WPIAL high school football don’t-miss matchups for Week 11
No. 3 Mt. Lebanon (6-5) at No. 2 Pine-Richland (8-2)
7:30 p.m. Friday at Pine-Richland Stadium
On the air: TribHSSN.triblive.com
Last week: Mt. Lebanon 38, Canon-McMillan 31; Pine-Richland, bye
Winner plays: Winner of No. 1 North Allegheny (10-0)/No. 5 Seneca Valley (8-3)
Coaches: Mike Melnyk, Mt. Lebanon; Eric Kasperowicz, Pine-Richland
Top players: Seth Morgan, Mt. Lebanon (Sr., 6-3, 170, QB); Cole Spencer, Pine-Richland (So., 5-10, 180, QB/SS)
Keep an eye on: Luke Meckler, Pine-Richland (Jr., 5-9, 160, RB/S)
Momentum: Mt. Lebanon. While Pine-Richland rested last week after earning a bye in the first round, the Blue Devils secured a win over Canon-McMillan. It was Mt. Lebanon’s third straight victory.
Four downs: 1. Morgan has been quite productive behind center this season, throwing for 2,098 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also has run for a team-high 551 yards and seven scores. 2. Mt. Lebanon has one of the WPIAL’s most reliable kickers in Casey Sorsdal, who has 31 extra points and nine field goals. 3. In his first season as a starting quarterback, Spencer has thrown for 1,080 yards and eight scores and has added 536 yards and 10 TDs on the ground. Meckler has surpassed 1,000 rushing yards with 16 touchdowns. 4. Pine-Richland won the meeting between these teams on Oct. 12, 42-24.
Extra point: Mt. Lebanon’s last victory over Pine-Richland was Sept. 2, 2011, a 34-7 win. The Blue Devils have lost the past four meetings and were outscored 179-97.
No. 13 Woodland Hills (5-6) at No. 5 West Allegheny (8-2)
7:30 p.m. Friday at North Hills’ Martorelli Stadium, Ross Township
On the air: 1320 AM; TribHSSN.triblive.com
Last week: Woodland Hills 14, No. 4 Mars 0; West Allegheny 37, No. 12 Shaler 0
Winner plays: Winner of No. 1 Gateway (11-0)/No. 9 Franklin Regional (7-3)
Coaches: Tim Bostard, Woodland Hills; Bob Palko, West Allegheny
Top players: Kam Kruze, West Allegheny (Jr., 6-2, 185, QB/DB); Anthony Meredith, Woodland Hills (Sr., 5-11, 180, RB/LB)
Keep an eye on: Danti Flati, West Allegheny (Sr., 5-9, 170, RB/CB); Mike Coleman, Woodland Hills (Sr., 6-0, 170, WR/CB)
Momentum: Woodland Hills pulled the upset on a Mars team that lost only to No. 2 Penn Hills in the regular season and had won six straight.
Four downs: 1. This game is a rematch of a 14-13 victory by West Allegheny in an Allegheny Eight Conference clash in Week 5. 2. The Indians’ offense ran 44 plays in the first half against Shaler and limited the Titans to just 13, taking a 17-0 lead at halftime. 2. West Allegheny coach Bob Palko, who will retire at the end of the season, went out a winner in his final home game at Joe P. DiMichela Stadium. 3. Kruze threw a touchdown and ran for another against Shaler, compiling 71 passing yards to go with 43 on the ground, while Flati rushed 15 times for 54 yards and a score. 4. Woodland Hills was one of only four visiting/lower seeded teams in Friday’s 38 playoff games to bring home a win. Franklin Regional, Rochester and Seneca Valley were the others. The Wolverines have won four of five since a 1-5 start and shut out their third opponent this season.
Extra point: West Allegheny has won four straight against Woodland Hills, including a 35-7 triumph in the 2016 Class 5A semifinals. The Wolverines last beat the Indians in a 2015 nonconference matchup, 22-15.
No. 1 Thomas Jefferson (10-0) vs. Blackhawk (10-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday at Peters Township High School
On the air: TribHSSN.triblive.com
Last week: Thomas Jefferson 49, New Castle 16; Blackhawk 23, West Mifflin 21
Winner plays: Winner of No. 2 South Fayette (10-1)/No. 3 Belle Vernon (9-1)
Coaches: Bill Cherpak, Thomas Jefferson; Zack Hayward, Blackhawk
Top players: Shane Stump, Thomas Jefferson (Jr., 6-1, 205, QB/DB); Kenny Gawley, Blackhawk (Jr., 5-11, 180, RB)
Keep an eye on: Max Shaw, Thomas Jefferson (Sr., 6-0, 190, RB/LB); Chance Liptak, Blackhawk (Sr., 5-11, 190, QB)
Momentum: Thomas Jefferson has not scored less than 36 points in any game this season. Blackhawk has won five straight since falling to South Fayette in Week 5.
Four downs: 1. Thomas Jefferson is in the WPIAL semifinals for the seventh straight season, and the three-time defending WPIAL champ hopes to punch its ticket to its fourth consecutive title game. 2. Blackhawk will play in a WPIAL semifinal game for the first time since 2008, the same year it last played for a WPIAL title. That year, the Cougars fell to Thomas Jefferson in the Class AAA championship game at Heinz Field. 3. Stump was an efficient 11 of 12 passing for 163 yards and four touchdowns against New Castle, while Shaw added 224 rushing yards and two scores on 16 carries. 4. Blackhawk led West Mifflin, 23-7, before a pair of Parrish Parker TD runs closed the gap in the third quarter. Liptak tossed three touchdowns against the Titans, giving him 11 through the air and 14 total this season.
