WPIAL Football Semifinals Recaps 2013

Saturday, November 16, 2013 | 12:43 AM

For the eight teams that were winners on Friday night in the WPIAL Semifinals, they keep alive the dream of winning a district and state football championship. Some of those dreams will be fulfilled on Saturday, November 23rd at Heinz Field, while others will be devastated by coming so close to reaching that golden goal, but having to settle for silver. But at least the four runners-up next week will have had the chance to play at Heinz Field and come away with some silver lining in a dark title game cloud. But it is those eight teams that lost on Final Four Friday that have to deal with the deepest wounds of a successful season washed away one win from the Big House on the North Shore. Here are recaps from all eight WPIAL Semifinals playoff games along with a PIAA Class AAAA Preliminary Round summary.

A special thanks to Bob Orkwis, Josh Rowntree, Pete Blais, Steve Nagler, Rob Matzie, Sam Hall, Brandon Showers, Mark Schaas and Lou Rood for their help on these recaps.


Woodland Hills Wolverines 28 – Upper St. Clair Panthers 21
For the second straight year, Woodland Hills met Upper St. Clair at Baldwin High School in the WPIAL Class Quad-A semifinals. And for the second straight year, it’s the Wolverines moving onto Heinz Field after scoring the 28-21 victory over the Panthers at Baldwin Stadium. Upper St. Clair got the scoring started on the game’s opening drive, which Morgan Lee capped off with a 33-yard end around for a 7-0 lead. Woodland Hills answered on the next play from scrimmage when Trevon Mathis notched the first of two long touchdown plays for the Wolverines. Quarterback Harry Randall waited patiently in the pocket for Mathis to break behind the secondary down the right sideline, and when the speedy senior receiver did, Randall’s pass was on the money for an 80-yard scoring strike which tied the ballgame at 7-7. The Wolverines, who were on their way to 28-unanswered points, took advantage of two Upper St. Clair mistakes in the second quarter to build a 21-7 halftime lead. Jesse Slinger dropped a punt snap and was tackled at his own 8-yard line. Two plays later, Randall scored from 4-yards out to put Woodland Hills on top 14-7. On the ensuing drive, Panthers QB Joe Repischak fumbled the exchange from center, and Donte Broadus recovered for Woodland Hills at the Panthers 32-yard line. Sophomore running back Miles Sanders, who missed the team’s first two playoff games with a sprained ankle, found the end zone from a yard out and the Wolverines lead by 14 at the break. It didn’t take Woodland Hills long to stretch the lead to 28-7, as Mathis took the second half kickoff to the house from 96-yards just :10 seconds into the third quarter, But the Panthers answered with the games next two scores. Repischak found Ben Southorn in the end zone for 29-yard TD on the next drive and when Repischak scampered into the end zone from 8-yards with 5:12 left in the 3rd quarter, the Panthers had cut the lead to 28-21. The Panthers had their best shot to score late in the 4th quarter. Repischak hit Southorn with a 42-yard completion to set up a first & goal at the Woodland Hills 10-yard line. Mac Pope was stopped for no gain on 3rd & goal from the tow and on 4th down, Daechaud Ausbrooks pressured Repischak and his hurried throw was batted down by Mathis in the end zone and the Wolverines were able to run out the clock and advance to Heinz Field for the second consecutive season. Randall finished the game with 117-yards passing and added 85-yards on the ground to lead the wolverines. The win for 4th seeded Woodland Hills was their 9th straight and improved their record to (10-2). Top seeded Upper St. Clair suffered its first loss on the year and finished 2013 at (11-1). Woodland Hills will look to capture its 6th WPIAL AAAA Championship and it’s first since 2009 when they face #2 Pittsburgh Central Catholic in the title game. Woodland Hills will be making its 10th trip to the Quad-A Championship game since 1996. One of those trips was in 2001, when the Wolverines defeated Pittsburgh Central Catholic 41-6. Kickoff between the Vikings and the Wolverines is set for 2 P.M. next Saturday the 23rd.

