Program note: Tonight's live blog will come from the Game of the Week - North Hills at Pine-Richland. For score updates and notes from other games, look to the right of this blog at the Twitter account of @PGVarsityXtra. If you have score updates or photos, send through Twitter to @PGVarsityXtra. For score updates, use #wpial.
Now, just back from the bakery and I bought a "dozen predictions to go."
But before we get to the predictions, one note. Montour will honor former player Emmett Zitelli before tonight's game against West Allegheny. Zitelli's jersey won't be retired but it will be displayed in the school's athletic center with other prominent former Montour players - Ted Kwalick, John Hufnagel, Dave Havern and Dean Caliguire. Zitelli played offensive line at Purdue and professionally in Europe.
Now, for the predictions. Last week: 10-2. Season: 34-14 (.703 pct.).
WPIAL CLASS AAAA
North Hills at Pine-Richland - When Pine-Richland has the ball, don't put your head down. Pine-Richland tries to get plays off within 10 seconds after the ball is spotted. Key to the game will be whether North Hills can run the ball successfully. If that happens, North Hills can win, but only also if it slows down the P-R offense. Pine-Richland has never defeated North Hills. Winner: Pine-Richland.
Seneca Valley at Butler - This isn't a game matching two teams with good records. But it will be big in the Northern Eight playoff race. Seneca Valley was ranked No. 3 in Class AAAA before the season, but the Raiders are 0-4 and might not make the playoffs if they lose this game. That said ... Winner: Seneca Valley.
Norwin at Altoona - This is another game that could end up big in playoff positioning. Norwin has a chance to go to 4-1. Winner: Norwin.
WPIAL CLASS AAA
Knoch at Hampton - Hampton is 4-0 for the first time since 2005. Knoch has some decent offensive weapons but has scored only 12 and seven points the past two weeks. Winner: Hampton.
West Allegheny at Montour - Everyone marvels at Clairton's scoring (over 70 points a game). It seems West Allegheny has quietly gone about averaging 53 points a game. I don't think West Allegheny gets 50 in this game, but the Indians will go to 5-0 without much trouble. Winner: West Allegheny.
West Mifflin at Belle Vernon - Who will end up being the second-place team in the Big Nine Conference? It could be the winner of this game, or Ringgold. Winner: West Mifflin.
WPIAL CLASS AA
Apollo-Ridge at Highlands - I keep going back and forth on this one. The key to the game will not be whether Highlands slows down Apollo-Ridge's offense. The key will be Apollo-Ridge's run defense. Winner: Highlands.
New Brighton at Aliquippa - It has been a great start for New Brighton. But not a lot of great things happen for visitors to "The Pit" in Aliquippa, where the Quips haven't lose since 2008. Winner: Aliquippa.
Mount Pleasant at Washington - This is one of three Class AA matchups with 4-0 teams. I think Washington's big-play ability might be the difference. Winner: Washington.
WPIAL CLASS A
Fort Cherry at Avonworth - Not many top games in Class A this week. Fort Cherry is a competitive team, but Avonworth is on a different level. Winner: Avonworth.
Mapletown at Avella - Four teams are tied for third place in the Tri-County South with 2-2 records. Mapletown and Avella are two of them. This game will break up that logjam some. Winner: Mapletown.