The weather wreaked havoc on the WPIAL playoffs Friday, with the remnants of Hurricane Nicole producing heavy downpours that led to slippery footballs and caused one game to be moved to an alternate site just before kickoff.

Even the top seed in Class 6A was affected, as North Allegheny fumbled three times and was held to just one score in a semifinal against visiting Canon-McMillan. Luckily for the Tigers, a fourth-quarter touchdown was all the offense they needed.

North Allegheny used an outstanding defensive performance to defeat Canon-McMillan, 7-0. The win advances the Tigers (10-1) to next Saturday’s championship, where they will take on Central Catholic (7-4) at 6 p.m. at Norwin.

Logan Kushner produced the lone score of the game when he found the end zone on a 1-yard quarterback keeper with 6:44 left. Peter Notaro added the extra point for the Tigers, who will try to win their first WPIAL title since 2012.

North Allegheny’s defense gave Canon-McMillan fits. The Big Macs (5-6) produced only two first downs and just 52 yards of offense (37 rushing, 15 passing). They turned the ball over twice and punted nine times.

Andrew Gavlik stood out offensively for North Allegheny, rushing for 110 yards on 27 carries. Teammate Khiryn Boyd added 51 yards on three carries.

It was North Allegheny’s second win against Canon-McMillan this season. The Tigers defeated the Big Macs, 35-21, on Sept. 2.

In the other semifinal, Central Catholic advanced to the final for the fourth year in a row and ninth time in 10 years by beating defending WPIAL and PIAA champion Mt. Lebanon, 28-7. Payton Wehner accounted for all four Central Catholic touchdowns, rushing for two scores and hooking up with Peter Gonzalez for a pair of touchdowns.

North Allegheny beat Central Catholic, 7-3, on Sept. 23.

No. 300 for Cherpak

A legendary coach reached a major career milestone while guiding his team to the WPIAL semifinals for the 24th time in the last 25 seasons. Thomas Jefferson’s Bill Cherpak captured his 300th career win after his Jaguars toppled Latrobe, 21-6, in a Class 4A quarterfinal. Cherpak is just the fourth WPIAL coach with at least 300 wins. He joins Jim Render, Joe Hamilton and George Novak as the only WPIAL coaches to reach the plateau.

“300 … they add up,” Cherpak said in a statement. “It’s always about the next one. The defense played great in the second half. In conditions like this, you have to be able to run the ball. We’ll need to play a lot better next week.”

Elias Lippincott (142 yards, two touchdowns) and Aidan Whalen (101 yards, one touchdown) both cracked the century mark in rushing yards for the Jaguars (8-3), who held Latrobe to two first downs and just 117 total yards.

Check the PUP on Saturday for analysis of the game from Saul Berrios-Thomas.


Just like Class 6A, we know which teams will play for the Class 5A title at noon next Saturday at Norwin. It will be No. 2 Pine-Richland (9-3) against No. 5 Upper St. Clair (10-2). Pine-Richland was a 23-12 semifinal winner against Woodland Hills, while Upper St. Clair knocked off No. 1 Bethel Park, 17-7. Ryan Palmieri was the star once again for Pine-Richland, rushing for 150 yards and two touchdowns. And as the PUP’s Steve Rotstein reports, Palmieri was still putting in work after the game.

Steve’s analysis piece on the game will be up on the PUP on Saturday.

As for Upper St. Clair, the Panthers used another strong performance from Jamaal Brown to avenge a 27-14 loss to Bethel Park on Oct. 7. Brown rushed for 135 yards to help the Panthers reach the championship game for the first time since 2011.


If you picked Union and Rochester to meet in the Class 1A semifinals, you can either see the future or you’re not telling the truth. It will be a matchup of Cinderella teams when No. 10 Union (9-3) squares off against No. 14 Rochester (7-4). After beating No. 7 Burgettstown in the first round, Union upset No. 2 Laurel, 30-28, in the quarterfinals. Union took a 10-point lead in the third quarter and held on for the win. Braylon Thomas passed for 211 yards and a touchdown, while adding 88 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Meanwhile, Rochester got four touchdowns from Antonio Laure to beat No. 6 Fort Cherry, 30-14. The Rams beat No. 3 Greensburg Central Catholic in the first round.


Central Valley had its 36-game win streak snapped in its last game. Friday, the Warriors began what they hope will be another long string of wins. Central Valley (10-1), seeded No. 2 in Class 4A, took down Laurel Highlands, 36-7, in a quarterfinal. This game took a big swing late in the first half. Laurel Highlands trailed just 7-0 when it attempted a field goal in the final seconds of the half. But the kick was blocked by Matt Gerovac and returned by Deniro Simpson 65 yards for a Central Valley touchdown. From there, it was all Warriors, who got 167 yards rushing and three touchdowns from Bret FitzSimmons. It was the final high school game for Laurel Highlands star Rodney Gallagher, who rushed for 102 yards and scored his team’s only touchdown on a 7-yard run in the fourth quarter.


