Friday Night Countdown: Predictions, playoff appearance list

Written by Mike White on .

Only two weekends left in the WPIAL regular season. The Game of the Week tonight is West Allegheny at Woodland Hills. I will be there, so check @mwhiteburgh on Twitter for updates. Follow @kbarnes_pghsprt for updates from Gateway-McKeesport, and @dkarpen for Aliquippa-Central Valley.

Playoff appearances

The Aliquippa-Central Valley game tonight is big. Could Aliquippa miss the playoffs? If the Quips lose this one, they might not make the postseason. Aliquippa has made the playoffs 39 times, the most in WPIAL history.

Ever wonder what teams have been in the playoffs the most? Or what teams have made the fewest postseason appearances? You're in the right place. Here we go:


(Through 2015)

Aliquippa 39

Jeannette 38

Mt. Lebanon 35

Penn Hills 34

Upper St. Clair 34

Clairton 32

Monessen 31

North Hills 31

Washington 31

North Allegheny 29


(Through 2015)

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart 0 (started football in only 2010)

Armstrong 1 (school opened in only 2015)

Summit Academy 1

Southmoreland 1

Deer Lakes 2

West Greene 2

Altoona 3 (school played for many years in District 6)

South Allegheny 4

Mohawk 4

Quaker Valley 5

Central Valley 6 (school opened in only 2010)

Mapletown 6

Leechburg 6

Freedom 6


Got to the bakery early today and got a hot dozen predictions to go. Was 10-2 last week to make season record 68-28 (.706 pct.)

WEST ALLEGHENY OVER WOODLAND HILLS - You wonder a little about the Wolverines after struggling to beat Moon last week. Can Woodland Hills crack the West Allegheny defense enough to win? I say no. West Allegheny has allowed only one touchdown in the past five games. 

McKEESPORT OVER GATEWAY - Both teams were torched earlier this season by Zane Dudek. Since  then, both teams have been playing well. Linebacker play and run support from Gateway defense will be key.

ALIQUIPPA OVER CENTRAL VALLEY - Central Valley got the three "toughies" at home this year - Beaver, Beaver Falls and now Aliquippa. The games against Beaver and Beaver Falls were close. This one will be, too.

OTHER TOP GAMES - Mt. Lebanon over Penn Hills; Penn-Trafford over Kiski Area; North Hills over Franklin Regional; Belle Vernon over West Mifflin; New Castle over Ringgold; Blackhawk over Montour; Apollo-Ridge over Valley; South Park over Elizabeth Forward; Keystone Oaks over Freeport. 

Xtra, Xtra Read All About It

Check out these stories from today's Varsity Xtra section:

Why Not Zane? Zane Dudek has a lot going for him - except major-college scholarships. This story looks at why this record-breaking running back isn't being more heavily recruited. (P-G photo above by Pete Diana).

The kid making the tackle above is Devin Danielson, a Thomas Jefferson junior and looking like the next star defensive lineman from the WPIAL.

And Brian Batko takes a look at Blackhawk's turnaround season as coach Joe Lamenza went winless a year ago. Now the Cougars are on the verge of making the WPIAL playoffs.

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.

Injuries sideline top players

Written by Mike White on .

It was not a good night for some top players in the area Friday as some injuries took out some notable players.

***First, West Mifflin's Howard Reid (pictured) is done for the year. He sustained a fractured right fibula and tibia in a game against Ringgold. His right leg is in a cast up to his thigh. A shame, especially after the kid battled back from getting shot in the foot a year ago.

***Pine-Richland's Grant Carrigan is out for a few weeks with a high ankle sprain. Carrigan, a Pitt tight end recruit, was hurt against Shaler and watched much of the game on crutches on the sideline, with his right foot in a boot.

*** Mapletown's Dylan Rush sustained a sprained ankle in practice last week. He tried to play Friday against Fort Cherry, but but carried only three times before packing it in for the night. He might not play this week.

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.

Friday Night Rewind: Dudek doesn't have scoring record - yet

Written by Mike White on .

A look back at the eighth Friday night of the high school football season.

There were reports Friday night that Zane Dudek broke the WPIAL regular-season scoring record Friday night. Sorry, not true.

But Dudek should get it next week.

Now, let's try to explain. No publication kept statistical leaders for the entire WPIAL until the Post-Gazette started in 1979, under the direction of "The Hector" - Steve Hecht. I know because I used to help compile them for the P-G.

