With the opening round of the WPIAL playoffs in the books, here’s an early look at Friday’s matchups:
WPIAL Class 6A semifinals
Canon-McMillan (5-5) at North Allegheny (9-1), 7 p.m. — Top-ranked North Allegheny is two wins away from winning its first WPIAL championship since 2012. As for Canon-McMillan? Well, the Big Macs are looking for their first-ever title. The Tigers raced to a 27-0 lead on their way to defeating Canon-McMillan, 35-21, all the way back in Week 1.
Central Catholic (6-4) at Mt. Lebanon (5-5), 7 p.m. — It’s a championship rematch in the semifinals. Mt. Lebanon crushed Central Catholic, 47-7, in last year’s final before rallying from 16 points down in the fourth quarter to stun the Vikings, 17-16, on Sept. 16. Ben McAuley was the star in the most recent game, booting the winning 18-yard field goal in the closing seconds.
WPIAL Class 5A semifinals
Bethel Park (10-1) vs. Upper St. Clair (9-2) at Canon-McMillan, 7 p.m. — It’s The Battle of South Hills Village II. Austin Caye rushed for 177 yards and a touchdown in Bethel Park’s 27-14 win against Upper St. Clair on Oct. 7. Both teams survived quarterfinal scares. Bethel Park edged North Hills, 19-17, while Upper St. Clair slipped past Gateway, 24-21.
Pine-Richland (8-3) vs. Woodland Hills (6-5) at Gateway, 7 p.m. — Winners of seven in a row, Pine-Richland beat defending state champ Penn-Trafford, 31-17, in the quarterfinals, while Woodland Hills blanked No. 3 Franklin Regional, 21-0. Pine-Richland racked up 279 rushing yards on its way to a 35-21 win against Woodland Hills on Oct. 21.
WPIAL Class 4A quarterfinals
Montour (7-4) vs. Aliquippa (9-0) at Freedom, 7 p.m. — Does Montour have any prayers left in it? After slipping past Hampton, 34-33, Friday courtesy of a Hail Mary as time expired, Montour faces the monumental task of trying to slow down the state’s top-ranked team. Aliquippa has reached the final 14 years in a row and shut out Montour, 33-0, in Week 3.
McKeesport (10-1) at Armstrong (10-1), 7 p.m. — Hey, you look familiar! McKeesport and Armstrong meet in the quarterfinals for the second year in a row. McKeesport claimed a 35-21 home win last season, but Armstrong has the home-field advantage this time around. Armstrong quarterback Cadin Olsen threw for three touchdowns Friday, giving him 40 on the season.
Laurel Highlands (8-2) at Central Valley (9-1), 7 p.m. — Laurel Highlands won a home playoff game for the first time Friday, which was its second postseason win all time. Its reward? A quarterfinal date with juggernaut Central Valley. The Warriors should be a fired-up bunch after seeing their 36-game win streak snapped by Aliquippa their last time out.
Latrobe (7-4) at Thomas Jefferson (7-3), 7 p.m. — Even in what has been called a “down season” for Thomas Jefferson, the Jaguars still earned a first-round bye and are now a win away from reaching the semifinals for the 25th year in a row. Latrobe, which is coming off its first playoff win since 1968, suffered a 31-21 loss to Thomas Jefferson in the regular season.
WPIAL Class 3A quarterfinals
East Allegheny (8-3) at Belle Vernon (7-2), 7 p.m. — East Allegheny quarterback Mike Cahill had one of the top performances of the opening night of the playoffs, accounting for six touchdowns (five rushing, one passing) in a 42-39 win against Mount Pleasant. Now the Wildcats get No. 1 Belle Vernon, which won its last two home games by shutout.
West Mifflin (6-5) at Freeport (9-1), 7 p.m. — Not a lot of people are talking about Freeport, but the Yellowjackets have quietly gone 9-1 after winning the Allegheny 6 Conference title. Their only loss was to Class 4A Armstrong on Sept. 16. West Mifflin beat Southmoreland, 54-28, in the first round to claim its first playoff win since 2016.
Beaver (8-3) at Avonworth (9-1), 7 p.m. — Beaver flexed its muscles defensively in the first round, limiting Deer Lakes to just 157 yards in a 17-3 win. The Bobcats have won four in a row since dropping a 29-3 decision at Avonworth in Week 6. Brandon Biagiarelli and the Avonworth defense starred in that game. Biagiarelli finished with eight tackles, a sack and interception.
