Football Class 5A Quarterfinal Round Preview

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There weren’t many upsets in the first round of the Class 5A football playoffs last week, with only two lower seeded teams advancing and one double-digit team advancing.

Tonight’s games will pose a different threat for the higher seeded teams as all games will now be played at a neutral site. All four quarterfinal games will kickoff at 7:30 p.m.

No. 1 Gateway Gators (11-0) vs. No. 9 Franklin Regional Panthers (7-3) At Norwin

As expected, Gateway rolled in its first round win against No. 16 Kiski Area, 63-7. The defending WPIAL champions jumped out to a 49-0 lead at halftime before slowing down in the second half. In the first quarter, the Gators got two touchdown runs by sophomore Derrick Davis and another one by senior quarterback, Brendan Majocha. Davis led the offense with 116 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Junior Jaquan Thomas also eclipsed the century mark with 110 rushing yards and two touchdowns. In last year’s quarterfinal round, Gateway defeated Woodland Hills, 40-28…Franklin Regional went on the road last week and thumped No. 8 Bethel Park, 56-28. The Panthers and Black Hawks were tied 14-14 after the first quarter, but Franklin Regional opened the game up in the second quarter with three touchdowns to take a 35-14 halftime lead. Senior Adam Rudzinski led the offense, throwing for 214 yards and three touchdowns and two more touchdowns on the ground. Senior Michael Evans had a career day at wideout, hauling in seven receptions for 237 yards and three touchdowns. Franklin Regional lost to Upper St. Clair, 6-3, in last year’s quarterfinals…This is a rematch from the regular season that saw Gateway control Franklin Regional, 63-3. It was the first loss of the season for the Panthers.

No. 2 Penn Hills Indians (11-0) vs. No. 7 McKeesport Tigers (9-2) At Fox Chapel

Just like Gateway, Penn Hills breezed past its first round opponent, No. 15 Latrobe, with a 55-7 win. The Indians led 35-0 at halftime and didn’t allow their only points of the game until the fourth quarter. Seniors Terry “Tank” Smith and “Daequan Hardy led the Indians with a pair of touchdowns each. Smith finished the game with 101 rushing yards. In last year’s Class 6A quarterfinal game, Penn Hills defeated Bethel Park, 30-28…McKeesport had a harder test in the first round, pulling out a narrow 13-7 win against No. 10 Upper St. Clair. The Tigers fell behind 7-0 early before tying it up in the second quarter and getting the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter. Both touchdowns were scored by senior Konota Gaskins. Senior Devin Sims led the team in rushing with 108 yards. In last year’s quarterfinal round, McKeesport edged West Allegheny, 22-21…This is the first meeting of the season between the two teams.

No. 3 Peters Township Indians (9-2) vs. No. 6 Penn-Trafford Warriors (9-2) At West Mifflin

Peters Township continued to stay hot in the first round with a 35-7 win against No. 14 Armstrong. The Indians scored the first 35 points of the game before allowing a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Junior Ryan Magiske led the scoring for Peters Township with two rushing touchdowns. He also finished the game with an even 100 yards rushing. In last year’s Class 6A quarterfinal game, Peters Township lost to Central Catholic, 27-20…Penn-Trafford made easy work of the first Indian squad they faced this postseason, defeating No. 11 North Hills in the first round, 42-7. Just like Peters Township, Penn-Trafford scored all of its points before allowing a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Junior Caleb Lisbon led the Warriors with three rushing touchdowns in the game. Fellow junior Gabe Dunlap added a pair of short yardage rushing touchdowns. Dunlap finished the game 7 of 15 passing for 100 yards. Lisbon rushed for 182 yards. Penn-Trafford defeated Fox Chapel, 28-21, in the quarterfinal round last year…This is the first meeting of the season between the two teams.

No. 5 West Allegheny Indians (8-2) vs. No. 13 Woodland Hills Wolverines (5-6) At North Hills

Both of these teams are coming off of shutout wins in the first round. West Allegheny defeated No. 5 Shaler, 37-0. Junior Kam Kruze led the offense with a rushing touchdown and a passing touchdown. It was the second straight shutout for West Allegheny, who defeated Moon, 7-0, in the regular season finale. The Indians are looking to get past the quarterfinal round after losing 22-21 agains McKeesport a year ago…Woodland Hills was the surprise of the first round, upsetting No. 4 Mars on the road, 14-0. The Wolverines scored a touchdown in each the second and third quarter. The dagger was their 57-yard run to open the scoring by senior Anthony Merideth. He finished the game with 148 yards rushing. Junior William Clark finished the game with 116 yards rushing. Woodland Hills lost to Gateway, 40-28, in last year’s quarterfinal game…This is a rematch of a game earlier this season that West Allegheny won, 14-13.

For a complete look at the Class 5A bracket, click here.