Westmoreland County High School Football WPIAL Playoff Preview

10 Westmoreland County teams begin the WPIAL postseason tonight

Fri Nov 04, 2022 - 11:26PM

Sean Meyers Sean Meyers
Robbie Labuda leads Mount Pleasant into its first round game against East Allegheny. (Photo by www.westernpasports.com)Robbie Labuda leads Mount Pleasant into its first round game against East Allegheny. (Photo by www.westernpasports.com)

Last Updated: Fri Nov 04, 2022 - 3:49AM

The WPIAL football regular season is in the rear view now, as the postseason begins this weekend in five of the classifications. In Westmoreland County, 11 teams have qualified for the playoffs, including 10 that are in action this week. Here’s a detailed look at each of the Westmoreland teams that begin their WPIAL championship quest.

Class 5A Quarterfinals: #6 Woodland Hills (5-5, 3-2) at #3 Franklin Regional (6-3, 4-1) – 7 p.m.

About the Wolverines: Woodland Hills pulled off an upset of Penn Hills 7-3 a week ago, earning a playoff berth and bouncing the Indians from the postseason in the process. Frankie Keyes had the only TD of the contest, a 2-yard run. Keyes paced the Wolverines with 16 carries for 63 yards, while QB Cameron Walter went 6-of-10 for 86 yards and an interception. For the season, Walter has hit on 77-of-168 passes for 829 yards, but has thrown five touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Brandon Jones paces the ground game with 509 yards, while Will “Scoop” Smith is the top receiver, compiling 27 receptions for 335 yards. With eight TDs, Keyes paces the Wolverines. Woodland Hills, under the guidance of head coach Tim Bostard, has been outscored 211-196.

About the Panthers: Franklin Regional suffered a 28-21 overtime loss at Penn-Trafford in Class 5A Big East Conference play a week ago. Panthers QB Roman Sarnic factored into all three TDs for FR, as he compiled touchdown runs from 2 and 5 yards, while hitting Ayden Hudock for a 68-yard passing score. Sarnic finished the contest 8-of-12 passing for 121 yards, and he rushed 20 times for 98 yards, while Hudock caught six passes for 111 yards. Franklin Regional has suffered three losses this season, all in overtime. For the campaign, Sarnic has passed for 1,081 yards and 11 scores, while rushing 160 times for 972 yards and scoring 14 touchdowns. Meanwhile, Hudock has 902 yards receiving and has scored 15 times. At 34.1 points per game, the Panthers boast the top scoring offense in Class 5A.

About the Matchup: The winner advances to the semifinals to face either No. 2 Pine-Richland or seventh-seeded Penn-Trafford. A year ago, the Wolverines claimed a 37-21 victory in a conference clash.

Class 5A Quarterfinals: #7 Penn-Trafford (6-4, 3-2) at #2 Pine-Richland (7-3, 4-1) - 7 p.m.

About the Warriors: Conlan Greene’s overtime touchdown proved the difference, as host Penn-Trafford edged Franklin Regional 28-21 in Class 5A Big East Conference play a week ago. As a result, the Warriors secured a playoff spot as a wild card. Greene posted a dozen carries for 69 yards and two touchdowns, and he added a 30-yard TD pass to Carmen Metcalfe. Owen Demeri’s 3-yard run, meanwhile, pulled the Warriors even in the fourth, forcing the overtime. Demeri compiled 62 yards on the ground, while Tommy Kalkstein registered 64 yards rushing. On the season, Greene has 1,284 yards and nine TDs through the air, and 740 yards and 10 scores on the ground. Tasso Whipple, Demeri, and Kalkstein have all surpassed 300 yards rushing, while Daniel Tarabrella paces PT with 36 receptions for 555 yards.

About the Rams: Pine-Richland smashed North Hills 47-0 a week ago, the sixth win in a row for the Rams. PR utilized a dominant rushing attack, as Ethan Pillar rushed 27 times for 180 yards and two scores, Luke Randolph amassed 142 yards and three TDs on eight carries, and quarterback Ryan Palmieri added a dozen rushes for 75 yards and two touchdowns. On the campaign, Palmieri has registered 1,014 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns, while passing for 467 yards and three scores. Pillar, meanwhile, has contributed 747 yards on the ground. The Rams have outscored their adversaries 312-160. Jon LeDonne, who previously guided Penn Hills to a WPIAL crown, is the first-year head coach of PR.

About the Matchup: The victorious team moves on to the semifinals, and will battle either No. 3 Franklin Regional or No. 6 Woodland Hills. A year ago, the teams met in the Class 5A semifinals, as PT prevailed 24-6.

