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Live Friday WPIAL semifinal blog - West Allegheny beats Thomas Jefferson, 41-7

Written by Mike White on .

Live blog from WPIAL Class AAA semifinal between Thomas Jefferson and West Allegheny. For score updates and notes from other semifinals look to the right of this blog for @PGVarsityXtra's Twitter account. If you have a score update, note of photo, tweet with #wpial.


FINAL: WEST ALLEGHENY 41, THOMAS JEFFERSON 7

More later

How about this one: Neshannock is now beating Clairton, 28-26. Wait. Clairton comes right back and takes 34-28 lead.

END OF THIRD QUARTER: WEST ALLEGHENY 41, THOMAS JEFFERSON 7

Neshannock giving Clairton a game. 26-22 Clairton ahead.

Central Catholic offense clicking tonight. Now leading Penn-Trafford, 35-20

WEST ALLEGHENY 41, THOMAS JEFFERSON 7

Thomas Jefferson gets on scoreboard. Jacob Stein returns second-half kickoff 96 yards for TD. Mercy rule still in effect.

Halftime: WEST ALLEGHENY 41, THOMAS JEFFERSON 0

Mercy rule in second half.

WEST ALLEGHENY 41, THOMAS JEFFERSON 0

Never have seen this from a TJ team. Jaguars can't tackle. Four TDs in past five plays for West A. 25-yard TD run by Terrence Stephens. If this stays, it will be mercy rule in second half. 

8:22 West Allegheny has scored touchdowns on three of its past four plays. Wow.

WEST ALLEGHENY 34, THOMAS JEFFERSON 0

Can TJ stop the avalanche? Whitney White 65-yard touchdown run. 5:54 left in half.

McKeesport gets on board. Now trails Pine-Richland, 14-7.

Washington trailing Aliquippa by only 16-12. TD by Spina for Wash  High

WEST ALLEGHENY 27, THOMAS JEFFERSON 0

This is jaw-dropping. Two plays 57 yards and Chayse Dillon scores on 55-yard run. With what's happening here, it makes you wonder what the competition was like in that Big Nine?

8:04 TJ goes three and out again. TJ has only one first down early in second quarter. Thomas Jefferson has virtually no passing game. It will be extremely difficult for Jaguars to come back. You don't see any long drives coming and they can't stop West A. Punt return jump started West A.

WEST ALLEGHENY 20, THOMAS JEFFERSON 0

Six-play, 50-yard drive and Chayse Dillon caps with a 2-yard touchdown run.

Central Valley putting it to Ringgold, 14-0. Not a surprise there.

7:54 Great fourth-down stand by WA defense at midfield. TJ coach Bill Cherpak went for it on fourth and 2. WA now driving.

South Fayette 7, Seton-LaSalle 0

WEST ALLEGHENY 13, THOMAS JEFFERSON 0 

First play after kickoff TJ fumbles and Whitney White recovers. West Allegheny goes 39 yards in five plays. TD run of 5 yards by Terence Stephens. Opsatnik kick. 13-0

Pine-Richland scores first possession. DiNucci 7 of 7

WEST ALLEGHENY 6, THOMAS JEFFERSON 0

Big play on special teams!! Great punt return by Tyler Amedure takes punt and goes 65 yards for TD. Broke three tackles. Looked to be stopped at midfield, broke loose and went down the sideline. PAT failed, though. 

Avonworth jumps to 7-0 lead on North Catholic. Hughley TD.

7:36 Three and out for West A.

7:31 West Allegheny receives. No Andrew Koester at QB. West Allegheny in wildcat.

7:26 Game time in a few minutes. Certainly not good crowd again. Attendance has been down all throughout the playoffs. You can't blame weather that much. Heck, it has been cold a number of years for the semifinals and attendance wasn't like this. I can't give you a reason.

PREGAME

Another cold, cold night. Regular season was filled with great Friday nights, but the weather for the playoffs has been bad and it has greatly affected attendance. Wonder what the crowd will be like here at Bethel Park? Half hour before the game and there might be 100 people here.

