WPIAL football playoff picture entering Week 9
Where are you Phil Luckett? The former NFL referee known for the infamous overtime coin flip on Thanksgiving Day in 1998 between the Steelers and Lions will likely not be there to flip any coins in Green Tree, but it does look like for the first time in Tim O’Malley’s tenure as WPIAL executive director that a coin flip will be needed for tiebreaker purposes for the district playoffs.
The last time the WPIAL needed to flip a coin to break a tie was in 2002.
It really looks like the final tiebreaker, a coin flip, will be used in the Class A Tri-County South as West Greene, Monessen and California are headed to a deadlock in records, head-to-head, Gardner points and tiebreaker points.
The procedure is representatives from the three schools do the flipping. The school that has a different result from the other two is eliminated and then the two that had the same result use head-to-head to determine who is first.
So heading into Week 9, here is all you need to know about the 2018 WPIAL football playoffs. Who is in, who is out and all the scenarios that will make your head spin and wish you had an abacus to figure it out.
Only conference records are shown.
Clinched: North Allegheny (7-0), Pine-Richland (7-0), Central Catholic (5-2), Seneca Valley (4-3), Mt. Lebanon (4-3)
Out: Hempfield (1-7), Butler (0-7)
Close to a berth: Canon-McMillan (2-5)
Conference schedule: Week 9 - Pine-Richland at North Allegheny, Mt. Lebanon at Central Catholic, Seneca Valley at Norwin, Canon-McMillan at Butler.
The lowdown: Pine-Richland and North Allegheny have clinched the top two spots and with it, a bye for the quarterfinals and a home game in the semifinals. Pine-Richland at North Allegheny will determine who if first and who is second.
Mt. Lebanon at Central Catholic will determine the order of third, fourth and fifth.
If Central Catholic wins, the Vikings are third, Seneca valley is fourth and Mt. Lebanon is fifth.
If Mt. Lebanon wins and Seneca Valley beats Norwin, the Blue Devils, Raiders and Vikings will all be tied for third place and even in Gardner points. WPIAL tiebreaker points heading into Week 9: Central Catholic +26, Seneca Valley +13, Mt. Lebanon +13.
If Canon-McMillan wins at Butler or Norwin loses to Seneca Valley, Canon-McMillan clinches sixth. Norwin needs to beat Seneca Valley and have Butler knock off Canon-McMillan to clinch.
Class 5A Big East
Clinched: Gateway (6-0), Penn-Trafford (5-1), McKeesport (5-1), Franklin Regional (4-2), Latrobe (3-4)
Out: Plum (1-6), Albert Gallatin (0-6)
Conference schedule: Week 9 - McKeesport at Gateway, Franklin Regional at Penn-Trafford, Connellsville at Albert Gallatin
The lowdown: McKeesport at Gateway and Franklin Regional at Penn-Trafford will sort out the order of the top four teams, with Latrobe locked into fifth place.
If Gateway and Penn-Trafford win, the order will be Gateway, Penn-Trafford, McKeesport, Franklin Regional.
If Gateway and Franklin Regional win, the order will be Gateway first with second place decided by tiebreaker points. Going into Week 9: Penn-Trafford +40, McKeesport +40, Franklin Regional +13. Third place will then be decided by head-to-head.
If McKeesport and Penn-Trafford win, the order up is in the air with tiebreaker points determining first. Going into Week 9: Gateway +60, Penn-Trafford +40, McKeesport +40. Head-to-head will determine second and Franklin Regional will be fourth.
If McKeesport and Franklin Regional win, the order will be McKeesport first, Gateway second, Franklin Regional third and Penn-Trafford fourth.
Connellsville (1-5) needs to win at Albert Gallatin to stay alive for wild card. See 5A wild card below for more details.
Class 5A Northern
Clinched: Penn Hills (6-0), Mars (5-1), North Hills (5-1)
Close to a berth: Kiski Area (2-4), Armstrong (2-4) and Shaler (2-4)
Conference schedule: Week 9 - Penn Hills at North Hills, Hampton at Mars, Kiski Area at Armstrong, Fox Chapel at Shaler.
