WPIAL Football Plays of the Week – 11/15/2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 | 11:08 PM

Gosh.  Prior to the first round of the Highway to Heinz, people always seem to have something to say about the WPIAL Steering Committee and their (in)ability to get the seeding right.  Right?  You know who you are.  Be it good, bad or indifferent, everyone who is somehow connected to high school football here in our fair region has an opinion on how they would do things.  However, doesn’t it seem funny that just a few short weeks later those people find themselves eating a freshly baked crow pie?  (Author raises hand, hangs head in shame, proceeds to pick up fork and put on bib).

Well, this year shouldn’t be any different.  The WPIAL got it right, folks.  In all four classifications, the No. 1 and 2 seeds are still alive and well.  Just because they’re here, though, doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a dogfight to arrive to the final stop on the Highway to Heinz.  We look back on some of the Week 12 (Quarterfinals) ally cat scraps in this week’s edition of Plays of the Week.

Play #1 – AAA
Franklin Regional 24 – Hopewell 21

The Panthers bowed to the Vikings in the first round in 2010.  This year, they almost peaced out in the quarterfinals.  A high-potent offense was handcuffed to just 24 points.  While Rushel Shell broke two prestigious records – the PIAA’s all-time rushing mark 9,078 is the final total (seriously?!) and the final count is 39 consecutive 100-yard rushing attacks.  However, a trip to the semifinals will not be in his future.  It particularly stings, because Shell scored three of the game’s four touchdowns.  Franklin Regional’s potent offense came alive late scoring 17 unanswered points, though.  The decider:  A 33-yard field goal from Cory Lauer.

Play #2 – AA
Greensburg Central Catholic 18 – Ellwood City 15

The storybook season for the Wolverines almost made it to Chapter 13.  In a game that featured a blow-by-blow type of slugfest, it appeared that whoever wound up scoring last would most advance.  That was indeed the case.  Both teams kept exchanged scoring drives, but the only difference was that the Centurians were able to cap more of their drives with touchdowns as opposed to field goals.  Justin Kempa’s fourth-quarter reception from 18 yards away won it for the G.C.C.

Play #3 – Pittsburgh City League
Allderdice 6 – Brasher 2

No, it’s not baseball season.  The Dragons pulled off a major upset with their defense and it’s ability to stymie the Bulls at Couples Stadium on the South Side.  That allowed for a big play to rock District 8.  With his team down 2-0 in the fourth quarter, the Dragons’ Brad Labovi made the play of the City League’s season when he blocked a Matt McHugh punt for his teammate Alfred Diggs to scoop up and prance into the end zone.

Play #4 – AA
Upper St. Clair 21 – Erie McDowell 14

The Trojans sure made it known that despite playing their home football in a frigid city some two hours away, they sure can hang with one of the WPIAL’s top-tier programs.  The former D-10 participant nearly pulled off the biggest upset in the Quad-A bracket on Friday.  After trimming a 14-point deficit to one touchdown, the Trojans heaved their season’s hopes to the end zone late in the fourth quarter.  The man in the right place at the right time was USC’s Ryan Boyd, batting away a Anthony Lecce pass to turn away McDowell and preserve the Panthers’ spot in the semi’s.

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