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BG, Heights excited about return to playoffs

November 5, 2012
By Philip Cmor (pcmor@altoonamirror.com) , The Altoona Mirror

Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic was represented at the PIAA District 6 high school football seeding meeting for the first time since 2009.

"It's exciting. Ever since we found out we were going to be in the playoffs, it's like that dream continues," said Marauders coach Justin Wheeler, whose team finished ranked fifth in Class A. "Our kids have definitely worked hard and deserve a chance to do it, and getting them there is pretty exciting."

If Wheeler's excited, just imagine how the people at Cambria Heights must feel. The Highlanders will be making just their third appearance in the postseason since district playoffs began in 1985 - the last time Heights was part of the field was in 1998.

Article Photos

Mirror photo by J.D. Cavrich
Bishop Guilfoyle quarterback Pat Irwin (right) and teammate Nathan Nardelli will look for a long playoff run.

"It's a credit to the kids that played this year, and also just our program in general. We felt like this year we turned the corner a little bit, and it's nice to be here," Highlanders coach Jarrod Lewis said. "It's nice that the kids get to go to the playoffs and enjoy the second season."

The District 6 football committee met with the coaches and athletic directors of the 16 teams that qualified in Class AA and A for about an hour on Sunday morning at the Altoona Area High School Field House to official announce the pairings and go over all the logistics of the tournament. There was only once change from when the brackets were first releases earlier that morning, and it involved BG's first-round opponent - it turned out that there was an error in the winning percentage of Juniata Valley's opponents, Penns Manor the third seed instead of the Green Hornets.

Valley, 9-1, now will host the 8-2 Marauders in a 5-vs.-4 game on Saturday night, while Bishop McCort will be at Penns Manor at the same time. Bellwood-Antis already had clinched the top seed two weeks ago and kicks things off on Friday night with a quarterfinal game.

Fact Box

DISTRICT 5 AND 6 PLAYOFFS

(All games at 7 p.m.)

FRIDAY

DISTRICT 6-9 CLASS AAAA SEMIFINALS

Central Mountain (3) at State College (2)

DISTRICT 5-6-8-9 CLASS AAA SEMIFINALS

Punxsutawney (4) at Clearfield (1)

Somerset (3) at University Prep (2)

DISTRICT 6 CLASS AA QUARTERFINALS

Penn Cambria (8) at Richland (1)

Bald Eagle Area (7) at Ligonier Valley (2)

DISTRICT 5 CLASS AA CHAMPIONSHIP

At Northern Bedford HS

Everett (2) vs. Chestnut Ridge (1)

DISTRICT 6 CLASS A QUARTERFINALS

Glendale (8) at Bellwood-Antis (1)

Northern Cambria (7) at Portage (2)

DISTRICT 5 CLASS A QUARTERFINALS

Tussey Mountain (6) at Windber (3)

SATURDAY

DISTRICT 5-6-8-9 CLASS AAA SEMIFINALS

DISTRICT 6 CLASS AA QUARTERFINALS

Forest Hills (6) at Central (3)

Cambria Heights (5) at Tyrone (4)

DISTRICT 6 CLASS A QUARTERFINALS

Bishop McCort (6) at Penns Manor (3)

Bishop Guilfoyle (5) at Juniata Valley (4)

DISTRICT 5 CLASS A SEMIFINALS

Shade (5) at North Star (4)

FRIDAY, NOV. 9

DISTRICT 5 CLASS A SEMIFINALS

Shade/North Star winner at Northern Bedford (1)

FRIDAY NOV. 9 OR SATURDAY NOV. 10

Sites TBA

DISTRICT 6-9 CLASS AAAA CHAMPIONSHIP

Central Mountain/State College winner vs. DuBois (1)

