Some things never change, they say.
For a while, that wasn’t the case for the name of the football conference that features Washington High School and other local Class 2A schools.
Formed before the 1971 football season, the league was known as the Century Conference. Then, after the WPIAL moved some of the Century’s members to another Class 2A conference during realignment this, uh, century, the Interstate Conference was born. Some local schools played football in the Interstate and some played in the Century.
After the PIAA-imposed realignment to six classifications, several of the schools in the Century moved up to Class 3A and the group that remained, many located along I-70, were put in a conference with those Interstate schools that were still in Class 2A. By the way, the WPIAL does not give its football conferences names – it prefers to refer to them by Section 1, Section 2, etc., as in basketball.
The conference that is being dominated this year by Washington and McGuffey was called the Interstate by all media outlets. However, the conference, which is ran and operated by the athletic directors and coaches, had always been known as the Century. This was finally brought to the attention of the media outlets last week and all have switched the name.
So, without any confusion in the future, it will be the Class 2A Century Conference.
Now that the housekeeping is out of the way, here are some other things we learned from a busy Week 7 of the high school football season:
1. Then there were 3
There are only three remaining local undefeated teams, all residing in Class 2A, including two in the Century.
Burgettstown and Washington stayed perfect with blowout victories last Friday night. McGuffey, in front of a full-capacity crowd, held off Charleroi to also stay unbeaten.
West Greene fell from the unbeaten ranks when it was pummeled in a nonconference game at Clairton.
The Big 3 might be considered Nos. 1, 2 and 3 – in whatever order you’d like to put them – and favorites to win a deep Class 2A. Many considered Washington the prohibitive favorite back at the start of the season.
There’s also undefeated Avonworth and others who could pose threats in 2A.
McGuffey, by the way, plays at Avonworth in a nonconference game this weekend.
2. Class A conviction
What happened between West Greene and Clairton at Neil C. Brown Stadium wasn’t good for the Pioneers.
The final score could have been worse.
It doesn’t fall on the shoulders of West Greene running back Ben Jackson. Spending a majority of his time eluding defenders in the backfield, Jackson made the most of every handoff he took Friday night. He ran with a purpose. A lot of his carries of more than three yards were because he dragged people that far or broke two or three tackles to get to that point.
The loss might be a harsh reality check for West Greene. The Pioneers have been good, but to beat the perennial powers in Class A, West Greene needs be a lot better than they showed Friday night.
Right now, Class A appears to be a one-conference classification. The Eastern Conference, which has had a team win 11 of the last 14 WPIAL titles, is 9-0 against opponents from the Big Seven and Tri-County South.
3. Hartman breaks record
Belle Vernon quarterback Jared Hartman not only helped the Leopards clinch a home playoff game, he set a record while doing so.
Hartman finished 8 of 15 for 112 yards and two touchdowns, giving him a single-season school record for touchdown passes. The two scores in the Leopards’ win over West Mifflin give Hartman 17 for the season. He has four games of three or more touchdowns.
4. Best is yet to comeIf you thought the weeks before this were fun, then you probably can’t wait until Friday night. If fandom to one team isn’t your cup of tea, you have your pick of quality games in Week 8.
In maybe the most jumbled conference in the entire WPIAL, Peters Township and Bethel Park meet in a Class 5A Allegheny Eight Conference game with much on the line. It could be for a share of the conference championship. It also might go a long way in determining which teams in the conference will earn a home playoff game.
A Class 2A, the Three Rivers Conference champion will be decided at Hill Memorial Stadium when Burgettstown hosts unbeaten Brentwood.
Washington will get its first major test since Week 1 when it travels to Southmoreland.
It also will be the second week of a grueling stretch for McGuffey as the Highlanders travel to play Avonworth. One team will walk out of there with its first loss.
The final week of the regular season – that’s Oct. 25 if you want to clear your schedule – could feature two old rivals, Washington and McGuffey, in a winner-take-all showdown for the conference title.
It was just last season that Chartiers-Houston was 3-7. Now, at 6-2, the Bucs will play at California in one of the biggest games its had in a few years. The winner will clinch a playoff berth and finish second in the Tri-County South Conference.
Here is a list of local teams that have already clinched a postseason berth: Peters Township in Class 5A; South Fayette and Belle Vernon in Class 4A; McGuffey, Washington, Charleroi and Burgettstown in Class 2A and West Greene in Class A.
5. Players of the Week
Ryan Angott – The Canon-McMillan sophomore running back led the Big Macs, who were without starting quarterback Jonathan Quinque, wit
- h 213 yards and four touchdowns on 27 carries. Angott’s scores came on runs of 25, 2, 6 and 10 yards in what was a must-win over Norwin.
- Zack Swartz – Running for three touchdowns and throwing for two others, Swartz had another solid week in a dominating performance over winless Beth-Center. He ran for scores of 1, 33 and 54 yards and found Caleb Jackson for two touchdown receptions. He completed 5 of 6 passes for 125 yards.
- Cochise Ryan – Most of the 67 points California scored against Bentworth were because of the senior quarterback. Ryan, more of a threat to run, did exactly that with 201 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 16 carries. He threw for another score and also had a two-point conversion in the win.