WPIAL Insider back with some playoff predictions! After a wild last week full of upsets, here’s who I got taking this week’s matchups.
Clairton vs. Fort Cherry: I like Clairton in this game, even without Lamont Wade. I like Clairton so much I think they have a legit shot to mercy rule Fort Cherry. I really liked Fort Cherry this year too, but catching Clairton in Round 2 didn’t help them this year. Clairton over Fort Cherry.
Northgate vs. Bishop Canevin: Maleik Hemingway may be the best player on the field for BC. But Northgate is the better team in my opinion and I think the Flames get the job done. Northgate over Bishop Canevin.
Rochester vs. Imani Christian: Imani Christian is rolling right now, and I said before the playoffs despite their 11 seed, they are a lot better than what people think. I’m taking the upset pick, Imani Christian over Rochester.
Jeannette vs. Springdale: Springdale was one of the few to not allow Clairton to mercy rule them. I still think Jeannette rolls easily though. Jeannette over Springdale.
Steel Valley vs. Laurel: I don’t see a WPIAL team giving the Ironmen a game. I’ll take Steel Valley all the way. Steel Valley over Laurel.
Riverside vs. Freedom: Freedom upset my sleeper pick in East Allegheny this year. I would’ve taken EA this week over Riverside. I really never give Riverside their due credit, so I’ll take them to win this week. They were in the Power Rankings the last couple weeks of the regular season. I do like the Bulldogs to at least give them a hard fought game despite their record. Riverside over Freedom.
Wash High vs. Brentwood: Wash High has started to plateau in the final weeks of the regular season but I still don’t think they lose to Brentwood. The Prexies will roll. Wash High over Brentwood.
Neshannock vs. North Catholic: North Catholic is the most interesting team in the WPIAL. They can beat good teams and Mario Latronica is a playmaker. However, I’ve been on the Neshannock train all year long and Im not getting off now. I’ll take Neshannock over North Catholic.
Aliquippa vs. Derry: Derry with the biggest turnaround season ever. 11-0 this season with a huge win vs. Central Valley last week. One thing is for sure; its always a bad bet if you go against the Quips in the playoffs. I’ll take Aliquippa over a great Derry team.
Beaver Falls vs. Keystone Oaks: I love both teams and both offenses are potent. However, I think Beaver Falls is the best team in 3A right now. I have them winning the whole thing. I’ll take the Tigers in a close matchup. Beaver Falls over Keystone Oaks.
New Castle vs. Ringgold: I continue to underestimate Ringgold, and they have had a chip on their shoulder all season. However, it is starting to look like New Castle is living up to the hype of their athletes. I’ll take New Castle over Ringgold.
Thomas Jefferson vs. West Mifflin: In a rematch from Week 8, I do not expect much to change. Jag Nation is still in charge of 4A. I’ll take the Jags over West Mifflin. Thomas Jefferson over West Miffin.
West Allegheny vs. Woodland Hills: This is a tough one. West A mercy-ruled Woody High earlier in the year. But Woodland Hills ALWAYS plays their best in the playoffs. I think Bob Palko’s squad is too much for the Wolverines to handle, I’m taking West A. West Allegheny over Woodland Hills.
Gateway vs. McKeesport: With Zane Dudek getting injured, McKeesport may think they caught a break, but I’m here to tell you Don Holl’s Gateway Gators are legit. I’m not calling the upset, but I think this game is close. McKeesport wins a blood bath. McKeesport over Gateway.
Central Catholic vs. Pine Richland: In a WPIAL contest that seems to be meeting twice a year, a new rivalry is emerging. With Phil Jurkovec, Central Catholic beat Pine Richland. With Jurkovec inuring himself, I don’t see the Rams pulling the upset, though current starting QB Max DeVinney is a playmaker. Expect the Vikes to roll. Central Catholic over Pine Richland.
North Allegheny vs. Seneca Valley: There is no team in the WPIAL dying more for a rematch than NA vs. Central Catholic. I think playmakers Ethan Maenza and Niko Mermigras for NA show up and beat Seneca Valley. NA over Seneca Valley.