Sunday, October 5, 2014

Close win over BV could be costly for Ringgold

Who expected Ringgold to struggle so badly against Belle Vernon? I know I didn’t, but it does make sense.

The Leopards are stronger up front than people think and the return of Matt Humbert did create a lot of pressure for the Rams. A blowout victory would have them ranked among the top four teams in Class AAA, but a win is a win.

We are getting to that point in the season where the scores of games begin to matter more with the Gardner Points system. A four-point victory over Belle Vernon makes Ringgold’s Week 8 game with Elizabeth Forward very important.

The Rams cannot afford to lose. Class AAA is strong so costing yourself a possible home playoff game could hurt badly. You will also draw a tougher opponent, which is never easy after a grueling regular season schedule.

Maybe a close loss was good for the Rams. It shows them that there are areas of their game to clean up and I don’t expect Nico Law to struggle like that again this season. It’s not the norm. With him and junior running back Chacar Berry, Ringgold’s offense is still one of the most deadly in AAA.

Locking up a home playoff game is the next step.

Beth Center
The Bulldogs needed the win over Frazier. Badly. The scrutiny surrounding the Tri-County South is growing louder by the week so B-C needs to put the committee in a position where they have no choice but to give the Bulldogs a favorable road in Class A.

There is a big difference between facing Avonworth in the second round and running into the Clairton buzz saw. This week is going to be a major test for Beth-Center. Avella is getting better and B-C will be missing two starting linemen who were ejected against the Commodores.

If the Bulldogs can escape that game with a victory, look for them to run the table and set themselves up nicely for the postseason.

The Hillers pulled off a big win against Uniontown, which has given good teams close games. Trinity is not mathematically eliminated from playoff contention quite yet. It must defeat West Mifflin and Ringgold in weeks 8 and 9.

Will that happen? Probably not, but at least the Hillers did not go down without a fight. After last season’s result, Trinity needed somewhat of a bounce back year and it has definitely been an improvement.

South Fayette
Steel Valley played South Fayette tough in the opening minutes of Friday’s game, but the Lions pulled away. It’s going to be too difficult for most teams to keep up with SF.

I haven’t gotten to see Seton-LaSalle play yet this season, but I anticipate the two teams’ Week 8 match up being closer than expected. With a top seed in the Class AA playoffs likely, the Lions could use a real test. It is looking like a South Fayette/Aliquippa rematch at Heinz Field is bound to happen.

Wash High may have something to say about that. The Prexies have a big test this week in a non-conference game against New Brighton. We'll find out where they stand.

After facing North Catholic and Avonworth to start the season, the Bucs have been on a roll. C-H’s win over OLSH makes this week’s game against Brentwood a playoff game.

If the Bucs win, they’ll be in the playoffs. The Week 9 game against Fort Cherry could be important, but only if C-H loses at Brentwood.

The Maples all-but-clinched the third playoff spot in the conference with a victory over Jefferson-Morgan Friday. That leaves four other teams vying for the final spot, which should be labeled, “The Clairton Bowl.” Whichever team takes the fourth and final seed will likely draw the Bears on Halloween Night.

Carmichaels is ahead of the pack with Bentworth, Jefferson-Morgan and Avella still alive.

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