Will be interesting to see how much West Allegheny uses the wildcat formation. The Indians used it a lot last week. Most of the year they had been going out of a pro site.

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WPIAL semifinal predictions ..... TV games

Written by Mike White on .

Varsity Blog program note: Tonight's live semifinal blog will come from the West Allegheny vs. Thomas Jefferson game. For score updates and notes from other games, follow the @PGVarsityXtra Twitter account to the right of this blog. If you have a score update, note or photo, "tweet" it with #wpial.

Before we get to the WPIAL semifinal predictions, one note about TV games tonight. Root Sports will televise the Thomas Jefferson vs. West Allegheny game, to be shown on delay, following tonight's Penguins game.

Xfinity Comcast television is doing the Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic vs. Avonworth game, which can be seen "On Demand" starting tomorrow night.

Now, for the semifinal predictions, plus one PIAA game involving City League champion Brashear. 

WPIAL CLASS AAAA

Pine-Richland vs. McKeesport - I don't think there is any doubt that Pine-Richland's offense with quarterback Ben DiNucci (pictured) and his strong offensive line will move and score points. The biggest question is whether McKeesport's flexbone offense is good enough to keep pace with the Rams? I say no. Winner: Pine-Richland.

Central Catholic vs. Penn-Trafford - Penn-Trafford's offense is much more balanced than Central Catholic. But will that matter? I really like Penn-Trafford and this game is awfully interesting. Line play will be the key. I took Central Catholic at the start of the playoffs. Winner: Central Catholic.

WPIAL CLASS AAA

Thomas Jefferson vs. West Allegheny - A classic matchup between perennial powers. Do you think there has ever been a game with 11 WPIAL titles between the two coaches (Bob Palko with seven and Bill Cherpak with four)? Well, actually yes. West Allegheny played Woodland Hills this year and there were 13 between Palko and George Novak. It will be interesting to see if West Allegheny uses the wildcat offense tonight, like it did often last week. Run defense will be key for both teams. Winner: West Allegheny.

Central Valley vs. Ringgold - It has been 27 years since Ringgold has been in the semifinals. Standout running back Chacar Berry was slowed by a bad ankle last week. The Rams need him at full strength. But even so ... Winner: Central Valley.

WPIAL CLASS AA

Washington vs. Aliquippa - Aliquippa would be the favorite even if Washington was at full strength. But some injuries to key players could spell trouble to Washington. Winner: Aliquippa (fixed error from earlier this afternoon).

South Fayette vs. Seton-LaSalle - Seton-LaSalle's best player, Danzel McKinley-Lewis (pictured) did not play the first time the teams met. No doubt he will make a difference. But will he make THAT much of a difference? South Fayette won the first time, 41-14. Winner: South Fayette.

WPIAL CLASS A

Clairton vs. Neshannock - There is no question that Neshannock will give Clairton its best game of the season. But it's hard to see Neshannock giving Clairton its first loss of the season. Winner: Clairton (fixed error from this afternoon).

Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic vs. Avonworth - When CWNC beat Avonworth, 28-0, earlier this season, the game was scoreless at halftime. This one might be close the whole way, but the same team will come out on top. Winner: Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic.

PIAA CLASS AAAA

Erie McDowell vs. Brashear - City League champion Brashear goes on the road to play McDowell in Erie Saturday afternoon. Brashear has had a week off since winning the City League championship. Terrific job by coach Rick Murphy in getting his team to peak at the right time and knock off No. 1 Allderdice. This isn't a great McDowell team, but still a level above Brashear. Winner: McDowell. 

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Shaler star runner Schwartz picks Colorado ..... Bears will be Blackhawk coach

Written by Mike White on .

Shaler Area's Brianna Schwartz is heading west for college.

Schwartz, considered the best distance runner in WPIAL history, said tonight she will sign tomorrow with the University of Colorado. Tomorrow is the first day of the NCAA's week-long early signing period for some sports.

