Four teams - Ringgold, Washington, South Fayette and Fort Cherry - advanced past the first round of the WPIAL football playoffs.
Considering the relative lack of postseason success - South Fayette's championship run last year withstanding - the past decade, four wins for local teams in the opening round is actually a respectable number.
None advanced past the second round.
All face differing landscapes for 2012.
Washington has the most reason to be excited for next year. If the Prexies remain in the Century Conference, they could be the preseason favorite with the returning talent.
Two of Washington's top players, Eric Ellis and Joe Phillips, will be playing college football next year, but a number of others return.
Shai McKenzie had a breakout sophomore season, and the tailback produced numbers reminiscent of Charleroi's Quentin Briggs second varsity season. If McKenzie remains healthy, he's on his way to an outstanding varsity career.
Expect Jaylin Kelly to put together a big-time senior season. Josh Wise returns at quarterback, and he made significant strides this year on the field and as a leader. Daron Whitaker, a nice change of pace back to offset the punishing styles of Kelly and McKenzie, normally gets a first down every time he carries the football.
The key for Washington will be finding replacements along the defensive line, where Ellis, Phillips were often dominant. Rikwon Moore returns, and his play could hold the key for Wash High's defense. Then again, a defensive backfield prone to allowing the occasional big play could be key.
Washington is young, but so is WPIAL champion Aliquippa. In the WPIAL quarterfinals, the Quips controlled play along the offensive and defensive lines in a dominating performance.
* Reason for optimisism also abounds at South Fayette.
The Lions proved they're more than a one-group program with a first-round win at Beaver Falls - with a freshman starting at quarterback - and a tough quarterfinal game against Seton-La Salle.
Zach Challingsworth is a talented two-way player. Brett Brumbaugh showed he had an accurate arm as the Lions went 2-1 with him as starting quarterback.
At some point, South Fayette will end up in Class AAA. Like Peters Township, it's a popular destination for relocating families.
* Not sure any team endured as many injuries along the offensive line as Ringgold. And considering that group primarily consisted of untested varsity players entering the season, the Rams' 8-3 record indicates strong performances by many.
It should be interesting to see what type of offense the Rams run in 2012.
The past two years, everything was geared toward the dynamic abilities of quarterback Quad Law. Could brother Nico Law take over and run a similar offense? Could talented Demetrius Louis move behind center in the shotgun formation and Ringgold run more of a wildcat-type offense? Could Chris Spahr run the offense and utilize some talented receivers, like Joey Wall?
No matter the offense, if Ringgold remains in the Keystone Conference, it should remain in playoff contention.
* Sticking with Class AAA for one second, it's my belief that Central Valley's Robert Foster is the top WPIAL prospect since Terrelle Pryor. I know, I know ... Rushel Shell is considered one of the top high school running backs to play in the WPIAL since Brian Davis.
But when I see Foster play, I see a player who could assimilate himself into a top-notch SEC program and contribute quickly.
* Of the four teams to win a playoff game, none will have a newer look than Fort Cherry.
Tanner Garry, Corey Garry and Ryan Babirad are seniors and accounted for a bulk of the offense and point production. Tanner Garry played so much quarterback the past few seasons, I'm not even sure who is primary backup was.
The up-and-down Rangers were always tough to predict, but they clearly played better once the run became a more prevalent part of the offense.
With Zak Dysert, Tyreke Brown and Koltan Kobrys, the Rangers still have talented pass catchers.
* If the Observer-Reporter Player of the Year were handled like the Heisman Trophy, the five finalists invited to the award presentation would be Peters Township's Andrew Erenberg, Law, Ellis, Garry and Beth-Center's Sal Faieta.
* Here's guessing that Erenberg and Waynesburg's Nick Zupper enjoyed the first week or two of the offseason.
Those tailbacks carried the offensive workloads for their respective teams unlike any other players in the area. Erenberg and Zupper each started on defense.
* If I had a vote for the Tri-County Athletic Directors' Association Football Coach of the Year, which I do, there are several candidates to consider.
Right now, I'd say my first-place vote goes to Washington's Mike Bosnic.
* Thought a couple of the area's better coaching jobs were done by Trinity's Ed Dalton and Waynesburg's Joe Kuhns.
Trinity suffered injuries to its top two running backs, implemented a new offense, then scraped it and faced the difficult task of coaching a Class AAA roster with barely enough coaches for a roster the size of Avella's. The Hillers didn't make the playoffs, but that shouldn't be the barometer for an outstanding coaching job at the high school level.
Kuhns always seems to get the most of his talent. At Waynesburg, there hasn't been a lot of talent on the football field in recent years, but the Raiders contended for a playoff spot until a Week 8 loss to Mt. Pleasant.
* WPIAL realignment will happen soon, but I expect more changes on the coaching front than in new conferences for local teams.