Spartans, Vikings, Crusaders advance in WPIAL playoffs
By Mike Longo Jr.
The WPIAL playoffs – more commonly known as "The Second Season" – kicked off in rousing fashion Friday evening, Nov. 4. Four local teams had their sites set on reaching the championship game with the possibility of hoisting the 2022 trophy. Three of those teams are moving on while the fourth saw their dreams dashed and their season come to a crashing end.
Photos by Mike Longo Jr.
The Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Chargers are the lone team that had their season end, being routed by Clairton in a Class A matchup, 45-19. After the first quarter, OLSH clung to a 7-6 advantage over the Bears. That slim lead turned into an 18-13 deficit at intermission. A sputtering offense and a defense not being able to stop the Bears’ Capone Jones resulted in two Clairton touchdowns in the third stanza, padding their lead 30-13.
Unfortunately, the wheels came off the Chargers’ wagon in the final quarter giving up another pair of touchdowns resulting in their 26-point loss. Clairton’s Jones wound up with four touchdowns on the evening.
Ziggy McIntosh scored on a 9-yard pass from Nehemiah Azeem, Dorien Tate was the recipient of a 65-yard touchdown toss from Azeem and Jayvaughn Moore rambled 41 yards rounding out the Chargers’ scoring for the contest as their season ends.
Photos by Izzy McDermott
The Sto-Rox Vikings were winners in blowout fashion drubbing Riverside 29-0 in another Class 2A contest as they advance to the quarter-final round of the playoffs in a contest where the first half was much closer than the final score would indicate.
Opening the scoring with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Quarterback Josh Jenkins to Jaymont Green Miller netted a 6-0 Vikings lead and the game stayed that way at the close of the first half. Sto-Rox's normally high-powered offense couldn't get on track, only scoring once in the third quarter as Drevon Miller Ross pulled down a 23-yard pass from Jenkins, boosting the lead to 14-0.
Finally, in the 4th, the Viking offense showed signs of life. First, Green Miller snagged a 13-yard pass from Jenkins for his second touchdown of the night. Drevon Miller Ross hauled in a 29-yard strike from Jenkins for his second touchdown of the evening.
On the night, Jenkins would toss four touchdown passes. In all, Jenkins was 14 of 32 in the passing department good for 173 total yards and four touchdowns. Ameer Hibbler was the leading rusher in the game with 85 yards on 14 attempts, while Green Miller was the leading receiver snagging six passes for 79 yards and two touchdowns. Teammate Isaiah Davis had seven catches good for 65 yards.
The glowing question at hand is, can anyone stop the Crusaders train in Class A from reaching the WPIAL finals again this year? The short answer would be a resounding, No! Bishop Canevin defeated Jeannette in blowout fashion much like all their opponents, besting Jeannette by a final of 63-14.
This year's edition is every bit as good as last year's Class A WPIAL champs as the Crusaders are winning in stunning fashion absolutely destroying anyone standing in their way.
Riverside could have assumed after the first quarter they may be able to hang with the highly touted Crusaders as they had managed to knot the game at 14-14
They're not called champions for nothing and in the second stanza, the high-powered Crusaders put the contest out of reach as they posted an additional 28 points for a commanding lead at 42-14 at the break.
After a scoreless third quarter, Bishop Canevin showed the crowd just what an offensive juggernaut looks like, posting 28 points in the fourth quarter and a decisive victory.
Quarterback Kole Olszewski was 12 of 17 in the passing department good for 157 yards and three touchdowns as the Crusaders advance to the quarter-finals.
In the most thrilling matchup of round one, in Class 3A, the fans got their money's worth as Montour defeated Hampton 34-33 in dramatic fashion on their final possession of the night. Neither team would give up in a back-and-forth contest.
The first half saw the contest deadlocked at 21-21 at intermission, as both teams failed to seize opportunities and pull away from the other.
The third quarter is when the Spartans' defense rose to the top as Hampton was held scoreless while the Spartans scored once giving them a 27-21 lead entering the final stanza. The final quarter is when a very tired Spartans defense collapsed as Hampton scored twice for a 33-27 lead and the game drew to a close.
Down to their final drive of the contest, the Spartans started their assault on the goal line. In the end, Quarterback Kaleb Platz riffled a 23-yard strike to receiver James Bundridge good enough for a one-point win as Montour advances to the quarter-final round.
Quarterback Jake Wolfe was 13 of 18 passing good for 147 total yards tossing 2 touchdowns and one interception.
– Sportswriter Ken Hohman contributed to this report.