It was an historic day at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field Saturday, as three of the four 2010 WPIAL football champions were fairly new to hoisting championship hardware, while the one repeat team did something that had only been done nine previous times.
Class AAAA champion North Allegheny won the second title in school history and its first since 1990, Class AAA titlist Central Valley won the title in its first year as a team and the first title of any kind for the two schools that combined to make the school district (Monaca and Center) since 1985. Class AA winner South Fayette took home its first championship since 1964 and Class A champ Clairton became the 10th team in WPIAL history to attain three consecutive titles.
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CLAIRTON COMPLETES CLASS A TRI-PEAT WITH DEFENSE
It should come as no surprise that Clairton’s third straight WPIAL Class A title – the Bears are also the defending PIAA Class A champions – came thanks in large part to its defense. Clairton
(13-0) recorded its ninth shutout of the year, its third in the postseason, and its 33rd shutout since 2006 – a span of 71 games – in getting a 12-0 win over Rochester.
"Clairton’s defense is good, fast and it gets to the ball," Rochester head coach Gene Matsook told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "They did a good job taking us out of things."Desmion Green's
26-yard touchdown run on Clairton’s third possession of the game proved to be all the points the Bears needed, and Clairton tacked on an insurance touchdown with a 21-yard Green to Trenton Coles touchdown pass with 37 seconds left in the game.
Rochester’s best chance to score came early in the fourth quarter when the Rams (12-1) reached the Clairton 18-yard line on second-and-3 only to watch De’Andre Moon and Jasson Adamson lose a combined 17 yards on two plays.
"We have a strong defense," Green, a quarterback/defensive end who has orally committed to Pitt, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "Defensive wins games."
Not only did the victory secure Clairton’s third straight WPIAL title it also was the Bears’ fourth title in five years, something only accomplished by Aliquippa (five in six years from 1984-89), Thomas Jefferson (four in five years from 2004-2008), Braddock (six in a row from 1954-59 including a tie with Midland in 1954) and Rochester (four of five from 2000-2004) in WPIAL history.
"It’s sort of expected now," Clairton head coach Tom Nola told the Post-Gazette.
Maybe even more impressive than the titles during that span for Clairton and how the Bears have done it. The win was the 28th straight for Clairton, and the Bears have gone 67-4 since 2006 while allowing a total of 395 points (5.6 per game) in that span with the 33 shutouts including 25 shutouts in the last 45 games going back to the start of the 2008 season. Clairton has made two straight PIAA title games.
SOUTH FAYETTE SHOCKS ALIQUIPPA IN CLASS AA
If champions were picked by history, then the South Fayette vs. Aliquippa WPIAL Class AA title game would have been a no-brainer. Aliquippa
had 13 WPIAL titles and two PIAA titles compared to two WPIAL titles for South Fayette heading into the game.
But champions aren’t decided by history – they are decided by current players – and South Fayette got two Christian Brumbaugh
touchdown passes and the Lions defense forced four Aliquippa turnovers, including three inside the South Fayette 20-yard line, to get a 19-6 win.
It’s not only South Fayette’s first WPIAL football title since 1964 (Class B) but its first won on the field since 1936 (Class B) – the 1964 title was awarded with Gardner points.
Brumbaugh, who has 6,311 career passing yards, had 147 Saturday on 12 of 23 passing and hit Tyler Challingsworth
with a 38-yard touchdown pass in the first half and then found Tyler’s brother, Zach Challingsworth
, with a 5-yard scoring pass with 7:16 left in the third quarter to give the Lions (13-0) the lead for good at 12-6. Trevor Fiorentini
then added a touchdown run in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.CENTRAL VALLEY COMPLETES CINDERELLA RUN
No one knew what to expect from the Central Valley (Monaca)
football team this season.
After all, the Warriors had never played together before – last year Central Valley was two teams (Monaca and Center). And during the regular season that lack of experience together showed, as the Warriors started 4-3.
But since then, Central Valley (10-3) has rolled off six straight wins capped by a 24-7 win over Montour in the WPIAL Class AAA title game Saturday night.
