The defensive performances for both the Washington and Peters Township high school football teams have led them to WPIAL championship games.
Now, two of the top defenses in the district might face their biggest task – at least when it comes to trying to stop the opponent’s running backs in Saturday’s title games.
The Class 2A championship between top-seeded Washington (13-0) and second-seeded Avonworth (13-0) will start at noon. Fifth-seeded Peters Township (12-1) and second-seeded Gateway (11-2) will follow in the Class 5A title game at 6 p.m. Both games are at Norwin High School.
For Washington, a second district championship in three years could come down to slowing down Avonworth tailback Jax Miller, who has 1,939 yards and 24 touchdowns on 232 carries.
The Prexies have held eight of their 13 opponents to fewer than 100 rushing yards.
Peters Township will be tasked with stopping the most highly recruited player in the WPIAL, Gateway’s Derrick Davis. The 6-0, 180-pound Davis, who is also a standout on defense, has offers from Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Alabama, Clemson, LSU, Michigan, Oklahoma and several other Power 5 schools.
Davis has 165 carries for 1,420 yards and 30 pass receptions for 514 yards.
So what happens if Washington and Peters Township both win championships Saturday?
A victory for Washington would result in the eighth WPIAL title for the Prexies, who would play District 10 champion Wilmington or District 9 champion Ridgway-Johnsonburg in the PIAA playoffs.
It would be the first championship in program history for Peters Township. The Indians would then advance to play District 12 champion Archbishop Wood or District 11 champion Southern Lehigh.
Those PIAA semifinal games would be either Friday, Nov. 29 or Saturday, Nov. 30.
Winter sports start
For the other 20 local high schools, they have strictly turned their attention to the winter sports season.
Both girls and boys basketball, wrestling, rifle and swimming and diving had their first practices Monday. Teams in basketball, wrestling and swimming can begin their regular seasons Dec. 6. In rifle, the first shoot date is Dec. 2.
Local athletes sign
Many local athletes signed national letters of intent during last Wednesday’s first national signing day for the 2020-21 school year.
Canon-McMillan had six athletes sign, including three that just wrapped up senior seasons. Volleyball player Morgan Galligan signed with Hartford and soccer players Annabel Thomas and Nino Civitate signed with Akron and West Virginia, respectively. Big Macs javelin and discus thrower Amber McCool will compete at Duquesne. Swimmer Abigail Mele also signed with Duquesne. Gerrit Nijenhuis, a defending state champion in wrestling, signed with Purdue.
Also signing were Trinity’s Riley DeRubbo, who will play basketball at Fordham, and Hillers softball shortstop Marlaina Bozek, who will play at George Mason.
Peters Township’s Zack Marmol, a three-time champion at the Washington County Coaches Cross Country Meet, will run at Temple. Hannah Stuck, a Peters Township girls soccer player, signed with Bucknell. West Greene softball pitcher Jade Renner, who has helped the Pioneers to three WPIAL titles, signed with Edinboro. Bentworth girls soccer player Rori Schreiber signed with West Liberty.
Soccer players earn All-WPIAL honors
Numerous local high school soccer players were selected to the All-WPIAL teams.
The 15 girls selected were: Peters Township’s Mia Gentile, CeCe Scott and Stuck; Canon-McMillan’s Thomas and Angelina Hofrichter; South Fayette’s Rachel Black, Alexandria Rosser and Sophia DiMartini; Belle Vernon’s Jillian Butchki and Marissa Grubbs; Waynesburg sisters Jillian and Rhea Kijowski; and Bentworth’s Paige Marshalek, Jocelyn Timlin and Rori Schreiber.
The 18 boys selected were: Canon-McMillan’s Tommy Samosky, Joey Fonagy, Luke Gladden and Civitate; Peters Township’s Anthony Kita; Belle Vernon’s Niko Apodiakos and Daniel Sassak; South Fayette’s Chad and Gavin Eldridge and Ethan Sanders; Trinity’s Elijah Cincinnati; Ringgold’s Frank Lowstetter; Charleroi’s Cullin Woytovich and Jace Kepich; Waynesburg’s Gavin Benson; Monessen’s Cam Frolo; Chartiers-Houston’s Matt Bucha; and Bentworth’s Brian Hustava.