DISTRICT 5-6-8-9 CHAMPIONSHIP

Somerset/University Prep winner vs. Punxsutawney/Bradford winner

DISTRICT 6 CLASS AA SEMIFINALS

Cambria Heights/Tyrone winner vs. Penn Cambria/Richland winner

Forest Hills/Central winner vs. Bald Eagle Area/Ligonier Valley winner

DISTRICT 6 CLASS A SEMIFINALS

Bishop Guilfoyle/Juniata Valley winner vs. Glendale/Bellwood-Antis winner

Bishop McCort/Penns Manor winner vs. Northern Cambria/Portage winner

SATURDAY, NOV. 17

DISTRICT 5 CLASS A SEMIFINALS

Tussey Mountain/Windber winner at Berlin Brothersvalley (2)

FRIDAY, NOV. 23

DISTRICT 6 CLASS AA CHAMPIONSHIP

Teams TBA, at Mansion Park

DISTRICT 5 CLASS A CHAMPIONSHIP

Teams TBA, Site TBA

SATURDAY, NOV. 24

DISTRICT 6 CLASS A CHAMPIONSHIP

Teams TBA, at Mansion Park

Portage finished second in 6-A and entertains Northern Cambria in the other Friday quarterfinal in that classification. All games kick off at 7 p.m.

Guilfoyle got a very difficult draw. Should they get by Juniata Valley, the Marauders would probably have to travel to Bellwood for the semifinals. If they can make through that round, it's possible they could face Penns Manor, the defending champion and state semifinalist, in the finals or get a rematch against McCort, which routed Guilfoyle, 37-0, in Johnstown on Oct. 26.

District officials also announced that the Class A championship game will be Saturday, Nov. 24 at Altoona's Mansion Park. The Class AA title game will be played the night before at Mansion.

"When they moved it to only eight teams, you knew you were going to get a quality eight teams," Wheeler said, referring to the district's decision this season to drop a round of Class A playoffs that could include as many as eight more teams. "The way it worked out for us, the path it's going to take to get us there is going to be difficult, but we feel like our Laurel Highlands Conference schedule prepares us for this. We played three of the teams that are going to be in the playoffs in double-A, so we think we had a tough schedule. Hopefully, we're ready to go."

Cambria Heights was one of those three Class AA playoff teams BG played. As the No. 5 team in 6-AA, the Highlanders will be on the road Saturday night to take on a team that is no stranger to playoff football, defending district champion and PIAA Class AA runner-up Tyrone.

"It's a privilege to play Tyrone. They're obviously a great football team. It seems like they're always in the playoffs, always the top seed," Lewis said. "Our kids are excited to be here and look forward to the challenge. It was a goal our team prior to the season to make the playoffs, and we're happy that we met that goal."

Heights is one of four teams in the field that didn't make it last year. Another is Central, which wound up behind only Richland and Ligonier Valley for the third seed; the Scarlet Dragons host Forest Hills in the other Saturday AA game.

Penn Cambria is at Richland, while Bald Eagle Area heads to Ligonier Valley for the Friday night 6-AA quarterfinal games.

Also on Friday night, State College hosts Central Mountain in the District 6-9 Class AAAA semis, with the winner to play idle top seed DuBois the following week. Neither District 6 team made the District 5-6-8-9 Class AAA tournament; Clearfield is the top seed and gets Punxsutawney, and Somerset travels to Pittsburgh to face University Prep in the semifinals, both of which are scheduled for Friday night.

District 5 already had announced its Class AA and A pairings. Northern Bedford and Berlin Brothersvalley, the first and second seeds, respectively, got Class A quarterfinal round byes. Northern will host the winner of Saturday night's Shade/North Star game on Nov. 16, while Berlin awaits the winner of Friday's Tussey Mountain at Windber contest for the other semifinal, slated for Nov. 17.

Everett and Chestnut Ridge play on Friday at Panther Community Stadium in Loysburg for the 5-AA and the District 5-8 Class AA subregional championship, because Westinghouse, the only Class AA team in the Pittsburgh City League, has elected not to enter the playoffs.

 
 
 

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