So, I have reported a few times that the most points in the regular season since 1979 is 204. But remember, that was only since 1979. Could there be anyone out there who scored more than 204 points before 1979? Well, with the way offenses are now compared to years ago, it would seem unlikely. But still possible.

It turns out two players did have more than 204 regular-season points - many, many, many years ago.

With the help of a reader, Bill Esposito, and through some extensive research, I was able to find out that in 1948, Blairsville running back Anthony "Pud" Constantino set a WPIAL scoring record with 218 points. He had 34 touchdowns and 14 extra points. Blairsville did not make the playoffs that year. Blairsville is not in the WPIAL these days, but was back then. In fact, when Constantino was a sophomore in 1947, Blairsville won a WPIAL title with a victory against Shaler.

Anyway, Constantino broke the previous WPIAL record of 211 points, set in 1945 by Francis Smutney of Mars.

So, the WPIAL regular-season scoring record appears to be 218 points. And Dudek has tied it. He is sitting at 218 right now, with 36 touchdowns and one two-point conversion. So he should break 218 next Friday. 

Dudek also needs only 311 yards to reach the WPIAL single-season record for rushing yards. And that includes playoffs. But with games left against Connellsville and Kiski Area, Dudek might smash that record by the end of the regular season.

Injuries to top players

We'll have more updates later this weekend, but injuries have hit some top WPIAL players.

** West Mifflin's Howie Reid, the WPIAL's 11th-leading rusher entering Friday, left the Titans' game against Ringgold with an injury.

** Mapletown's Dylan Rush, the WPIAL's second-leading rusher, carried only three times against Fort Cherry because of a sprained ankle sustained in practice last week.

** Pine-Richland's Grant Carrigan, a Pitt tight end recruit, left Friday's game with a right leg injury and watched the rest of the contest on crutches on the sideline with his leg in a protective boot.

Playoff streaks

Thomas Jefferson has clinched a playoff spot for the 22nd season in a row, the longest streak in the WPIAL. Aliquippa has made it 21 consecutive years, but did you know there is a chance the Quips might not make it this year? There is a four-way tie for first in the Beaver Valley Conference between Beaver Falls, Central Valley, Aliquippa and Beaver. One of those four will not make the playoffs.

The Beaver Valley will sort itself out the next two weeks. Aliquippa plays Central Valley Friday. Beaver Falls plays Hopewell Friday and Beaver the following week.

And DYK? Woodland Hills has qualified for the playoffs for the 21st consecutive season.

Other thoughts

*** Thomas Jefferson Devin Danielson is one of the best defensive linemen in the WPIAL I've seen the past few years. 

*** What has happened to Monessen? The Greyhounds didn't make the playoffs the past two seasons. It was a long time since that happened. Now the Greyhounds are 1-7, will not make the playoffs again, and they lost to West Greene Friday? Wow. West Greene hasn't made the playoffs since 1993.

*** As a reporter, you are never supposed to root for a team. But it was nice to see Plum get a win after a rough season. Besides a load of injuries, Plum had to deal with the sudden death last week of popular assistant coach Lorenzo Freeman.

*** Is Thomas Jefferson that good or the rest of its opponents that bad? Probably a little of both, although I still think Belle Vernon is pretty good. I think everyone is pointing to a TJ-South Fayette WPIAL final, aren't they?

*** It's about time for a shoutout to Blackhawk coach Joe Lamenza. It was tough enough taking over for a legend, Joe Hamilton. But then the Cougars went 1-8 last year. Now Blackhawk is 5-2 and fighting for a playoff spot. This week's game against Montour will likely decide it.


Check out highlights from the Game of the Week - Belle Vernon at Thomas Jefferson. It includes comments from coaches and a few notes about other games around the WPIAL.



And if you want to see just how good this Steel Valley team is? Check out highlights of the Ironmen's 66-0 victory against East Allegheny



Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.

Firday Night Countdown: Week 7 predictions .... Team forfeits after deaths of 2 students

Written by Mike White on .

Tonight's game of the week will be Belle Vernon at Thomas Jefferson. I will be there and follow @mwhiteburgh for updates. Brian Batko will be at Steel Valley-East Allegheny, so follow @BrianBatko for updates. Follow @PGVarsityXtra for updates of all games. If you have a score, update or photo, send it to @PGVarsityXtra and use #wpial.

Before we get to the predictions for some big WPIAL-City League games, a quick little note about a school showing that a big football game really isn't all that big when a school is dealing with the deaths of two students.

