Staff Writer

Luke Campbell has been handling a multitude of tasks since joining the Observer-Reporter in 2015, following his graduation from Waynesburg University. He graduated from Waynesburg with a bachelor’s degree in sports broadcasting and information.

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The number of local high school football teams in the WPIAL playoffs was cut in half last Friday night.

The 10 teams that began the postseason is quickly down to five, and that number will decrease again this upcoming week with South Fayette and Belle Vernon meeting in the Class 4A semifinals for the second straight season.

Of the 30 games played across the district, home teams went 26-4.

Here is what else we learned from the opening round of the postseason:

1. PT roughs up Ruffner

Peters Township gets a lot of credit, but how the defense was able to contain Mars standout running back Teddy Ruffner was pivotal in the Indians’ first-round win.

Ruffner, the WPIAL’s second-leading rushing in the regular season, totaled just 74 yards on 11 carries. In the nine carries he had against the Peters Township starting defense, he was limited to just four yards.

Mars had just 18 total yards in the first half and finished with only 81 yards.

2. Streaks end

Playoff victories have been a long time coming for McGuffey and West Greene.

Maybe unexpectedly, both teams were convincingly on their way to breaking those streaks by halftime Friday night. West Greene shut out Greensburg Salem, 36-0, while McGuffey recovered from a sluggish first quarter to hammer South Side Beaver, 54-23.

It was the first playoff win for McGuffey since 1994. For West Greene, it had been since 1993.

The heavy weight is off the shoulders but the competition only gets stiffer. The Pioneers play Sto-Rox in a Class A semifinal. The Vikings just held Jeannette to six points in a first-round win. McGuffey takes on 14th-seeded Riverside, which knocked off Burgettstown.

3. Burgettstown blues

The runaway train that was Burgettstown came to a screeching halt when the third-seeded Blue Devils were stunned in overtime by No. 14 seed Riverside, 42-35, Friday night.

The most shocking part of it all was the 42 points they surrendered. Entering Friday, the Burgettstown defense had allowed just 70 points the entire season, one of the stout defenses in the entire WPIAL.

It was the first time the Blue Devils had that many points hung on them since Steel Valley in a WPIAL quarterfinal in 2017.

4. Round 2, literally

Next Friday won’t only be the second round of the playoffs, for Peters Township and Moon it will be the second time the two Allegheny Eight Conference foes will play one another.

Moon handed the Indians their lone loss, 21-13, on Oct. 4. It was the only time this season that Peters Township, which averages 33.4 points per game, was held to fewer than 20.

Could Round 2 be any different?

That could very well come down to the battle in the trenches, a battle Moon dominated in the first matchup.

5. Players of the Week

  • Nate Yagle – The McGuffey slotback had 151 yards rushing and four total touchdowns, including an 87-yard kick return.
  • Logan Pfeuffer – Peters Township’s junior quarterback completed an efficient 16 of 19 passes for 327 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
  • Kolin Walker – The hard-running West Greene fullback carried the ball 14 times for 113 yards and two scores.

Staff writer Luke Campbell can be reached at lcampbell@observer-reporter.com.

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