Pittsburgh Central Catholic Vikings 49 -. Penn-Trafford Warriors 10
In one of the more dominant performances of the WPIAL season, No. 2 Pittsburgh Central Catholic (12-0) bullied their way to a 49-10 mercy rule victory over No. 6 Penn-Trafford (8-4) in a AAAA Semifinal at West Mifflin High School. The Vikings would record eight offensive drives on the night, with all of them starting on the Warriors’ side of the field. The night was not totally perfect for Central Catholic though, as the Vikings lost star running back Luigi Lista-Brinza to an reoccurring leg injury in the second quarter. But backup Riley Redman would fill in nicely, finishing with 84 yards on 11 carries, scoring on runs of 12 and 8 yards. After a shanked punt out of bounds, Central Catholic would jump out to an early lead on their first drive with a Lista-Brinza run from a yard out. Penn-Trafford would then run off their most successful drive of the night, going 44 yards on 14 plays, resulting in a Jake Proskin 30-yard field goal, cutting the Vikings’ lead to 7-3. But the second quarter belonged to the Vikings, who would score three touchdowns in the frame. J.J. Cosentino would put the Vikings up 14-3 on a quarterback sneak, Devin Faloon would rush for a 9-yard score and the two would hook up on a 6-yard passing touchdown to extend Central Catholic’s lead to 28-3 at halftime. The Warriors would recover on onside kick to start the second half, but go three and out. The Vikings would then add to their lead on a Redman 12-yard scamper. On the ensuing kickoff, Penn-Trafford’s Timmy Vecchio would explode for a 96-yard touchdown return, but Central Catholic’s Niko Thorpe would return a Brett Laffoon fumble 14 yards for another score and Redman would eclipse the 1,000 yard rushing mark for the season on an 8-yard run, giving Central Catholic a 49-10 lead with 4:07 left in the 3rd quarter. Central Catholic only ran one offensive play on their own side of the field. The biggest contributors to their average starting field position being the Warriors’ 34 yard line were defense and special teams, which were both tremendous all night for the Vikings. Lista-Brinza finished with 41 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries in only a quarter and a half of football. Cosentino went 3-of-5 passing for 27 yards and a touchdown, while rushing for 9 yards and another touchdown on 3 rushes. Penn-Trafford, who was 2-for-11 on 3rd down and did not convert any of their final eight attempts, finished with only 40 rushing yards and 104 total yards of offense. This came a week after rushing for 411 yards against McKeesport. Laffoon finished 6-of-16 for 64 yards, but accounted for -15 rushing yards for the Warriors, who see their impressive run come to an end. Central Catholic finished with 227 total yards, with 200 being on the ground. Central Catholic now moves into the WPIAL AAAA Championship for the first time since 2007 and will meet No. 4 Woodland Hills in a rematch of the 2001 AAAA Championship, which Woodland Hills won 41-6.


West Allegheny Indians 21 – Franklin Regional Panthers 12
The West Allegheny Indians will be back at Heinz Field to compete for the Class AAA Championship for the second consecutive year after defeating the Franklin Regional Panthers 21-12 in the semifinal game. West Allegheny will play Central Valley for the title. The Indians won the game despite a couple miscues early on during the opening drive of the game. West Allegheny’s offense drove down to a first and goal from the five yard line but after dropped pass on the goal line, a false start penalty and a sack of quarterback Andrew Koester, they’d be face with a fourth down. Kicker DJ Opsatnick barely missed a 32-yard field goal wide right and Franklin Regional took over. From there the Panthers orchestrated a drive that resulted in a 10-yard touchdown reception from Casey Colagrande. However, the point after attempt failed when a low snap evaded the holder. Despite the best efforts from Panther kicker Jake Roberge to gather the loose ball and get a pass away into the end zone, the pass fell incomplete and the Panthers would settle for a 6-0 lead. Those two drives from each team to begin the game took up nearly the entire first quarter. On the ensuing West Allegheny possession, which carried into the second, the Indians would not settle for zero points. After a lengthy return from Jake Johnson, who brought the ball out to the Indian 40 yard line, the drive resulted in a Chayse Dillon six-yard touchdown run. The point after gave the Indians the lead, 7-6.  West Allegheny would tack on another score, again courtesy of Dillon in the form of a two-yard reception from Koester and the Indians would take the 14-6 lead into the half.  Facing a deficit, Franklin Regional knew they needed points to stay alive. They did just that quickly into the third quarter. After a West Allegheny punt from Tyler Amedure pinned the Panthers back at their own five yard line, Franklin Regional and quarterback Charan Singh drove through their half of the field to just short of midfield. Then, Singh connected on a 52-yard bomb to Colin Jonov who showcased some nifty moves on his way to the end zone for the score. The Panthers would then go for two but Singh’s pass was intercepted on the goal line by Tyler Scanlon. Again aided by a strong kick off return and a shortened field, West Allegheny was able to quickly respond. Once again it was Chayse Dillon, this time rushing from 25 yards out, finding just enough space through the middle of the field, and earning the Indian touchdown, his third of the night. The Indians would carry that 21-12 lead into the fourth quarter. Trailing two scores, Singh and Franklin Regional nearly orchestrated a late fourth quarter dirve that was just a couple yards away from resulting in a touchdown. With just over six minutes remaining, Singh drove his team down to the West Allegheny three-yard line, converting two fourth downs in the process. But on first and goal from the three, Singh fumbled the ball, the Indians recovered and ran out the clock.  West Allegheny remains undefeated, moving to 12-0 this season and will play for the AAA Championship this Saturday night at Heinz Field at 8 PM.

