By Joseph Santoliquito

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — We’re approaching the first week of November and that means playoff time is nearing for the PIAA, and Philadelphia Catholic and Public Leagues.

As teams ready for playoff runs into December, we’d thought we’d take an early look at Pennsylvania as a whole—breaking the four classifications down as to what teams look good and where some sleepers could lie in vying for the ultimate prize—a state crown.

Class AAAA

St. Joe’s Prep began as the class of the state and remains that way. The Hawks took some lumps playing a national schedule that included national powerhouse Don Bosco, Ohio powerhouse St. Ignatius and North Jersey powerhouse St. Joseph’s Montvale, getting outscored by a combined 124-60. It doesn’t matter. Hawks’ coach Gabe Infante constantly stresses it’s more important how his team finishes in December than how it begins in September.

The Hawks biggest challenge remains La Salle and Kyle Shurmur, locally, and watch for Pine-Richland, the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) Class AAAA No. 1 seed out of Pittsburgh’s District 7. The Rams are 9-0 and led by Penn-bound quarterback Ben DiNucci, a 2,000-yard passer, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune, who led the Rams to a resounding 48-28 win over Central Catholic, last year’s PIAA Class AAAA state runner-up to Prep. The Rams average 46.8 points a game, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune, but haven’t played the schedule Prep has.

Sleepers: Pennsbury, West Chester Rustin, Coatesville, North Penn, La Salle, Easton, Parkland, Pittsburgh Central Catholic, Woodland Hill, Penn-Trafford.

Class AAA

No Class AAA team in the state is better than defending state champion Archbishop Wood. What’s more is the Vikings are angry. They felt that they should have won the La Salle game, squandering a fourth-quarter lead with rare mistakes. The Vikings should repeat as Class AAA state champions and reach the state finals for the fourth-straight time. A third state title in four years would place Wood coach Steve Devlin into the dynasty-building category, up there with legendary Central Bucks West coach Mike Pettine and his great Bucks’ teams of the late-1990s.

Locally, a looming threat is Imhotep Charter, a talented team with a heavy, heavy chip on its shoulder from last year’s 41-0 PIAA Class AA state title loss to South Fayette.

Statewide, Harrisburg’s Bishop McDevitt, where LeSean McCoy played, stands in the way—again. Out west, Central Valley and Pitt-bound tailback Jordan Whitehead, as well as West Allegheny, and always-strong Thomas Jefferson, which beat Wood in 2008, could pose problems.

But the only team that could stop Wood is Wood.

Sleepers: Bonner-Prendergast, Springfield (Delco), Montour, Hampton and Ringgold, Joe Montana’s alma mater, Crestwood, Bethlehem Catholic.

Class AA

This is a west-dominated bracket, beginning with defending state champion South Fayette and its golden armed quarterback Brett Brumbaugh, who’s thrown for over 2,000 yards. The Lions are riding a 25-game winning streak, including its 41-0 win over Philly’s Imhotep Charter in last year’s state championship.

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune, Aliquippa seems like the Lions’ largest threat. Aliquippa, Darrelle Revis’ alma mater, features a pair of talented tailbacks in DiMantae Bronaugh and Kaezon Pugh, who have combined for 1,800 yards rushing and 34 TDs, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune.

No team from the eastern part of the state may not match up with either of these teams—and we’ve learned not to doubt South Fayette, though it seems some have in picking Aliquippa to come out of the WPIAL.

Southern Columbia, from District 4, and Berks Catholic, from District 3, could emerge from the east.

Sleepers: Karns City, Seton-LaSalle, Slippery Rock, North Schuylkill, Bermudian Springs, and Philly’s Prep Charter.

Class A

This is another west-dominated classification. Clairton remains one of the best little stories in all of high school football—not just across the state, but nationally. The Bears have won four of the last five PIAA Class A state titles and seemed primed to reclaim what seems to be theirs again.

The Bears are 9-0. They have outscored teams 610-33, and feature sophomore tailback Lamont Wade, who has rushed for 1,313 yards and 19 TDs, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune. Pittsburgh North Catholic, the defending Class A state champion, could be the second-best team in the state. But the Trojans, who have won 25-straight, will have to go through Clairton to defend their title.

