Two longstanding, heated rivalries highlight the seventh week of the local WPIAL football schedule. If you can't catch Belle Vernon at Ringgold or Beth-Center at California, it's a good week to head to Avella and watch the undermanned, gutsy Eagles play Bentworth.
1. Beth-Center at California (4 stars)
Think this isn't a heated rivalry? PCN sure does. The station hired California University to film the Tri-County South contest for a Saturday broadcast. These two neighbors are the surprise of the conference. Not many outside the B-C locker room pegged the Bulldogs to be 4-0 in conference play before the season. California coach Joe Kuhns admits he's surprised with how well his revamped team has played this year.
2. Belle Vernon at Ringgold (3.5 stars)
This Big Seven showdown looked like a laugher a couple weeks ago. Not so fast. Belle Vernon shook up the standings with its 14-6 win over Trinity last week. Now, third-place Ringgold and last-place Trinity are separated by a half-game in the standings. Ringgold coach Jeff Petrucci was a highly successful coach at Belle Vernon during the 1970s.
3. Chartiers-Houston at Serra Catholic (3 stars)
In a key Black Hills Conference game, the winner could hinge on which standout runner performs better. Chartiers-Houston running back/quarterback/fullback Brad Banas was held to 39 yards last week versus Clairton. He accounted for over 75 percent of the Bucs' offense in that game. Serra Catholic features T.J. Heatherington, arguably the best running quarterback in Class A.