The lowdown: If Penn Hills beats North Hills, Penn Hills is first, Mars second and North Hills third.
If North Hills beat Penn Hills and Mars beats Hampton, tiebreaker points will determine who is first. Penn Hills can’t be caught in tiebreaker points so they are first, Mars second and North Hills third. Going into Week 9 the totals are Penn Hills +60, Mars +39, North Hills +30.
The only way Penn Hills doesn’t finish first is if it loses to North Hills and Hampton upsets Mars.
The winner of the Kiski Area at Armstrong game clinches a playoff spot.
If Shaler beats Fox Chapel (1-5), the Titans clinch a playoff spot.
If Fox Chapel beats Shaler and Kiski Area loses, those three teams will be tied for fifth place. Kiski Area was 2-0 in head-to-head and would finish fifth and Fox Chapel would be sixth and in the wild card hunt.
If Fox Chapel beats Shaler and Armstrong loses, those three teams will be tied for fifth place. It would come down to tiebreaker points, and heading into this weekend it is Armstrong -13, Shaler -35, Fox Chapel -40. Armstrong could not be caught so it would be fifth and Fox Chapel would be alive for sixth.
If Shaler loses and Hampton upsets Mars, then the fun begins.
If Shaler, Kiski Area, Fox Chapel and Hampton are all tied at 2-5, then Kiski Area and Fox Chapel are 2-1 in head-to-head and Kiski Area beat Fox Chapel so the Cavaliers would be fifth. It goes back to head-to-head for sixth place and Fox Chapel would be sixth as it is 2-0 vs Shaler and Hampton.
If Shaler, Armstrong, Fox Chapel and Hampton are all tied at 2-5, then Armstrong, Shaler and Fox Chapel are 2-1 in head-to-head, knocking out Hampton. Back to head-to-head, they are 1-1 and tiebreaker points would determine fifth place, then head-to-head between the remaining two and Hampton would be used to determine sixth place.
Class 5A Allegheny Eight
Clinched: West Allegheny (5-1), Peters Township (5-1), Upper St. Clair (5-1), Bethel Park (4-2)
Out: Moon (1-5), Chartiers Valley (0-6)
Close to a berth: Woodland Hills (2-4), Baldwin (2-4)
Conference schedule: Week 9 - West Allegheny at Moon, Upper St. Clair at Bethel Park, Baldwin at Peters Township, Chartiers Valley at Woodland Hills
The lowdown: If West Allegheny, Peters Township and Upper St. Clair win on Friday, they will be tri-champions and need tiebreaker points to determine first. Going into Week 9, Peters Township is +48, Upper St. Clair is +16 and West Allegheny is +15. Peters Township can’t be caught and would be first, West Allegheny second, Upper St. Clair third and Bethel Park fourth.
If Moon, Upper St. Clair and Peters Township win, Upper St. Clair would be first, Peters Township second, West Allegheny third and Bethel Park fourth.
If West Allegheny, Upper St. Clair and Baldwin win, West Allegheny is first, Upper St. Clair second, Peters Township third and Bethel Park fourth.
If West Allegheny, Bethel Park and Peters Township win, Peters Township is first, West Allegheny second, Bethel Park third and Upper St. Clair fourth.
If Moon, Bethel Park and Peters Township win, Peters Township is first, West Allegheny second, Bethel Park third and Upper St. Clair fourth.
If West Allegheny, Bethel Park and Baldwin win, West Allegheny is first, Peters Township is second on Gardner points, Bethel Park third and Upper St. Clair fourth.
If Woodland Hills beats Chartiers Valley or Baldwin loses to Peters Township, Woodland Hills will be fifth. Baldwin needs a win and a Woodland Hills loss since they lose the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Wolverines.
If Moon wins and both Woodland Hills and Baldwin lose, Woodland Hills would be fifth having beaten both Baldwin and Moon. Baldwin would be sixth.
