Entering the final weekend of the regular season, the WPIAL playoff picture is as clear as a bell, or as clear as mud, depending on which conference race interests you.
The order of finish among playoff qualifiers is about all that remains to be determined in the top three classifications. The Class 3A Beaver Valley and Allegheny conferences order is set along with the Class 2A Century Conference. The Midwestern and Three Rivers Conferences in Class AA are fairly simple to figure along with Class A Tri-County South. Then, you have the Big Seven Conference in Class A, where four teams have clinched berths, and four others are still in the running for two possible berths.
In Classes 6A, 5A and 4A, the top four teams in each section advance to the eight-team brackets. In Class 3A, first- and second-place teams in the three sections, plus two wild card third-place finishers, advance. The top five from each Class AA and A sections move into 16-team brackets along with one wild card in each class. All told, there are 15 conference races, three wild cards and five bonus home games to be determined.
To determine the final standings within conferences, using all section games, compare head-to-head results, then the Gardner Point System – 100 points for wins and +10 points for every win a beaten team finishes with – and the WPIAL Tiebreaker (score differential up to +10/-10 points). Any time a team is eliminated from the tie, start the process again with the remaining teams.
The following are the conferences, games that can impact final standings (section records, WPIAL tiebreaker points if they matter) and a look at the possibilities heading into the final weekend of the regular season.
Class 6A, Northern 7
Pine Richland (5-0, +50) at North Allegheny (4-1, +33)
Penn Hills (3-2, +10) at Pittsburgh Central Catholic (4-1, +25)
All four teams have clinched berths. Pine Richland is first with a win, or with a loss of 8 points or less plus a Central Catholic win. If North Allegheny wins by 9 points or more, the Tigers are first, Pine Richland second, then the winner of PH/PCC third, the loser fourth. NA is first with a win and a Penn Hills win.
Class 6A, Southeastern
Bethel Park (5-0) at Mt. Lebanon (5-0)
The winner is first, loser second. Peters Township is third, Norwin fourth.
Class 5A, Allegheny Nine
Woodland Hills (5-2) at Upper St. Clair (7-0)
Upper St. Clair is first, West Allegheny second. Woodland Hills is third with a win, fourth with a loss. Fox Chapel is third with an Upper St. Clair win, otherwise fourth.
Class 5A, Big East
Penn-Trafford (7-0) at McKeesport (5-2)
Gateway (6-1) at Franklin Regional (5-2)
Penn-Trafford is first. The Gateway-Franklin Regional winner is second. The loser is third, McKeesport fourth unless Gateway and McKeesport win, putting the Tigers third and Franklin Regional fourth.
Class 4A, Big Nine
West Mifflin (4-3) at Thomas Jefferson
Ringgold (3-4) at Trinity (4-3)
Uniontown (0-7) at Greensburg Salem (3-4)
Belle Vernon is first, Thomas Jefferson second. West Mifflin has clinched and will be third with a win or a Ringgold win. Trinity is in with a win, or a Greensburg Salem win. The Hillers are third with a win and a Thomas Jefferson win. Ringgold is fourth with a win plus a Uniontown win.
Class 4A, Northwest Nine
South Fayette (7-0) at Montour (6-1, +50)
Mars (5-2, +38) at Knoch (3-4)
Blackhawk (2-5) at New Castle (5-2, +14)
South Fayette, Montour, Mars and Knoch have clinched spots.
The South Fayette-Montour winner is first. South Fayette is second with a loss.
Montour is second with a loss and Knoch win, or via WPIAL tiebreaker points. Montour beat New Castle but lost to Mars. New Castle beat Mars.
If South Fayette, Mars and New Castle win, second-third will be decided by WPIAL tiebreaker points and New Castle will be fourth. All other combinations would be decided by head-to-head results.
Class 3A, Allegheny
Seton-La Salle is first, Freeport second. Shady Side Academy is third and in consideration for a wild card.
Class 3A, Beaver Valley
Beaver Area (3-2) at Beaver Falls (0-5)
Aliquippa is first, Quaker Valley second. Beaver is third and in consideration for a wild card.
