If I am in charge of the WPIAL playoffs, the matchups would be ...
Hold on a second. Before I give you matchups, a few things need to be pointed out about the playoffs. First, don't be totally surprised if two teams from the same conference play each other this year in a first-round game in Class AAA or AAAA. When the WPIAL released its conference alignment way back in the winter, it alerted teams in the two highest classifications that there was a possibility that they could play a conference foe in the first round. The reason is that there are only three conferences in Class AAA and AAAA, compared to four in previous years.
What also needs to be pointed out is that the seedings for the playoffs are not all "true" seeds. Why? Because teams that earned a first-round home game must be seeded in the top eight, even though the WPIAL football steering committee might not think the team deserves to be in the top eight.
Or, a team that should maybe be the No. 16 seed is moved up a spot because the No. 1 team is from the same conference.
Also, it should be pointed out that sometimes the WPIAL needs to do some "creative seeding." What does that mean? Well, let's look at Class A. You could make a point for seeding Neshannock in the top five or six teams. The Lancers lost only one game and tied for the Big Seven Conference championship. But Neshannock lost out on tiebreakers and finished third in the Big Seven, even though it had the same record as No. 1 Sto-Rox and No. 2 Rochester. So, Neshannock can't be seeded in the top eight and must play a road game in the first round.
Logic suggests Neshannock is the best third-place team, so it should get the No. 9 seed, right. But this is where the "creative seeding" comes into play and Neshannock gets moved down to the No. 10 or 11 seed. Why? Because the winner of the 8-9 game will play mighty Clairton in the quaterfinals. Would it be really fair to put Neshannock in that 8-9 spot and make the Lancers play Clairton in the quarterfinals?
Now onto my matchups. Not that WPIAL czar Tim O'Malley is paying attention.
North Allegheny (No. 1 seed) vs. Altoona (16); McKeesport (8) vs. Central Catholic (9); Seneca Valley (4) vs. Peters Township (13); Mt. Lebanon (5) vs. Hempfield (12); Gateway (2) vs. Butler (15); Penn-Trafford (7) vs. Bethel Park (10); Upper St. Clair (3) vs. Kisk Area (14); Woodland Hills (6) vs. North Hills (11).
What to do with Central Catholic? That's a hard question to answer. You could go a few different directions with the Vikings.
Thomas Jefferson (1) vs. Hollidaysburg (16); Franklin Regional (8) vs. Trinity (9); Mars (4) vs. Blackhawk (13); Montour (5) vs. Elizabeth Forward (12); Central Valley (2) vs. Belle Vernon (15); West Mifflin (7) vs. Knoch (10);West Allegheny (3) vs. Ringgold (14); Hampton (6) vs. Hopewell (11).
The big question in this bracket is what to do with Central Valley? Central Valley, West Allegheny and Montour tied for the Parkway Conference championship. Some feel Central Valley should be seeded below West Allegheny and possibly even Montour because Central Valley lost a non-conference game to Class AA Beaver Falls last week, which might have hurt Central Valley's seeding. But under the WPIAL tiebreaker system, Central Valley got the No. 1 seed in the Parkway. Why have a tiebreaker system if you are not going to pay any attention to it? You can't change the fact Central Valley finished as the No. 1 seed in the Parkway. That means the Warriors still should be seeded ahead of West A.
Aliquippa (1) vs. Steel Valley (16); Burrell (8) vs. Beaver Falls (9); Jeannette (4) vs. Shady Side Academy (13); Beaver (5) vs. Greensburg Central Catholic (12); South Fayette (2) vs. Freedom (15); Seton-LaSalle (7) vs. Mount Pleasant (10); Washington (3) vs. Valley (14); Freeport (6) vs. South Allegheny.
Clairton (1) vs. Frazier (16); Jefferson-Morgan (8) vs. Brentwood (9); Rochester (4) vs. Apollo-Ridge (13); North Catholic (5) vs. Bishop Canevin (12); Sto-Rox (2) vs. Avonworth (15); Beth-Center (7) vs. Union (10); Monessen (3) vs. Carmichaels (14); Springdale (6) vs. Neshannock (11).
This is what I mean about "creative" seeding. No way is Neshannock the No. 11 team. But they can be no higher than 9. And by putting the Lancers at 11, they stay away from Clairton.