WPIAL football playoff pairings feature a few conference matchups – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

With the first reg­u­lar sea­son of six clas­si­fi­ca­tions now in the rearview mir­ror, the WPIAL de­cided to look ahead with a new play­off phi­los­o­phy.

The WPIAL an­nounced play­off pair­ings Mon­day night in Green Tree and for the first time, some games will match teams from the same con­fer­ence.

It is a big change from the past. The WPIAL never has matched teams from the same con­fer­ence in a first-round play­off game. But with the ad­di­tion of two clas­si­fi­ca­tions to foot­ball in Penn­syl­va­nia this sea­son, the WPIAL had four classes with only two con­fer­ences each. The top four teams from those con­fer­ences qual­i­fied for the play­offs.

With eight-team fields, the WPIAL foot­ball com­mit­tee de­cided it would be ap­pro­pri­ate to throw out the old think­ing that teams from the same con­fer­ence couldn’t play each other.

“When the meet­ing started, I said we have to de­cide,” said Tim O’Mal­ley, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the WPIAL. “We said we could truly seed teams one through eight, or we could avoid con­fer­ences ee­e­e­eeeplay­ing each other like we did in the past. To a man, ev­ery­one on that com­mit­tee felt it was best to truly seed teams 1 through 8.”

The WPIAL play­offs start Fri­day with 31 games and one will be played Satur­day. Five of the games will match teams that played in the same con­fer­ence. They are North Hills at West Al­le­gheny, and Gate­way at Arm­strong in Class 5A; New Cas­tle at South Fay­ette, and Belle Ver­non at West Mif­f­lin in 4A; and Apollo-Ridge at Key­stone Oaks in 3A.

“Whether it was the right thing or wrong, we tried to seed and plug in,” O’Mal­ley said. “For ex­am­ple, we could’ve flipped North Hills and Gate­way. But we didn’t think it was fair be­cause the com­mit­tee thought North HIlls was the No. 8 seed and should play the No. 1 seed [West Al­le­gheny].”

“The eas­i­est way would’ve been to put 1 vs. 4, and 2 vs. 3 in dif­fer­ent con­fer­ences,” said Randy Rov­esti, chair­man of the foot­ball com­mit­tee. “But we felt if you want to be to­tally fair, you should seed the teams. The beauty is in the eyes of the be­holder. The un­for­tu­nate part is that teams have played each other be­fore. I tried to think of it as a coach and I was kind of 50-50 in my opin­ion.”

There was some big news Mon­day out­side of the play­off meet­ing. Clair­ton star La­mont Wade will miss at least the Bears’ first play­off game af­ter hav­ing sur­gery Mon­day for a torn me­nis­cus in his right knee.

“I think I’ll be back in about a week,” Wade said.

Wade was in­jured Fri­day against Jean­nette. He said Sun­day he thought the knee was do­ing well and didn’t think it was se­ri­ous, but things changed Mon­day af­ter an MRI.

“[Doc­tors] said I could be out the rest of the sea­son or I could be back soon,” Wade said. “I feel pretty good.”

Clair­ton coach Wayne Wade said: “It was ap­par­ently just a me­nis­cus cleanup. It was kind of like what [Steel­ers quar­ter­back] Ben Roeth­lis­berger had.”

As for the play­offs, there was one strange seed­ing. Bur­getts­town was given the No. 6 seed in Class 2A and Chart­iers-Hous­ton the No. 8, even though Char­it­ers-Hous­ton beat Bur­getts­town and fin­ished ahead of Bur­getts­town in the con­fer­ence stand­ings. Bur­getts­town will play Car­di­nal Wuerl North Cath­o­lic.

“The com­mit­tee felt Car­di­nal Wuerl was the No. 6 seed, but they couldn’t be there be­cause they had to play a road game,” O’Mal­ley said. “The com­mit­tee felt Bur­getts­town was the No. 11 seed, but we couldn’t put them there be­cause they had to have a home game, so we put them No. 6.”

Here are the first-round matchups and the seeds (all games Friday unless noted otherwise):


(8) Norwin vs. (1) Central Catholic at Cupples Stadium; (5) Pine-Richland at (4) Bethel Park; (7) Hempfield at (2) North Allegheny; (6) Seneca Valley at (3) Mt. Lebanon.


(8) North Hills at (1) West Allegheny; (5) Franklin Regional at (4) Woodland Hills; (7) Gateway at (2) Armstrong; (6) Upper St. Clair at (3) McKeesport.


(8) Montour at (1) Thomas Jefferson; (5) Belle Vernon at (4) West Mifflin; (7) New Castle at (2) South Fayette; (6) Ringgold at (3) Mars.


(8) South Park vs. (1) Aliquippa at Ambridge; (5) Central Valley at (4) Derry; (7) Mount Pleasant at (2) Beaver Falls; (6) Apollo-Ridge at (3) Keystone Oaks.


(16) Beth-Center at (1) Steel Valley; (9) Laurel at (8) Chartiers-Houston; (13) Avonworth at (4) Riverside; (12) Freedom at (5) East Allegheny; (15) South Side Beaver at (2) Washington; (10) Frazier at (7) Brentwood; (14) Serra at (3) Neshannock; (11) Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic at (6) Burgettstown.


(16) Avella at (1) Clairton; (9) Sto-Rox at (8) Fort Cherry; (13) Mapletown at (4) Northgate; (12) California at (5) Bishop Canevin, Saturday; (15) Riverview at (2) Rochester; (10) Imani Christian at (7) Our Lady of the Sacred Heart; (14) Shenango at (3) Jeannette; (11) Springdale at (6) Carmichaels.

For more on high school sports, go to “Varsity Blog” at www.post-gazette.com/varsityblog. Mike White: mwhite@post-gazette.com and Twitter @mwhiteburgh.

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