Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Picking the winners, WPIAL semifinals

After a strong 14-2 showing (didn't know GCC would be without David Miller) in the quarterfinals, my record stands at 40-8 (83.3 percent) through two rounds of the WPIAL football playoffs.

In a quest for perfection, here are my picks for a great slate of semifinal games:

Class AAAA
Gateway over Penn Hills
Bethel Park over McKeesport

Class AAA
Thomas Jefferson over New Castle
Blackhawk over Highlands

Class AA
Beaver Falls over Jeannette
Aliquippa over Shady Side Academy

Class A
Rochester over Clairton
Monaca over Avonworth

31 comments:

clairton alum said...

Mike, i think you're going 5-3 this week.

McKeesport over Bethel
SSA over Aliquippa
Clairton over Rochester

Im interested to hear your analysis as to why you picked the games the way you did. Im obviously going to disagree with you on the Clairton game...

Clairton and Rochester have met 7 times since 2000. Clairton is 4-3. More importanly, this group of Junions and Seniors have played each other twice since 2006 with Clairton winning both times, 16-13 at Heinz in 06 and 20-19 at Peters Township in the quarters last year...very close games. This years Clairton team is far and away better than the 06 team and the 07 team. Clairton is the #1 scoring offense west of state college with 518 points. In addition, they are the stingiest defense in the state giving up 77 yds/game and allowing 29 points all season (fyi, Rochester gave up 20+ to Char Houston 2 weeks ago). A few weeks ago Rochester was exposed by Monaca when they didnt cross the Monaca 39 the entire game and was shutout 18-0. Clairton has a statistically better defense than Monaca. All of the recent history and stats point to this game being another Clairton victory, this time by a few touchdowns.

Now, having said that, Clairton is not going to win by 3 touchdowns. Rochester will throw some wrinkles at them and play them very tough. Dont be surprised if Rochester comes out and spreads the field and throws the football. The ONLY team to have any success moving the ball against Clairton consistantly this season was Brentwood (yes Brentwood). Brentwood's approach was to spread the field, throw the ball, and then mix in the run. If successful, that is the only way anyone is going to be able to beat Clairton. Despite popular opinion, the best way to beat the bears is not to line up and run the ball at them...you may have success early, but it wont last (unless you're Monaca, but we'll cross that bridge if we get there). You have to spread this team out and attack them that way...feel free to argue with me, but i have watched every snap of every game. The teams that attempted to control the clock, run the ball and play keep away all lost...badly.

Now, please dont get me wrong, im not saying that rochester wont have any success running...they probably will have some...but not enough to beat Clairton. Clairton has more talent at the skill positions than Rochester and matches up pretty evenly across the lines. Clairton wins this game, there closest game of the season, 26-13.

mike_kovak said...

My Clairton-Rochester pick comes down to penalties. The more important the game, the more the Bears seem to be penalized.

Really went back-and-forth on the McKeesport and Bethel Park game. No doubt McK is the trendy pick after they hung with Gateway, but they also had trouble with Upper St. Clair in the first round. Just think it's Bethel Park's year to get to Heinz Field.

As for the Quips, well, they are the Quips. This is the time of year they win games.

R. Keith Taylor said...

McKeesport will fall to Bethel.

clairton alum said...

Ok.

I have been under the assumption this entire year that the only team that can beat Clairton on this side of the state is Clairton. We'll see if that happens. If Clairton does something to deserve a penalty then fine...but I am worried about the officials throwing some undeserved flags...seems to happen a lot this time of year against the bears.

RKT, dont be too sure about that...McKeesport is a tough out. Dont let those 2 losses fool you. Bethel SHOULD have had a loss to USC.

As for the quips...we'll see.

Anonymous said...

but clairton alum, mckeesport also should have lost to USC

clairton alum said...

right anon...so they're even. Seriously, semantics aside there are going to be some great football games tomorrow night...Im looking forward to it.

Anonymous said...

Is anyone else looking forward to the end of the football season so we don't have to listen to NFL-like in depth analysis of Clairton every week? I for one am rooting for Rochester to pull the upset so Clairton alum can break down the game for us in 500 words or less Saturday morning. I might even go and cheer in person...

clairton alum said...

ha ha ha...sorry, my fault, i thought this was a blog about highschool football and, in particular, the WPIAL semifinals. If you dont want to read it, dont read it. Likewise, dont be jealous/mad that whatever p*ss/poor washington/greene/fayette county team you like didnt make it past the regular season or the first round of the playoffs.

Anonymous said...

anyone see any potential upsets like penn hills over gateway, or new castle over tj?

Chips with a side of mish said...

Guys please leave Ken Barna (Clairton Alum) alone! He is free to voice his opinions on this blog just the same as anyone else. I think it's pretty cool that he has so much pride in his hometown. He also has been a big supporter of Washington County teams and even helped coach baseball at Canon-McMillan. So if he wants to tell us that Clairton is a good team, or the refs are against Clairton, then I say let him. It isn't hurting anyone and if we are really nice to him he may take us for a nice meal at Ryan's!

alum said...

I know Ken...Im not Ken.

