Preview: Class 6A Quarterfinals
No. 1 Pine-Richland (10-0) vs. No. 8 Norwin (5-5) At 7:30 p.m.
No one has been able to stop the Rams this season, and it will be a tall task for the Knights to be the one to do so. Pine-Richland has put up an astounding 49.7 points per game led by senior quarterback and Notre Dame commit, Phil Jurkovec. Jurkovec is second in the WPIAL with 2,336 passing yards and 21 touchdowns. The supporting cast of seniors Jason DeFrancisis, Raymond Falcone, Jordan Crawford and Kenny White have made the Rams the heavy favorite throughout the playoffs. DeFrancisis is first on the team in receiving with 42 receptions for 595 yards. Falcone is second on the team with 36 receptions, but first with 745 yards. Crawford is 100 yards away from 1,000 on the season with 21 touchdowns and White, the West Allegheny transfer, has 405 yards but has been sidelined by injuries this season. For the Knights, Jack Salopek has thrown for 1,667 yards and eight touchdowns. The Rams are looking for their fourth straight trip to the semifinals. Norwin lost in the quarterfinals last year.
No. 2 Central Catholic (8-2) vs. No. 7 Peters Township (7-3) At Cupples Stadium (7:30 p.m.)
It is no surprise to see the Vikings, the defending Class 6A WPIAL champions, as one of the top seeds again in the football playoffs. For the Indians, they are making their first playoffs appearance since 2013 when they lost in the first round to McKeesport. The Vikings are entering tonight’s game on a four game win streak, while the Indians won their last two games after back-to-back to two playoff teams in Pine-Richland and Mt. Lebanon. Central Catholic is scoring 31.2 points per game and allowed 17 points per game in the regular season. Peters Township scored 23.1 per game and allowed 18.1 per game. Senior quarterback Troy Fisher is 115 yards from 1,000 on the season and has thrown 14 touchdown passes.
No. 3 Bethel Park (8-1) vs. No. 6 Penn Hills (7-3) At 7:30 p.m.
The lone blemish for the Black Hawks came to the hands to Pine-Richland. Since then, Bethel Park has won five straight, including defeating Mt. Lebanon last week to win the Southeastern Conference regular season title. The Indians split their last four games after starting the season 5-1. All three of their losses came to playoff opponents. Bethel and Penn Hills have both showed electric offenses this season, with the Black Hawks scoring 35.1 points per game and the Indians 29.7 per game. Defensively, Bethel Park has the edge allowing 17.9 points per game to Penn Hills’ 22.2 per game. Penn Hills relied on its potent passing game led by junior quarterback Hollis Mathis. Mathis is second in Class 6A with 2,093 passing yards and 23 touchdowns. For Bethel Park, sophomore Anthony Chiccetti had a breakout season, and needs 106 passing yards for 1,000. The Black Hawks also have the leading rusher in Class 6A with senior Tanner Volpatti. Volpatti has rushed for 1,111 yards and 22 touchdowns. Bethel Park lost in the quarterfinals the last two years. Penn Hills missed the playoffs last year.
No. 4 Mt. Lebanon (6-4) vs. No. 5 North Allegheny (7-3) At 7:30 p.m.
This is one of the few matchups tonight where the lower seed could be considered the favorite. The Tigers already have at success on the road this season against the Blue Devils, defeating them 44-27 in Week 5. North Allegheny had its six game win streak snapped last week to the hands of Pine-Richland. Mt. Lebanon also lost a rivalry game to Bethel Park last week. It was the second straight loss for the Blue Devils heading into the playoffs. North Allegheny was an offensive machine this season, averaging 36.2 points per game and allowed 19.6 points per game. Mt. Lebanon was able to put up the points as well, averaging 31.4 and allowed 26.6. The Tigers offense has been led by seniors Luke Trueman and Turner White. Trueman threw for 1,041 yards and 11 touchdowns and ran for 830 yards and seven touchdowns. White led the team with 862 yards and 12 touchdowns. Mt. Lebanon’s game plan will revolve around the top receiver in the WPIAL, senior Aiden Cain. Cain led the WPIAL with 93 receptions for 1,648 yards and 14 touchdowns. The Tigers are looking for their second straight trip to the semifinals. The Blue Devils lost in the quarterfinals the last two years.
For a complete look at the bracket, click on the link below.