The second round of the WPIAL playoffs took place on Friday night. In 6A, with only 4 teams making the playoffs, this week was the Championship Game. In the other five classifications they played their semifinal games with the Championships set for next weekend. Here are the results and next week’s matchups.
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Championship Game Result
Central Catholic 38, North Allegheny 24 – Central Catholic had no answer for Khalil Dinkins early on as he set up the Tigers second TD and scored the third. But Central battled back from a 21-10 deficit to take a 24-21 halftime lead. Anderson Cynkar returned a kickoff for a touchdown and Eddy Tillman scored twice in the first half for the Vikings, including the go-ahead score. Cynkar found paydirt again in the second half, snatching a tipped pass out of the air from his safety position and taking it back for a pick-six. The Central Catholic defense would put the game away with another interception with under 3 minutes left and Eddy Tillman would cash it in for his third touchdown of the game.
— WPIAL7 (@wpial7) November 7, 2020
Central Catholic completes their revenge tour, defeating both teams that they lost to during the regular season and capture their second consecutive WPIAL title. This is Central Catholic’s 8th WPIAL title all-time.
Pine-Richland 49, Penn-Trafford 14 – Cole Spencer led the Rams to their fourth straight WPIAL final with 338 yards and 3 TDs and added two rushing TDs. Pine-Richland receiver Eli Jochem broke the school record for receptions and was on the receiving end of two of Spencer’s TD passes.
Peters Twp 20, Gateway 19 – Early on, Gateway’s defense came up big for the second week in a row. Diego Bledsoe returned an interception for a touchdown then another interception set up a touchdown right before the half to put Gateway up 19-0. But in the second half Peters Twp came back with a Nico Pate TD then Logan Pfeuffer finding Donovan McMillan. Late in the 4th, Gateway seemed to have a pick-six to put the game away but was flagged for pass interference, giving Peters Twp new life with under a minute to go. Peters would drive inside the 10 and Logan Pfeuffer would hit Corbin Hondru on a slant route for the tying score with 4 seconds left. Peters would hit the extra point and secure the 1-point victory. Incredibly, after playing a 1-point WPIAL Championship Game last year these two once again played a 1-point game this season with Peters overcoming a 19-point second half deficit.
1. Pine-Richland vs 3. Peters Twp
Saturday, November 14 at 7pm
North Allegheny High School
This is a matchup of two teams that were runners-up last season. Pine-Richland is playing in their fourth straight WPIAL final after moving down from 6A this season. Peters Twp reached the WPIAL Championship Game for the first time ever last season.
Aliquippa 33, Belle Vernon 25 – Belle Vernon jumped out to a big early lead thanks to Devin Whitlock scoring on a punt return and on a QB sneak. But Aliquippa battled back from the 19-7 deficit, thanks to two turnovers from their defense that Karl McBride punched in for scores to give the Quips a 20-19 halftime lead. Aliquippa extended the lead on a Vaughn Morris pass to Dorius Moreland and added an exclamation point with a Vernon Redd rushing TD. Devin Whitlock would add another touchdown to cut the lead to one score but the Quips were able to grind out the rest of the clock. Aliquippa advances to the WPIAL Championship Game for a record THIRTEENTH STRAIGHT season.
Aliquippa locker room was live! pic.twitter.com/yOXiBnoiIz
— Brad Everett (@BREAL412) November 7, 2020
Thomas Jefferson 20, Plum 17 – Plum jumped out to a 17-7 lead in the second quarter but cut the lead to 17-13 before halftime on a Jake Pugh rushing touchdown. There was only one second-half score, a Jake Pugh TD pass to Ian Hansen in the third quarter. Plum was driving but fumbled with about 2 minutes to play and TJ was able to run out the clock. Thomas Jefferson reaches the WPIAL Championship Game for the SIXTH straight season.
1. Aliquippa vs 2. Thomas Jefferson
Saturday, November 14 at 1pm
North Allegheny High School
Two of the most storied programs in WPIAL history will meet for the 4A Championship. This will be Aliquippa’s 13th straight WPIAL title game and Thomas Jefferson’s sixth straight title game.
Central Valley 70, Keystone Oaks 14 – Central Valley has won all 9 of their games by Mercy Rule this season. Ameer Dudley accounted for 5 total TDs – throwing for 4 TDs and running for another. Pitt-commit Stephon Hall scored on a receiving touchdown and on a kick return. Landon Alexander scored twice. Incredibly, Central Valley scored on a run, a pass, a punt return, a kickoff return, a fumble return, and an interception return.