 

Sleepers: Old Forge, Clarion, Jeannette, South Williamsport, Portage, Bishop Guilfoyle, Avonworth, Redbank Valley.

 

CBS Philly’s Area Top 10 Power Ratings For Oct. 31, 2014

 

  1. St. Joseph’s Prep (Record: 5-3)
  2. La Salle (Record: 7-2)
  3. Archbishop Wood (Record: 8-1)
  4. St. Joseph’s (Hammonton, NJ) (Record: 7-0)
  5. Shawnee (Record: 6-0)
  6. Imhotep Charter (Record: 8-1)
  7. Timber Creek (Record: 6-0)
  8. Camden (Record: 7-0)
  9. Coatesville (Record: 9-0)
  10. Haverford School (Record: 7-1)

 

Under Consideration: Haddonfield (6-0), Lenape (6-0), Quakertown (9-0), Springfield (Delco) (9-0), Holy Cross (7-0), West Chester Rustin (8-1), West Deptford (6-1).

 

Southeastern PA Top 10 Power Ratings For Oct. 31, 2014

 

  1. St. Joseph’s Prep (Record: 5-3)
  2. La Salle (Record: 7-2)
  3. Archbishop Wood (Record: 8-1)
  4. Imhotep Charter (Record: 8-1)
  5. Coatesville (Record: 9-0)
  6. Haverford School (Record: 7-1)
  7. North Penn (Record: 6-3)
  8. Pennsbury (Record: 8-1)
  9. West Chester Rustin (Record: 8-1)
  10. West Chester Henderson (Record: 7-2)

 

Under consideration: Springfield (Delco) (9-0), Quakertown (9-0), Ben Franklin (7-0), Bonner-Prendergast (8-1), Simon Gratz (8-1), Great Valley (8-1), Perkiomen Valley (8-1), Upper Dublin (8-1), Central Bucks South (7-2).

 

2014 District 1 seedings

 

AAAA-Top 16 qualify

School W-L PTS AVG
1. Coatesville 9-0 1,260 140.00
2. Quakertown 9-0 1,249 137.78
3. Pennsbury 8-1 1,220 135.56
4. WC Rustin 8-1 1,170 130.00
T5. Upper Dublin 8-1 140 126.67
T5. C.B. South 8-1 1,140 126.67
7. Henderson 7-2 1,120 124.44
8. Council Rock North 6-3 1,110 123.33
9. Downingtown East 6-3 1,070 118.89
10. Perkiomen Valley 8-1 1,060 117.78
11. North Penn 6-3 1,050 116.67
12. Garnet Valley 7-2 1,030 114.44
13. Conestoga 7-2 1,020 113.33
14. Pennridge 6-3 1,010 112.22
15. Downingtown West 6-3 990 110.00
T16. Truman 6-3 960 106.67
T16. Abington 5-4 960 106.67

AAA – Top 8 qualify

School W-L PTS AVG
1. Springfield (Delco) 9-0 1,390 154.44
2. Great Valley 8-1 1,200 133.33
3. Bishop Shanahan 6-3 1,090 121.11
4. Academy Park 7-2 1,050 116.67
5. Pottsgrove 6-3 1,000 111.11
6. Upper Moreland 6-3 910 101.11
7. Interboro 5-4 890 98.89
8. Octorara 5-4 880 97.78

AA –Top 4 qualify

School W-L PTS AVG
1. Bristol 7-2 1,000 111.11
2. Springfield (Montco) 4-5 810 90.0
3. Valley Forge MA 4-4 650 81.25
4. New Hope 3-5 630 78.75

A –Top 4 qualify

School W-L PTS AVG
1. Delco Christian 6-2 940 117.50
2. Calvary Christian 6-2 890 111.25
3. Kipp-DuBois 3-4 640 91.43
4. Jenkintown 4-5 770 85.56

 

You may also be interested in these Sports stories:

[display-posts category=”sports” wrapper=”ul” posts_per_page=”5″]