Football playoffs the focus now

It’s hard to believe that last Friday marked the halfway point for the high school football season.

That seems like a good time to give a look at how the District 6 and 5 playoffs are shaping up.

Let’s start with District 6 Class A. If the postseason began this week, six area teams would be part of the 6-A field, including Williamsburg. Who would have figured the Blue Pirates would be in playoff contention?

Here’s the more incredible thing: Williamsburg actually is in decent position to remain in the top eight, even with its two recent losses. The Pirates have three winnable games against Claysburg (2-3), Mo Valley (1-4) and West Branch (0-5) along with a contest against Northern Bedford in which it will be a heavy underdog. The pivotal game is this Friday when they play at 3-2 Juniata Valley; if the Pirates win this week and hold serve the rest of the way, they’ll be in.

If Williamsburg stumbles along the way, it could be overtaken by Blairsville, which itself has only two big tests the rest of the way: Penns Manor and Portage.

It looks like a 6-4 record might be enough to qualify, good news for Williamsburg and Blairsville as well as teams like Bishop Guilfoyle and Bishop Carroll, which both are 3-2, play each other this week and still have some tough games remaining in the Laurel Highlands Conference.

Picks to advance: Homer-Center, Penns Manor, Bellwood-Antis, Bishop Guilfoyle, Juniata Valley, Portage, Bishop Carroll, Blairsville.

In 6-AA, it will be very unlikely to see a very strong top four of Richland, Central, Tyrone and Ligonier Valley dislodged, and, as was the case in single-A, there are five teams that seem to be in a battle for the other four places.

Central Cambria, that just upended Carroll on Saturday, has a schedule that can do the most to either help or hurt it, with games upcoming against 3-2 Forest Hills, 3-2 Bishop Guilfoyle, 4-1 Bedford and 5-0 Richland. Winning two of those games virtually assures the Devils advance; even winning this week against Forest Hills and closing the year by beating Forest Hills might be enough.

Huntingdon and Juniata are on the cusp in case someone falters, but both figure to need to go 4-1 in the second half to make it.

Picks to advance: Richland, Central, Ligonier Valley, Tyrone, Mount Union, Central Cambria, Forest Hills, Bald Eagle Area.

The District 5 playoffs have really come into focus, at least in terms of which teams are eligible. Bedford met the four-win standard last week, and it looks like both other Class AA teams – Everett and defending champion Chestnut Ridge – will do so as well.

In Class A, Northern Bedford, Berlin, Tussey and Meyersdale are in, and Windber, North Star and Shade each need just one win the rest of the way.

Cmor can be reached at 946-7440 or