Central Valley Warriors 23 – Thomas Jefferson Jaguars 13
In stunning fashion, the Central Valley Warriors advanced to the WPIAL Class AAA Championship to face an old rival.   Both CV and TJ defenses came into the semi-final game as the best two defenses in Class AAA (TJ ranked #1 and CV ranked #2).  Nobody would’ve thought that either team would hold a double-digit lead over the other team.  However, Central Valley raced out to an early 14-0 lead on Thomas Jefferson as they won the field position battle early and got a huge turnover to take a two-touchdown lead over the Jaguars.  After a punt that pinned the Jaguars deep in their own end mid-way through the first quarter, the CV defense stopped the Jaguars on a 3-and-out and got a big punt return from Jordan Whitehead to the Central Valley 15-yard line.  One play after that, Whitehead took a 15-yard pass from John George into the end zone to give the Warriors a 7-0 lead.  They would extend that lead three minutes later as Connar McKay stripped QB Christian Briesinger of the football, recovered by Central Valley.  They then scored on a 2-yard TD run by junior QB John George on a 3rd-and-goal late in the 1st quarter.  TJ would get within a touchdown with a 5-yard TD run by Chase Winovich, a University of Michigan recruit, with 1:57 to go in the first half.  Winovich would end up rushing for 139 yards on 32 carries on the night.  But, on the ensuing possession, Central Valley would get within FG range in a span of 1:35 and extend their lead to 17-7 with a 20-yard FG by Brody Churovia with 0:22 left on the first half clock.  The Jaguars would never get closer than the 10-point deficit in the 2nd half as Central Valley added to their lead with a 56-yard TD pass on 3rd down from John George to BJ Powell which would extend the lead to 23-7.  George was the Warriors best offensive player, completing 9/12 passes for 146 yards and 2 TDs.  The Jaguars would cut the lead to ten on a 3-yard TD run by FB Austin Boyd.  But, the 2-point conversion failed and the Jaguars would eventually fall to the Warriors in the semis for the second time in four seasons.  With the loss, Thomas Jefferson finishes their season with a 11-1 record.  Central Valley will have the chance to avenge their 13-7 loss in Week 5 to West  Allegheny when they face the Indians at Heinz Field next Saturday.

WPIAL CLASS AA Semifinals:

Aliquippa Quips 57 – Beaver Bobcats 14
Rushing touchdowns of 38 and 31 for Terry Swanson and one from 9 yards for Dravon Henry allowed Aliquippa to jump to a 20-0 first quarter lead and the Quips never looked back en-route to a 57-14 victory over the Beaver Bobcats in the Class AA Semifinals at Moe Rubenstien Stadium at Ambridge’s Shop-N-Save Field.  Aliquippa would lead 36-7 at the half scoring their last touchdown of the half after taking the knee on first down with less than a minute to go then on second down Henry would fake as if he was going off the field but actually went in motion and quarterback Darien Fields would connect with him for a pass play down to the 19 yard line and on the next play Fields would connect with Patrick Anderson for the score.  The mercy rule would kick in at the 8:56 mark of the third quarter when Henry would rush 36 yards for the score to give the Quips a 43-7 lead. The Aliquippa defense would hold Beaver to 152 total yards and intercept 3 Alex Rowse passes.  Rowse would finish 8 of 27 for 89 yards 3 interceptions and 1 touchdown.  Jordan Yates would be the lone bright side for the Bobcats catching a 39 yard touchdown pass and rushing 8 yards for a score.  Fields would finish 7 of 11 for 159 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Henry would rush 12 times for 57 yards and 2 scores and catch 3 for 113 yards.  Swanson would rush 8 times for 149 yards and 2 touchdowns.  The Quips would have 370 total yards, 211 rushing and 159 passing.  The long blight on the docket for Aliquippa was penalties as the Quips would be called for 10 penalties.