Mother Nature might have made her biggest impact at Geneva College. That’s where Beaver Falls and Ligonier Valley were supposed to meet in a Class 2A quarterfinal. However, a power outage, reportedly caused by a tree falling into a transformer, delayed kickoff and forced the game to be moved to nearby Blackhawk High School, located about five miles away. The game ultimately kicked off at about 8:30, and once it did, it was all Beaver Falls (10-1). Trey Singleton ran for three touchdowns and Jaren Brickner had a pair of scoring tosses in a 52-0 romp.


*** — Cruce Brookins, Steel Valley. The No. 1 seed in Class 2A got a mammoth performance from its quarterback, as Brookins rushed for 332 yards and six touchdowns in a 46-13 quarterfinal win against McGuffey. Brookins had scoring runs of 63, 8, 27, 3, 18 and 44 yards.

** — Jahmil Perryman, McKeesport. Perryman was “the man” in a 41-21 win at Armstrong which sent McKeesport to the Class 4A semifinals. Perryman ran for 252 yards and four touchdowns on 31 carries. Teammate Bobbie Boyd added 112 yards rushing.

* — Marquis Carter, Bishop Canevin. Carter was a handful for Clairton all night long, rushing for 256 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries in helping No. 1 and defending champion Canevin beat Clairton, 39-6, in a Class 1A quarterfinal.


*Mapletown’s magical season ended in the Class 1A quarterfinals with a 47-6 loss to South Side. The Maples entered the night as one of only three unbeaten teams in the WPIAL and were coming off the first playoff win in program history. But Mapletown (11-1) had little luck against South Side (11-1), falling behind, 47-0, before ending the shutout in the fourth quarter. Mapletown’s Landan Stevenson, the WPIAL’s leading rusher and scorer, was held to 34 yards on 11 carries. Stevenson entered the game with 2,321 yards and 45 touchdowns on the season.

*One City League team also played Friday. Allderdice (4-7) made the trip to Erie for a PIAA regional game, but the ride home likely seemed exceptionally long after seeing its season end with a 42-15 loss to McDowell (10-2). McDowell outgained Allderdice, 356-175, and was led by Artis Simmons, who rushed for 70 yards and three touchdowns. Naeron Smith ran for 123 yards and scored both Allderdice touchdowns.



WPIAL Class 6A


Central Catholic 28, Mt. Lebanon 7

North Allegheny 7, Canon-McMillan 0

WPIAL Class 5A


Pine-Richland 23, Woodland Hills 12

Upper St. Clair 17, Bethel Park 7

WPIAL Class 4A


Aliquippa 41, Montour 7

Central Valley 36, Laurel Highlands 7

McKeesport 41, Armstrong 21

Thomas Jefferson 21, Latrobe 6

WPIAL Class 3A


Avonworth 28, Beaver 7

Belle Vernon 55, East Allegheny 7

Freeport 42, West Mifflin 6

Shady Side Academy 31, Elizabeth Forward 17

WPIAL Class 2A


Beaver Falls 52, Ligonier Valley 0

Neshannock 30, Washington 27

Steel Valley 46, McGuffey 13

Sto-Rox 50, Keystone Oaks 0

WPIAL Class 1A


Bishop Canevin 29, Clairton 6

Rochester 30, Fort Cherry 14

South Side 47, Mapletown 6

Union 30, Laurel 28

PIAA Class 6A Districts 6-8-10

Regional Semifinals

McDowell 42, Allderdice 15


WPIAL Class 6A championship (Saturday)

North Allegheny (10-1) vs. Central Catholic (7-4) 6 p.m. at Norwin.

WPIAL Class 5A championship (Saturday)

Upper St. Clair (10-2) vs. Pine-Richland (9-3) noon at Norwin.

WPIAL Class 4A semifinals (Friday)

Aliquippa (10-0) vs. McKeesport (11-1), site and time to be determined.

Central Valley (10-1) vs. Thomas Jefferson (8-3), site and time to be determined.

WPIAL Class 3A semifinals (Friday)

Belle Vernon (8-2) vs. Freeport (10-1), site and time to be determined.

Avonworth (10-1) vs. Shady Side Academy (7-4), site and time to be determined.

WPIAL Class 2A semifinals (Friday)

Steel Valley (10-0) vs. Neshannock (11-1), site and time to be determined.

Beaver Falls (10-1) vs. Sto-Rox (9-2), site and time to be determined.

WPIAL Class 1A semifinals (Friday)

Bishop Canevin (11-1) vs. South Side (11-1), site and time to be determined.

Union (9-3) vs. Rochester (7-4), site and time to be determined.

Brad is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at

Brad Everett

Brad is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at