Predictions, predictions, predictions. But before we get to those for the first night of the season, one quick note:
Talented running back Ron Brown has made another transfer and is back at a WPIAL school. But you won't see him playing at least for a few weeks.
Brown has made a lot of transfers in the past three years and he is now at Penn Hills. Actually, this is the fifth team he has been associated with in three years. He has a few scholarship offers from Division I colleges.
Brown showed showed potential two years ago as a sophomore running back at Woodland Hills. But he left Woodland Hills and transferred to Imani Christian, where he rushed for more than 1,000 yards last season. Some players left Imani, though, and transferred to Renaissance Christian Academy, a new private school in Pittsburgh that started a football program this year. Renaissance is coached by former Imani coach Harvey Smith.
Recruiting services listed Brown this summer as a Renaissance player. But at some point Brown enrolled at Pickerington North High School in Ohio. But he recently left Pickerington and transferred to Penn Hills.
Pickerington North athletic director Molly Feesler said Brown attended a few days of school and was awaiting word from the Ohio High School Athletic Association on his eligibility. All student-athlete transfers must be approved by the OHSAA. Apparently, Pickerington North was counting on Brown playing. He is listed on Pickerington North's roster, but he decided to leave at some point recently. Feesler said she had no idea why.
So now Brown is at Penn Hills. But WPIAL Executive Director Tim O'Malley said the league will have a hearing in mid-September to determine Brown's eligibility. Until then, he is ineligible to play in games. So, stay tuned.
Brown has scholarship offers from Temple, Central Florida and a few Division I-AA colleges.
Here are picks for some top games on the first night of the WPIAL season.
Upper St. Clair at Woodland Hills - Both teams are breaking in new quarterbacks and QB play will be the key. Woodland Hills is No. 1 in WPIAL Class AAAA and Upper St. Clair No. 2. Will we have a new No. 1 team after Week 1? Winner: Upper St. Clair
Also, Peter Township over Baldwin; McKeesport over Hempfield; North Hills over Penn-Trafford; North Allegheny over Mt. Lebanon; Seneca Valley over Butler.
Josh Schultheis Franklin Regional at Mars - Franklin Regional lost a number of key players from last year. A key for the Panthers is how well quarterback Charran Singh performs. He was a top receiver before changing to QB this year. Mars has running back Josh Schultheis who rushed for more than 1,000 yards last year. But Mars is breaking in several new linemen. How will they perform. Schultheis could be the difference in this game. By the way, stupid question that has nothing to do with this game: Does Mars coach Scott Heinauer still collect mini football helmets in his office? Winner: Mars.
Also, Central Valley over New Castle, West Allegheny over Blackhawk and Elizabeth Forward over Trinity.
Greensburg Central Catholic at Washington - Washington is breaking in a number of new players while Greensburg Central Catholic has some pretty good returning starters. But running back Shai McKenzie can make up for inexperienced players. Winner: Washington.
Also, Steel Valley over Keystone Oaks, Shady Side Academy over Ford City; South Fayette over McGuffey (although McGuffey is a sleeper team that could make some noise in Class AA this season.
Chartiers-Houston at Clairton - Clairton beat the Bucs by only 22-20 in last year's opener. Clairton has only a few starters back from last year, but don't kid yourself. There is still plenty of talent at Clairton. 64 in a row for Clairton. Winner: Clairton
Also, Jefferson-Morgan over Carmichaels, Monessen over California.