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WPIAL Playoffs Top Performers; Plus Championship Game Matchups

WPIAL Playoffs Top Performers; Plus Championship Game Matchups

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Ten WPIAL teams punched their ticket to play in their championship game and one champion has already been crowned.

The first champion of the 2020 WPIAL football season are the Central Catholic Vikings who defeated the No. 1 seed North Allegheny Tigers, 38-24. Central Catholic lost to North Allegheny during the regular season but behind a three-touchdown game from Eddy Tillman and great second half performance from their defense, the Vikings have repeated as WPIAL Champions. In fact, this was Central Catholic’s fourth WPIAL championship in the last six years.

With the Class-6A Championship in the books, we now have five WPIAL Championship Games remaining. Here are the matchups for next weekend:

5A CHAMPIONSHIP GAME:  PETERS TOWNSHIPS VS. PINE-RICHLAND:
No doubt the game of the tonight was Gateway vs. Peters Township, who overcame a 19-0 first half deficit to beat the Gators and avenge a one-point loss in last year’s championship game. With 4.7 seconds left, Logan Pfeuffer connected with Corban Hondru on a 4-yard touchdown pass for the last second victory. Prior to that touchdown, Pfeuffer hit Donovan McMillan on a 38-yard touchdown pass to get Peters Township within six points.

While Peters Township needed a last second play to win, that wasn’t the case with Pine-Richland who overwhelmed Penn-Trafford, 49-14. The top-ranked team in the state are back in the WPIAL championship game for the 4th straight season. The duo of Cole Spencer and Eli Jochem were lethal as Spencer passed for 374 yards, while Jochem caught eight passes for 176 yards.

Following last night’s game, Jochem moved past Neil Walker into second place for catches in Pine-Richland history and is tied for first with Mike Merhaut with 149 catches.

4A CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: ALIQUIPPA VS. THOMAS JEFFERSON:
While Gateway/Peters Township was the game of the night, Thomas Jefferson vs. Plum came in a close second. Bill Cherpak’s team overcame a 10-point hole to hold on for a win. The game-winning score came in the 3rd quarter as quarterback Jake Pugh connected with Ian Hansen for a 36-yard TD pass.

Thomas Jefferson is now looking for their 5th title in the last six seasons. Despite the loss, it was a great season for Matt Morgan’s Plum team as they finished the season with a record of 8-1. The loss denied them the chance to play in their first WPIAL championship game since 1983.

Despite getting moved up in classification, the Aliquippa Quips do what they always do and that’s win and advance to championship games. Aliquippa received a great test from Belle Vernon and advanced to their 13th straight WPIAL championship game.

3A CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: CENTRAL VALLEY VS. ELIZABETH FORWARD:
Central Valley has been the most dominant team in the WPIAL this season and that continued Friday night as they easily defeated fourth-seeded Keystone Oaks, 70-21. The top-ranked team in the state will now have a chance to defend their WPIAL championship.

It was a night of big plays for the Warriors as Pitt 2021 commitment Stephon Hall scored on dynamic 82-yard kickoff return, he also caught a 33-yard TD pass, quarterback Ameer Dudley scored on a 44-yard run, Landon Alexander scored on a 60-yard pass and Myles Walker took back a punt return for 52 yards.

It was a historic night for Elizabeth Forward as they beat North Catholic to advance to their first WPIAL football title game. Mike Collodi’s team dominated on defense as they held North Catholic to just 126 yards and forced four turnovers.

2A CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: BEAVER FALLS VS. STO-ROX:
The offenses for both Sto-Rox and Serra were clicking but Sto-Rox made a few more big plays to earn a 49-38 win. A big moment in the game came when Sto-Rox quarterback Austin Jones connected with Josh Jenkins for a 13-yard touchdown pass to give the Vikings a 34-32 lead. After holding Serra on downs, Zay Davis ran 38 yards for a Sto-Rox touchdown to give them a two score lead and a trip to the championship game.

Sto-Rox will take on the No. 1 seed Beaver Falls, who ran past Apollo-Ridge, 50-27. The Tigers advanced to the title game following a record-breaking performance by Josh Hough, who carried 21 times for a career-high 368 yards and three touchdowns. The Tigers other running back Shileak Livingston also ran for 107 yards and two touchdowns.

Beaver Falls will be looking for its fifth WPIAL Championship.

1A CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: CLAIRTON VS. JEANNETTE:
Two of the most historic programs in the WPIAL will battle for the 1A title when Jeannette takes on Clairton. Clairton advanced after handily beating Shenango, 55-16, while Jeannette beat Rochester, 40-13.

For Jeannette, this is their 16th trip to the championship game, as they look for their 10th title. For Clairton, they’ll look to defend their title. These two teams met in Week 1 with Clairton winning by the score of 34-28.

Clairton star running back Dontae Sanders finished last night with 13 carries for 160 yards and three touchdowns while the Jayhawks had a balanced attack on offense by rushing for 233 yards and passing for 163. The Jeannette defense also was able to force four Rochester turnovers.

LAST NIGHT’S TOP WPIAL PLAYOFF PERFORMERS:

PASSING-
Pine-Richland’s Cole Spencer- 324 yards
Peters Township’s Logan Pfeuffer- 289 yards
Apollo-Ridge’s Jake Fello- 239 yards
North Allegheny’s Greg Phillips- 196 yards
Sto-Rox’s Austin Jones- 192 yards

RUSHING-
Beaver Falls Josh Hough- 368 yards
Clairton’s Dontae Sanders- 156 yards
Belle Vernon’s Devin Whitlock- 135 yards
Jeannette’s Roberto Smith Jr.- 134 yards
Clairton’s Jonte Sanders- 132 yards
Central Catholic’s Eddy Tillman- 132 yards

RECEIVING-
Pine-Richland’s Eli Jochem- 176 yards
Peters Township’s Breylen Carrington- 147 yards
Central Valley’s Landon Alexander- 108 yards

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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