Schwartz is a WPIAL and PIAA champion in track and cross country. She was recruited by a number of major colleges and Villanova, Syracuse and Virginia also were on her final list. 

If anyone is scratching their head as to why Schwartz would decide to venture so far from home, you should listen to Schwartz: "The running program they have is arguably one of the best in the nation. Their coaches have had a lot of success with their athletes. Their teams always have good runners." 

She's right. Mark Wetmore is Colorado's men's and women's cross-country coach. He has five NCAA cross-country championships. He is the only Division I coach who has won NCAA men's and women's team titles and also had men's and women's individual champions. This year's men's team is ranked No. 1 in the country and the women No. 12.

Colorado started recruiting Schwartz last year. At first, she was a little hesitant about the school because of its distance from home. But Colorado grew on Schwartz, because of the program's success and also because she visited the school.

"It's a really beautiful place," said Schwartz.

Blackhawk to hire Bears

Josh Bears will not have to miss a season as a boys basketball coach.

Bears was West Allegheny's coach the past 10 seasons. He won a WPIAL title once, made it to the semifinals two other times and made the playoffs five times. But West Allegheny opened his job after last season and hired Dan Marshall

But Bears is expected to be officially hired Thursday as Blackhawk's new coach.

You're probably thinking that this is kind of late to hire a basketball coach. And it is. The official start of practice is Monday. But the Blackhawk job opened only last month when Andy Hedrick left to become Connellsville's coach. Hedrick took the Connellsville job because he also got an assistant principal's position.

Bears had wanted to coach again and applied at other places. With it being so close to the season, Blackhawk is fortunate to get someone with Bears' success and experience.

Bears was 127-106 at West Allegheny. 

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Live Friday PIAA blog - Central Catholic wins, 28-0

Written by Mike White on .

Live blog from the WPIAL Class AAAA quarterfinal game between Woodland Hills and Central Catholic. For scores, photos and notes from other quarterfinal games, look to the right at the Twitter account for @PGVarsityXtra. If you have a note or score, tweet it with #wpial

CENTRAL CATHOLIC 21, WOODLAND HILLS 0

Central Catholic gets 28-yard TD from Vinny Emmanuele. 

9:42 Woodland Hills turns over on downs. QB Jeremiah Jones on fourth-and-4, runs only 3 yards.

Great game in AAAA. NA leads Penn-Trafford, 31-28.

9:38 Woodland Hills. WH gets to CC 34.

END OF THIRD QUARTER: CENTRAL CATHOLIC 14, WOODLAND HILLS 0

9:31 Woodland Hills takes over at its own 46.

9:25 Woodland Hills picks up a first down and then punts.

CENTRAL CATHOLIC 14, WOODLAND HILLS 0

Central gets another TD without its offense doing anything. Woodland Hills RB Miles Sanders hit hard, fumbles, Rasahd Wheeler picks it off the turf and returns it 25 yards for TD. MacZura kick. 14-0 with 6:10 left in third.

9:14 Three and out for Central. Another excellent punt by Central's Mitch MacZura putting Woodland Hills inside its 20. WH ball at 18. Still 7-0 with 6:58 left in half.

9:06 - Second half under way.

I just saw a tweet that Ben DiNucci has 284 yards passing at halftime. It's all about the Benjamin.

Here is a surprise. South Park leads South Fayette, 14-13, at halftime. Great job by Tom Loughran and his staff. Not saying South Park will win, but most people thought this would be a blowout like it was earlier in the season.

Another blowout for Clairton. Bears lead, 46-7

Thomas Jefferson leads Mars, 14-7, in the third quarter.

HALFTIME: CENTRAL CATHOLIC 7, WOODLAND HILLS 0

Central Catholic two first downs in first half. Woodland Hills two first downs. Miles Sanders had 47-yard run on final play of half.

8:37 STOP THE PRESSES!!!!! Woodland Hills with a first down. First of the game. Miles Sanders 12-yard run.

