CTK '17 - 2016 WPIAL Class 4-A Football Flashback

Headlines, Standings and Postseason Results From WPIAL 4-A in 2016
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Expansion was a huge part of the 2016-2017 school year as the PIAA and thus the WPIAL got its first taste of six classifications starting with the 2016 football season. While Quad-A had been the league's highest classification since 1980, 4-A was the third highest class with a pair of nine team conferences. But when all was said and done, a familiar name was on top as Thomas Jefferson captured a second straight district championship. Here is a look back at the WPIAL 4-A in 2016.

2016 WPIAL 4-A HEADLINES:

*  If you were at Heinz Field for the Thomas Jefferson vs New Castle Class 4-A title game, stop me if you heard this one before. "Quinton Hill on the carry for the Jaguars." That because Hill did carry, and carry, and carry some more to the tune of 39 totes. Hill rushed for 248 grinding yards and three touchdowns as Thomas Jefferson won a sixth WPIAL football crown in the last 13 years and seventh overall with a convincing 42-0 whitewash of the New Castle Red Hurricane.

*  While high school football fans are used to seeing Bill Cherpak lead his TJ Jaguars to the North Shore, New Castle felt like the new kids on the block. The 'Canes first title game ever at Heinz Field was a big of an 'eye-brow raiser'. Winning their final two games of conference play allowed new Castle to finish third in the Northwest Nine Conference and the Red Hurricane were the 7th-seed in an 8-team district playoff field. But New Castle stunned 2nd-seed South Fayette before beating Ringgold 38-17 in the Semifinals. Both of those postseason wins for the 'Canes avenged regular season losses. New castle lost to South Fayette 37-13 in Week 6 and 41-27 to Ringgold in Week 8.

*  In a season of change with the expansion in classes, there really wasn't a lot of change in the postseason fortunes of the 18 Class 4-A teams from 2015 to 2016. All eight teams that made the district playoffs in 2016 also made them a year earlier. of the ten teams that did not qualify for the 'Highway to Heinz' in 2016, only three of them; Ambridge, Highlands and Laurel Highlands were playoff participants in 2015.

*  Some of the standouts from around Class 4-A were Drew Saxton, a junior quarterback from South Fayette who threw for 2,638 yards (3rd most in WPIAL) and 30 touchdowns along with Ringgold senior quarterback George Martin who threw for 2,317 yards (5th most) and 22 scores. the leading receiver in the WPIAL and the 4th leading rusher were both Jaguars. Zane Zandier caught a league leading 144 passes for 900 yards for Thomas Jefferson while teammate Quinton Hill rushed for 1,940 yards and 29 touchdowns. 

*  The losing streak that began after a win over Trinity on September 13, 2013 lasted 3+ years and 31 games and was inching closer to history. But Albert Gallatin finally put one in the 'W" column in Week 8 last fall when the Colonials traveled to Uniontown and beat the Red Raiders 26-20. The only double digit losing streak heading into this fall is Ambridge at ten consecutive losses.

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2016 WPIAL Final Class 4-A Standings:

Eventual champion Thomas Jefferson enjoyed a perfect regular season en route to the Big Nine Conference title while South Fayette was once again a conference champion as they prevailed in Northwest Nine Conference. 

WPIAL 4A NORTHWEST NINE CONFERENCE

TEAM

SECTION

OVERALL

PF-PA

TIEBREAK PTS

#-South Fayette

8-0

10-0

424-141

+77

*-Mars

7-1

8-2

299-161

+49

*-New Castle

6-2

6-4

315-238

+33

*-Montour

4-4

4-5

237-202

+8

x-Blackhawk

4-4

5-4

234-208

-6

x-Indiana

3-5

4-5

229-336

-20

x-Highlands

2-6

3-6

236-205

-27

x-Knoch

2-6

2-7

180-282

-34

x-Ambridge

0-8

0-9

26-443

-80

 

WPIAL 4A BIG NINE CONFERENCE

TEAM

SECTION

OVERALL

PF-PA

TIEBREAK PTS

#-Thomas Jefferson

8-0

9-0

467-52

+80

*-West Mifflin

6-2

8-2

392-111

+47

*-Belle Vernon

6-2

7-2

295-141

+36

*-Ringgold

6-2

7-2

303-205

+33

x-Trinity

3-5

3-6

192-234

-16

x-Greensburg-Salem

4-4

5-5

270-269

0

x-Uniontown

1-7

1-9

89-404

-56

x-Albert Gallatin

1-7

1-8

102-362

-57

x-Laurel Highlands

1-7

1-9

153-425

-67

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2016 WPIAL Class 4-A Football Playoff Results:

The much anticipated 'dream' matchup of conference champs, regular season unbeaten teams and #1 vs #2 all season long in Class 4-A never came to fruition. #1 and 2015 AAA champ Thomas Jefferson did its part to make the final in the top of the bracket, but #2 and 2015 AA champ South Fayette was stunned in falling to New Castle in the district Quarterfinals.

2016 WPIAL CLASS 4-A FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME:

Thomas Jefferson Jaguars  42  -  New Castle Red Hurricane  0  

WPIAL CLASS 4-A Semifinals:

Thomas Jefferson Jaguars  35  -  West Mifflin Titans  7  

New Castle Red Hurricane  38  -  Ringgold Rams  17  

WPIAL CLASS 4-A Quarterfinals:

Thomas Jefferson Jaguars  35  -  Montour Spartans  0  

West Mifflin Titans  19  -  Belle Vernon Leopards  0  

New Castle Red Hurricane  51  -  South Fayette Lions  43  

Ringgold Rams  42  -  Mars Fighting Planets  31  

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2016 PIAA Class 4-A Football Playoff Results:

Like was the case in recent years in the old Class AAA, Thomas Jefferson surged into the PIAA Class 4-A postseason with high hopes of adding a state crown to their district title only to get beat convincingly in the Quarterfinals by District 10 power Erie Cathedral Prep. The Ramblers picked up two more wins to capture the 2016 PIAA Class 4-A title.

2016 PIAA CLASS 4-A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME:

Erie Cathedral Prep Ramblers 27 - Imhotep Charter Panthers 20

PIAA CLASS 4-A Semifinals:

Erie Cathedral Prep Ramblers 28 - Berks Catholic Saints 14

Imhotep Charter Panthers 24 - Bethlehem Catholic Hawks 13

PIAA CLASS 4-A Quarterfinals:

Erie Cathedral Prep Ramblers 30 - THOMAS JEFFERSON JAGUARS 13  

Berks Catholic Saints 37 - Shippensburg Greyhounds 13

Bethlehem Catholic Hawks 42 - Johnstown Trojans 12  (MSA)

Imhotep Charter Panthers 38 - North Pocono Trojans 7

PIAA CLASS 4-A First Round:

THOMAS JEFFERSON JAGUARS 42 - NEW CASTLE RED HURRICANE 0  

Erie Cathedral Prep Ramblers 58 - UNIVERSITY PREP WILDCATS 12

Berks Catholic Saints 45 - Lampeter-Strasburg Pioneers 21

Shippensburg Greyhounds 29 - Bishop McDevitt Crusaders 28

Bethlehem Catholic Hawks 51 - Pottsgrove Falcons 20

Johnstown Trojans 42 - Jersey Shore Bulldogs 36  (MSA)

Imhotep Charter Panthers 36 - Cardinal O'Hara Lions 6

North Pocono Trojans 21 - Berwick Bulldogs 6

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