Tough road for area playoff teams
11/3/2009 3:31 AM
By Mike Kovak, Staff writer
CORAOPOLIS - Last year, the WPIAL football playoffs were unkind to teams from Washington and Greene counties. Of the nine teams that qualified, none advanced to the quarterfinals.
Monessen, the lone local team to win a playoff game, was bounced in the second round.
Some familiar faces - Trinity, Beth-Center, Carmichaels, McGuffey, Fort Cherry and Monessen - are back for another postseason try this year and they're joined by some fresh faces in Washington, Burgettstown, Jefferson-Morgan and South Fayette.
One thing is certain for each of the 10 local participants: advancing won't be easy. Not even for South Fayette, the No. 1 seed in the Class AA bracket. The Lions (9-0), undefeated and untied at the end of the regular season for the first time since 1936, face a stern test in Beaver (5-4). Three of the Bobcats' losses came in Midwestern Conference play against Aliquippa, Beaver Falls and Center.
"Beaver is a good team. They're not your traditional 16 seed," South Fayette coach Joe Rossi said. "They beat Sto-Rox last year in the first round and Sto-Rox won our league, so we know we've got our hands full."
With four 10-team conferences in Class AA, the bracket isn't littered with sub.-500 teams, like Class AAAA where six teams with losing records qualified.
"There's none of that here. With 10-team leagues, you know you're getting a good team in the first round," Rossi said. "We're scared to death of Beaver. They're a big, strong team."
That's what Trinity (4-5), winners of three straight, faces in its Class AAA first-round game at Mars (6-3).
The Planets, seeded seventh, won the Greater Allegheny Conference while the Hillers had to win their final two games in the Big Seven Conference to get into the postseason after a 1-5 start.
"A couple weeks ago, we were just looking to get better," Trinity coach Ed Dalton said. "We had a good game in Week 7. Then we wanted to play two good games in a row and we did. Then, we won another one. I've always said if you win three in a row or lose three in a row, it's like you never won before or lost before."
Washington, in the Class AA playoffs for the first time since 2005, must play No. 3 seed Center (8-1) to advance.
The Prexies (6-3), who rallied for fourth-quarter victories against Jeannette and Charleroi before coming up two-points short last week at McGuffey, were 3-2 on the road during the regular season.
"The guys have gained confidence every week through the whole year," Prexies coach Mike Bosnic said. "We talked about how we're playing right after last week's game (at McGuffey). We didn't win but we feel we can play with anybody."
In 2005, Washington received the No. 14 seed and played at No. 3 seed Aliquippa. The Prexies won, 7-0.
McGuffey will attempt to knock out Aliquippa in the first round this year as the No. 8 Highlanders (7-2) host No. 9 Aliquippa (8-1).
In Class A road games, Carmichaels (4-5) faces top-seeded Rochester (9-0); Burgettstown (4-5) plays at No. 2 seed Laurel (8-1) and Jefferson-Morgan (7-2) faces No. 4 North Catholic (7-2).
In Class A home games, Tri-County South champion Monessen (7-2) hosts Springdale (7-2). The Greyhounds garnered the fifth seed. Fort Cherry (7-2) takes a three-game win streak into the playoffs to earn a No. 8 seed and home game versus Brentwood (5-4).
No. 7 Beth-Center (7-2) hosts a playoff game for the fourth time in five years against Serra Catholic (7-2).
Friday, Nov. 6
All Games 7:30 p.m.
- Trinity at Mars
- Washington at Center
- Aliquippa at McGuffey
- Beaver at South Fayette
- Carmichaels at Rochester
- Jeff-Morgan at N. Catholic
- Springdale at Monessen
- Brentwood at Fort Cherry
- Serra at Beth-Center
- Burgettstown at Laurel
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