The title game was sort of like the Warrior season, as Montour struck first on a touchdown run by Julian Durden
, who had 163 yards on the night, only to see Central Valley roll off 24 unanswered points.
, who lost the starting quarterback spot at the start of the year before coming back due to the starter's injury, tied the game on a 1-yard run in the second quarter.
Super sophomore Robert Foster
then made a great play on a Montour punt picking up a bouncing ball and returning it 35 yards for a touchdown giving the Warriors the lead for good at halftime.
Foster then caught a 70-yard touchdown pass from Bradford with 9:42 left in the game before Greg Nicastro
kicked a 30-yard field goal with just less than five minutes left to put the game away.
In addition to the punt return and touchdown pass, Foster added 56 yards rushing and 17 yards passing for Central Valley, which became the first WPIAL champion in its first year since Sto-Rox in 1966 – Monaca won titles 1975, 1982 and 1985.
FAST START HELPS NORTH ALLEGHENY BEAT WOODLAND HILLS IN CLASS AAAANorth Allegheny (Wexford)
(12-1) jumped out to a 21-0 halftime lead and then overcame injuries and a Woodland Hills rally to down the defending champion Wolverines 21-14 Saturday night in the WPIAL Class AAAA title game.
went 6 of 8 for 137 yards and two touchdowns, Alex Papson
ran for 122 yards and a touchdown before leaving the game early in the second half with a shoulder injury and Dan Slivka
had 105 yards receiving and a touchdown to help the Tigers build the 21-0 halftime lead.
Woodland Hills (9-4), which overcame a 1-3 start to reach the title game, fought back scoring twice in the third quarter on a 46-yard Pat Menafee
to Shakim Alonzo
touchdown pass and a 25-yard Lafayette Pitts
touchdown run to cut North Allegheny’s lead to 21-14.
The Wolverines then had the ball inside the North Allegheny 20-yard line late in the fourth quarter before turning the ball over on downs. Woodland Hills then had one last opportunity when it took over on the Tiger side of midfield in the final minute but couldn’t score.
DISTRICTS 9, 10 CROWN CHAMPS
The WPIAL wasn't the only Western Pennsylvania district to crown champions over the weekend.
In District 9, Curwensville
, behind 298 yards rushing and three touchdowns – two rushing, one on a fumble return – by Alex Holland
, beat Port Allegany 37-21 in the Class A title game Saturday at Brockway for its first title since 2004.
In District 10, Sharon
topped Hickory 14-6 to win the Class AA title Saturday to win its first title since 2001. The previous day, Farrell
beat Mercyhurst Prep 39-0 for the Class A title, the Steelers' third-straight title, and Cathedral Prep (Erie)
toppled Grove City 28-16 in the Class AAA title game for its second straight title.PIAA PLAYOFFS — BROCKWAY, CLEARFIELD WIN
Four western Pennsylvania teams were already in the PIAA playoffs over the weekend.
topped Perry 35-26 in Class AAAA with Jereme Murray
scoring two touchdowns – one rushing, one receiving – Josh Weakland
throwing two touchdown passes and Jack Haffner
rushing for 109 yards and a touchdown for the Little Lions.
In Class AAA, Clearfield
won a school-record 13th game with a 42-26 win over Shikellamy thanks to 148 yards rushing and a touchdown by Derek Morgan
, who also threw a touchdown pass.
, in Class AA, got 102 yards rushing and a touchdown by Chris Marshall
and 159 yards passing and a score by Derek Buganza
to cruise past Oliver 44-14. PIAA CLASS AA QUARTERFINAL TO FEATURE TOP PASSERS
The PIAA Class AA quarterfinal game between Brockway and South Fayette will feature two of the top passers in Pennsylvania history in Buganza of Brockway and Brumbaugh of South Fayette.
The two have combined to throw for more than 15,000 yards (15,723) in their careers and 165 touchdowns.
Buganza is the all-time leading passer in Pennsylvania history with 9,412 yards and 92 career touchdowns, while Brumbaugh is 430 yards shy of the WPIAL record with 6,311 career yards and 73 touchdowns.