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Championship Saturday Preview
By Don Rebel

This game takes place on Saturday morning at 10am at Three Rivers Stadium and can be heard on WLSW-FM 103.9, WMBA-AM 1460, WOHI-AM 1490 and the Nauticom Sports Network.

Both teams come from the Big Nine Conference. The Indians finished in third place with a record of 7-2, while the Rams won the conference championship with a perfect 9-0 record.

In the first round of the playoffs, Monaca crushed Duquesne 50-6. In the quarterfinals, they knocked off previously undefeated Monessen 29-6. Then last week in a semifinal game played at West Mifflin High School, they knocked off South Fayette 34-17 to advance to the finals for the second straight season.

The Indians used a power running game to beat the Lions. Todd DiBacco rushed for 206 yards on 26 carries and scored on runs of 5, 50 and 68-yards. Matt Phillips chipped in with 74 yards on 20 carries and he scored twice, once on a one yard run for the Indians first points of the night, the other score came when he returned an errant South Fayette snap 10-yards for the final score of the game. Monaca took a 14-3 lead into halftime, and the Lions could not pull any closer.

In the first round of the playoffs, South Side Beaver destroyed California 53-0. In the quarterfinals, they knocked off Riverview 43-16. In the semifinals last week at Hampton High School, S.S.B. used a huge offensive explosion in the second half to eliminate Fort Cherry 44-18.

The Rams actually trailed at halftime 6-3 in a defensive battle through two quarters. But that changed big time in the third quarter. South Side Beaver scored the first two times they touched the ball in the second half, then went on to score 28 points in the fourth quarter in overwhelming the Rangers. Talented quarterback Sean McCune led the way on the ground and through the air. He rushed for 70 yards and scored on a touchdown run of 21 yards to open the third quarter, and was 6 of 14 for 127 yards with a touchdown pass that put the Rams up 16-6 at the end of the third quarter. Dan Nale, who caught the scoring pass from McCune, then scored on a 20-yard run, and Cory Boyd scored on runs of 1 and 8-yards as part of the Rams big final stanza.

This will be the second trip to Three Rivers Stadium this decade for both teams. In 1991, South Side Beaver lost to then fellow Tri-County North member Rochester 20-7. Last year, Monaca nearly pulled off the big upset before falling to fellow Big Nine Conference rival Rochester 24-18 in overtime.

These two teams met way back in Week One on September 4th when the South Side Beaver Rams upset the then #1 ranked Monaca Indians 22-6. Sean McCune first scored on a 75-yard interception return for a score, then sneaked in on a one yard run to put the Rams up 14-0 at the half. Midway through the 4th quarter, Todd DiBacco scored on a 12-yard run. The two point conversion failed leaving the Indians down by eight. However South Side Beaver countered with a drive that was capped off by Cory Boyd's 17-yard scoring run. Monaca actually outgained South Side Beaver on the ground 203-101.

This game takes place Saturday afternoon at 1pm at Three Rivers Stadium and can be heard on WLSW-FM 103.9, WANB-FM 103.1, WOHI-AM 1490 and the Nauticom Sports Network.

Both teams come from the Three Rivers Conference. The Little Prexies finished in second place with a record of 8-1, while the Raiders were a perfect 9-0 in winning the conference championship for a second straight season.

In the first round of the playoffs, Washington eliminated the defending champion Indians of Shady Side Academy 34-21, revenge for the Prexies who were beat in the finals by SSA last year 30-12. Wash High then crushed Quaker Valley in the quarterfinals 55-0. Then last week in a semifinal game played at Mount Lebanon High School, Washington handed Aliquippa it's first loss of the season, 14-12.

After being outplayed by the Quips in the first half, Washington only trailed 6-0 after two quarters. The Prexies then turned to their big play arsenal in the third quarter. Quarterback Brent Marsteller hit Michael Sutton on a pair of touchdown passes, one from 41-yards, the other from 65-yards which put the Prexies up 14-6. Aliquippa pulled to within two when Vashawn Patrick scored, but the two point conversion failed, and Washington shut down Aliquippa the rest of the way. The Prexies won despite the fact running back Jason Ellis played most of the game with a separated shoulder, and fellow running back Larry Wingfield suffered a dislocated shoulder.

Waynesburg started their playoff run with a 49-20 first round win over South Park. In the quarterfinals, the Raiders won a tight one, 14-10 over Center. Then last week, they advanced to the finals with a convincing 42-7 rout over Brownsville.

The Raiders scored touchdowns on their first four possessions. Quarterback Lee Fritz scored on runs from 4-yards and 7-yards and Bryce Cree scored touchdowns on runs of 15-yards and 3-yards as Waynesburg built a 28-0 halftime lead. Fritz then scored on an 8-yard run, and Sam McLaughlin returned a punt 45-yards for a score as the Raiders coasted to the 35 point victory. Lanfer Simpson rushed for 128-yards on 14 carries, while Fritz ended up 8 of 10 for 197-yards passing.

Washington's only loss of the season came at home to Waynesburg in the final game of the regular season 25-7. With the game tied 7-7 at the half, Simpson scored twice in the third quarters on a pair of 30-yard runs. Fritz, who scored in the first half on a 1-yard run, hit Brandon Baker for a 10-yard touchdown giving the Raiders their second straight Three Rivers Conference championship.

