Before we get to predictions for Week 5, a few notes:
The football team at Newtown High School (Conn.) usually wears blue and gold jerseys. But for its first home game last week, Newtown wore green and white jerseys as a tribute to the shooting victims last year at Sandy Hook elementary school.
Sandy Hook is located in Newtown, Conn., and last December 26 people were killed in a shooting at the school. Sandy Hook's school colors are green and white, so Newtown wore green and white jerseys last week with Sandy Hook written on the front. In between the words was a memorial ribbon with "26" on it.
On the back of the jersey was written "Stay Strong" instead of the player's name.
It was a classy tribute.
Newtown then went out and defeated Bethel, Conn., 22-14.
Clairton and the rankings
Clairton's 66-game winning streak ended last week and the Bears dropped out of the top five in the Post-Gazette state rankings. But opinions on the Bears differ in two other state rankings.
To me, it's hard to understand how Clairton can stay in the top five. This is a totally new year and a totally new team. The past four or five years shouldn't matter now. It's hard to figure how Clairton could still be ranked ahead of Fort Cherry and even Monessen.
Consider: Fort Cherry is undefeated and won at Monessen, 49-33. Then Monessen turned around and beat Clairton, 42-24. Monessen and Clairton have 3-1 records. So if you just look at this year, how can Clairton be ranked ahead of Fort Cherry and Monessen, and also North Catholic?
Now Clairton might deserve to go back in the top five in the state if it wins at Fort Cherry tomorrow night. That's a real possibility. But until that happens, the order of those three teams should be Fort Cherry, Monessen and Clairton.
Check out the stats
Varsity Xtra video
Here is this week's wildly popular Varsity Xtra This Week in High School Sports show with yours truly and Terry Shields.
This is a good week for undefeated showdowns. Four games match undefeated teams. Here are the predictions:
Last week: 14-1 (.933 pct.)
Season: 53-13 (.803 pct.)
WPIAL CLASS AAAA
Seneca Valley at Central Catholic - This game is at Highmark Stadium on the South Side. You'll have a great view of the city from the stadium. Seneca Valley will have to look at a loss when this one is done. Central Catholic's lines and defense will be the difference. Winner: Central Catholic.
Other top games - Gateway over Hempfield; North Hills over Penn Hills; Bethel Park over Peters Township.
WPIAL CLASS AAA
Central Valley at West Allegheny - This is the P-G Game of the Week. This will be Central Valley's first game without coach Mark Lyons, who was suspended by the school for two weeks. This has the makings of a terrific game because both teams are strong and have crushed every opponent so far. It's hard to figure what might be the difference in the game. I'll say it will be West Allegheny's running game. Winner: West Allegheny.
Other top games - West Mifflin over Ringgold; Knoch over Hampton.
WPIAL CLASS AA
Washington at Jeannette - This game is tonight and can be seen live on Root Sports television. This is Washington's second game without star RB Shai McKenzie (torn ACL). The Little Prexies did pretty well last week against Yough. Washington's run defense will be the key to the game. Winner: Washington.
Seton-LaSalle at South Fayette - This is another battle of undefeated teams. Both teams have strong passing attacks. But the difference might be what team runs the ball successfully. Winner: South Fayette.
Other top games - Steel Valley over Quaker Valley (although I wish I knew if injured Steel Valley RB D'Andre Pickens is playing); Mount Pleasant over Yough; Kittanning over Burrell.
WPIAL CLASS A
Clairton at Fort Cherry - Clairton hasn't lost two games in a row in the same season since 2005. Will it happen this year? I say no. The Bears should bounce back, even though I'm not totally convinced of that. Winner: Clairton.
Other top games - Rochester over Western Beaver; Laurel over Union; North Catholic over West Shamokin.