WPIAL Insider (@wpial_insider) here to give you this week’s WPIAL power ranking for all classifications. Be sure to check back weekly to get updates.
- Central Catholic: Despite getting manhandled Week 1 vs a very powerful St John (DC) team, Central Catholic proved last week they are king of the mountain in 6A.
- Pine-Richland: After almost upsetting national powerhouse St Ed’s (OH) last week on ESPN, Pine-Richland proved they’re the top contender to dethrone Central Catholic as WPIAL Champion. Mt Lebo gave them a great game, but having Phil Jurkovec puts this team in serious consideration.
- North Allegheny: Art Walker has his team rolling again. With playmaker Ethan Maenza behind a line that includes Josh Lugg and Griffin Sestili, NA will be able to play with anyone.
- Mt. Lebanon: Despite losing last week to Pine-Richland, Lebo was right in the game and if a fourth down incompletion were caught, the outcome could have been very different. Mt. Lebanon showed they can play with the big dogs with dynamic WR Jack Young.
- Penn Hills: The more I watch, the more I love this new offense with Harvey Smith as the OC. Cam Tarrant has put up close to 1,000 passing yards in two weeks. With playmakers Julian Major and Rick Squires on the outside, don’t sleep on PH.
On the bubble: Hempfield
- Woodland Hills: Despite losing almost all of their starters, Woody High showed the last two weeks that the new kids on the block have game too. With Saeed Holt running the show, the Wolverines look to be the team to beat in 5A.
- McKeesport: The Port lost Khaleke Hudson but they brought back many key pieces to their squad. Anchored by Antoine Cook and Curtis Harper, the Tigers look to be a tough team to beat.
- Upper St. Clair: Thomas Vissman is the WPIAL’s most underrated player and he’s running behind arguably the top offense line in 5A. Expect USC to go deep this year.
- West Allegheny: West Allegheny has the athletes and the line to go very deep. I’m not too comfortable putting them at #4, but it is what it is. They very well could end up being #1 this year, especially with Brandon Lipford and Kenny White running the show.
- Penn Trafford: After a shaky performance against Norwin, Penn Trafford rebounded with a convincing victory against Connellsville. They’re 2-0 though. They definitely deserve to be in this conversation, despite losing most playmakers from their WPIAL Runner Up team last year.
On the bubble: Armstrong, Chartiers Valley
- Thomas Jefferson: With Zane Zandier as the playmaker and Devin Danielson holding down the trenches, the WPIAL Champs got to be the favorite in 4A. Expect TJ to run through the regular season.
- South Fayette: After a convincing win vs Central Valley in Week ‘0’, the Lions look just as good as last year. Drew Saxton returns at QB and he has playmakers all around him. Coach Rossi is building a dynasty over in McDonald, Pa.
- West Mifflin: Don’t sleep on West Mifflin this year. They have all sorts of athletes. We are looking forward to them playing TJ this year.
- New Castle: After giving Aliquippa a game in Week ‘0’, New Castle beat Montour, a team that could go deep in the playoffs this year. Geno Stone and Marcus Hooker are arguably the best tandem in the WPIAL. They have the athletes to play with anybody.
- Highlands: Brayden Thimons and Mitch Dezort have Highlands as a contender this year. Both have FCS looks. Another great duo in 4A.
On the bubble: Indiana, Belle Vernon, Ringgold, Blackhawk
- Aliquippa: The Quips have dogs for days. Between the Fisher brothers on the O and D line, Kwantel Raines at QB, Marlin Devonshire Jr at CB, or any of their top 3 RBs, I just can’t see Aliquippa losing to anybody this year. They are a 1A school, playing in 3A, who, in my opinion, would probably win the championships in higher classifications. They are THAT good this year. There is just something different in the water out there.
- Central Valley: After a tough loss to South Fayette in Week ‘0’, Central Valley rebounded with a solid W this week. Post Robert Foster and Jordan Whitehead, Coach Mark Lyons proves he is building a dynasty over in Monaca. Expect CV to go far this year.
- Beaver Falls: The score against Aliquippa was bad. Real bad. But tape shows a little different. They have the athletes to play with Aliquippa and Malik Shepherd, their best playmaker and QB, was out. The Quips had multiple Pick-6’s that turned the game in their favor. BF will still compete all year long.
- Beaver: Darius Wise is the most intriguing player in the WPIAL. He will single-handedly win the Bobcats a lot of games this year. It will be interesting to see how they fare against out Top-3 teams in 3A.
- Keystone Oaks: Alex Smith looks like the real deal at QB. They had a nice win against Valley this week. I am looking forward to their game vs Seton La Salle.
On the bubble: Seton La Salle, Derry, Mt Pleasant, South Park, Deer Lakes
- Steel Valley: With DeWayne Murray and Paris Ford as their playmakers, I don’t see the Ironmen losing this year. But this isn’t a two-man show. The Steel Valley defense is a swarming defense where all 11 are playing fast to the ball.
- Neshannock: There is not a more physical or bigger team in 2A than Neshannock. This could be their year to capitalize.
- Washington: Wash High always has players. This year is not different. Expect them to compete.
- South Side Beaver: My sleeper team in 2A, I really like what Anthony Crider can do. We will see how legit they are when they play Neshannock and North Catholic
- East Allegheny: TJ Banks might be the best player in the classification outside of Paris Ford. They have some hogs up front and QB that can get the ball to their athletes in space. An early bad loss to Jeannette hurts but last week was redemption.
On the bubble: Burgettstown
- Clairton: Is Lamont Wade still at Clairton? As long as the Bears have the best player in the state, they will continue to be #1. Noah Hamlin and Tre Howard are also playmakers on the team. This is Wade’s last chance to get a state title after being upset the last two years. I don’t see anybody denying him that.
- Jeannette: If there is any team in the WPIAL that will give Clairton a game in 1A, it will be Jeannette. They have playmakers all over the field. They have outscored their opponents 101-21 the last two weeks. The Jayhawks are serious this year.
- Sto Rox: Is Sto Rox back? After a couple of down years, possibly. They’re 2-0 and playing well.
- Greensburg Central Catholic: They look good up front but got embarrassed by Westinghouse. They had a great win vs Imani this week. They belong in the Top 5.
- Imani Christian Academy: With Kenny Robinson and Sam Fairley on the team, watch out for this sleeper in 1A. If they pull a nice seed in the playoffs, they can make some noise.
On the bubble: Western Beaver, Carmichaels, Fort Cherry, Riverview