It’s November here in western Pennsylvania, and with Pitt Football and the Pittsburgh Steelers flowing deep into their seasons, high school football is heading towards the playoffs, where six classifications will be contested for WPIAL championship glory and a spot in the The PIAA State playoff fight will be December.
Mike Drakulich, who covers Pitt Football and the Pittsburgh Steelers for NGSC Sports (@PghSportsNation), predicts the winners of the championship games.
Feel free to “beat the expert” and leave your comments on who you think will win weekly!
The WPIAL Championships. That’s what every team in western Pennsylvania strives for when training begins in the hot August days.
Judgment day is here and games are taking place at Acrisure Stadium, where four teams will have a championship game through Friday night.
All games can be watched on HSSN by Trib Live.
Class 1A WPIAL Championship Game
At 11:00 am
No. 1 Bishop Canevin (12-1) vs. No. 10 Union (10-3)
Players to watch:
Bishop Canevin’s Kole Olszewski has 1,373 passing yards, with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. Marquis Carter has 1,545 rushing yards. WR Xavier Nelson has 39 catches for 1,230 yards and 22 total touchdowns.
Scotties QB Braylon Thomas has 981 yards in passing, with 10 TDs, 10 INTs, 1,168 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns.
Bishop Canevin dropped the season opener against Steelton-Highspire but has been perfect since. Union have defied all odds as the No. 10 seed and are looking to take their luck one step closer to the league title.
- The selection: Bishop Canevin Crusaders
Class 2A WPIAL Championship Game
No. 1 Steel Valley (11-0) vs. No. 2 Beaver Falls (11-1)
Players to watch:
Beaver Falls QB Jaren Brickner has 1,175 passing yards, 15 TDs and eight INTs. Brickner also has 652 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns.
Steel Valley’s Cruce Brookins has 31 touchdowns and 1,454 rushing yards this year.
Steel Valley faced their toughest test in the season opener when they defeated Sto-Rox 27-24…they’ve crushed every opponent since. Beaver Falls had one loss this year, that to Beaver, and like their opponents across the field, the Tigers crushed every other team they faced. It’s going to be an epic fight.
- The selection: Beaver Falls Tigers
WPIAL Class 3A Championship
At 5:00 p.m
No.1 Belle Vernon (9-2) vs. No.2 Avonworth (11-1)
Players to watch:
Belle Vernon’s Quentin Martin has rushed for 1,099 yards, has 24 receptions for 342 yards and 26 touchdowns.
Avonworth QB Nate Harper has 1,403 passing yards with 18 TDs and nine interceptions. RB Luke Hilyard has 1,294 yards on the ground with 18 touchdowns.
Belle Vernon started 2-1, her losses went to McKeesport and Penn-Trafford, but has tattooed every opponent since. Avonworth has only one defeat on his resume coming to Central Valley. Like the 2A finals, this will be a back and forth, but in the end it will be the Leopards who recoup last season’s championship loss.
- The selection: Belle Vernon leopards
WPIAL Class 4A Championship
At 8:00 p.m
No. 1 Aliquippa (10-0) vs. No. 2 Central Valley (10-1)
Players to watch:
The Warriors Antwon Johnson has thrown for 1,315 yards with 16 touchdowns and six picks. RB Bret Fitzsimmons has 30 touchdowns and 1,723 rushing yards.
Aliquippa QB Quentin Goode has 1,655 passing yards, with 18 touchdown passes and only three interceptions. RB Tiqwai Hayes has rushed for 1,669 yards with 28 touchdowns.
The game everyone will be waiting for.
Aliquippa will play in the championship game for the 15th year in a row.
Those two rivals met in the regular-season finals earlier this year, and at halftime the Warriors were up ten points…then the Quips took over in the 2nd half en route to a 35-24 win.
Pretty much everyone knew this was going to be the championship game. A day of great gaming is crowned with the best of them all.
- The selection: Aliquippa Quips
PIAA Class 6A State Playoffs
Quarterfinals at 7:00 p.m. at State College HS
North Allegheny vs. State College
- The selection: North Allegheny
PIAA Class 5A State Playoffs
Quarterfinals at 7pm at Pine-Richland HS
Erie Cathedral Prep vs. Pine-Richland
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As editor of Pittsburgh SportsNation, Mike Drakulich provides premier opinion and coverage of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pittsburgh Pirates, Pitt Panthers Football & Basketball, Robert Morris Colonials Basketball, and Duquesne Dukes Basketball, as well as all sports teams representing Western Pennsylvania, including WPIAL High School Football.
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