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Playoff hopefuls need to take control

Posted Wednesday, October 28, 2009 by Ed Dalton

Playoff hopefuls need to take control

10/28/2009 3:32 AM

Win and you're in. All any high school football team can ask for at this time of year is to control its own destiny. For some, that has been accomplished. For others, it's a weird world out there.

Take the Trinity Hillers, for example. Ringgold comes to town Friday night. Trinity can win and not make the postseason. The Hillers can lose and get an invitation to the WPIAL party. It's a weird world out there.

Of the 19 Washington-Greene football teams, four have clinched berths with another eight in the running. Three of those teams - Carmichaels, Chartiers-Houston and Washington - are in control of their own fate. Win and they're in the playoffs. For the other five, fate rests partly in someone else's hands.

The top four teams in each of the WPIAL's 16 conferences make the playoffs based on record, head-to-head competition, Gardner points, WPIAL tiebreaker points and the rarely used coin flip. The first round will be played at the home field of the top two teams in each conference with quarterfinal and semifinal rounds at neutral, artificial surface sites. The WPIAL Championships will be at Heinz Field Thanksgiving weekend with a four-game feeding frenzy for football fanatics.

Here's a breakdown of all 16 conferences (records are conference records):

Class AAAA

Foothills: Gateway (5-0) at McKeesport (5-0). Winner is first, loser second. Latrobe (3-2) is third. The Norwin (2-3) at Penn-Trafford (2-3) winner is fourth.

Big East: Woodland Hills (4-0), Penn Hills (3-1) and Central Catholic (3-1) have all clinched. Woodland Hills is first with a home win against Penn Hills. Penn Hills is first with a win plus a CC loss to Fox Chapel. Tiebreaker points will be needed if Penn Hills and CC both win (Woodland Hills +40, Penn Hills +20, Central Catholic +20). The Plum (1-3) at Kiski (1-3) winner is fourth.

Great Southern: Bethel Park (4-0) is first. Upper St. Clair (2-2) is at Mt. Lebanon (3-1). Both teams have clinched. Mt. Lebanon is second with a win. Upper St. Clair is second with a win plus a Baldwin loss at Bethel Park. Baldwin (2-2) clinches with a win or a Canon-McMillan loss. Canon-McMillan (1-3) clinches with a win at Peters Township plus a Baldwin loss.

Northern Six: North Allegheny (4-0) is first. Shaler (3-1) is second. Seneca Valley (2-2) has clinched and is third with a home win over Butler or with a North Allegheny win over North Hills. North Hills (2-2) has clinched and is third with a win plus a Butler win.

Class AAA

Big Seven: Thomas Jefferson (5-0) is first and Chartiers Valley (5-1) second. Belle Vernon (2-3) clinches with a home win vs. Elizabeth Forward or with West Mifflin and Trinity losses. West Mifflin (2-3) clinches with a home win over Thomas Jefferson. Trinity (2-3) clinches with a home win against Ringgold and a win by either Elizabeth Forward or Thomas Jefferson. Ringgold (1-4) can clinch with a win at Trinity and wins by Thomas Jefferson and Belle Vernon. Elizabeth Forward (1-4) can clinch with a win at Belle Vernon and wins by Thomas Jefferson and Ringgold. In this case, Belle Vernon would be third and tiebreaker points would decide fourth (Belle Vernon +1, West Mifflin -24, Trinity -10, Ringgold -22, EF -21).

Parkway: Hopewell (5-0) is first. West Allegheny (4-1), Montour (3-2) and New Castle (4-2) have clinched. West Allegheny is second with a home win against Montour or with a loss of six points or less. Montour is second with a win of seven points or more. New Castle is third with a West Allegheny win.

Greater Allegheny: Mars (3-1), Franklin Regional (3-1), Knoch (3-1) and Hampton (2-2) have clinched. Mars is first with a win at Knoch. Franklin Regional is first with a win over Indiana plus a Knoch win. Knoch is first with a win plus an Indiana win.

Keystone: Greensburg Salem (5-0) is first. Uniontown (4-1) plays at Laurel Highlands (3-2) and both have clinched. Uniontown is second with a win. Laurel Highlands is second with a win plus a Greensburg Salem win vs. Derry (3-2). Derry has clinched, and is second with a win plus a Laurel Highlands win.

Class AA

Allegheny: Shady Side Academy (7-1), Freeport (7-1) and Burrell (6-2) have clinched. SSA is first with win at Deer Lakes. Freeport is first with win at Summit Academy plus a Deer Lakes win. The Ford City (6-2) at Kittanning (5-3) winner clinches.

Century: South Fayette (8-0) is first. Keystone Oaks (7-1) is second. Sto-Rox (6-2) has clinched. Steel Valley (5-3) is in with home win over South Park (4-4). South Park makes the playoffs with win plus a South Fayette win over Bishop Canevin. Bishop Canevin (4-4) clinches with win plus South Park and Keystone Oaks wins. (Three-way tie broken by Gardner points).

Interstate: Mt. Pleasant (8-0) is first and visits Charleroi (5-3). McGuffey (6-2) hosts Washington (6-2) and Greensburg Central Catholic (6-2) travels to Jeannette (5-3) as the top six teams square off. McGuffey takes second with a win, fourth with a loss. If the Little Prexies win, they are second if Jeannette wins, otherwise third. Washington is out with a loss plus Mt. Pleasant and Jeannette wins. GCC clinches with a win or a McGuffey win. The Centurions finish third with a win and a McGuffey victory, but fourth with a loss, plus McGuffey and Mt. Pleasant wins. Jeannette is out with a loss, and needs either a Washington win or a Mt. Pleasant win to clinch a berth.

Midwestern: Beaver Falls (6-1), Center (6-1), Aliquippa (6-1) and Beaver (5-2) each have clinched. Beaver Falls at New Brighton, Aliquippa at Freedom, and Beaver at Center will determine final order. Beaver Falls lost to Center, the Trojans to Aliquippa, and the Indians to Beaver Falls. Tiebreaker points (if all three win) are Center +59, Beaver Falls +47, Aliquippa +41. If the top three all lose, it's Beaver Falls, Aliquippa, Beaver, Center.

Class A

Big 7: Rochester (6-0) is first. Laurel (5-1) second and Monaca (4-2) third. Two Saturday games - South Side Beaver (3-3) at Western Beaver (2-4) and Shenango (3-3) at Laurel - will decide the fourth spot. South Side is in with a win. Western takes fourth with a win plus a Laurel win. Shenango is in with a win plus a Western win.

Eastern: Avonworth (5-1) is at North Catholic (6-0). The winner is first. North Catholic is second with a loss. Brentwood (4-2) has clinched. The Riverview (3-3) at Springdale (4-2) winner is in. Springdale can finish as high as second.

Black Hills: Clairton (6-0) hosts Serra Catholic (5-1). Both have clinched and the winner is first. Fort Cherry (4-2) has clinched and takes second with win at Chartiers-Houston (3-3) plus a Clairton win. The Rangers are fourth with a loss. Chartiers-Houston (3-3) is in with a win or with an Avella win over Burgettstown. Burgettstown (2-4) qualifies with a win plus a Fort Cherry victory.

Tri-County South: Monessen (6-0) is first, Beth-Center (5-1) is second and Jefferson-Morgan (4-2) third. Carmichaels (3-3) is fourth with a win at West Greene or a California loss at Monessen. California (3-3) is fourth with a win plus a Carmichaels loss.

Bob Gregg is sports director at WJPA Radio.

Copyright Observer Publishing Co.

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