Class 5A wild card
Well, it will take two wins and possibly three for the sixth-place teams. Here are the tiebreaker points going into Week 9 for all the wild card contenders: Connellsville -40, Armstrong -13, Shaler -35, Fox Chapel -40, Baldwin -17, Woodland Hills -3
Class 5A third-place home game
The top two teams in each conference plus two third-place finishers will earn a home game in the first round. If there are tri-champs in the Allegheny 8, they will all earn home games. At this point, tiebreaker points likely will determine which two-loss team will also be home for round one.
Class 4A Northwest Eight
Clinched: South Fayette (6-0), Blackhawk (5-1), Beaver (4-2)
Out: Ambridge (0-6), Highlands (2-5)
Close to a berth: Montour (3-3)
Conference schedule: Week 9 - South Fayette at Montour, Beaver at Blackhawk, New Castle at Ambridge
The lowdown: South Fayette has clinched the top seed.
Beaver at Blackhawk winner is second and loser is third.
Montour can clinch with a win over South Fayette.
If Montour loses and New Castle beats Ambridge, there will be a three-way tie for fourth place between Montour, New Castle and Knoch (3-4). They are all 1-1 in head-to-head and tied in Gardner points so tiebreaker points would determine fourth place. Coming into Week 9, Montour is -4, Knoch is -12 and New Castle is -15
If Montour loses and New Castle also loses, Montour will qualify based on a victory over Knoch.
Class 4A Big Eight
Clinched: Thomas Jefferson (6-0), Belle Vernon (5-1), West Mifflin (5-1)
Out: Trinity (1-5), Laurel Highlands (1-5), Ringgold (0-6)
Close to a berth: Greensburg Salem (3-3), Indiana (3-3)
Conference schedule: Week 9 - Thomas Jefferson at West Mifflin, Belle Vernon at Ringgold, Greensburg Salem at Indiana, Laurel Highlands at Trinity
The lowdown: If Thomas Jefferson beats West Mifflin, Thomas Jefferson is first, Belle Vernon second and West Mifflin third.
If West Mifflin wins and Belle Vernon beats Ringgold, tiebreaker points would determine first with Thomas Jefferson +60, Belle Vernon +40 and West Mifflin +40
In above situation, if both West Mifflin and Belle Vernon win by 10 or more, there will be a coin flip.
The winner of Greensburg Salem at Indiana is fourth.
Class 3A Tri-County West
Clinched: Aliquippa (6-0), Beaver Falls (5-1), Quaker Valley (4-2), Central Valley (4-2)
Out: Waynesburg (0-6), Hopewell (1-5), South Park (2-4), Keystone Oaks (2-4)
Conference schedule: Week 9 - Aliquippa at Central Valley, Hopewell at Beaver Falls, South Park at Quaker Valley, Keystone Oaks at Waynesburg Central
The lowdown: Aliquippa has clinched the top seed and Beaver Falls is second.
Quaker Valley can clinch third with a win over South Park or a Central Valley loss to Aliquippa.
Central Valley can clinch third with a win over Aliquippa and a Quaker Valley loss to South Park because Quaker Valley wins the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Class 3A Big East
Clinched: Derry (6-1), North Catholic (6-1), Elizabeth Forward (6-1), Freeport (5-3)
Out: Deer Lakes (3-4), Yough (3-4), Burrell (2-5), Mt. Pleasant (1-6), Uniontown (0-7)
Conference schedule: Week 9 - Burrell at Derry, North Catholic at Deer Lakes, Yough at Elizabeth Forward, Uniontown at Mt. Pleasant
The lowdown: If Derry, North Catholic and Elizabeth Forward win, they will be tri-champions and would have split in head-to-head at 1-1 so tiebreaker points would be needed to determine first place, with head-to-head between the other two deciding second and third. The top two finishers earn a home game in the quarterfinals. Tiebreaker points heading into Week 9: Derry +53, North Catholic +50, Elizabeth Forward +39
Freeport is locked into fourth place.
