Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Quick Hits: Peters Township in a must-win situation

The Southeastern Conference has become everything we expected. The top three teams are set – Woodland Hills, Penn Hills and Mt. Lebanon. The fifth spot is wide open. Well, sort of.

Peters Township (1-4, 2-4) is in contention after a victory over Canon-McMillan, but so are two other teams. Upper St. Clair and Bethel Park are in position to grab the four and fifth spots unless the unexpected happens.

That would include USC losing to Canon-McMillan and Peters Township upsetting Bethel Park in Week 8. We can’t even have that discussion unless the Indians defeat Baldwin this week.

Peters Township and the Highlanders face off Friday night at 7:30 p.m. Baldwin was the talk of the WPIAL throughout the preseason with 6-8 lineman Sterling Jenkins, a Penn State recruit. The buzz has not translated on the field.

Baldwin is averaging just 16 points per game and its defense is allowing over 37. That does not translate to wins. Peters Township is a different story. This team has a lot of talent, but much of it is young. Quarterback Cory Owen gives the Indians a chance to win every game and there is some great leadership on both sides of the ball.

We can't forget about the wild card spot in either. There is a somewhat complicated system to determine the fifth spot in Class AAA and Quad-A. Here it is:

To determine the wild-card teams, the following system is used:
All potential qualifiers and tiebreakers will be based on the results of the following games:

  •        Northern Eight Conference –7 Conference games + 1 game vs. Southeastern Conference
  •         Southeastern Conference – 7 Conference games + 1 game vs. Northern Eight Conference
  •         Foothills Conference – 8 section games

1.       Overall record of the 8 games defined above.
a.       If three teams are tied, head-to-head competition is applied, but only in the remote possibility that a team from the Northern Eight Conference played and defeated the teams in the Southeastern Conference and 3 that they are tied with for either third or sixth place.
b.   If there is a tie, you go with the Gardner Point System for the games above.
c. If that doesn't work, go with the WPIAL point differential system, which is a maximum of 10 for a win and 10 for a loss. (If you beat a team 14-8, you get eight points. If you lose 14-7, you lose 7)
d. If you still have a tie, you do it the old fashion way - flip a coin.

Peters Township can't think about the Wild Card. No team should consider it. That formula is too diverse to map that out. All teams can do is keep on winning.

It's going to be exciting to see how Peters Township responds on Friday. Their playoff hopes can last one more week if chips fall the right way.

South Fayette at Sto-Rox

The Vikings are the one of the saddest story in the WPIAL this season. Ok, that’s an exaggeration, but the mishap that placed the program in Class AA has been crippling.

The team is low on numbers and experience. The great senior class that led Sto-Rox to Heinz Field is gone and so is its head coach. That has not stopped the Vikings from starting some friendly trash talk with South Fayette at the beginning of the season.

We’ll get to see if they back it up Friday night.  Joe Rossi and company are well-aware that 
Seton-LaSalle and Quaker Valley are left on the schedule. Those are far from lay-up games, so don’t expect SF to overlook Sto-Rox.

Another blow out and an appearance by the Lions’ junior varsity squad is very likely.

Waynesburg at Southmoreland

Can the Raiders continue this year’s feel good story in Class AA? The short answer is yes. Waynesburg must defeat the Scotties Friday to secure a playoff spot and I see that happening.

They are too strong up front and Hunter Cenname is too deadly of a weapon for Southmoreland to stop. The Scotties had high expectations entering the season, but they have struggled heavily since almost losing to Charleroi in Week 1.

I have yet to receive an update on John Glen Davis’ status for this week, but even without him, I like Waynesburg to win and make the playoffs. The Raiders are too good of a team to miss the playoffs again.

Chartiers-Houston at Brentwood

While people will be keeping their eyes peeled for how Avonworth handles North Catholic, the Bucs have a shot to make the postseason in the Black Hills Conference. C-H has won games with a great defensive effort and by playing great on special teams.

If the Bucs could find more consistency on offense, they’d be a force to reckon with. Beating Brentwood would secure a playoff spot, which would definitely make Terry Fetsko happy. I’m sure he doesn’t want his playoff hopes resting on the Week 9 game against Fort Cherry for the second straight year.

Avella at Beth-Center

The Bulldogs are on a roll. The Eagles just had a dominating victory over Wilkinsburg. Yes, B-C has Anthony Welsh, but it won’t have two of its starting linemen. The replacements played well against Frazier, but I’m curious how they respond against an Avella team that is hungry for another playoff appearance.

The Eagles are going to be able to run the football and will need to be multidimensional with Santino Paris at quarterback. This is a perfect opportunity for Avella. Let’s see how they respond. Stopping Beth-Center's rushing attack will be the answer to knocking them off. Can anyone do that? I'm not so sure.

I've seen B-C play twice this season and in both games, I did not see Welsh get tackled by one player. It took multiple defenders to take him down. He's simply stronger than everyone else on the field.

Truly a candidate for Player of the Year and reminds me of Fort Cherry grad Koltan Kobrys.

New Brighton at Wash High

Yes, it’s a non-conference game. Yes, Aliquippa defeated New Brighton by 41 points, but the Lions 
(5-1, 5-1) are averaging more than 39 points per game and are loaded with talent.

Running back Scott Florence has rushed for 768 yards on 88 attempts for 16 touchdowns. Like Wash High, New Brighton’s team identity is size and strength. The Lions want to be known as a true 
contender in AA, while Wash High wants to run the table.

This is the non-conference game of the week and a great preview for the WPIAL playoffs. Let’s see how Wash High stacks up.

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