Shaler caught in crowded Northern Conference playoff picture

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Thursday, October 24, 2019 | 4:07 PM


Keeping track and making sense of the WPIAL’s Class 5A Northern Conference football standings required a lot of extra attention.

Other than the two teams at the top, Penn Hills and North Hills, and the one at the bottom, Armstrong, the other five teams have flip-flopped nearly every week. Shaler once again found itself in precarious position entering the final week of the season.

Heading into a matchup with Fox Chapel on Friday on the road, they needed a win and some help to clinch their second consecutive playoff bid.

“I would have not thought the division was going to be this tight,” Shaler quarterback Darin Mizgorski said. “Kiski made a huge turnaround after playing us and then Fox Chapel and Kiski beating Mars was a huge surprise to me.”

The Planets (5-4, 3-3) appeared to be heading to second place after handing North Hills its only section loss three weeks ago. Then Mars lost two one-possession games, 30-28 to Fox Chapel and 10-7 to Kiski, to keep a few postseason teams’ postseason hopes alive.

Once the smoke cleared, Shaler (3-6, 2-4) found itself tied for sixth place with Hampton. The Titans beat Kiski 23-6 earlier in the season, but lost to the Talbots, 31-28.

With a loss to the Foxes, who have won three straight, Shaler would be eliminated. Even with a win against Fox Chapel, the Titans could be knocked out if Hampton beats Mars. If Shaler wins, Mars beat Hampton and Armstrong beats Kiski, the Titans would place fourth. If Kiski beats Armstrong, Shaler would finished fifth.

Whatever the result, Titans senior running back Jake Miller is happy to have another opportunity to suit up.

“I’m looking forward to just playing the game I love with my brothers and try to earn us a playoff berth for the second year in a row,” Miller said.

The Titans nearly upset North Hills, losing 19-12 last week.

Senior running back Jake Miller scored on a short run in the second quarter. Mizgorski found Joe Impavido for a 15-yard score in the fourth.

“From the North Hills loss, I’ve learned that we, as a team, need to be more focused and capitalize when we get a turnover,” Miller said.

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