Woodland Hills, Mt. Lebanon meet again in WPIAL quarterfinals |

Woodland Hills, Mt. Lebanon meet again in WPIAL quarterfinals

Chris Harlan

Pat Goff remembers the day a decade ago when he watched Mt. Lebanon win the WPIAL football title.

“It’s hard to describe, but it was something special,” said Goff, who was a second-grader when he joined his family at Three Rivers Stadium to see Mt. Lebanon defeat Woodland Hills, 14-13, in that 2000 title game.

“It was definitely the talk of the town,” he said.

Ten years later, he’s the team’s starting quarterback and has helped bring that excitement back to Mt. Lebanon.

But, again, Woodland Hills stands in the way.

The teams will meet Friday night at Baldwin, this time in the quarterfinals of the Class AAAA playoffs.

“This is something I’ve been waiting for my whole life,” said Goff, who grew up watching older brother Andy play quarterback.

Mt. Lebanon, seeded second, has reached 10-0 for the first time since 1981, a title-winning year for the program. Led by 1,800-yard rusher Luke Hagy and an oversized offensive line, the Blue Devils are a fashionable pick to reach Heinz Field.

“They’re big, they’re strong, they’re physical,” Woodland Hills coach George Novak said. “They play solid football, just like us.”

Woodland Hills (7-3) has more talent than its record and a No. 7 seed would imply. Its losses were to No. 1 Central Catholic (10-0), No. 3 North Hills (9-1) and national power Manatee (9-0) of Bradenton, Fla. Manatee is ranked ninth in the nation by USA Today.

The Wolverines’ star, Pitt-bound senior Lafayette Pitts, has 21 touchdowns, including four in last week’s 45-7 victory over Norwin. He had scoring runs of 16, 3, 47 and 55 yards.

“It’s going to be a great football game,” Novak said. “I think both teams are evenly matched.”

By winning in 2000, Mt. Lebanon kept Woodland Hills from capturing four consecutive titles (1999-2002). Woodland Hills won again last season, but Mt. Lebanon hasn’t won a title since. Goff said his memories of the decade-old game are fuzzy, but he remembers one of the Woodland Hills players clearly.

“Mostly, I remember Steve Breaston running all over the place,” Goff said with a laugh.

But for many, that’s ancient history.

When these teams scrimmaged in August, Woodland Hills won. That loss taught the Blue Devils a lot about themselves.

“We had to learn to be disciplined,” Goff said. “That kind of woke us up and showed us what we needed to do to be successful.”

Additional Information:

Top quad-A programs

Since the WPIAL expanded to four classifications in 1980, Mt. Lebanon and Woodland Hills each have won five Class AAAA titles, tying them with Upper St. Clair for the most in the 30-year span.

Mt. Lebanon: 5

• 1980, ’81, ’82, ’83, ’00

Woodland Hills: 5

• 1996, ’99, ’01, ’02, ’09

Upper St. Clair: 5

• 1988, ’89, ’92, ’97, ’06

North Hills: 4

• 1982, ’85, ’87, ’93

Central Catholic: 3

• 2003, ’04, ’07

*1982, ’83 and ’85 titles were shared.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.