The WPIAL football playoffs is upon us and, for many teams in Washington and Greene counties, it means the season is usually one game from completion.
Since 2003, area teams are 16-52 in the WPIAL playoffs, a .235 win percentage. Only Beth-Center and Monessen have won three postseason games during that span.
Will 2008 everse the trend? Nine area teams qualified for the WPIAL playoffs. Canon-McMillan, Beth-Center and Fort Cherry are playing at home.
Here are the games the Varsity Letters wants to see:
1. Western Beaver at Beth-Center
Western Beaver, the No. 12 seed, beat Springdale and Monaca earlier in the year. Those are two of the top six seeds in the Class A bracket. The Golden Beavers, much like Beth-Center, likes to spread the carries around the backfield.
The Bulldogs have won eight straight in convincing fashion and playing at home will be a tremendous advantage. Josh Lockett has rushed for 1,088 yards and scored 19 touchdowns, much of it coming after B-C lost sophomore fullback Jeff Tarley to injury.
2. Shaler at Canon-McMillan
Shaler has been steady throughout the year but does not own an impressive victory. Canon-McMillan is much improved over last year and needs a playoff victory to prove it.
3. North Catholic at Fort Cherry
North Catholic's defense, a unit with three shutouts in the last four games, faces a Fort Cherry offense which has put up 40 points or more in a game four times this season. The Rangers offense has rolled even without running back Nate Crossey. Derric Stankus has scored 14 touchdowns.
In its two biggest wins – Serra Catholic and Chartiers-Houston – Fort Cherry made several special teams plays to key the victory.
4. Trinity at Indiana
How often can Trinity be called the established program in a playoff matchup? This is one occasion where it is true. If the offensively challenged Hillers can continue to create points and turnovers with its defense, don't be surprised if they head to the quarterfinals.