South Fayette Lions 35 – Beaver Falls Tigers 7
The South Fayette Lions rolled to a 35-7 win over the Beaver Falls Fighting Tigers in a AA semi-final at Birko Stadium Friday nigth behind a shut-down defense and the arm of junior quarterback Brett Brumbaugh. Brumbaugh completed 16 of 25 passes for 248 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the win, and for good measure he ran for a touchdown as well. The Lions scored on their first two possessions of each half. J.J. Walker was dyn-o-mite in the first half for South Fayette scoring a pair of short touchdown runs that capped drives of 70 and 56 yards for the Lions. Beaver Falls was driving late in the first half with a chance to make a game of it trailing 14-0 when deep in Lions’ territory Justin Watson picked off a deflected Dan Stratton pass and the Lions took over at their own one yard line closing out the half with a 14-0 lead, that interception might have been the play of the game. The Lions turned to their all-everything quarterback in the second half and marched it 54 yards on the oppening drive of the third quarter capped by a 12 yard touchdown pass from Brumbaugh to Conner Beck. Beaver Falls turned it over on their next possession and Brumbaugh struck immediately hittting Watson on the first play from scrimmage with a 33 yard strike to extend the lead to 28-0. South Fayette’s longest drive of the night started at their own 18 yard line, the key play a 39 yard Brumbaugh to Watson catch and run. The Drive was capped by a one-yard Brumbaugh sneak into the end zone and the rolling clock was in play with the Lions leading 35-0. Beaver Falls would avoid the shut-out with a nine yard touchdown run from back-up quarterback Keirnan Brown with 1:46 remaining in regulation but it was nothing short of a dominant performance from the Lions all night long. Beaver Falls sees their season end at 9-3 losing for the fourth straight year in the playoff to South Fayette. The Lions improve to 12-0 and advance into the WPIAL championship game for a rematch with the team they beat in the 2010 championship game the Aliquippa Quips next Saturday at Heinz Field and on the MSA Sports Network.

WPIAL CLASS A Semifinals:

Sto-Rox Vikings 24 – Clairton Bears 19
In what was a rematch of the past two WPIAL Championship games at Heinz Field the Sto-Rox Vikings took on the 5-time defending WPIAL Clairton Bears champions at Charitiers-Houston High School.  The first drive Sto-Rox looked like they were going to dominate the 1st half when they took the opening kickoff down the field for a score off the feet of Lenny Williams on a 12 yard TD at 7:25 mark of the 1st.  Clairton’s defense then stepped it up and turned on the heat on the prolific QB of the Vikings forcing 3 turnovers on 3 straight drives.  Between the three drives was 14 yard TD pass from Ryan Williams to the 6’5’’ frame of Aaron Matthews on a nice fade pattern in the end zone.  The Bears scored after forcing the first Lenny Williams interception of the year.  It was a pick six for Vance Allen running in from 30 yards out.  The third turnover happened at the Clairton 6 yard line when it looked like the Vikings were going to knot it up. That took us into the half the underdog Clairton Bears leading the Sto-Rox Vikings 13-6. The 2nd half the 1st place Vikings took their first drive and put the ball in with 1:10 to go in the 3rd after a 5 minute 36 second drive capped off with a 5 yard touchdown run by Brendan Blair.  Lenny Williams turned it on playing the other side of the ball at the 9:07 mark of the 4th quarter he took an interception 42 yards for a touchdown.  Clairton quickly answered with a 1 play 7 second drive on a 53 yard TD run from Harrison Dreher to put Clairton back up by one point 19-18.  After forcing a short drive defensively the Vikings took over with 5:08 to go in the game.  Williams completed a huge 3rd and 11 screen to Brendan Blair backed up deep in their own end to get to mid field.  Williams topped the drive off with a 22 yard touchdown run with 1:52 to go in the game.  Clairton got the ball back and couldn’t do anything from there offensively as Darrell Johnson intercepted a pass from Ryan Williams.  Sto-Rox will go on to their third straight WPIAL Championship game taking on Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic at 11:00 on Saturday November 23.

Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic Trojans 27 – Neshannock Lancers 14
Junior PJ Fulmore had a monster game, sending the Trojans to their first ever WPIAL championship game with the victory at the Mars Athletic Complex. The quarterback carried 49 times for 202 yards and scores all four Trojan touchdowns, as the number two seed moves on to the McDonald’s/WPIAL Championship next Saturday at 11am. The Trojans took the lead off the opening kickoff, taking almost half of the first quarter time off the clock, Fulmore scoring from 4 yards out for a 7-0 lead. Neshannock suffered a huge loss in the second quarter when junior running back Eli Owens took a helmet to the right knee. Owens played only three plays the rest of the way and limited the Neshannock offense. Quarterback Ernie Burkes did get the Lancers on the board in the second, breaking a 52 yard run to knot the game at 7 at the half. The Trojans recovered the second half kickoff, the squib kick was not handled by the Lancers and Fulmore took advantage, taking another six minutes off the clock. The quarterback scored on a 1 yard run, Fulmore added a 4 yard run late in the third to put the Trojans up 21-7. Neshannock drove near the end of the third quarter and scored 35 seconds into the fourth on a Robert Lindsey 1 yard run. But the Neshannock defense could not get a stop, the Lancers came into the game, allowing just 13 points per game. Fulmore drove the team down the field again, scoring on a 5 yard run with 4:44 remaining to put the game away. Neshannock could not pick up a first down and elected to punt, North Catholic picked up two first downs and the Trojans ran out the clock for the win. The Cardinal Wurel North Catholic offense pounded out 264 yards on the ground, Jerome Turner added 53 yards on 12 carries to go to 12-0 on the season. The Trojans also moved the chains 21 times vs. the Lancers 9. Neshannock was held to 198 yards of offense. Burkes ran 9 times for 76 yards, the senior quarterback was 4-12 for 66 yards and missed on his last four attempts. Neshannock ends the season at 9-3, with two losses to the two seed Trojans and a Week 3 loss to number one seed Sto Rox on the final play of the game.
PIAA CLASS AAAA Preliminary Round:

Erie McDowell Trojans 49 – Allderdice Dragons 19
The Erie McDowell Trojans defeated the Allderdice Dragons at Cupples Stadium Friday night 49-19 in a PIAA District 5-6-8-10 Sub region semi-final.  Allderdice scored at the 10:16 mark of the 1st Qtr when the Jackson twins combined for a 37 yard TD pass, Tim to James to give the Dragons a 6-0 lead after the extra-point kick was blocked.  The rest of the half belonged to the Trojans as they ran off 35 unanswered points until the Jacksons combined on a 13 yard TD pass with 00:08 remaining in the half.  In between Erie Mcdowell saw Jamie Szmczak score from 5 yards out less than 4 minutes later and Ethan Starks kick gave thema 7-6 lead that they never relinquished.  At the 1:48 mark Szmczak scored again on a 69 yard run to make it 13-6.  Following a Dragon fumble recovered by Dane Eberly at the Allderdice 17, Tyree Spearman took just one play to score on a 17 yard TD run followed by Austin Becker’s 2-pt conversion to make it 21-7 Trojans.  Heading into the 2nd Qtr Scot Agustine fulfilled the linemans dream when he recovered a Spearman fumble in the end zone for the TD at the 5:59 mark.  Stark’s kick made it 28-6 and following a Szmcak interception Cameron Spadacene then hooked up with Szmcak for a 38 yard TD pass to make it 35-6 after Stark added the extra point.  Jackson’s TD pass at the end of the half made it 35-12 going into the break.  The 3rd Qtr saw only one score as Austin Becker score on a 6 yard TD run at the 2:06 mark and Stark’s kick made it 42-12.  Matt Fish closed out McDowell’s scoring when he scampered 23 yards for a TD at the 3:52 mark of the 4th.  Stark made it 49-12 as the mercy rule was invoked.  Allderdice continued to fight and Tim Jackson scored on a 12 yard run with 00:32 left in the game.  Alex Hahn’s kick made the final 49-19.  Jackson threw for 255 yards on the night and 2 TDs plus added a rushing TD for the Dragons.  For the Trojans it was Jamie Szmczak who had an outstanding game rushing for 156 yards and 2 TDs plus 38 yards receiving and a TD reception.  In addition he had a pair of interceptions on defense.  McDowell will now move on to play Mifflin County next week and the winner of that game will play the WPIAL Champion on November 29.

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