Westmoreland County High School Football WPIAL Quarterfinal Preview

Penn Trafford hosts Fox Chapel; Belle Vernon welcomes New Castle; Mt. Pleasant travels to Avonworth

Fri Nov 12, 2021 - 12:22AM

Sean Meyers Sean Meyers
After a bye last week, No. 2 Penn-Trafford opens the WPIAL playoffs tonight against No. 10 Fox Chapel on WSN. (Photo by westernpasports.com)After a bye last week, No. 2 Penn-Trafford opens the WPIAL playoffs tonight against No. 10 Fox Chapel on WSN. (Photo by westernpasports.com)

Last Updated: Fri Nov 12, 2021 - 3:11AM

After the first week of the WPIAL playoffs, just three Westmoreland County teams remain. Mount Pleasant Area was the lone county squad to win last week, while Penn-Trafford and Belle Vernon Area each received a bye. Those three teams will take the field in quarterfinals action this week. Here’s a deep dive into the postseason matchups.

WPIAL 5A Quarterfinals: #10 Fox Chapel Area (5-6) at #2 Penn-Trafford (8-2) – 7 p.m.

Pregame at 6:15 on WSN Video - WATCH LIVE

WSN Broadcasters: Sean Meyers, Sean Benjamin, and Hannah Mears

About the Foxes: Although Fox Chapel Area entered the WPIAL postseason on a three-game skid, the Foxes upset No. 7 Upper Saint Clair 13-10 last week. Replacing injured starting QB Collin Dietz, Khi’Lee Patterson was 4-of-10 passing for 41 yards and a touchdown, while he also rushed 14 times for 40 yards and another score. Zidane Thomas paced the ground game with 24 carries for 98 yards, while Colin Kwiatkowski hauled in a 25-yard touchdown reception. Thomas also anchored the defense with 10 tackles and two sacks, while Jack Visco notched 10 tackles, as well. For the season, Thomas has compiled 947 yards rushing and a team-best 10 scores. Patterson, who led the Foxes in receiving yards, is just 5-of-17 passing, while adding 42 carries for 142 yards. Jacob DeMotte (28 receptions, 388 yards), and Kwiatkowski (21 receptions, 408 yards) are the top targets through the air. Prior to his injury, Dietz has amassed nearly 1,300 yards passing and a dozen touchdowns. Despite the playoff victory, the Foxes have been outscored 278-185. Tom Loughran is at the helm of Fox Chapel.

About the Warriors: As the second seed, Penn-Trafford received a bye last week. The Warriors concluded the regular season on a six-game surge, capped by a 42-0 whitewash of Greater Latrobe. During that winning stretch, the Warriors permitted just 43 points. For the campaign, QB Carter Green is 60-of-102 for 927 yards, with eight touchdowns and five interceptions. As a rusher, Green has compiled 815 yards and 12 scores. Wisconsin commit Cade Yacamelli leads the Warriors with 115 carries for 1,150 yards and 14 touchdowns, and he also has contributed 11 receptions for 149 yards and two TDs. Liam Hileman has a team-leading 13 receptions, while Tommy Kalkstein’s 216 receiving yards paces PT. Kicker Nathan Schlessinger has six field goals and 43 extra points. Jack Jollie anchors the Warriors’ defense with 48 tackles, while Daniel Tarabrella has 47 tackles and 1.5 sacks, and Conlan Greene has posted 46 tackles and a team-high 5.5 sacks. The Warriors have outscored their adversaries 333-126, and boast the best scoring defense in the Big East Conference.

About the Matchup: The winner advances to the 5A semifinals, and will face either No. 3 Pine-Richland or 11th-seeded Peters Township. Penn-Trafford has won all five of its meetings against Fox Chapel, including four in postseason play. The most recent encounter was in 2019, as the Warriors rolled to a 48-7 victory.

Class 4A quarterfinals: #9 New Castle (7-4) at #1 Belle Vernon Area (8-0) – 7 p.m.

About the Red Hurricane: New Castle scored a slight upset last week, edging #8 Highlands 31-19 in the first round. Quarterback Chris Hood had a monster performance, as he was 9-of-12 passing for 180 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed 20 times for 221 yards and a pair of scores. Hood’s favorite target was Mike Wells, who caught five passes for 135 yards and a score. Owen Ciavarino added two grabs for 59 yards and a touchdown. For the season, Hood has passed for 1,133 yards and nine touchdowns, while he’s rushed for 992 yards and 15 touchdowns. Wells paces the Red Hurricane in receiving, with 19 receptions for 353 yards, and he’s also rushed for 254 yards, totaling eight scores. New Castle has posted a scoring differential of 0, both scoring and permitting 271 points. Joe Cowart is the head coach.

About the Leopards: As the top seed in the bracket, Belle Vernon Area received a bye last week. The Leopards were perfect in the regular season, including a 46-14 win against McKeesport Area in the finale to secure the Big Eight Conference title. In just eight games, QB Devin Whitlock was 55-of-80 passing for 828 yards, eight touchdowns, and two interceptions, while he rushed 80 times for 960 yards and scored 20 total touchdowns. Despite missing multiple games with injury, Quinton Martin posted 58 carries for 737 yards, added 100 yards receiving, and scored 13 times. Evan Pohlot paced the Leopards’ receivers with 15 receptions for 262 yards, while Jake Gedekoh contributed 482 yards rushing and eight TDs. Defensively, Cole Weightman leads the team with 66 tackles and five sacks, while Logan Hoffman posted 55 stops. BVA has outpaced its opponents 339-87, leading its conference in both scoring offense and scoring defense.

About the Matchup: The winner moves on to the 4A semifinals, and will play either No. 4 Hampton or #5 Thomas Jefferson. The teams also met in the 2019 quarterfinals, a 49-6 Leopards’ triumph.

Class 3A Quarterfinals: #6 Mount Pleasant Area (6-4) at #3 Avonworth (8-2) – 7 p.m.

About the Vikings: Mount Pleasant Area rolled against #11 Burrell in the first round, prevailing 41-7. A pair of Vikings eclipsed 100 yards rushing, as Robbie Labuda compiled 170 yards and a score on 15 attempts, while Aaron Alakson rushed 12 times for 113 yards and two TDs, and also amassed 91 yards receiving and a score. The Vikings cruised even without starting QB Tyler Reese, as Cole Chatfield was 4-of-8 for 96 yards through the air. Reese is probable to return this week. For the season, Labuda has contributed 129 attempts for 905 yards, 107 yards receiving, and 12 total touchdowns. Alakson also has a dozen scores, as he’s rushed for 704 yards and added 180 yards receiving. Reese has only passed for 431 yards, but he’s also rushed for 350 yards and five scores. Mount Pleasant Area has outscored its opponents by a margin of 246-178.

About the Antelopes: As the No. 3 seed, Avonworth garnered a bye to the quarterfinals. During the regular season, the Antelopes registered a four-game winning streak, as well as a three-game surge. Quarterback Nate Harper is 88-of-156 passing for 1,105 yards, with 11 touchdowns and seven picks. Meanwhile, Ian Syam has accounted for 1,028 yards on the ground and a team-best 15 touchdowns. Peyton Faulkner and Neo Miller are the top pass catchers, with 299 and 222 yards, respectively. The Lopes have outscored foes 311-97. Head coach Duke Johncour leads Avonworth.

About the Matchup: The winner moves on to the semifinals, and will play either No. 2 North Catholic or #7 Keystone Oaks. The teams have not met since at least 2003.