Mike White | 1:15 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 25
Notes, thoughts and anecdotes after the final Friday night of the regular season.
After hearing some conversations this week about the WPIAL playoffs, there seems to be a misconception about where teams can be seeded.
Being a conference champ does not guarantee a team a top four seed in its classification. And a team that finishes in second place in its conference can still gain one of the top four seeds.
That brings us to McKeesport. The Tigers finished 7-2 and in second place in the Foothills Conference. Their only losses were to Colerain, a top team in Ohio, and Gateway. But McKeesport played Gateway well enough (31-27 loss) that the Tigers might still get the No. 2 seed in WPIAL Class AAAA. It says here, at the very least, McKeesport will get the No. 3 seed. And Bethel Park will get either the No. 2 or 3 seed. But it really doesn't matter much what teams get the 2 and 3 seeds. They are on the same side of the bracket and would meet in the semifinals.
What matters is who gets the No. 4 seed. I don't think the WPIAL will put McKeesport at No. 4 because that would put Gateway and McKeesport on the same side of the bracket, which means they would meet in the semifinals.
Here is how I see the AAAA seeds: 1. Gateway, 2. McKeesport or Bethel Park. 3. McKeesport or Bethel Park. 4. North Hills. 5. Penn Hills. 6. Central Catholic. 7. North Allegheny. 8. Canon-McMillan.
While we're at it, let's take a crack at first-round matchups: Mt. Lebanon at Gateway; Penn-Trafford at Bethel Park; Fox Chapel at McKeesport; Hempfield at North Hills; Pine-Richland at Penn Hills; Upper St. Clair at Central Catholic; Woodland Hills at North Allegheny; Shaler at Canon-McMillan.
In Class AAA, here's a seeding opinion: 1. Thomas Jefferson. 2. Highlands. 3. Blackhawk. 4. New Castle. 5. Chartiers Valley. 6. Indiana. 7. Yough. 8. Greensburg Salem.
Class AAA first-round pairings: Uniontown at Thomas Jefferson; Laurel Highlands at Highlands; Knoch or Franklin Regional at Blackhawk; Ringgold at New Castle; Mars at Chartiers Valley; Trinity at Indiana; Montour at Yough; Hopewell at Greensburg Salem.
Not true seeds
What people need to remember about the seedings is that they are not always true seeds. The reasons is the WPIAL won't match teams against each other in the first round, and also because first- and second-place teams must play at home. For example, you could definitely make a point for Gateway being the No. 1 seed and Hempfield No. 16. But they are from the same conference and can't play each other in the first round.
Here is another example: Hopewell is deserving of a seed in the top eight in Class AAA. But because Hopewell is a third-place team, it must play on the road in the first round, meaning it can't be seeded higher than ninth.
The Class AA and A seeds can't be done until tomorrow's Jeannette-Greensburg Central Catholic game and the Western Beaver-South Side Beaver game.
Look for teams from the Class AAA Keystone Conference to be seeded low again. The conference is 0-28 in the playoffs over the past seven seasons. Although Yough is the conference champ, don't look for the Cougars to be seeded any higher than seventh.
Shell on record pace?
Hopewell freshman phenom Rushel Shell had another impressive night, going over 200 yards rushing for the second week in a row. Would it be outlandish to think he has a chance to someday break the WPIAL rushing record?
Well, Shell now has 1,090 yards for the season, with at least one more game remaining. If Hopewell has some good teams the next few years, Shell could gain 2,000 yards a few times. The WPIAL record is 7,646, set by Fort Cherry's Mike Vernillo in the 1990s.
How do you know when you have a bad offense? When the soccer team outscores the football team for the season. That's the way it is at Plum. The Mustangs' football team scored only 24 points all season and were shut out five times. Plum's soccer team has scored 35 goals.
Gateway offensive lineman Colin Rodkey missed about the first half of the season while recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. Then he came back and missed some more time with a head injury. But Rodkey, an Indiana Hoosiers' recruit, played for the Gators' in Thursday's victory against McKeesport.