Notes, playoff clinchings and anecdotes after the final Friday of the WPIAL regular season
Home games and wild cards
All but one of the WPIAL playoff spots are filled. That means 63 of 64 teams have clinched. Today's game between Western Beaver and Rochester will determine the 64th, the Class 1A "wild-card" team. If Western Beaver wins, then Western Beaver and Riverview will tie for the wild-card spot. But Western Beaver would win out with more Gardner Points, by virtue of the Rochester win. If Rochester defeats Western Beaver, then Riverview gets the wild-card spot.
Now for the home games in the first round of the playoffs. Half of the teams in the playoffs will play home games next week. In Class 6A, 5A and 4A, the top two finishers in each conference get a home game. In Class 3A, the three conference champs and one second-place team get home games. In Class 2A and 1A, the first- and second-place teams from each conference get a home game, plus two third-place teams.
Here are the teams that will have home games:
CLASS 6A - Central Catholic, North Allegheny, Mt. Lebanon, Bethel Park.
CLASS 5A - West Allegheny, Woodland Hills, Armstrong, McKeesport.
CLASS 4A - Thomas Jefferson, West Mifflin, South Fayette, Mars.
CLASS 3A - Keystone Oaks, Aliquippa, Derry, Beaver Falls.
CLASS 2A - Washington, Chartiers-Houston, Burgettstown, Neshannock, Riverside, Steel Valley, East Allegheny, Brentwood.
CLASS 1A - Rochester, Northgate, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Clairton, Jeannette, Bishop Canevin, Carmichaels, Fort Cherry.
I will have predicted playoff matchups on the Varsity Blog tomorrow.
Truckin' for Wade
Walking up the street to Jeannette's McKee Stadium last night, you couldn't help but notice a big 18-wheeler truck with "Pitt" script on the side and a Pitt football helmet. It's not often you see a gigantic truck parked right outside a high school stadium. This wasn't just a coincidence, maybe a Pitt fan's rig. It was Pitt's football equipment truck.
"Pitt called early in the week and wanted to know if they could bring their equipment truck and where they could put it," said Anthony DeNunzio, Jeannette's athletic director. "We said sure. I guess they just wanted a presence at the game."
A presence to show Lamont Wade? Chalk it up to maybe just a little recruiting tactic. Pitt is one of the finalists to get Wade, Clairton's ultra-talented defensive back (he also plays running back). So, did Wade and Clairton notice the truck?
"Oh, we noticed," Clairton coach Wayne Wade (Lamont's cousin) said with a laugh. "How could you not notice? We noticed it when we were coming in."
Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi also was at the game and was on the field near the Clairton locker room afterward. He gave Wade's father, Carlton, a big hug after the game.
But something else Lamont Wade noticed was Pitt's secondary troubles against Virginia Tech. He was asked about it and said everyone knows Pitt's secondary is struggling some and said, "That's something I'll look at."
Lamont Wade will make an official visit to Penn State next weekend. Honestly, though, the biggest thing on his mind right now is probably his right knee. Wade injured it in the first half of Friday's game and was bothered by it the rest of the night. He played sparingly on offense after the injury, but played much more on defense.
Wade will have the knee checked out this weekend. "Honestly, I just hope it's nothing serious," he said.
Here are highlights from the Post-Gazette Game of the Week with some comments from Lamont Wade, Wayne Wade - and a dancing Bear at the end.