I know I will be at Baldwin for South Fayette-Seton-La Salle, which figures to be a battle of two similarly dominant teams. I asked South Fayette coach Joe Rossi Wednesday night whether there was anything to Week 5 being such an eventful week, likening it to Game 5 of a seven-game series in professional sports -- what many often call the heartbreaker of a series.
Rossi, as you might expect, wasn't having much of it. Tunnel vision, all the way. But he did acknowledge that South Fayette, Seton-La Salle, Washington and Jeannette are all at least WPIAL Class AA quarterfinalists, maybe more depending on whether or not one of them can knock off Aliquippa.
"I think it’s the way it shakes out," Rossi said of the glut of good games. "We played Seton at the end of the year last year. Had some 8-0 vs. 8-0 battles with them in 2009 and 2010.
"Either way, win or lose, these two teams are going to go deep into the playoffs. Same with Washington and Jeannette. All four teams, win or lose, are still going to be quarterfinals-slash-semifinal-candidates. All four of these teams are going to find themselves in that position."
Five to watch:
QB Brett Brumbaugh, South Fayette -- The sophomore signal caller is playing his brother, Luke, who's a senior quarterback for fellow Class AA heavyweight Seton-La Salle. The Lions lost to the Rebels twice last season, including in the Class AA quarterfinals when Brett Brumbaugh threw the interceptions.
RB Demetrius Louis, Ringgold -- Washington RB Shai McKenzie gets a lot of attention and for good reason. But don't sleep on Louis, the area's other standout back. He's matched up against the WPIAL leader in rushing this week in West Mifflin's Jim Wheeler (882 yards, 10 TD). Expect Louis to hold his own.
RB Josh Mundell, Carmichaels -- The Mikes have gotten the tough part of their Tri-County South schedule out of the way with Jefferson-Morgan, Frazier and Beth-Center; only Avella in Week 7 remains. He should have a chance to pick up a bunch of yards against Mapletown.
QB Chavas Rawlins, Monessen -- Think the WVU recruit wants a bounce-back game? Rawlins completed just 3 of 12 passes for 61 yards and ran 10 times for seven yards and a touchdown during a 52-loss to Clairton last Thursday. Uncharacteristically quiet on Twitter most of this week, my guess is Rawlins is plotting his revenge against Bishop Canevin.
LB Garret Vulcano, Chartiers-Houston -- The Bucs host Brentwood this week, and that means devising a plan to stop RB Justin Vickless, who has a WPIAL-leading 109 carries for 658 yards and eight touchdowns. Vulcano, meanwhile, averages 16 tackles per game and had an interception during last week's loss to Imani Christian.
Game to watch (other than the GOTW): Jeannette at Wash High, Friday, 7 p.m.
We didn't really have a GOTW given how insanely good this week's schedule of games is, which is the focus of my story in Friday's Observer-Reporter. This will basically crown the Class AA Interstate Conference champion. Two 4-0 teams, two teams that love to run the ball. Funny how last year Wash High surprised everyone by winning eight games, but now the Prexies are expected to contend with the Jayhawks. I know I personally think that they can.
Team with the most to gain: Trinity (at Laurel Highlands, Friday, 7:30 p.m.)
The Hillers could quietly move to 3-1 in the Class AAA Big Nine Conference, with the fourth playoff spot very much in reach. Figure TJ, West Mifflin and Ringgold will be there at the end. Trinity can better its chances of getting that final slot by taking care of business against winless Laurel Highlands.
Team with the most to lose: Chartiers-Houston (vs. Brentwood, Friday, 7:30 p.m.)
The Bucs have played all the good teams close -- a two-point game against Clairton, Bishop Canevin six, Imani Christian two. But they're still three losses. At this point, Chartiers-Houston needs more than moral victories. It will be extremely tough to make the playoffs at 5-4, which is what C-H would have to have happen if its loses this week AND finishes with wins against Carlynton, at California, at Monessen and home against Fort Cherry to close the season.
Sleeper pick of the weekend: Monessen (at Bishop Canevin, Friday, 7:30 p.m.)
I took the Greyhounds to play Clairton close ... and maybe win. I was wrong, of course, on both counts. But I like Monessen to respond against Bishop Canevin. As I wrote above with QB Chavas Rawlins, I think the thought of redemption isn't unique to Rawlins; an upset here could really jumble the Class A Black Hills Conference.