I thought Neshannock-Jeannette could be a good one. Neshannock leads, 19-14.

8:31 Central Catholic now at Woodland Hills 30. Central has three first downs.

South Side Side Beaver giving North Catholic a tussle. 7-6 NC leads.

West Allegheny has taken a 23-14 lead on Franklin Regional.

McKeesport leads Plum, 13-3.

Mars and Thomas Jefferson tied, 7-7

8:24 Woodland Hills punts again after three an out. Still without a first down. c'mon, man.

Penn-Trafford scores. 10-7 North Allegheny leads.

8:21 Central defensive coordinator Dave Fleming told me before the season that this might be best defensive line Central has had in long time. It's showing tonight.

8:20 And we have our eighth punt of the game.

Seton-LaSalle leads Highlands, 14-7

8:16 Hey, a first down. Central Catholic now at 50.

Pine-Richland leads Altoona, 14-0

Central Valley winning, 21-0

8:13 This is a recording. Three and out for Woodland Hills. 9 minutes left in half and only one first down in game.

8:09 Both of these defenses are top notch. Another three and out for Central. Still waiting for first complete pass.

Neshannock takes 13-7 lead Jeannette.

North Allegheny up on Penn-Trafford, 10-0

Franklin Regional back ahead of West Allegheny, 14-9

END OF FIRST QUARTER: CENTRAL CATHOLIC 7, WOODLAND HILLS 0

8:03 Johnny on the spot again. Johnny Petrishen INT at own 47.

West Allegheny goes on top of Franklin Regional, 9-7

8:00 Neither team much of a passing game again. Almost end of first quarter and yet to see completed pass.

7:59 Central Catholic three and out.

McKeesport leading Plum , 7-3

7:56 Woodland Hills three and out again. At least they didn't kick this time to Petrishen. 

Washington leading Apollo-Ridge, 8-7.

7:53 Mitch MacZura 40-yard field goal attempt for Central, no good.

North Allegheny leading Penn-Trafford 7-0.

Neshannock and Jeannette tied, 7-3.

Hmmm. Franklin Regional leading West Allegheny, 7-3

CENTRAL CATHOLIC 7, WOODLAND HILLS 0

Do teams not read? Not watch film? Johnny Petrishen has returned a number of punts for TDs the past two years. But Woodland Hills punted right to him. Petrishen returned it 55 yards for TD. 

On the ensuing kickoff, Jihad Brown fumbled and Central's Bryan Glover recovered at Woodland Hills 36.

7:39 Central Catholic receive.

Jeannette up on Neshannock, 7-0

Kazeon Pugh 56-yard TD run. Aliquippa leads Mount Pleasant 8-0.

Pine-Richland has jumped ahead of Altoona 7-0. Road to Heinz is paved for P-R. First play DiNucci 65-yard TD pass to Merhaut.

7:20 - Cold night. Game on TV. Certainly not a good crowd. Not even medium size crowd. This is 15 minutes before kickoff.

Central Cath. crowd

PREGAME

There could have been brothers going against each other in this game. Jaymier Scarbrough is a 6-2, 310-pound senior lineman at Woodland Hills. Jordan Scarbrough is a 6-1, 280-pound defensive lineman for Central Catholic. But we have received word that Jordan Scarbrough will not play. He is not with the team.

 

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WPIAL quarterfinal predictions ..... Complete playoff schedule for Western Pa.

Written by Mike White on .

Tomorrow's live blog will come from Woodland Hills vs. Central Catholic. For scores and reports of other games, follow the @PGVarsityXtra Twitter account to the right of this blog. If you have a score, note or photo tweet it to @PGVarsityXtra, and tweet with #WPIAL

Now for the WPIAL quarterfinal predictions. All games are tonight at 7:30. Last week's record, including the City League championship, was 26-7 (.787 pct.). Season: 102-37 (.733 pct.).

