Football Class 5A Semifinal Round Preview

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The final four in Class 5A is set with the top teams from the quarterfinals all coming away with wins, including the top three seeds.

Both semifinal games tonight will be played at a neutral site and will start at 7:30 p.m. The winner’s will advance to the Class 5A WPIAL Championship Game next Friday at Norwin High School.

No. 1 Gateway Gators (12-0) vs. No. 5 West Allegheny Indians (9-2) At West Mifflin High School

Gateway has handled its opponents with relative ease all season long, and it hasn’t been any different in the playoffs. In their first two playoff games, the Gators have outscored their opponents, 98-7. In its latest game, Gateway defeated Big East Conference rival, No. 9 Franklin Regional, 35-0. It was the sixth shutout of the season for the Gators defense, who is now allowing 4.2 points per game through 12 games. Senior quarterback Brendan Majocha, a first-team selection, accounted for four touchdowns in that game. Joining Majocha on the first-team for Gateway was center Bryce Washington, offensive guard Amir Wahid, tight end Tui Faumuina-Brown, wide receiver Courtney Jackson, running back Derrick Davis, defensive tackle Kelvon Nelson, and defensive back Jeremiah JosephsDon Holl was named the conference Coach of the Year. In last year’s semifinal round, Gateway defeated McKeesport, 28-21…Last week was the first time in three weeks the West Allegheny defense allowed a point, but it was still enough to advance to tonight’s semifinal game. The Indians dispatched Woodland Hills by a 14-13 score for the second time this season in the quarterfinals. In two playoff games, West Allegheny have outscored its opponents, 51-13. The Indians had five first-team Allegheny Eight selections announced on Monday. Those Indians were offensive tackle, Michael Baker, kicker John McArdle, defensive end Mateo Vandamia, outside linebacker Nico Flati, and defensive back Dre’Von Baldwin. West Allegheny last made the semifinals two years ago when they defeated Woodland Hills, 35-7…This is the first meeting of the season between the two teams.

No. 2 Penn Hills Indians (12-0) vs. Peters Township Indians (10-2) At Norwin High School

The battle of the Indians will take place on the same field as the WPIAL Championship Game a week later, giving both teams an advantage for whichever one will advance. Like Gateway, Penn Hills has handled its opponent with relative ease in the playoffs, In two playoff games this year, Penn Hills have outscored its opponents, 89-14. In its last game, the Indians defeated No. 7 McKeesport in the quarterfinals, 34-7. Dante Cephas and Hollis Mathis were on fire that game, connecting on three separate touchdowns. Both players made the Northern Conference first-team. Joining them were center George Freeman III, running back Terry “Tank” Smith, outside linebacker Jordy Boswell, defensive back Daequan Hardy, and defensive back Corey Thomas Jr. Head Coach Jon LeDonne was named Conference Coach of the Year. Penn Hills lost to Central Catholic in the Class 6A semifinals last year, 17-8…Peters Township has relied on its offense all season long and it was no different in the playoffs. In its first two WPIAL playoff games, the Indians have outscored their opponents, 73-42. In its last game, Peters Township advanced with a last second field goal by Brian Bruzdewicz against No. 6 Penn-Trafford. The Indians have seven players on the Allegheny Eight first-team that was released earlier in the week. Those players include center Shane O’Connell, offensive guard Ian Chaudhari, wide receiver Josh Casilli, defensive end Zach Magnotti, defensive tackle Logan Clark, inside linebacker Corban Hondru, and defensive back Aidan McCall. Head Coach TJ Plack  was named Conference Coach of the year. This is Peters Township’s first semifinal appearance since 1976…This is the first meeting of the season between the two teams.

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