Observations from the first Friday night of the postseason hours before emerging myself in "Super Soccer Saturday" at Elizabeth Forward High School.
Keystone Oaks' 20-16 victory over Greensburg Central Catholic did more than provide the rare No. 15 over No. 2 victory in the WPIAL playoffs - a feat Trinity accomplished against Penn Hills in 2005.
The Golden Eagles' impressive road win blew that side of the bracket wide open for South Fayette, a team predicted to win the WPIAL Class AA title on this site.
Granted, Greensburg Central Catholic wasn't playing up to the seeding it received the final month of the season but some of those Centurions were around last year when they won the WPIAL title as the 11th seed and advanced to the PIAA championship game.
Now, it sure looks like one of the great eras in South Fayette sports has a chance to add the area's most prestigious trophy to its ever-growing trophy case.
The Lions' 35-0 victory over Ellwood City is a testament to a defense playing without Nolan Spicer, perhaps the Lions' top two-way player. Spicer suffered a knee injury against Seton-La Salle but Erie Meyers, Nick Faraci and Tanner Courtad led a strong effort against an Ellwood City team that deserved better than a No. 14 seed.
Meyers and Faraci can be menacing defensive players at times and South Fayette will need continued play on that side of the football to achieve its goals. That said, with Greensburg Central Catholic and Jeannette both losing, South Fayette and Beaver Falls could be headed for a semifinal matchup.
* I've seen Monessen twice this season and the Greyhounds defense has been absolutely dominant in both victories. Against Beth-Center and Chartiers-Houston, two strong rushing offense, Monessen allowed a combined two first downs rushing.
That's one rushing first-down for Beth-Center and one rushing first-down for Chartiers-Houston.
Monessen will need a similar performance against crafty Springdale, which has knocked the Greyhounds out of the playoffs four times since 2003.
* About a month ago, a topic of discussion dealt with the Tri-County South and Black Hills conferences. Specifically, we discussed which conference was stronger this year, top-to-bottom.
I went with the TCS and Friday's results backed that up.
Monessen and Beth-Center convincingly advanced to the quarterfinals. Carmichaels lost to Clairton, 42-0, one of the better results posted against the Bears this year. Of course, I have no idea as I type this when the Bears called off the dogs.
Only Clairton advanced from the Black Hills. Fort Cherry, Chartiers-Houston and Brentwood lost its first-round games.
* Good to see Ed Woods back at Beth-Center. The Bulldogs have won first-round games the past two years. South Fayette and Beth-Center are the only area teams who can claim that.
* Shifting Ringgold and Franklin Regional to the Keystone Conference was a move the WPIAL hoped would strengthen the league. To some extent it did, but the Keystone went 0-4 Friday night.
Before the fingers get pointed at certain facets of Ringgold's team, let's start by saying the Rams' 9-1 season was an excellent one despite the first-round exit.
The Rams ignited an often-dormant fan base with their exciting play and there's certainly reasons to be optimistic for the future. Given some of the talent returning at the skill positions - players like Quad Law and Demetrius Louis - Ringgold will be expected to return to the postseason in 2011.
Here's one opinion as to why Central Valley advanced: Besides playing in a strong conference (Parkway), Central Valley is comprised of two school districts (Center and Monaca) with players who have been in the postseason and advanced several times. Those players know how to win close games and win on the road.
It's Ringgold's first time at the dance when something was expected of the team. Sometimes, it takes getting a foot in the door before kicking it down.
* If the season ended today, Ringgold's Matt Humbert gets my vote for Coach of the Year.
* According to the bracket, Ringgold was the No. 3 seed in Class AAA and Central Valley the 14th. No way was CV a 14th seed.
Maybe, when the WPIAL drew up the bracket, they put Ringgold in the No. 3 spot due to the 9-0 record but I'm wondering if the committee thought of the Rams as more of a No. 5 or No. 6 seed and Central Valley a No. 12 or No. 11.
While the pairings say one thing, it's not always a true seeding.
* Has Ed Dalton coached his final game at Trinity? The guess here is yes.
While I will never question Dalton's commitment to the Trinity players, a coach who has produced as many college players and drawn as much press (positive and negative) as Dalton has at Trinity would be an attractive candidate for other positions.