Class 3A, Interstate
McGuffey (4-2, +17) at Derry Area (5-1, +40)
South Park (5-1, +29) at Yough (2-4)
Southmoreland (0-6) at Mt. Pleasant (2-4)
Elizabeth-Forward (6-1, +56) non-conference vs. Burgettstown
South Park is first with a win and a McGuffey win. Otherwise, Elizabeth-Forward is first. The McGuffey-Derry loser is out. If Derry wins, the Trojans are second, South Park third (wild card consideration). If McGuffey wins, Highlanders are third (wild card consideration).
Class 3A Wild Card picture
(Records are entering weekend)
Allegheny – Shady Side Academy (5-2, minimum of 600 Gardner points)
Beaver Valley – Beaver (4-2 including win over Mt. Pleasant, minimum of 480 Gardner points)
Interstate – South Park (5-1, minimum of 650 Gardner points) or McGuffey (would be 5-2, minimum of 610 Gardner points).
Class AA, Century
Charleroi (5-1) at Brownsville (1-5) Frazier (2-4) at Chartiers-Houston (0-6)
Washington is first, Charleroi second, Burgettstown third, Beth-Center fourth and Frazier fifth. Bentworth is sixth (in wild card consideration)
Class AA, Midwestern
Neshannock (4-2) at Mohawk (4-2)
Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic is first, Riverside second. The Neshannock/Mohawk winner is third, loser fourth. Freedom is fifth. Laurel is sixth (in wild card consideration).
Class AA, Three Rivers
Brentwood (3-2, +3) at Steel Valley (5-0, +44)
Serra Catholic (3-2, +4) at East Allegheny (4-1, +21)
Steel Valley, East Allegheny, Brentwood, Serra Catholic and Avonworth have clinched. The wild card can not come from the Three Rivers Conference.
Defending WPIAL & PIAA champion Steel Valley is first. East Allegheny is second with a win, third or fourth with a loss. Serra is third with a win, second if Steel Valley also wins. Brentwood is third with a win, second if Serra also wins. Avonworth is third with Steel Valley and East Allegheny wins, otherwise fifth.
Class AA Wild Card picture
(Records entering weekend)
Century – Bentworth (2-5, 210 Gardner points, -32)
Midwestern – Laurel (2-5, 210 Gardner points, -26)
Both teams have non-conference games. Based on WPIAL tiebreaker points, Laurel is the wild card team unless Brownsville and/or Chartiers-Houston win and New Brighton does not.
Class A, Big Seven
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (6-1, +50), Rochester (6-1, +57), Western Beaver (5-2, +21) and Union (4-3, +2) have clinched. Shenango (3-4, -12), Sto-Rox (3-4, -9), Summit Academy (3-5, -20) and Northgate (2-5, -37) are still alive for the fifth spot and-or wild card consideration.
Western Beaver at Rochester
Shenango at Union
Northgate at Cornell
Sto-Rox at OLSH (Saturday)
OLSH is first with a win or a Rochester loss. Rochester is first with a win plus a Sto-Rox win. Western Beaver will be second or third. Union will be fourth or fifth.
Class A, Eastern
Jeannette (6-0, +60) at Clairton (5-1, +40)
Greensburg Central Catholic (2-4, -20) at Springdale (3-3, 0)
Leechburg (0-6) at Imani Christian (5-1, +40) Saturday
Jeannette is first with a win. If Clairton and Imani each win by 10 points or more, coin flip to determine first, then head-to-head for second or third. Springdale is third with a win, or with a loss of fewer than 10 points. If GCC wins by 10 points or more, GCC, Springdale and Bishop Canevin would be tied for fourth and a coin flip would decide fourth, head-to-head fifth and sixth.
Class A, Tri-County South
Mapletown (1-5, -40) at Monessen (1-5, -40)
Fort Cherry (4-2) at Jefferson-Morgan (2-4, -12)
California is first, Carmichaels second, Fort Cherry third, West Greene fourth. Jefferson-Morgan is fifth with a win or a Mapletown win. Monessen is fifth with a win plus a Fort Cherry win. The Mapletown-Monessen winner is sixth (wild card consideration) if Jefferson-Morgan wins.
Class A Wild Card
It will almost certainly come from either the Big Seven or Eastern Conference. The Tri-County South sixth-place finisher will only have two wins. Nearly every possible sixth-place finisher in the other two conferences will have three victories.