Class 2A Allegheny Conference
Clinched: Shady Side Academy (5-0), Steel Valley (5-1), Avonworth (4-1)
Out: Apollo-Ridge (1-5), Summit Academy (0-6)
Close to a berth: East Allegheny (2-3), Valley (2-3)
Conference schedule: Week 9 - Shady Side Academy at Avonworth, Valley at East Allegheny
The lowdown: If Shady Side Academy beats Avonworth, Shady Side Academy is first, Steel Valley second, Avonworth third.
If Avonworth beats Shady Side Academy, the Antelopes, Indians and Steel Valley will be tri-champions and tiebreaker points will determine first, then head-to-head between the remaining two will determine second. Tiebreaker points heading into Week 9 are Shady Side Academy +50, Steel Valley +37 and Avonworth +33.
The winner of Valley at East Allegheny clinches fourth place and a playoff berth.
Class 2A Century Conference
Clinched: Charleroi (6-1), McGuffey (5-1), Washington (5-1)
Out: Southmoreland (2-5), Brownsville (0-6), Carmichaels (0-6)
Close to a berth: Beth-Center (4-2), Frazier (3-3)
Conference schedule: Week 9 - McGuffey at Washington, Frazier at Beth-Center, Brownsville at Carmichaels
The lowdown: Even though there will be co-champions, Charleroi is first because it beat both McGuffey and Washington.
The winner of McGuffey at Washington is a co-champion and will be second and earn a playoff spot with the loser finishing in third place.
The winner of Frazier at Beth-Center finishes fourth and clinches a playoff spot.
Class 2A Midwestern Athletic Conference
Clinched: Mohawk (6-1), Freedom (5-1), Riverside (4-2), New Brighton (4-2)
Out: Neshannock (2-4), Western Beaver (2-4), Ellwood City (2-5), Shenango (0-6)
Conference schedule: Week 9 - Western Beaver at Freedom, New Brighton at Riverside, Shenango at Neshannock
The lowdown: Even if Freedom wins and finishes as co-champs with Mohawk, based on head-to-head, Mohawk is first and Freedom is second.
If Freedom loses, it is still second because it owns a tiebreaker over both Riverside and New Brighton.
The winner of New Brighton at Riverside is third and the loser is fourth.
Class 2A Three Rivers Conference
Clinched: Burgettstown (6-0), South Side Beaver (5-2)
Out: Brentwood (3-4), Carlynton (1-5), Fort Cherry (1-5)
Close to a berth: Seton LaSalle (3-3), Serra Catholic (3-3) South Allegheny (3-3)
Conference schedule: Week 9 - South Allegheny at Burgettstown, Fort Cherry at Serra Catholic, Seton LaSalle at Carlynton
The lowdown: Burgettstown is the conference champion, and South Side Beaver is locked into second place.
If Burgettstown, Serra Catholic and Seton LaSalle win, Seton LaSalle is third and Serra Catholic is fourth.
If Burgettstown, Serra Catholic and Carlynton win, Serra Catholic is third and South Allegheny is fourth based on the Gladiators’ head-to-head tiebreaker wins over Seton LaSalle and Brentwood.
If Burgettstown, Fort Cherry and Seton LaSalle win, Seton LaSalle is third and Serra Catholic is fourth based on the Eagles’ head-to-head tiebreaker wins over South Allegheny and Brentwood.
If Burgettstown, Fort Cherry and Carlynton win, tiebreaker points would determine third because Serra Catholic, Seton LaSalle and South Allegheny are all 2-1 in a four-way tie with Brentwood, then head-to-head between those three teams is even at 1-1. Coming into Week 9, South Allegheny is +3, Seton LaSalle is 0 and Serra Catholic is -7.
If South Allegheny, Serra Catholic and Seton LaSalle win, South Allegheny would be second with Gardner points advantage, Seton LaSalle third and Serra Catholic fourth.
If South Allegheny, Serra Catholic and Carlynton win, Serra Catholic is third and South Allegheny is fourth.
