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.

California vs. West Greene

California’s Malik Ramsey (11) celebrates with teammates after the Trojans' win over West Greene Friday night.

The old sports saying is that a tie is like kissing your sister.

Well, there might not be any kissing involved, but there could be plenty of ties for high school football conference championships.

Three conferences – Class A’s Tri-County South, Class 3A’s Big East and Class 5A’s Allegheny Eight – are all in the situation in which, if the current top three teams each win out, then they will all share the title.

While Week 7 will provide more clarity in those conferences, along with a bunched-up Class 2A Interstate Conference where the top four teams will be playing one another, we did learn some things from this past week of the high school football season:

1. Win and in for TCS teams: While a 24-14 loss Friday to California loss still stings for West Greene, it likely will work out that the entire conference will benefit.

Now, West Greene, California and Monessen each have one conference loss and sit at one, two and three in the Tri-County South Conference standings. If all three win the remainder of their conference games – West Greene’s only conference game is against Jefferson-Morgan – they all will make the WPIAL playoffs, one as a wild card. California has three conference games remaining, against Bentworth, Chartiers-Houston and Mapletown. Monessen has to play only Mapletown and Avella. Gardner Points will likely decide the three seeds out of this conference.

Remember, the Class A playoffs were reduced this year to only eight teams – the top two teams in each of the three conferences and two wild cards.

So who was hurt the most by the Pioneers’ loss?

Teams in other conferences from Class A that were vying for the two-wild card spots, which will be reduced to one if the three currently atop the TCS win out. That could leave teams like Greensburg Central Catholic, Imani Christian, Sto-Rox and Laurel on the outside looking in at a postseason appearance. Laurel, by the way, has a win over California. Each of those teams have two conference losses.

2. Non-conference no shows: One of the five things to watch entering Friday night’s games were the four area teams – Beth-Center, Jefferson-Morgan, Mapletown and Fort Cherry – that faced opponents outside of their conference with each local team playing on the road.

Now I know that the only team that doesn’t have a losing record out of those four is Beth-Center, but all four suffered losses Friday.

That should make you wonder how good our local conferences are. Are they as good as their records indicate? Will there be any of the 22 local teams playing for a WPIAL championship?

This is a wait-and-see topic.

3. No sticker success: A topic that was brought to my attention Friday night was how helmet stickers have basically become obsolete for area teams.

You know, the stickers you get for scoring touchdowns, gaining so many yards or making big defensive stops. Helmet stickers used to fill the back or side of a talented player’s helmet.

Maybe it was done to relieve some extra work for equipment managers, but teams still using helmet stickers are a precious few these days.

It’s time to look into the lost art of being able to decorate the lids.

4. Around the WPIAL: I’m not going to throw out rankings every week about which teams are the best in their respective classifications. Or pretend to know, like others, the ins-and-outs of teams of teams across the entire state and throw together statewide rankings.

And I’m definitely not going to use “power rankings” just to grab a few website clicks.

However, now that we are beyond the halfway point in the season, here is what we are seeing from all six classifications across the WPIAL:

  • In Class 6A, the lone conference title will be decided when North Allegheny host Pine-Richland in the season finale. It’s hard to imagine anybody knocking off either of these two teams in the regular season or in the playoffs.
  • In Class 5A, the deepest classification in the WPIAL, the top two teams are Gateway and Penn Hills. Both are undefeated and haven’t won a game by fewer than 20 points.
  • Thomas Jefferson and South Fayette in tops in Class 4A. Enough said.
  • In Class 3A, if anybody can defeat with Aliquippa, I’d be shocked. The teams with the best chance of doing so would be Derry or North Catholic.
  • My preseason pick in Class 2A was defending WPIAL champion Washington. But there are a ton of teams in that can compete in this classification. Shady Side Academy, McGuffey and Burgettstown are the only three teams that remain undefeated. The list of contenders doesn’t stop there. There is still Steel Valley, Mohawk, Charleroi, Freedom and Avonworth all with one loss. This might be the best playoff bracket once it gets to the second round.
  • In Class A, Clairton and
  • Jeannette have more athletes than any team they will face. They play one another in the last game of the regular season.

5. Players of the Week: Logan Pfeuffer – Only a sophomore, the Peters Township quarterback had his second straight 300-plus yard game in a 33-21 win against Moon. Pfeuffer completed 16 of 21 passes for 328 yards and four touchdowns.

  • Mike Trimbur – The South Fayette duo of quarterback Jamie Diven and Trimbur continued
  • to thrive in a 35-14 victory over Knoch. Trimbur, a senior wide reciever, hauled in touchdown receptions of 16, 51 and 74 yards. He finished with six catches for 159 yards.
  • Owen Petrisek – The sophomore running back for Bentworth had a huge night in a 42-15 win over Avella. Petrisek gained 176 yards and scored four touchdowns on 17 carries.

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

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