And it looks like all you wash co folks are going to have to continue to hear from me for at least one more week.

alum said...

and, on a side note, instead of spending your energy ridiculing me for taking pride in my program and talking up Clairton Football in a positive light, why dont you guys turn your attention towards some of these other threads on this wash co sports blog? You guys actually have a successful program in CM baseball and instead of praising it these readers are trash talking it, stirring up controversy and resorting to name calling. You wash co sports people are real classy...

Anonymous said...

Ryan's!!!!!!!!!!

Ken Barna for Mayor.

I had no idea that he went to clairton and really liked football. The man is a not only a baseball genius, but i suppose an overall sports genius too!

Anonymous said...

As classy as the 2-3 bomb threats Clairton had last week? As classy as the brazen daylight shootout that wounded a police officer and killed a wanted criminal there on Friday...? Let's not call the kettle black because a few teenagers come on here and talk trash... football's the only positive thing about Bear country.

Go Monaca.

Anonymous said...

The clairton mill still going strong unlike washington steel and we know theres never been gun fire in washington.Clairton is not a bad place the bears rule class a good thing for soccer or there would be nothing left to read in the sports section of the o-r....................bad news bears

alum said...

ok smart guy, let me ask, where are you from? What town in SWPA are you from that doesnt have any crime or any drugs? Washington? Canonsburg? Monaca? Rochester? Venetia? Peters? Monongahela? Monessen? How many affluent schools have had bomb threats? A bunch. Do we have problems in our town, absolutley. I have never come on here once and said otherwise. You cannot control the types of people that live in your town. Its not like these are our kids out there doing this stuff. The first mid-day shooting a couple of months ago was a guy from the City of Pittsburgh. How is that our fault? This past one was a guy that came to our area from either Duquesne or Mckeesport..sorry if i dont see the correlation between those subjects and the Clairton High School, football team or our kids. I dont believe this is a blog about crime, drugs and the day and age we live in. This is a blog about sports and sportsmanship. So i guess when you are left without anything to say about your team(s) and/or sportsmanship you have to revert to throwing mud about our town? Again, you wash co people are a real classy bunch.

alum said...

...AND smart guy that "daylight" shootout you speak of happened in NORTH HUNTINGDON TOWNSHIP in Westmoreland County on Friday. Get your facts straight before you run your mouth.

Anonymous said...

Indians 20 Bears 18

cuz indians killed bears with their bare hands back in the "olden" days...

VCTMbrian said...

Are we all really this clueless? Honestly? I used to think people were joking around on here, but after reading this I have no idea anymore.

Think. A little. If not for yourself, think of the children.

Anonymous said...

"Indians 20 Bears 18

cuz indians killed bears with their bare hands back in the "olden" days..."

wow, such in-depth analysis. Way to break that game down for me anon.

CGB said...

Seriously, knock off the talk about Ken Barna. The WPIAL and local communities need more guys like Ken involved with local high school sports.

Anonymous said...

haha no success in Washington County but 2 of the most successful programs in the WPIAL are neighboring districts (Clairton and TJ) and are in pretty close proximity to Washington County. maybe we could just redraw the boundaries

Anonymous said...

"West Jefferson Hills School District put extra security measures into effect today after a bomb threat was discovered at Thomas Jefferson High School yesterday." -Pgh Post Gazette

Well by your logic anon i guess TJ is a slum high school and community as well...

Anonymous said...

if TJ and Clairton were to merge (as has been discussed in the past) i wonder what type of Quad A team they would produce.

Thoughts?

mike_kovak said...

Not sure how many Clairton kids would earn starting spots, the guess here is 4-5 per year.

The speed mixed with TJ's fundamentals, toughness and execution would be interesting.

Anonymous said...

funny thing is, that if they merged, they'd still be towing with AAA-AAAA line because both schools are relatively small for their classifications. in other words, pure dominance as much as i hate to admit it

Anonymous said...

TJ's not even close to AAAA right now which is kind of surprising but I've talked to people who know and they've all said that if that merger would take place, TJ would still be AAA. They would be alot closer to the cutoff enrollment numbers, but they would still be AAA. Can you imagine the offensive and defensive lines that TJ regularly produces with the speed, skill, and linebackers that Clairton usually produces? Wow.

Anonymous said...

"FBI Agent Shot Dead Serving Warrant In Pittsburgh Suburb"

What happens in Clairton could never happen in a nice community...oh wait...

Wow anon, I guess Indiana Twp. in Allegheny county is a slum too, huh?

Anonymous said...

idk, i think that a Clairton-TJ merge would produce a AAAA school. I checked the enrollment on MSA. Clairton has 113 boys while TJ has 385. That would make 498. Peters Township (the smallest AAAA school) has 456 boys. So IF the MSA figures are accurate then a Clairton-TJ merge would become a AAAA school.

Anonymous said...

The classifications for football are determined by the number of boys only in your highschool - the overall enrolment numbers have nothing to do with it.
A Clairton / TJ merger would still produce a AAA football team. The kids from Clairton would probably be split up between two different schools too - much like the Duquesne kids were.
Right now it's really unlikely that a merger like that would happen anyway so who cares?

clairton alum said...

yeah...its interesting to talk about "what if" but that wont happen...at least any time in the forseeable future. Believe it or not Clairton is one of the most financially secure districts in SWPA.