If South Allegheny, Fort Cherry and Seton LaSalle win, South Allegheny is third and Seton LaSalle is fourth.
If South Allegheny, Fort Cherry and Carlynton win, South Allegheny is third and Seton LaSalle is fourth.
Class A Eastern Conference
Clinched: Clairton (5-0), Jeannette (5-0)
Out: Greensburg Central Catholic (3-3), Leechburg (1-4), Riverview (1-5), Springdale (0-5)
Close to a berth: Imani Christian (4-2)
Conference schedule: Week 9 - Clairton at Jeannette, Leechburg at Springdale
The lowdown: The winner of Clairton at Jeannette is first, the loser is second.
Chartiers-Houston at Imani Christian counts as a conference game for Imani Christian and its hopes for one of two Class A wild cards. See Class A wild card race below for more details.
Class A Big 7 Conference
Clinched: Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (6-0), Rochester (5-1)
Out: Sto-Rox (4-3), Cornell (3-3), Union (2-5) , Bishop Canevin (1-5), Northgate (0-6)
Close to a berth: Laurel (4-2)
Conference Schedule: Week 9 - Our Lady of the Sacred Heart at Cornell, Rochester at Bishop Canevin, Laurel at Northgate
The lowdown: Even if Our Lady of the Sacred Heart loses to Cornell, it will be first and has clinched at least a share of the conference championship.
Rochester is locked into second.
Laurel needs a win at Northgate Saturday to stay alive for a wild card spot.
Class A Tri-County South Conference
Clinched: West Greene (6-1)
Out: Bentworth (3-3), Chartiers-Houston (3-4), Jefferson-Morgan (2-4), Avella (1-5), Mapletown (0-6)
Close to a berth: Monessen (5-1), California (5-1)
Conference schedule: Week 9 - Monessen at Avella, Mapletown at California, Bentworth at Jefferson-Morgan
The lowdown: If Monessen wins at Avella, it clinches a playoff spot.
If California beats Mapletown, it clinches a playoff spot.
If Monessen and California both win, there will be a tri-champions in the TCS with all three teams 1-1 in head-to-head. It would come down to tiebreaker points to determine first, then head-to-head to determine second. Tiebreaker points heading into Week 9: West Greene +50, Monessen +40, California +40.
If Monessen and California win by 10 or more points, then all three teams will be tied in tiebreaker points and a coin flip will help determine which team is first, second and third.
Whichever team flips and is different from the other two, they are eliminated and as it turns out, would be third and one of the two wild card teams. The schools that flip and it comes up the same would have head-to-head determine who is first and who is second.
West Greene beat Monessen, Monessen beat California and California beat West Greene.
Keep in mind that the nonconference game for Imani Christian Saturday against Chartiers-Houston counts for both Gardner points and tiebreaker points for the Saints. The Eastern Conference has one fewer team than the Big 7 and Tri-County South so all the cross-over games against the Tri-County South count as conference games in tiebreakers for the Eastern teams.
Class A wild cards
If Monessen, West Greene and California all win out and are tri-champs, then no matter which team is “first” and which is “second,” the “third-place” team from the Tri-County South will be the first wild card based on conference record and having only one loss.
The second wild card will likely come down to Imani Christian and Laurel. Coming into Week 9, Imani Christian has 480 and Laurel has 500 Gardner points.
With a win over Northgate, Laurel would end up with 600 Gardner Points. With a win over Chartiers-Houston, Imani Christian would end up with 620 points and would clinch a wild card.
Class A third-place home game
One second-place team in Class A will enjoy a home quarterfinals playoff game. It appears all of the teams in the mix, Rochester, the Clairton-Jeannette loser and the second team in the Tri-County South will all have only one loss.
Gardner points coming into Week 9 are Rochester 640, Jeannette 720, Clairton 710, West Greene 740, Monessen 640, California 650.
Whoever is second in the Tri-County South will have the advantage with them likely ending up with 760 points, Rochester 750 and Clairton/Jeannette loser either 740 or 750.