WPIAL Football Plays of the Week – 11/01/2011

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011 | 10:52 PM


The final stop to get aboard the Highway to Heinz was this past weekend as rivals clashed and helmets bashed.   The regular season has come and gone as a select 64 continue like a strategic pawn.  The playoffs have been set so whose destiny will be met?  We’ll only find out over the next three weeks.  As we reflect on a the season that is now a fine wine, we give you the Plays of Week Nine.

Play #1
Jeannette Jayhawks – 13
Greensburg Central Catholic – 10

Perhaps the most fierce regular season finale that is east of the Golden Triangle took place with very high stakes.  This Week Nine finale has really become something the cherish.  Typically there’s a lot at steak for these two bitter, geographic rivals and this past Friday was no exception.  Two undefeated teams and the conference title on the line, it would figure that unforeseen heroes – and unforeseen offense for that matter – would have to come from unlikely sources.  The Jayhawks were able to get contributions in the name of two field goals from Seth Miller – his first two of the season.  Miller booted 38 and 25 yarders which proved to be the great divide in the conference title and playoff picture.

Play #2
Bethel Park – 17
Baldwin – 14

The Bethel Park Blackhawks fighting for their playoff lives almost saw the post-season evaporate on Friday night.  The Fighting Highlanders’ Dorian Brown scored a fourth quarter touchdown to give Baldwin a shot.  Keeping with the theme of big kicks, the right leg of Danny Christenson was magical for the Blackhawks.  With the score knotted at 14-14, Christenson’s 29-yarder sailed through the uprights late to put Bethel Park on The Highway to Heinz.

Play #3
Pine-Richland – 47
Shaler – 21

What’s the old adage?  If ya can’t beat them, then throw a big monkey wrench in the seeding of the Quad-A playoff picture?  Not quite sure that’s what is recited by those who are looking from the outside, but the Pine-Richland Rams certainly felt that way given their late season upsets.  This play of the week dates back over the course of two upset wins that certainly raised eyebrows, provided for a 2012 springboard and also provided playoff teams with unnessesary blemishes on their overall record.  After the Rams upset the Woodland Hills Wolverines who will now play in a dogfight of a No. 7 vs. No. 10 matchup against the Mount Lebanon Blue Devils, Pine-Richland certainly did the Shaler Titans no favors drubbing them to the tune of 47-21 to help seed the Titans at No. 12 and send them to a very tough matchup in Monroeville against the Gateway Gators.  Woody High and Shaler sure will grovel at the thought of the Rams as they both play on the road.

Play #4
Hopewell Vikings – 31
West Allegheny Indians – 14

Their backs were against the wall so they turned to the greatest running back of all time in WPIAL history to get them to the playoffs.  The Great Rushel Shell once again showed that he is not just a flashy ‘back that racks up historic amounts of yardage, but that he is a ‘back that can be a true, big-game performer when his team needs him most.  As Shell was in jeopardy of losing an opportunity to pursue the nation’s all-time record of consecutive games with a 100-yard performance, his team was also in jeopardy of having their season end.  Unless they beat the Indians.  Shell scored not once, not twice, not thrice, but four times – including a fourth quarter field goal to propel the Vikings to the Highway to Heinz and a manageable No. 10 seed in the AAA bracket.

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