Hard to believe, but the final Friday of the WPIAL regular season is upon us. Locally, most playoff spots are already secured. Trinity can clinch with a win at Ringgold and South Fayette can clinch with a win over Bishop Canevin and some help.
In most years, the final week of the regular season is home to rivalries. There are a couple tonight, but a few others - McGuffey/Washington, Canon-McMillan/Peters Township come to mind - don't look as promising as they did at the beginning of the season.
Here are the games the Varsity Letters wants to see tonight:
1. Trinity at Ringgold
Talk about a contrast in styles. Trinity plays smash-mouth football, while Ringgold can score points with its balanced attack. It's no secret the Hillers have struggled all year on offense but the defense and special teams are finding ways to score points and make big plays. In case anyone has forgotten, Trinity's defense - with Kenny Wilkins, Jack Jamerson and Kyle McWreath - is better than you remember.
Trinity's task will be stopping Ringgold's run game, led by senior Simon Bekavac. If the Hillers can do that, Rams quarterback Shane Mountain will try to win the game with his arm and a talented group of pass catchers.
Trinity is in with a win, while Ringgold can clinch third with a win. A loss puts the Rams in fourth place. The Hillers can make the postseason with a loss and a loss by Belle Vernon.
Very intriguing matchup in a conference where little separates the second-place team (injury-ravaged Chartiers Valley) from the seventh-place team (Elizabeth Forward).
2. Chartiers-Houston at Fort Cherry
This Class A Black Hills Conference contest is the weekend's top local rivalry game. These two teams do not like each other, at all.
The Bucs, who escaped with a one-point win over Bentworth last week, must find ways to get the passing game going. Brad Banas is six yards from 1,000 and will be the focal point of Fort Cherry's defensive game plan.
The Rangers have allowed 71 points the past two weeks - and won both games. Fort Cherry's pass defense appears suspect. Can Chartiers-Houston exploit it?
If so, expect another shootout as the Rangers are one of Class A's best offenses.