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Five things we learned from Week 9 of high school football

November 27, 2018

The WPIAL’s field of 62 is set.

Imani Christian was the final football team to secure a playoff berth with Saturday’s 54-0 victory over Chartiers-Houston, earning the Saints (6-3, 4-2) the second wild card in Class A ahead of Laurel (6-4, 4-2), which is left out of the eight-team bracket.

Gardner Points broke their tie.

A dozen teams clinched playoff spots in the final week of the regular season: Canon-McMillan in Class 6A, Woodland Hills, Shaler, Armstrong and Kiski Area in 5A, New Castle and Greensburg Salem in 4A, East Allegheny, Beth-Center, Serra Catholic and Seton LaSalle in 2A and Imani in A.

Now, the teams must wait a couple of days to learn who they will face in the playoffs next weekend.

The WPIAL football steering committee will meet Monday morning to assign seeds. The completed brackets will be revealed at 7 p.m. during the annual pairings meeting at the DoubleTree in Green Tree.

Class 6A, 4A, 3A and A have three-round tournaments. Class 5A and 2A, the two classifications with the most WPIAL teams, have four rounds.

2. Peaking at right time

After Friday night, Central Valley could be an opponent Class 3A contenders want to avoid in the first round. That’s remarkable for a team that started 0-4.

Central Valley’s stock certainly soared after defeating Aliquippa, 14-8, and handing the top-ranked Quips their first loss of the year. The Warriors took a six-point halftime lead, and the teams played a scoreless second half.

Aliquippa had averaged 55 points.

Central Valley enters the playoffs as the fourth-place team in the Tri-County West, so a matchup with Derry seems likely.

The Warriors started with losses to Blackhawk, 21-7, Quaker Valley, 18-0, Beaver Falls, 41-7, and North Catholic, 14-13. But they’ve won five of six since, starting with a one-point win over Keystone Oaks.

3. Regular-season record falls

The WPIAL can celebrate a new regular-season passing record.

Sto-Rox’s Eric Wilson became the first player in WPIAL history to pass for 3,000 yards in a regular season. The junior threw for 330 yards Friday, giving him 3,003 for the year. Avonworth’s Zach Chandler set the previous record with 2,812 yards in 2015.

4. Another passer reaches 6,000

Charleroi senior Geno Pellegrini reached the 6,000-yard career milestone Friday when he passed for 307 yards against Apollo-Ridge. Pellegrini is the 15th WPIAL passer to reach 6,000.

He has 1,668 yards this season and enters the WPIAL playoffs with 6,002.

Consider, nobody in WPIAL history had thrown for 5,000 yards until Eric Kasperowicz finished his career with 5,595 at North Hills in 1993.

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart’s Tyler Bradley surpassed 6,000 yards earlier this season and now is nearing 8,000.

South Fayette’s Brett Brumbaugh set the WPIAL record with 11,084 career yards in 2014.

5. Heads or tails?

The WPIAL will hold a tie-breaking coin flip for the first time since 2002.

Representatives from Tri-County South tri-champions California, Monessen and West Greene will meet Monday morning to break the three-way tie.

All three are deadlocked in both Gardner Points and the WPIAL’s margin of victory formula. They each lost to one another, so the WPIAL must resort to a coin flip. The tie must be broken because only the first-place team will earn home game.

All teams will flip a coin until one of the three is different -- that team finishes third. Head-to-head record then is used to break the tie between the remaining two teams. Monessen defeated California, West Greene defeated Monessen and California defeated West Greene.

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