This is Waynesburg's first trip to the finals, while Washington is making it's fifth journey to the championship game in the last ten years. In 1990, they fell to Canevin 21-20, in 1995, they lost in the first ever WPIAL Championship overtime game 15-14 to Burrell, then last year they fell to Shady Side Academy. In 1993, the Little Prexies beat Riverside 12-7.

This game takes place Saturday afternoon at 4pm and can be heard on WLSW-FM103.9, WOHI-AM1490 and the Nauticom Sports Network. Both teams are undefeated conference champions. The Leopards were winners of the Keystone Conference at 9-0, while the Indians were champions of the Parkway Conference at 9-0.

After a first round bye, Belle Vernon crushed Pine-Richland in the quarterfinals 55-12. They then knocked off a gutsy Elizabeth Forward team in the semifinals 28-0. Playing without star running back Pat Risha, Elizabeth Forward kept it scoreless until they missed a field goal late in the second quarter. Belle Vernon then drove down the field thanks to the power running of Nick Kalcevic. Kalcevic capped the drive with a two yard touchdown run. Three big plays in the second half put it away for the Leopards. Josh Cramer hit Ryan Russell for a 61-yard touchdown strike on Belle Vernon's first possession of the second half. Russell struck again when he returned a punt 75-yards for a score. Kalcevic capped the scoring early in the fourth quarter when he scored on a 98-yard touchdown run.

After a first round bye for West Allegheny, they needed a last second field goal from Derek Javarone to beat West Mifflin 10-7 in the quarterfinals. Then in last weeks semifinal game at Three Rivers Stadium, the Indians struck early and blanked Thomas Jefferson 17-0.

On the first play from scrimmage, Allen Miller raced 50-yards for a touchdown, and WA never looked back. In the second quarter, quarterback Tyler Palko scored from a yard out, and then Javarone booted a 33-yard field goal in the third quarter to wrap up the scoring. Both teams are looking for the second WPIAL championship. The Leopards beat Franklin Regional 22-6 in the 1995 'AAA' championship game. The Indians knocked off Brownsville 51-24 to win the 'AAA' title in 1997. Belle Vernon played for the title in 1996, but lost to Blackhawk 24-6.

This game takes place Saturday evening at 7pm Three Rivers Stadium and can be heard on WLSW-FM 103.9, WOHI-AM 1490 and the Nauticom Sports Network. Both teams come from the Quad East. The Tigers actually finished in fourth place with a 5-4 record, while the Wolverines won the conference title with a perfect 9-0 record. In the first round of the playoffs, McKeesport shocked undefeated North Hills 28-19. The surprises didn't stop there. In the quarterfinals, they knocked off Penn-Trafford 40-24. Then last week, they advanced to the finals thanks to a convincing 43-16 rout of Norwin in the semifinals at Three Rivers Stadium.

McKeesport quarterback Cecil Howard has been dominant in the postseason. His 65-yard touchdown run in the first quarter put the Tigers up for good at 14-0. Howard, who ended up rushing for 254-yards also scored on runs of 69 and 48-yards. He also hit Jamie Goodwin on a 27-yard touchdown pass. Asaad Allen chipped in a pair of touchdown runs for the Tigers from 5 and 51-yards.

In the first round of the playoffs, the Wolverines dismantled Connellsville 47-13. Then it was back to back wins over the Quad West. In the quarterfinals, they beat Bethel Park 35-14, then last week they eliminated Mount Lebanon 42-21.

After spotting the Blue Devils a 7-0 lead, Woodland Hills scored the next 28 points. Mike Broadnax scored on a 7-yard run, then Maurice Walker scored on jaunts of 23 and 3-yards to put the Wolverines up 21-7 at the half. Quarterback Shawntee Spencer scored on runs of 18 and 20-yards, then Curtis Hall wrapped up the scoring with an 8-yard run. This will be the second trip to the finals for both teams this decade. Five years ago, George Smith's Tigers won the WPIAL championship with a 21-14 victory over Upper St.Clair. Two years later in 1996, it was George Novak's turn, as his Wolverines beat North Allegheny 22-15.

This will be the second meeting of the year between these two teams. Back on October 23rd, Woodland Hills blanked McKeesport 21-0. Mike Broadnax scored twice on runs of 8 and 11 yards. Rafael Smith returned an interception 79-yards for a score in the fourth quarter to cap the victory for Woodland Hills.

This game is a Class 'AAA' second round playoff game which takes place Saturday afternoon at South Stadium at 1pm.

District 8 representative Perry comes in with a record of 8-3. Bellefonte, out of District 5 & 6 is 8-4.

After losing in the City League semifinals to Oliver, the Commodores bounced back with a 27-17 win over previously undefeated Greenville. Trailing 10-0 before the half, Perry dipped into their back of tricks when Damian Cornish lateraled the ball to Owen Macklin, who then hit Lamar Griffin for a 45-yard touchdown pass. Despite the fancy score, Perry was down 17-7 after three quarters, but Commodores exploded in the fourth quarter. Cornish first hit Chaz Coleman on a 5-yard touchdown pass. Cornish then scored on touchdown runs of 18 and 3-yards to put the game away and propel Perry to the second round. Cornish ended up 11 of 16 passing for 207-yards.

Two weeks ago, Bellefonte beat Central Cambria 34-12 in the District 5 & 6 Triple 'A' championship game. Then last week they knocked off District 9 champion Clearfield 27-10 in the first round of the PIAA state playoffs.