WPIAL Class 6A football semifinals preview

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Thursday, October 29, 2020 | 4:36 PM


Class 6A semifinals 

No. 4 Seneca Valley (4-2) at No. 1 North Allegheny (5-0)

7 p.m. Friday at Newman Stadium, McCandless

On the air: Audio on TribHSSN.TribLive.com

Winner plays: Winner of No. 3 Central Catholic (4-2) vs. No. 2 Mt. Lebanon (4-2) in WPIAL championship game, 7 p.m. Nov. 6, at Martorelli Stadium.

Coaches: Ron Butschle, Seneca Valley; Art Walker, North Allegheny

Players to watch: Brian Olan, Seneca Valley (Jr., 6-2, 205, QB); Khalil Dinkins, North Allegheny (Sr., 6-4, 220, WR)

Last week: Mt. Lebanon 28, Seneca Valley 27 in overtime; North Allegheny at Hempfield was postponed.

WPIAL playoff seasons: Seneca Valley, 16; North Allegheny, 34

All-time playoff record: Seneca Valley, 13-15; North Allegheny, 48-29

Four downs:

1. Seneca Valley enters the playoffs having played back-to-back overtime games. The Raiders beat Baldwin by three points and lost to Mt. Lebanon by one point. The difference between SV playing at top-seeded North Allegheny and hosting a semifinals game was a blocked extra point in OT after senior Connor Lyczek scored on a 10-yard run.

2. Junior quarterback Brain Olan has done a nice job for the Raiders, stepping in for injured starter Dustin Horn. Olan has connected on 30 of 56 passes for 454 yards and four touchdowns. However, he has thrown six interceptions. The possible return of senior running back Ethan West after missing three games would help Olan and the Seneca Valley offense.

3. As it turns out, North Allegheny concluded a perfect regular season with a 35-0 whitewash of Canon-McMillan two weeks ago. The Tigers’ regular season finale in Week 7 at Hempfield was postponed because of covid-19 related issues at Hempfield. The program decided against a tune-up and rested up for the postseason.

4. One player making news while the Tigers have been quiet the last two weeks was star wide receiver Khalil Dinkins. The heavily recruited senior announced a verbal commitment to Penn State last week. For the season, Dinkins has 233 receiving yards on 16 receptions and also has 233 rushing yards with seven total touchdowns.

Extra points: These two teams were scheduled to open the season against each other at North Allegheny, but the game was postponed. This is the 17th straight season in the playoffs for North Allegheny. The Tigers won the first of three straight Class AAAA championships 10 years ago. NA beat SV in both the 2011 and 2012 playoffs. Seneca Valley has reached the postseason in eight of the last 10 years. The Raiders stunned the Tigers, 31-14, in a 2018 Class 6A semifinals game at North Allegheny.

Check out a preview of the Trib HSSN Game of the Week: No. 3 Central Catholic at No. 2 Mt. Lebanon.

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