WPIAL playoff capsules

WPIAL Class AAA at a glance

Seedings: 1, West Allegheny (9-0); 2, Thomas Jefferson (9-0), 3, Central Valley (8-1), 4, Franklin Regional (8-1); 5, West Mifflin (8-1); 6, Mars (8-1); 7, Highlands (6-3); 8, Ringgold (7-2); 9, Indiana (4-5); 10, New Castle (7-2); 11, Elizabeth Forward (6-3), 12, Moon (6-3); 13, Montour (5-4); 14, Belle Vernon (4-5), 15, Hampton (4-5); 16, Hollidaysburg (3-6)

Defending champion: West Allegheny

Most intriguing potential matchups: Indiana at Ringgold and New Castle at Highlands in the first round; West Mifflin vs. Franklin Regional, New Castle vs. Thomas Jefferson and Mars vs. Central Valley in the quarterfinals; West Mifflin or Franklin Regional vs. West Allegheny and Central Valley vs. Thomas Jefferson in the semifinals; Central Valley or Thomas Jefferson vs. West Allegheny in the championship

Sleeper: New Castle

Interesting facts: Since 1997, West Allegheny, Thomas Jefferson and Central Valley have combined to win 11 championships. Central Valley wasn’t even a school before 2010; it was the consolidation of Monaca and Center. … West Mifflin’s Jimmy Wheeler tops the WPIAL with 2,022 yards rushing. Mars and Moon are led by the fourth and fifth leading rushers in the WPIAL, Josh Schultheis and Cole Blake, who have 1,459 and 1,457 yards, respectively. … New Castle is led by Ohio State recruit Malik Hooker, a receiver/defensive back. … Central Valley allowed a WPIAL Class AAA-low 46 points in the regular season. It is keyed by junior blue-chip defensive back Jordan Whitehead. … Thomas Jefferson’s top player is Chase Winovich, who is going to play linebacker at Michigan.

District championship game: Nov. 23, at Heinz Field

Mirror’s team to beat: Central Valley

Mirror’s PIAA semifinalists: Cathedral Prep and Archbishop Wood

Mirror’s PIAA champion: Cathedral Prep

WPIAL Class AAAA at a glance

Seedings: 1, Upper St. Clair (9-0); 2, Pittsburgh Central Catholic (9-0); 3, McKeesport (9-0); 4. Woodland Hills (7-2); 5, Seneca Valley (8-1); 6, Penn-Trafford (6-3); 7, Gateway (7-2); 8, Bethel Park (6-3); 9, North Allegheny (6-3); 10, North Hills (5-4); 11, Penn Hills (5-4); 12, Hempfield (6-3); 13, Pine-Richland (5-4); 14, Peters Township (5-4); 15, Baldwin (4-5); 16, Kiski Area (5-4)

Defending champion: North Allegheny

Most intriguing potential matchups: North Allegheny at Bethel Park, North Hills at Gateway and Penn Hills at Penn-Trafford in the first round; Bethel Park vs. Upper St. Clair, Seneca Valley vs. Woodland Hills and Gateway vs. Pittsburgh Central Catholic in the quarterfinals; Woodland Hills vs. Upper St. Clair and McKeesport vs. Pittsburgh Central Catholic in the semifinals; McKeesport or Pittsburgh Central Catholic vs. Upper St. Clair in the championship

Sleepers: Gateway, North Allegheny

Interesting facts: North Allegheny has won three straight championships, the only Class AAAA team to do that since the WPIAL went to four classifications in 1980. … Woodland Hills enters the playoffs on a seven-game win streak after losing to Upper St. Clair and McKeesport to being the season. … Baldwin not only boasts the WPIAL’s leading receiver, Luke Smorey, but it also has one of the top junior offensive line prospects in the country, Sterling Jenkins. … Upper St. Clair last won the district in 2006. … Pittsburgh Central Catholic quarterback J.J. Cosentino has committed to Florida State, but he’s only been called upon to throw 61 passes all year for the Vikings. Gateway has several receivers and defensive backs who are expected to sign with BCS-level colleges in February. The most highly touted is Montae Nicholson. But the Gators have four wins by seven points or less.

District championship game: Nov. 23, at Heinz Field

Mirror’s team to beat: Pittsburgh Central Catholic

Mirror’s PIAA semifinalists: Neshaminy and Pittsburgh Central Catholic

Mirror’s PIAA champion: Pittsburgh Central Catholic