Undefeated Ligonier Valley (7-0) was supposed to play Blairsville (6-1) tonight in a game that would decide the Heritage Conference title. But Blairsville has forfeited the game as the school tries to deal with the recent deaths of two students. The two students committed suicide.

Blairsville officials decided to forfeit the game.

Dozen predictions to go

Just took a fresh dozen predictions out of the bakery box. Last week was not good - only 7-5. Dropped season record to 58-26.

THOMAS JEFFERSON OVER BELLE VERNON - Both teams are undefeated and no team has scored more than 15 points on Belle Vernon. But Belle Vernon hasn't faced anyone like Thomas Jefferson. The Jaguars have destroyed everyone, outscoring opponents by an average of 54-6. Matt Humbert deserves a shoutout for what he has done as Belle Vernon's coach, after doing an excellent job at Ringgold. Humbert guided the Leopards to a win at Thomas Jefferson last year. That won't happen two years in a row.

STEEL VALLEY OVER EAST ALLEGHENY - This is one of East Allegheny's best seasons in a while, but I really wonder if anyone can stay close to Steel Valley in the regular season? Playing at home should help East Allegheny, but you have to wonder what East Allegheny's defense will do. It gave up 42 points to Jeannette and 50 to Neshannock.

CENTRAL VALLEY OVER BEAVER FALLS - It seems many people have forgotten about Beaver Falls since the Tigers were crushed in the season opener by Aliquippa. But this team is still very good and certainly capable of beating 3A No. 1-ranked Central Valley. The return of Malik Shepherd certainly helps. I picked Central Valley on "This Week In High School Sports." I'm not feeling great about the pick, but I'll stick with it. Did you know? Central Valley plays Beaver, Aliquippa and Beaver Falls all at home? 

OTHER TOP GAMES - Keystone Oaks over Apollo-Ridge; Armstrong over Penn-Trafford; Washington over Chartiers-Houston; North Allegheny over Seneca Valley; Westinghouse over Allderdice; McKeesport over Upper St. Clair; Bishop Canevin over Springdale; Highlands over Blackhawk; Fort Cherry over Mapletown. 

This Week In High School Sports

Wanna hear some more insight on the top games and the wildly popular "Just Askin" segment? Check out yours truly and Brian Batko on "This Week In High School Sports."

Xta, Xtra read all about it

Lamont Wade (pictured above with Aliquippa's Kwantel Raines after last week's game) talks about possibly seeing some time on offense in college, and talks a little about recruiting in

" target="_blank"> this week's Xtra Points column. Also read about how teams are forfeiting to a team in the state of Washington.


Brian Batko profiles a player who is "Rushing" for bunches and bunches of yards. It's Mapletown's Dylan Rush (above).

It's very rare when an individual is the head coach of two teams in two different seasons. But at Freedom High School, Colin Williams is coaching two - in one season. And this profile tells how Williams  is guiding the Freedom Bulldogs to big things. 


Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.

North Allegheny tops in state for producing college athletes for fall sports

Written by Mike White on .

North Allegheny High School is producing more athletes playing fall sports on the college level than any other high school in the state.

Says who? Well, teamed up with Lateral Sports and the HS Athlete College Guide and recently released an interesting study on what high schools in the country have produced the most athletes currently playing football, men's and women's soccer and women's volleyball. All athletes on rosters at the NCAA (Division I, II and III) and NAIA levels were counted.

The study showed that North Allegheny has 64 former athletes playing the four sports on the college levels. That's impressive. You can't say exactly where North Allegheny would fall on the national level, because the study shows only the top athlete producer for each state. But North Allegheny would seemingly be fairly high.

There are 11 others states where the No. 1 school is above North Allegheny.

FLORIDA - St. Thomas Aquinas - 104 athletes

NEW YORK - St. Anthony's - 101

TEXAS - Allen - 94

HAWAII - Kamehameha - 86

ILLINOIS - Plainfield - 86

CALIFORNIA - Mater Dei - 99

INDIANA - Carmel - 80

OHIO - Mason - 75

MARYLAND - DeMatha - 74

GEORGIA - Brookwood - 67

NEW JERSEY - Don Bosco Prep - 65

PENNSYLVANIA - North Allegheny - 64

What also came out of the study is that Central Catholic of Pittsburgh has produced more players on college teams this season than any other high school in the state. The number of players was not available.

Also, among Pennsylvania high schools, Cumberland Valley has produced the most non-football athletes on the college level. Currently, there are 48 Cumberland Valley grads playing college sports other than football.


Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.