The opening round of the 2012 WPIAL football playoffs was not exactly lackluster, but with 29 of the 32 games being decided by 10 points or more, finding thrillers was a bit of a challenge. Regardless, there were a few terrific football games, including one with a last-second field goal to prevent one of the bigger postseason upsets in years.
#1 Central Valley Warriors 17 – Belle Vernon Leopards 16
Playing without their three best offensive players, including one of the WPIAL’s best players in Robert Foster, #3 Central Valley was able to survive #14 Belle Vernon on a 22-yard field goal by Elliot Taylor with just seven seconds to play in the game. In addition to Foster, who missed the game due to suspension, the Warriors were without starting QB Nate Climo and Jordan Whitehead, who did not play due to injuries. Central Valley will take on Parkway Conference rival Hopewell in the Quarterfinals.
#2 Pittsburgh Central Catholic Vikings 30 – Penn-Trafford Warriors 27
Behind a strong rushing performance from RB Luigi Lista-Brinza, #11 Central Catholic knocked off #6 Penn-Trafford, 30-27. In a back-and-forth shootout, the biggest play was made by the Central Catholic defense and DB Joe Tindal, who intercepted a pass with just over one minute remaining in the game to preserve the win for the Vikings. Lista-Brinza finished with 167 yards rushing and two touchdowns for Central Catholic, who will meet #3 Upper St. Clair in the Quarterfinals.
#3 Hopewell Vikings 14 0- Hampton Talbots 6
No Rushel Shell? No problem. Hopewell’s Tyler Ishman ran for 157 yards and scored the game-clinching touchdown at the end of the third quarter, giving #11 Hopewell the road win over the 6th-seeded Talbots. Ishman's touchdown ended a flurry of scoring in the 3rd quarter, the only frame of the football game in which points were scored. Hopewell’s impressive defense effort puts them into the Quarterfinals, where they will meet #3 Central Valley, who defeated them 35-17 in Week 7.