Below the predictions is a complete playoff schedule for every district outside of the WPIAL. Now, the predictions:

WPIAL CLASS AAAA

Pine-Richland vs. Altoona - Ben DiNucci gets 6,000 yards passing and Pine-Richland gets win No. 11. I'm a week ahead of myself, but Pine-Richland also wins next week to get to Heinz Field. Winner: Pine-Richland.

Plum vs. McKeesport - Terrific job by Plum second-year coach Matt Morgan. I think the Mustangs will definitely be competitive in this one, but will need turnovers to have a chance to win. Winner: McKeesport.

Penn-Trafford vs. North Allegheny - Penn-Trafford is the No. 2 seed, but will have its hands full with a North Allegheny team that has won seven in a row. Running back Devin Austin (pictured) could be the difference. Winner: Penn-Trafford.

Central Catholic vs. Woodland Hills - Terrific matchup. Before the season, it seemed just about everybody had these two pegged as the WPIAL's best teams. Now they meet in the quarterfinals. The game will be won in the trenches and also by the team that makes a big pass play or two. Winner: Central Catholic.

WPIAL CLASS AAA

Central Valley vs. Indiana - Indiana has never made it to the WPIAL semifinals. Central Valley, meanwhile, has made at least the semifinals all four years of its existence. Indiana will need a terrific effort from its defense to have a chance. Winner: Central Valley.

Ringgold vs. Hampton - Ringgold hasn't lost since the first game of the season against Thomas Jefferson. Will RB Chacar Berry and QB Nico Law give Hampton some problems? I say yes. Winner: Ringgold.

Thomas Jefferson vs. Mars - Terrific job by Mars coach Scott Heinauer to get the Planets this far after losing his top player, Josh Schultheis, in the season opener. Thomas Jefferson's running game is just too strong. Winner: Thomas Jefferson.

West Allegheny vs. Franklin Regional - West Allegheny's defensive front and linebackers will be the difference. Winner: West Allegheny.

WPIAL CLASS AA

South Fayette vs. South Park - When these two met in the regular season, South Fayette won pretty easily. The Lions will roar again. Winner: South Fayette.

Highlands vs. Seton-LaSalle - I'm hearing Highlands is bruised and battered with injuries. That means ... Winner: Seton-LaSalle.

Aliquippa vs. Mount Pleasant - Thirty years ago, these two met for a WPIAL title for the second year in a row. Aliquippa won at Three Rivers Stadium. They'll celebrate the anniversary with another victory. Winner: Aliquippa.

Washington vs. Apollo-Ridge - Washington coach Mike Bosnic has quietly built Washington into one of the best programs in Class AA again. I have to pick an upset somewhere, don't I? But would it be that big of an upset if Apollo-Ridge won? The Vikings have never been to the semifinals since the school opened in 1969, but for some reason I think Tre Tipton and Duane Brown (pictured) find a way to get it done. Winner: Apollo-Ridge.

WPIAL CLASS A

Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic vs. South Side Beaver - South Side Beaver's wing-T offense has gone far enough. Winner: North Catholic.

Riverside vs. Avonworth - Avonworth has lost three games the past two seasons - all to North Catholic. Avonworth will get another shot at the Trojans next week. Winner: Avonworth.

Clairton vs. Shenango - A win puts Clairton in the semifinals for the ninth consecutive season. Shenango hasn't been to the semifinals since 1987. Winner: Clairton.

Neshannock vs. Jeannette - This is a terrific matchup. I think Jeannette very easily could have been the No. 4 seed. This one is a tossup. Will Jeannette's speed be the difference? Winner: Neshannock.

DISTRICT 5 CLASS AA PLAYOFFS

Westinghouse vs. Chestnut Ridge - Westinghouse is the City League rep for Class AA and now plays in the District 5 playoffs in order to try and advance to the PIAA playoffs. I don't know anything about Chestnut Ridge except there is a pretty nice golf course on Route 22 called Chestnut Ridge. That's enough for me. Winner: Chestnut Ridge.

