It’s November here in Western Pennsylvania, and with Pitt football and the Pittsburgh Steelers flowing deep into their seasons, high school football is headed for the playoffs, where six classifications will be vying for WPIAL Championship glory, and a berth in the PIAA State playoffs in 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. It’s what every team in Western Pennsylvania strives for when practice begins in the hot days of August.
The day of reckoning is here, and the games are set at Acrisure Stadium, where four teams will raise a championship by Friday night.
All games can be viewed on Trib Live’s HSSN.
Friday, November 25th
WPIAL Class 1A Championship Game
At 11:00 am
#1 Bishop Canevin (12-1) vs #10 Union (10-3)
Players to watch:
Bishop Canevin’s Kole Olszewski has 1,373 yards passing, with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. Marquis Carter has 1,545 yards rushing. WR Xavier Nelson has 39 catches for 1,230 yards and 22 total touchdowns.
The Scotties QB Braylon Thomas has 981 yards passing, with 10 TD’s, 10 INT’s, 1,168 yards rushing, and 15 touchdowns.
Bishop Canevin dropped the season opener to Steelton-Highspire, but has been perfect since. Union has defied all odds as the #10 seed and look to take their luck one step farther to championship glory.
- The Pick: Bishop Canevin Crusaders
WPIAL Class 2A Championship Game
At 2:00 pm
#1 Steel Valley (11-0) vs #2 Beaver Falls (11-1)
Players to watch:
Beaver Falls QB Jaren Brickner has 1,175 yards passing, 15 TD’s and eight INT’s. Brickner also has 652 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns.
Steel Valley’s Cruce Brookins has 31 touchdowns this year, and 1,454 yards rushing.
Steel Valley faced their toughest test in the season opener by beating Sto-Rox 27-24… since then they have steamrolled every opponent. Beaver Falls had one loss this year, that to Beaver, and like their foes across the field, the Tigers have also crushed every other team that they have faced. This is going to be an epic battle.
- The Pick: Beaver Falls Tigers
WPIAL Class 3A Championship
At 5:00 pm
#1 Belle Vernon (9-2) vs #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 yards passing with 18 TD’s and nine interceptions. RB Luke Hilyard has 1,294 yards on the ground with 18 touchdowns.
Belle Vernon started off 1-2, their losses coming to McKeesport and Penn-Trafford, but have tattooed every foe since. Avonworth has just one loss to their resume, that coming to Central Valley. Like the 2A Final, this will be a back and forth affair, but in the end, it will be the Leopards who make amends for last season’s championship loss.
- The Pick: Belle Vernon Leopards
WPIAL Class 4A Championship
At 8:00 pm
#1 Aliquippa (10-0) vs #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 to his credit and 1,723 yards rushing.
Aliquippa QB Quentin Goode has 1,655 yards passing, with 18 touchdown passes and just three interceptions. RB Tiqwai Hayes has rushed for 1,669 yards with 28 touchdowns.
The game everyone will be waiting for.
Aliquippa will be playing in the championship game for the 15th year in a row.
These two rivals met earlier this year in the regular season finale, and at the half, the Warriors were up by ten points… then the Quips took over in the 2nd half en route to a 35-24 victory.
Pretty much everyone knew this was destined to be the championship match-up. A day of great games gets capped off with the best of them all.
- The Pick: Aliquippa Quips
PIAA Class 6A State Playoffs
Quarterfinals at 7:00 pm, at State College HS
North Allegheny vs State College
- The Pick: North Allegheny
PIAA Class 5A State Playoffs
Quarterfinals at 7:00 pm, at Pine-Richland HS
Erie Cathedral Prep vs Pine-Richland
- The Pick: Pine-Richland
From Midland, "The Basketball Capital of Pennsylvania", located 35 miles NW of Pittsburgh along the Ohio River. This former steel town was home to storied athletes such as Dave Alston, Norm Van Lier, Simmie Hill, and the legendary 1965 Midland High School Basketball Team.
There's nowhere on earth that is more dedicated to its sports teams like Western Pennsylvania and the city of Pittsburgh. The passion and pride of Pittsburgh's fan base is second to no one. From the NFL, NHL, MLB, NCAA football and basketball, to W.P.I.A.L. high school sports, "The City of Champions" has it all!
As Editor of Pittsburgh SportsNation, Mike Drakulich provides top notch opinions 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 that represent Western Pennsylvania, including WPIAL High School Football.
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