Extra point: The 2008 WPIAL Class AAA title game was the last time Thomas Jefferson and Blackhawk met on the football field.
No. 1 Aliquippa (10-1) at No. 4 Beaver Falls (9-2)
7:30 p.m. Friday at Moe Rubenstein Stadium, Ambridge
On the air: 1230 AM, 92.1 FM; TribHSSN.triblive.com
Last week: Aliquippa 40, Freeport 17; Beaver Falls 33, Elizabeth Forward 14
Winner plays: Winner of No. 2 Derry (10-1)/No. 3 North Catholic (10-1)
Coaches: Mike Warfield, Aliquippa; Nick Nardone, Beaver Falls
Top players: Eli Kosanovich, Aliquippa (Sr., 6-2, 200, QB); Dayln Brickner, Beaver Falls (Sr., 5-11, 165, QB/DB)
Keep an eye on: MJ Devonshire Jr., Aliquippa (Sr., 5-11, 180, WR/KR/DB); Josh Hough, Beaver Falls (So., 6-2, 217, RB/DB).
Momentum: Beaver Falls has won two in a row since a nonconference loss to Class 4A No. 4 Blackhawk in Week 8, while Aliquippa got back in the win column after a Week 9 upset by Central Valley.
Four downs: 1. Aliquippa is one win away from its 11th straight trip to a WPIAL championship game. The Quips have won five WPIAL championships since 2008. 2. Beaver Falls hopes to return to Heinz Field after winning the WPIAL Class 3A title there in 2016. 3. Brickner, a Youngstown State commit, helped lead Beaver Falls in its first-round win over Elizabeth Forward. He threw for 113 yards and a touchdown and rushed 15 times for 85 yards and two scores. The Tigers totaled 344 yards of total offense. 4. With his five touchdowns against Freeport, McKenzie raised his season TD total to 26. William Gipson had a big game last Friday, catching eight passes from Kosanovich for 131 yards. He now has 1,267 receiving yards and 14 total touchdowns through 11 games.
Extra point: Aliquippa dominated its Tri-County West matchup with Beaver Falls, winning 39-0 in Week 4. The Quips have won the past two in the series, both in shutout fashion, but the Tigers beat Aliquippa for the 2016 WPIAL Class 3A crown.
No. 3 Steel Valley (9-1) vs. No. 6 Washington (10-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday at Elizabeth Forward’s Warrior Stadium
On the air: 1450 AM; TribHSSN.triblive.com
Last week: Steel Valley 49, Beth-Center 0; Washington 54, New Brighton 20
Winner plays: Winner of No. 2 Burgettstown (10-0)/ No. 7 Freedom (10-1)
Coaches: Rod Steele, Steel Valley; Mike Bosnic, Washington
Top players: Todd Hill, Steel Valley (Sr., 5-10, 221, RB/MLB); Zack Swartz, Washington (Jr., 6-3, 195, QB)
Keep an eye on: Zahmere Robinson, Washington (Jr., 6-1, 170, WR/DB)
Momentum: Steel Valley has been dominant since suffering a Week 3 loss to Shady Side Academy, outscoring seven opponents 345-44.
Four downs: 1. Washington’s Swartz and Robinson stole the show in last week’s first-round win over New Brighton. Robinson scored on two long TD receptions and on a 61-yard run. Swartz threw for 205 yards and two scores and ran for two more TDs. 2. Dylan Asbury has rushed for 814 yards and 16 scores to lead the Little Prexies’ ground game. 3. Steel Valley piled up 336 rushing yards in last week’s win over Beth-Center, including 225 yards and two scores for Kameron Williams. 4. Hill, a Howard recruit, and Williams have combined for 2,995 rushing yards and 45 touchdowns.
Extra point: There was a little bit more on the line when these teams met last season for the WPIAL Class 2A title at Robert Morris. Washington won 37-10.
No. 2. Clairton (9-1) vs. No. 3 OLSH (10-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday at Dormont Stadium
On the air: TribHSSN.triblive.com
Last week: Clairton 27, California 17; OLSH 60, Imani Christian 6
Winner plays: Winner of No. 1 Jeannette (11-0)/No. 5 Rochester (10-1)
Coaches: Wayne Wade, Clairton; Dan Bradley, OLSH
Top players: Brendan Parsons, Clairton (Jr., 6-1, 170, QB), Tyler Bradley, OLSH (Sr., 6-3, 195, QB)
Keep an eye on: Richard Banks, OLSH (Sr., 5-9, 165, WR/SS)
Momentum: OLSH. The Chargers are in the semifinals for the first time, but they have one of the WPIAL’s highest-scoring offenses at 43.5 points per game, tops in Class A.
Four downs: 1. Bradley is the WPIAL’s second-leading passer with 2,899 yards and 40 touchdowns this season. He surpassed 8,000 career passing yards in last week’s first-round win. 2. Banks (761 yards, 12 TDs), Andrew Schnarre (586 yards, 5 TDs) and Ricco Tate (566 yards, 10 TDs) have been the Chargers’ primary targets. 3. Clairton is chasing its 14th WPIAL championship. They have won eight of the last 10 Class A titles. 4. This will be the first meeting between Clairton and OLSH, which is in its ninth year of WPIAL play.
Extra point: Clairton has been in the playoffs 30 times in the last 41 seasons.