Western schedule

Thanks to Kenny "The Horse" at the Post-Gazette, here is the playoff schedule for all districts on the western side of the state, outside of the WPIAL.

 

DISTRICT 5 CLASS AA PLAYOFFS

Semifinals

Friday — Westinghouse (1-6) at Chestnut Ridge (8-2), 7 p.m.

Bye — Bedford (9-1).

DISTRICT 5 CLASS A PLAYOFFS

Quarterfinals

Friday — Conemaugh Township (4-6) at Berlin Brothersvalley (9-1), 7 p.m.; Everett (5-5) at Meyersdale (8-2), 7 p.m.

Saturday — Northern Bedford (5-5) at Shade (6-4), 7 p.m.; Windber (5-5) at Tussey Mountain (8-2), 7 p.m.

DISTRICTS 5-6-9 CLASS AAA PLAYOFFS

Regional Semfinals

Friday — Punxsutawney (6-4) at Somerset (9-1), 7 p.m.; Johnstown (7-3) at Clerafield (8-2), 7 p.m.

DISTRICT 6 CLASS AA PLAYOFFS

Quarterfinals

Friday — Southern Huntingdon (5-5) at Mount Union (10-0), 7 p.m.; Forest Hills (5-5) at Tyrone (9-1), 7 p.m.

Saturday — Huntingdon (5-5) at Juniata (9-1), 7 p.m.; Penn Cambria (6-4) at Martinsburg Central (8-2), 7 p.m.

DISTRICT 6 CLASS A PLAYOFFS

Quarterfinals

Friday — Williamsburg (6-4) at BishopGuilfoyle (10-0), 7 p.m.; Moshannon Valley (6-3) at Blairsville (10-0), 7 p.m.

Saturday — Homer-Center (7-3) at Portage (9-1), 7 p.m.; Penns Manor (8-2) at Bellwood-Antis (8-2).

DISTRICT 9 CLASS AA PLAYOFFS

Semifinals

Friday — Moniteay (5-5) at St. Marys (7-3), 7 p.m.

Bye — Karns City (9-1).

DISTRICT 9 CLASS A PLAYOFFS

Quarterfinals

Friday — Union-Rimersburg (5-5) at Ridgway (9-1), 7 p.m.; Brockway (5-5) at Redbank Valley (7-2), 7 p.m.; Curwensville (6-4) at Clarion (9-1),7 p.m.

Saturday — Kane (6-3) at Elk County Catholic (8-2), 7 p.m.

DISTRICT 10 CLASS AAAA PLAYOFFS

Championship

Saturday — General McLane (5-5) vs. McDowell (6-4) at Veterans Stadium, Erie, 7 p.m.

DISTRICT 10 CLASS AAA PLAYOFFS

Semifinals

Friday — Meadville (6-4) vs. Erie Cathedral Prep (10-0) at Veterans Stadium, Erie, 7 p.m.; Erie Central (6-4) vs. Conneaut (9-1) at Edinboro University, 7 p.m.

DISTRICT 10 CLASS AA PLAYOFFS

Quarterfinals

Saturday — Sharon (5-4) vs. Fairview (6-3) at Edinboro University, 7 p.m.; Northwestern (5-5) vs. Greenville (9-1) at Wilmington, 1 p.m.; Seneca (7-3) vs. Slippery Rock (10-0) at Slippery Rock University, 7 p.m.; Hickory (7-2) vs. Girard (7-2) at Fairview, 1 p.m.

DISTRICT 10 CLASS A PLAYOFFS

Quarterfinals

Friday — Wilmington (5-4) vs. Cambridge Springs (8-2) at General McLane, 7 p.m.; Iroquois (6-4) vs. Sharpsville (7-3) at Hickory, 7 p.m.; Farrell (7-3) vs. Lakeview (7-2) at Slippery Rock University, 7 p.m.; West Middlesex (8-2) vs. Cochranton (6-3) at Franklin, 7 p.m.

 

 

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