Fox Chapel. In 1A, Springdale’s Logan Dexter has returned from injury and scored 4 total TDs – 2 rushing, 1 receiving and 1 fumble return.
WPIAL Food Drive
The WPIAL has partnered with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank to conduct a food drive over the next two weeks across Western Pennsylvania. People are able to participate in two ways, through donations of food items at schools and games and by making online donations. Donors of both food items and monetary contributions can designate a school to receive the “credit” for their donations, and the schools with the most meals donated ($1 = 5 meals) will receive recognition at the annual Sportsmanship Summit. See the tweet below for more information.
Gooooooooood morning! Today's the start of the WPIAL Food Drive! 🙌
Over the next two weeks, our member schools will be collecting physical and monetary donations for the @PghFoodBank! Please spread the word!
— WPIAL7 (@wpial7) October 11, 2021