We're four games into the 2010 WPIAL football season. That's ample time to make some observations.
1. Several candidates are emerging as Player of the Year possibilities.
Beth-Center's Jeff Tarley may have been the frontrunner before a knee injury and teammate Sal Faieta is off to a fantastic start. Trinity's Kyle McWreath, the Ringgold duo of Derrick Fiore and Quad Law, along with South Fayette seniors Christian Brumbaugh and Nolan Spicer are at or near the top of the list along with Peters Township junior Andrew Erenberg.
Who are your POY candidates?
2. Making the semifinals of the WPIAL Class A playoffs is a destination landing.
Clairton and Rochester are the class of Class A and it looks like Sto-Rox is close behind. Does that mean everyone else is playing to get to the semifinals?
It's going to take something special to beat the Bears or the Rams - penalities, turnovers, injuries. If a Beth-Center or Monessen reached the semis, that signifies a highly successful season considering the talent at the top.
3. A kicker might be at the head of the class.
It's impossible to determine which seniors will make significant impacts at the collegiate level but one guess is Trinity's Mike Cleveland ... as a kicker.
Cleveland has the most powerful leg I've seen on a high school kicker since Ringgold's Todd James, and he served as kicker and punter at West Virginia. Cleveland's skills are still raw but with college coaching, he has the leg to kick at the Division I level.
4. The WPIAL lacks depth when it comes to quality teams and top-flight talent.
5. The top local games remaining on the schedule are Beth-Center at Monessen, Keystone Oaks at South Fayette and Franklin Regional at Ringgold. Beth-Center, Monessen, South Fayette and Ringgold all have opportunities for unbeaten regular seasons and high seeds in the WPIAL playoffs.
6. There's a lot of discussion from Class A followers on the board. Just wondering if they think the bottom four teams in the Tri-County South Conference are better than the bottom four in the Black Hills Conference. I say they are.
7. Trinity's Pat Frey is the top freshman I've seen. Frey runs hard, breaks tackles and can make defenders miss.
8. Success at the lower levels guarantees nothing at the varsity level. I can't recall how many times I've heard a story of Player X dominating in junior high only to see that same player hit the varsity squad at 5-8 and 142 pounds with no desire to hit the weight room.
9. What is more surprising - Ringgold at 4-0 or Charleroi at 0-4? I go with the latter. The Cougars looked like a playoff team to me coming into season.
10. I can't remember a season with more one-sided outcomes and the season is only one month old.