PIAA factoids for Friday’s Class 5A, 2A state championship games

Thursday, December 9, 2021 | 7:19 PM

In 34 years of PIAA football playoffs, the WPIAL has never had more than three state champions crowned in a single year.

One record has already been set this state postseason as the WPIAL prepares to send five champions to Hershey to play in the PIAA finals. Another record will be set if four or five District 7 teams end up winning state gold this week.

WPIAL champions Mt. Lebanon in 6A, Penn-Trafford in 5A, Aliquippa in 4A, Central Valley in 3A and Serra Catholic in 2A head east to Chocolate Town in the hopes of winning their second football title this fall.

So here are some PIAA factoids to go with your chocolate binge.

The district breakdown has the WPIAL leading with five teams in the PIAA finals, followed by two teams each from District 3 and District 12 and one team each from District 4, District 6 and District 9.

No teams from District 1, 2, 5, 10, 11 or the Pittsburgh City League (District 8) qualified for any of the six state championship games this week.

Now, a history lesson: Here are the teams that won PIAA football championships …

30 years ago: Central Bucks West, Erie Strong Vincent, Aliquippa and Schuykill Haven won in 1991.

25 years ago: Downingtown, Berwick, Mount Carmel and Farrell won in 1996.

20 years ago: Neshaminy, West Allegheny, Washington and Rochester won in 2001.

10 years ago: Central Dauphin, Archbishop Wood, Lancaster Catholic and Clairton won in 2011.

5 years ago: St. Joseph’s Prep, Archbishop Wood, Erie Cathedral Prep, Beaver Falls, Steel Valley and Bishop Guilfoyle won in 2016.

Class 2A

Serra Catholic Eagles (15-1) vs. Southern Columbia Tigers (14-1)

1 p.m. Friday, Hersheypark Stadium

• WPIAL teams have won the PIAA 2A championship nine times. The first was Aliquippa in 1991. The most recent 2A state title was five years ago when Steel Valley beat Southern Columbia. The Eagles would be the seventh District 7 team to win a 2A state crown, joining Aliquippa (2), South Park (2), South Fayette (2), Washington, Jeannette and Steel Valley.

• Serra Catholic is making its second state title game appearance. In 2007, the Eagles reached the finals but lost to Steelton-Highspire out of District 3, 34-15.

• Because of the two victories back in Week 4 when the Eagles were awarded a forfeit win over Carlynton and picked up a win on the field over Freeport in quickly scheduled nonconference game, Serra Catholic can set a unique record. They can become the first team to win 16 games in a season and not go undefeated after a Week 9 loss to Steel Valley.

• Serra Catholic is 3-1 all-time in PIAA playoff games; Southern Columbia is 57-16.

• Southern Columbia is the four-time defending PIAA Class 2A champions. The Tigers had a 65-game winning streak snapped in October by Wyomissing. The streak was one win shy of the state record winning streak held by Clairton.

• The Tigers are the most successful program in the PIAA playoff era. This will be their 20th trip to the state finals, and they have won a record 11 PIAA championships. Six times, Southern Columbia beat WPIAL teams for gold including 1994 over Western Beaver, 2002 and 2004 over Rochester, 2005 over Duquesne, 2015 over Aliquippa and 2019 over Avonworth.

WPIAL Class 5A

Penn-Trafford Warriors (12-2) vs. Imhotep Charter Panthers (11-1)

7 p.m. Friday at Hersheypark Stadium on Trib HSSN

• This is the third time in the six years of Class 5A that the WPIAL champion has reached the PIAA championship game. The two previous District 7 representatives came away with PIAA gold. Penn Hills beat Manheim Central in the 2018 5A title game, 36-31, and Pine-Richland a year ago crushed Cathedral Prep, 48-7.

• Penn-Trafford is trying to become only the third school from Westmoreland County to win a PIAA football crown. Jeannette did it twice in 2007 and 2017 and Franklin Regional won state gold in 2005.

• Penn-Trafford is off to a good start in PIAA playoff games with a 1-0 record; Imhotep Charter is 14-6 all-time.

• Imhotep Charter is making its sixth PIAA championship game appearance, having gone 1-4 in its previous five state finals. The lone win came in the second title game, a 40-3 wipeout of Cathedral Prep in the 2015 AAA finals.

• The Panthers have reached the 2016, 2017 and 2018 PIAA 4A finals, only to lose to Cathedral Prep each time by a combined score of 103-55. Imhotep Charter is 0-1 in the PIAA playoffs again the WPIAL, having lost to South Fayette in the 2013 AA finals, 41-0.

• The WPIAL has an all-time record of 4-6 against District 12 teams in PIAA championship games. The last time these districts squared off in Hershey was in 2017 when they split. Pine-Richland beat St. Joe’s Prep in 6A while Archbishop Wood knocked off Gateway in 5A.

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