Elizabeth Forward 17, North Catholic 0 – In a defensive struggle, Elizabeth Forward led 3-0 at halftime then extended the lead to 10-0 after a North Catholic turnover early in the second half. Nico Mrvos was the star of the show for Elizabeth Forward, scoring in the 4th quarter to put the game away. Elizabeth Foward’s defensive front, led by Chase Whatton, absolutely dominated the game. North Catholic’s offense was never able to get going against the Warriors defense and committed 4 second-half turnovers. Elizabeth Forward advances to their first WPIAL final in school history.
EF advances to the WPIAL Class 3A championship game for the first time in program history.!!! pic.twitter.com/Lou6DLmY5G
— Elizabeth Forward HS (@EFWarriors) November 7, 2020
1. Central Valley vs 3. Elizabeth Forward
Friday, November 13 at 7pm
North Allegheny High School
Central Valley is the defending WPIAL 3A Champions and have reached the WPIAL final 6 times in 11 years since the merger of Center and Monaca in 2010. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Forward will play in their first title game in school history.
Beaver Falls 50, Apollo-Ridge 27 – Beaver Falls is known for their rushing attack but it was their passing game that was the difference in the first half. Jaren Brickner threw for 143 yards and 2 TDs to lead the Tigers to a 22-6 halftime lead. Apollo-Ridge took to the air in the second half and cut into the lead, but Beaver Falls’ rushing game was too much as Shileak Livingston and Josh Hough each scored to keep the Tigers lead secure. Hough finished with 358 yards and 3 TDs.
Sto-Rox 49, Serra Catholic 38 – This game was billed as a shootout and lived up to the hype. Serra scored on the first play of the game and it was a back-and-forth affair from there. In the first half alone, Max Rocco threw 3 TD passes for Serra while Austin Jones threw for a TD and ran for another for Sto-Rox. Rocco’s third TD pass came with just 7 seconds left in the half to cut the Sto-Rox lead to 21-19. The teams would trade touchdowns in the third quarter with Serra taking a 32-28 lead to the fourth quarter. In the final frame, Sto-Rox’s offense would explode with 21 points in 5 1/2 minutes. Austin Jones hit former QB Josh Jenkins for the go-ahead score then Zay Davis tacking on a 38-yard touchdown run. Jones would throw another touchdown pass, his 5th of the night (along with the rushing TD) to stretch the lead to 49-32 with 6 and a half minutes left. Serra would add a late touchdown but it would not be enough to overcome the Vikings.
1. Beaver Falls vs 3. Sto-Rox
Saturday, November 14 at 5pm
Martorelli Stadium (North Hills)
The best ground game in 2A will take on the best passing game in 2A with the WPIAL title on the line. Sto-Rox reaches the WPIAL final in back-to-back years, an incredible accomplishment considering they moved up from 1A to 2A this season.
Clairton 55, Shenango 16 – Clairton dominated Shenango to reach the WPIAL Championship game for the second straight year. Shenango’s defense had no answer for Clairton’s dynamic offensive attack. Dontae Sanders scored 3 touchdowns (1 on a screen pass and 2 rushing) and finished with 166 yards. Jonte Sanders threw for 160 yards and 2 TDs and ran for 119 yards and a score. Clairton’s defense also put 2 touchdowns on the board with a pick-six and a fumble recovery in the end zone.
Jeannette 40, Rochester 14 – This was the fourth playoff meeting in the last five years between these two schools. Brad Birch hooked up with his brother Brett for two first half TDs as Jeannette led 19-14 at halftime. The Birch brothers hooked up again in the third quarter to extend the Jayhawks lead. Roberto Smith added two rushing TDs as the Jayhawks earn a rematch with rival Clairton in the WPIAL Championship Game.
1. Clairton vs 3. Jeannette
Saturday, November 14 at 11am
Martorelli Stadium (North Hills)
Just like the 1A season started, it will end, with Clairton taking on Jeannette. Since moving down from AA to Class A in 2014, Jeannette is 75-3 against all opponents not named “Clairton.” Clairton is 8-2 against Jeannette in that timespan and won a hard-fought 8-point game earlier this season.