Class 4A First Round: #11 Greater Latrobe (6-4, 3-3) at #6 Highlands (9-1, 5-1) – 7 p.m.

About the Wildcats: Greater Latrobe doubled up Butler Area in a nonconference clash, as the host Wildcats prevailed 28-14. John Wetzel and Robby Fulton factored into every score for the Wildcats, as Fulton rushed 30 times for 195 yards and a touchdown, and also hauled in a TD pass from Wetzel, who scored two rushing TDs of his own. Wetzel finished 7-of-12 for 114 yards passing, while he chipped in with eight carries for 47 yards. In 2022, Fulton has compiled 179 carries for 1,453 yards and 18 TDs on the ground, while Wetzel has thrown for 762 yards and rushed for 434 yards. Corey Boerio has hauled in a team-best 11 receptions for 170 yards and four TDs.

About the Golden Rams: Highlands edged host Hampton 19-7 a week ago in a Class 4A Greater Allegheny Conference clash. Aaran Randolph rushed 18 times for 105 yards and a touchdown, and he added a 42-yard touchdown pass. Quarterback Chandler Thimons hit on 4-of-10 passes for just 33 yards, but he contributed 20 carries for 151 yards. On the season, Thimons has completed 48-of-110 passes for 837 yards and 11 TDs, while adding 114 carries for 659 yards and eight scores. Luke Bombalski paces Highlands with 798 yards rushing, while Randolph has scored a team-leading 13 touchdowns. The Golden Rams have outscored their foes 335-154. Matt Bonislawski is in his first season at the helm of Highlands.

About the Matchup: The winner moves on to the quarterfinals to play third seed Thomas Jefferson, which earned a bye. The teams last met in a nonconference contest in 2019, as the Wildcats claimed a narrow 20-18 victory.

Class 3A First Round: #9 East Allegheny (7-3, 3-2) at #8 Mount Pleasant (6-4, 3-2) - 7 p.m.

About the Wildcats: East Allegheny was overmatched in a 42-10 loss at Shady Side Academy last week in the Class 3A Allegheny Six Conference. Amir Rollins scored the only TD on a 1-yard run, while Matt Armenio converted a 31-yard field goal. For the season, Steve Yusko paces EA with five touchdowns. The Wildcats have outscored their opponents by an average margin of 26.6-21.4. Coach Dom Pecora is at the helm of East Allegheny.

About the Vikings: Robbie Labuda led the way in Mount Pleasant Area’s 42-17 victory against Southmoreland in the Class 3A Interstate Conference clash one week ago. Labuda notched 17 carries for 155 yards and three TDs, while quarterback Cole Chatfield hit 9-of-12 passes for 155 yards and a TD for the Vikings. His top target was Tyler Reese, who caught four passes for 114 yards and a touchdown. For the season, Labuda has amassed 1,299 yards and 15 touchdowns on 147 attempts, while he’s added a dozen receptions for 223 yards and three TDs. Lane Golkosky, meanwhile, has registered 534 yards on the ground and seven scores, along with 15 catches for 252 yards and a pair of TDs. The Vikings have scored 35 or more points in each of their victories, and average 31.6 points per contest.

About the Matchup: The winning squad moves on to the quarterfinals, where top-seeded Belle Vernon Area awaits. The previous meeting occurred in 2013, as the Vikings rolled to a 55-23 win.

Class 3A First Round: #12 Southmoreland (4-6, 2-3) at #5 West Mifflin (5-5, 4-2) - 7 p.m.

About the Scotties: Southmoreland fell to Mount Pleasant Area 42-17 in the Class 3A Interstate Conference battle a week ago. Scotties QB Kadin Keefer passed for 103 yards and two TDs, but he was intercepted four times in the setback. Ty Keffer paced Southmoreland receivers with four catches for 52 yards and a score, while Trey Whetsel posted 13 carries for 67 yards and snagged a receiving TD. On the year, Keffer leads the WPIAL with 66 receptions, which have spanned 922 yards, and he’s scored 17 times. Additionally, Keefer has connected on 119-of-211 attempts for 1,433 yards, with 16 TDs and 10 interceptions, while Whetsel anchors the ground game, amassing 486 yards rushing.

About the Titans: West Mifflin Area sustained a 21-14 home defeat against South Park last week in Class 3A Western Hills Conference action. In that contest, Titans signalcaller Shai Newby passed for 136 yards, with two touchdowns and two picks, while he rushed 17 times for 100 yards. On the campaign, DelRon White leads West Mifflin with nine touchdowns, while Rich Fix has found paydirt seven times. Despite a three-game skid to open the season, the Titans have outpaced their opponents 245-202. Championship-winning coach Rod Steele guides West Mifflin Area.

