Besides Beaver Falls at Aliquippa, this isn't a very good week for big games. I'm talking about games where teams at the top of conferences are meeting, especially in Class AAAA.
But there is potential for some "perfect" finishes to the regular season next week.
There is a possibility that three games next week could match teams with perfect records. The regular season ends next weekend. The possible perfect showdowns are McKeesport vs. Gateway, Thomas Jefferson vs. West Mifflin and Kittanning vs. Shady Side Academy. The McKeesport-Gateway game is Thursday on Root Sports television and the other two are Friday.
Since the WPIAL went to four classifications in 1980, there have been only 18 regular-season finales matching undefeated and untied teams.
Here are my predictions for this weekend's top games:
Last week: 8-5 (bad week)
Season: 83-24 (.769 pct.)
Pine-Richland at North Hills - There is still a battle for third place in the Northern Eight Conference and a possible home game in the first round of the playoffs. This game will have a bearing on that battle. Can North Hills' offense score enough? That is one of the main questions in this game. Just a little factoid: North Hills coach Pat Carey and Pine-Richland coach Eric Kasperowicz are both phys. ed teachers at North Hills. I will say no more other than ... Winner: North Hills.
Other top Class AAAA games - Gateway over Penn-Trafford; McKeesport over Kiski Area.
New Castle at Moon - Shoutout to Moon for making playoffs for first time since 2006. But this game could have big effect on possibly home playoff game. Pressure on Moon defense. New Castle's offense is good. Winner: New Castle.
Other top AAA games - Franklin Regional over Hampton; Indiana over Knoch.
Aliquippa at Beaver Falls - Aliquippa's starters might have to play more than a half for one of the few times this season. Both teams are undefeated. Aliquippa is ranked No. 1 in WPIAL AA and Beaver Falls No. 2. Beaver Falls has some talent on offense, but the Tigers' defense is the key to this one. I just don't know if Beaver Falls can keep Aliquippa out of the end zone enough to win. Question: Can anyone tackle Aliquippa's Dravon Henry (pictured)? I think his yards-per-carry average will drop from 22 this week, but Quips won't drop the ball in this one. Winner: Aliquippa.
South Park at South Fayette - This game will decide the No. 1 seed in the Century Conference. But in every big game this year, South Fayette has pretty much romped. The Lions won't have much trouble in this one, either, although it's nice to see the job coach Tom Loughran has done in getting the Eagles back to the playoffs. Winner: South Fayette.
Other top AA games - Shady Side Academy over Summit Academy; Kittanning over Valley; Greensburg Central Catholic over Yough.
Neshannock at North Catholic - This is only a non-conference game, but it matches two of the top teams in Class A. Even though it is only non-conference, look for both teams to take this one seriously because it could affect playoff seedings. I don't feel strongly about picking either team. The game is that close. Winner: North Catholic.
Other top Class A games - Sto-Rox over Laurel; Monessen over Char-Houston.
University Prep over Perry; Brashear over Allderdice