Westmoreland County high school football notebook: Breaking down the WPIAL playoff format

Thursday, October 20, 2022 | 11:01 AM

The WPIAL football playoffs are less than two weeks away.

The number of playoff teams in each classification differs, and some spots won’t be decided until the end of the regular season.

Here is the breakdown for the postseason in each class:

Class 6A — Top four of five teams qualify out of one conference. (Home games: Nos. 1 and 2 seeds.)

Class 5A — There are three conferences, and the top eight make it: the top two from each conference and two third-place wild-card teams. (Home games: Top four teams.)

Class 4A — The top five teams from the Parkway Conference and top four from the Big Seven and Greater Allegheny qualify. The top three seeds receive byes. (Home games: Higher seeds in first round, three bye teams in quarterfinals.)

Class 3A — Twelve teams will advance: The top four from each of the three conferences with the top four getting byes. (Home games: Higher seeds in first round, teams with byes in quarterfinals.)

Class 2A — Top five from Midwestern and Allegheny and top four from the Century. (Home games: Top two seeds with a bye; higher-seeded teams in first round.)

Class A — A league-high 16 qualifiers will come from the top four in each conference. (Home games: All higher seeds in first round.)

Ties will be broken in this manner: 1. Head-to-head competition; 2. Gardner Points system; 3. Point differential; 4. Coin flip.

The WPIAL championships for Class 4A, 3A, 2A and A will be played Nov. 25 at Acrisure Stadium.

The 6A and 5A finals will be Nov. 19 at Norwin.

Who’s in?

Four Westmoreland County teams have secured playoff berths with two weeks to play in the regular season.

They are Class 5A Big East champion Franklin Regional (5-2), Belle Vernon (5-2) in 3A, Ligonier Valley (5-3) in 2A, and Greensburg Central Catholic (6-2) in A.

Penn-Trafford (5-3) must beat Franklin Regional next week to stay in the 5A race, and Hempfield (5-3) has to win its last two games to make it.

In the 4A Big Seven Conference, Latrobe can clinch with a win Friday over McKeesport or a Connellsville loss.

In 3A, Southmoreland (4-4) can clinch with a win over Belle Vernon or losses by South Allegheny and Greensburg Salem.

Also, Mt. Pleasant (4-4) clinches with a win this week over South Allegheny.

And in Class A, Jeannette (2-6) and Monessen (5-3) can clinch with wins Friday over Springdale and Mapletown.

Jeannette numbers

Jeannette has struggled with low roster numbers in recent seasons, and the trend is ongoing for new coach Tom Paulone and the Jayhawks.

The team dressed 19 for last week’s game at Greensburg Central Catholic, and Paulone doesn’t expect that number to grow much, even as players return from injury.

Only 14 players showed up for a recent practice.

“Every week, it’s plug and play,” Paulone said. “But our kids are working through it.”

The team’s motto is plastered on the program: “Protect The Tradition.”

“We’re doing what we can to get the program back on track,” Paulone said. “I’m not opening a bottle of champagne after the season, but we’re making some progress.”

Trick or treat

Belle Vernon will continue its holiday tradition Friday with its annual Halloween parade and trick-or-treat event.

Students wearing a costume will get in free (with a paying adult) and be able to take part in the festivities.

The parade and trick-or-treating will be on the field during pregame at 5:30 p.m.

1,000-1,000 club?

A number of players have rushed and passed for 1,000 yards over the years.

In Westmoreland County, Devin Whitlock of Belle Vernon was the latest to accomplish the feat.

Cody Rubrecht of Greensburg Salem and Franklin Regional’s Roman Sarnic have been balanced. Rubrecht has 902 yards rushing and 841 passing, and Sarnic has 852 passing and 701 rushing.

Penn-Trafford’s Conlan Greene has thrown for 1,163 yards and has rushed for 633.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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