About the Matchup: The team that advances will play No. 4 Freeport Area, which garnered a bye to the quarterfinals. The teams have not met since prior to 2003.

Class 2A First Round: #10 Western Beaver (7-3, 4-3) vs #7 Ligonier Valley (7-3, 5-2) – 7 p.m. at Offutt Field

About the Golden Beavers: Western Beaver fell to Beaver Falls 44-8 a week ago, the second loss in a row for the Golden Beavers. The lone score came courtesy of a 17-yard pass from Xander LeFebvre to Mikey Crawford. Tyson Florence notched 18 carries for 150 yards in the setback. On the campaign, LeFebvre has hit on 53-of-108 attempts for 992 yards, with a dozen touchdowns and eight interceptions, while he’s also rushed for 389 yards and nine scores. Florence has registered 1,042 yards on the ground and a team-leading 16 scores. The Golden Beavers have outpaced their adversaries 301-208. Ron Busby is at the helm of Western Beaver.

About the Rams: Keyed by 352 yards rushing, Ligonier Valley posted a dominant 51-7 home victory against Derry Area in the Class 2A Allegheny Conference. Haden Sierocky notched 163 yards rushing and two touchdowns and added a receiving score, while John Jablunovsky contributed 129 yards and a pair of TDs on the ground. QB Broderick Schreyer hit 5-of-11 passes for 88 yards and two TDs. For the season, Sierocky has rushed 123 times for 1,031 yards, caught 28 passes for 378 yards, and has compiled 16 touchdowns. Despite missing time with injury, Jablunovsky has amassed 697 yards rushing and has scored eight times. Allowing 18.5 points per game, the Rams boast the second-best scoring defense in their conference.

About the Matchup: Because Ligonier Valley’s Weller Field was deemed unsuitable to host a playoff game, the contest will be played at Offutt Field, the home of Greensburg Salem. The victorious team will play in the quarterfinals against second-seeded Beaver Falls, which received a bye. The Rams and Golden Beavers squared off in a nonconference tilt in 2020, as Western Beaver prevailed 14-3.

Class 2A First Round: #13 Burrell (6-4, 3-4) at #4 Neshannock (9-1, 6-1) - 7 p.m.

About the Buccaneers: Tyler Maglisco scored a pair of touchdowns for Burrell, but it wasn’t enough, as the Bucs fell to Apollo-Ridge 28-14 in the Class 2A Allegheny Conference one week ago. Maglisco produced a 6-yard TD run, and later recorded a 33-yard touchdown pass from Chase Fenner, who was 6-of-9 passing for 68 yards. On the campaign, Devin Beattie, who was limited by injury last week, has registered 207 rushes for 1,375 yards and 15 touchdowns, while Mason Jones has produced 104 carries for 504 yards. Fenner has thrown for just 162 yards and one score, but he’s rushed for 402 yards and eight TDs.

About the Lancers: Neshannock steamrolled past Mohawk 42-12 last week, the fifth win in a row for the Lancers. QB Jonny Huff threw for just 44 yards, but he rushed 22 times for 285 yards and six touchdowns. For the season, Huff has contributed 960 yards and eight TDs through the air, and has posted 151 carries for 1,609 yards and 21 TDs. Matt Ionilli has added 557 yards on the ground and a dozen scores. Neshannock has scored 39 or more points in every victory this season, but was shut out in its lone defeat. The Lancers’ offense leads the conference at 39.2 points per game. Fred Mozzocio is the head coach of Neshannock.

About the Matchup: The winning team moves on to the quarterfinals, and will battle either fifth-seeded Serra Catholic or No. 12 Washington. The teams have not met since prior to 2003.

Class 1A First Round: #14 Rochester (5-4, 3-3) vs #3 Greensburg Central Catholic (8-2, 6-0) - 7 p.m. at Hempfield Area

About the Rams: Rochester fell at home to South Side Beaver 10-8 a week ago in the Class 1A Big Seven Conference. Antonio Laure scored the only TD for the Rams on a 4-yard run, and he compiled 92 yards on the ground on 20 carries. Laure and Jerome Mullins have been the offensive catalysts this season for Rochester, as Laure leads the team with 140 carries for 829 yards rushing, and he ranks second with 13 catches for 168 yards, scoring a team-high 16 total touchdowns. Mullins, meanwhile, paces the Rams with 24 receptions for 452 yards, ranks second in rushing with 396 yards, and has compiled 13 total TDs. Rochester has nearly doubled up its opponents in scoring margin for the season, outpacing foes 263-135. Gene Matsook is the head coach for Rochester.

