Football Preview: Class 5A Semifinals
No. 1 Penn-Trafford Warriors (10-1) vs. No. 4 Upper St. Clair Panthers (8-3) At West Mifflin (7:30 p.m.)
The top-seed Warriors survived their quarterfinal scare against Fox Chapel last week, coming from behind for the 28-21 win. Penn-Trafford had four players account for touchdowns. Senior quarterback Cam Laffoon led the charge with a rushing touchdown and passing touchdown. Throughout the season, the Warriors have relied on their defense, allowing 10.4 points per game, which is tops in Class 5A. The Panthers proved they have one of the top defenses as well in their quarterfinal game, defeating Franklin Regional, 6-3. Upper St. Clair’s lone score of the game came in the second quarter on a Jack Hansberry pass to Chris Pantellis. During the season, the Panthers have allowed 17.9 points per game and have only allowed 12 points combined in their last two games. Penn-Trafford is looking to return to the WPIAL championship for the second time in three years. Upper St. Clair is making is first semifinal appearance since 2013 after coming off its first playoff win last week since that semifinal run.
No. 2 Gateway Gators (10-1) vs. No. 6 McKeesport Tigers (8-2) At Norwin (7:30 p.m.)
The rematch from last year’s classic is set. Gateway was a play away from going to the WPIAL Championship, but McKeesport’s last second hail mary, followed by a hook-and-ladder gave the Tigers the 41-38 victory. It wasn’t the most recent three point game between the rivals, as Gateway defeated McKeesport 21-18 in the second to last game of the regular season. The Gators have the top-ranked offense in Class 5A, and that was showcased last week in their 40-28 quarterfinal win against Woodland Hills. On the season, Gateway is averaging 38.5 points per game. In their quarterfinal win, freshman Derrick Davis stole the show with 111 yards and three touchdowns. Brady Walker also rushed for a touchdown and threw for one. McKeesport knocked out defending WPIAL champion in a rematch of last year’s title game in the quarterfinals, defeating West Allegheny 22-21. All three scores for the Tigers came on the ground with runs from John Harper, Carlinos Acie, and Layton Jordan.
For a complete look at the bracket, click on the link below.