Shady Side Academy (6-4) at Elizabeth Forward (9-1), 7 p.m. — Elizabeth Forward will have had two weeks since its first loss, 48-14, against Belle Vernon. It was the fewest points of the season for the Warriors, who average a Class 3A-best 41.8 points a game. Joey Bellinotti’s 210 yards and four touchdowns pushed Shady Side past South Park, 35-14, in the first round.
WPIAL Class 2A quarterfinals
McGuffey (8-3) at Steel Valley (9-0), 7 p.m. — It’s the playoff opener for No. 1 Steel Valley, one of the WPIAL’s most dominant teams in the regular season. The Ironmen boast the No. 1 scoring offense (46.2 ppg) and No. 1 scoring defense (5.7 ppg) in the WPIAL. Kyle Brookman ran for 108 yards and two touchdowns in McGuffey’s 34-29 first-round win against Mohawk.
Washington (7-4) at Neshannock (10-1), 7 p.m. — Just like it almost always does in the NCAA basketball tournament, the 12 vs. 5 upset showed up Friday when No. 12 Washington upset No. 5 Serra Catholic, 49-21. Washington forced five turnovers in the win. Jonny Huff rushed for two touchdowns and passed for a score in Neshannock’s 48-6 win against Burrell.
Ligonier Valley (8-3) vs. Beaver Falls (9-1) at Geneva College, 7 p.m. — Ligonier Valley, which played in District 6 for 50 years, claimed its first WPIAL playoff win Friday by dispatching of Western Beaver, 27-20. Haden Sierocky rushed for 200 yards and four scores for the Rams, who now draw No. 2 Beaver Falls. The Tigers reached the championship game the last two seasons.
Keystone Oaks (9-2) at Sto-Rox (8-2), 7 p.m. — Sto-Rox might best be known for its offense (it scored 50, 50 and 57 points its final three games of the regular season), but the Vikings can also play some defense. Their 29-0 shutout of Riverside in the first round was their fourth of the season. Shawn Rieck ran for 203 yards in Keystone Oaks’ 21-14 win against Apollo-Ridge.
WPIAL Class 1A quarterfinals
Clairton (6-5) vs. Bishop Canevin (10-1) at Keystone Oaks, 7 p.m. — Clairton just beat last year’s WPIAL runner-up (OLSH). Now the Bears get the defending champ. Canevin scored the most points of any WPIAL team Friday in thumping Jeannette, 63-14. The Crusaders have scored at least 33 points in eight consecutive games and all of their wins have been by double-digits.
South Side (10-1) vs. Mapletown (11-0) at Waynesburg, 7 p.m. — Mapletown enters this game in a position it has never been … the Maples are coming off a playoff win. Mapletown beat Leechburg, 41-28, to capture its first postseason win. WPIAL rushing leader Landan Stevenson rushed for 290 yards and five touchdowns. South Side’s only loss came at Laurel on Oct. 14.
Union (8-3) at Laurel (9-1) at Shenango, 7 p.m. — In beating Burgettstown, 32-7, in the first round, No. 10 Union picked up its first playoff win since 2017. The Scotties will be looking for some payback against Laurel, a 53-8 first-round winner against Carmichaels. Laurel handed Union a 28-22 home loss on Sept. 23. Laurel’s Landon Smith ran for 175 yards and two touchdowns.
Rochester (6-4) vs. Fort Cherry (8-3) at South Fayette, 7 p.m. — No team pulled off a bigger opening-round upset than No. 14 Rochester, which stunned No. 3 Greensburg C.C., 36-15. The Rams were led by Antonio Laure, who rushed for 218 yards. Fort Cherry freshman Matt Sieg had a huge outing in a 56-42 win against Monessen, rushing for five touchdowns and passing for another.
PIAA Districts 5-8 Class 2A Regional Championship
Westinghouse (10-0) vs. Berlin Brothersvalley (11-0) at Somerset, 7 p.m. — It will be district champion against district champion when District 5 Berlin takes on Westinghouse of the City League. Westinghouse quarterback Keyshawn Morsillo threw for 325 yards and five touchdowns in a 48-15 semifinal win against Chestnut Ridge. Berlin topped Bedford, 27-12.