About the Centurions: Greensburg Central Catholic exploded for 35 points in the first half a week ago, as the Centurions routed Leechburg 48-21 to claim the outright championship in the Class 1A Eastern Conference. Da’sjon Craggette posted 15 carries for 157 yards and two scores, while Amari Mack added 112 yard and two scores on just three carries for GCC. Centurions signalcaller Tyree Turner was 5-of-7 for 124 yards and two scores. On the campaign, Craggette has registered 105 carries for 1,067 yards, scoring a team-best 16 touchdowns. Samir Crosby and Jaydin Canady have also eclipsed 300 yards on the ground, while Crosby is the leading receiver with 27 receptions for 464 yards and has scored 15 total TDs. Turner has hit on 75-of-118 passes for 1,471 yards, with 20 TDs and three interceptions. GCC has scored 34 or more points in every victory this season, and has outscored its opponents 444-186 overall.

About the Matchup: With Greensburg Central Catholic’s field unsuitable to host, the game will be played at Hempfield Area High School. The team that advances will face either sixth-seeded Fort Cherry or No. 11 Monessen in the quarterfinals. The teams have not met since prior to 2003.

Class 1A First Round: #16 Jeannette (3-7, 3-3) vs #1 Bishop Canevin (9-1, 7-0) - 7 p.m. at Peters Township

About the Jayhawks: Jeannette was overwhelmed in a 43-0 loss at Clairton last week in Class 1A Eastern Conference action. Noah Sanders paced the Jayhawks with 11 rushes for 78 yards, while also completing a pair of passes. For the season, Sanders has posted 101 carries for 592 yards, caught 43 passes for 603 yards, and has scored a dozen touchdowns. Quarterback Payton Molter, who left with injury against the Bears, has thrown for 970 yards and a dozen scores, while he’s added 392 yards on the ground and 10 touchdowns. The Jayhawks have permitted an average of 28.5 points per contest.

About the Crusaders: Bishop Canevin notched its ninth win in a row last week, courtesy of a 49-0 whitewash of Carlynton in Class 1A Black Hills Conference play. Kole Olszewski hit 5-of-9 passes for 90 yards and three scores, while Xavier Nelson posted four catches for 102 yards and a TD. Marquis Carter paced the ground game, as he compiled seven carries for 111 yards and a score, while Jason Cross added two touchdowns. For the season, Olszewski had passed for 1,157 yards and 13 touchdowns, while Cross has amassed 911 yards through the air and 11 TDs. Nelson is the top receiver, with 32 receptions for 1,001 yards and 16 total touchdowns, while Carter has generated 1,126 yards rushing and eight total scores. During the winning streak, BC has pitched four shutouts, and held three other opponents to seven points or fewer. On average, the Crusaders have outscored their opponents by a margin of 40.3-7.2. Richard Johnson is the head coach for Bishop Canevin.

About the Matchup: The matchup will be held at Peters Township High School. The winner will advance to the quarterfinals, and will meet either No. 8 Our Lady of the Sacred Heart or ninth-seeded Clairton. As conference foes a year ago, BC rolled past Jeannette 35-0.

Class 1A First Round: #11 Monessen (6-4, 5-2) at #6 Fort Cherry (7-3, 5-2) - 7 p.m.

About the Greyhounds: Monessen claimed a 44-22 victory at home against Beth-Center last week in the Class 1A Tri-County South Conference. Quarterback Daniel Dozier hit on 8-of-10 passes for 133 yards and five touchdowns, including a pair each to Lorenzo Gardner and Rodney Johnson. Tyvaughn Kershaw rushed for 63 yards and a TD. For the season, Kershaw has amassed 102 carries for 1,213 yards and 17 total TDs, while Daevon Burke paces the Greyhounds with 19 touchdowns. Monessen has scored 377 points on the season.

About the Rangers: Fort Cherry outlasted Burgettstown 48-34 a week ago in the Class 1A Black Hills Conference. QB Matt Sieg passed for 38 yards and a score, but he rushed 34 times for 363 yards and six touchdowns. For the season, the freshman signalcaller has compiled 1,039 yards passing and nine scores, while he’s rushed 135 times for 1,504 yards and 26 TDs. The Rangers have outscored their opponents 374-248 on the campaign. Tanner Garry is the head coach for Fort Cherry.