CTK '17 - 2016 WPIAL Class 5-A Football Flashback

Headlines, Standings and Postseason Results From WPIAL 5-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. There were and still are a pair of nine team conferences in Class 5-A. But when all was said and done, a familiar name was on top as West Allegheny captured the first 5-A crown and a third district title in five years. Here is a look back at the WPIAL 5-A in 2016.

2016 WPIAL 5-A HEADLINES:

*  Teams are going to be hard-pressed to put on the classic show that West Allegheny and McKeesport put on in the first ever district 5-A title game. A back-and-forth first half ended in a 14-14 tie. Then McKeesport started to take control and led 24-14 with six minutes left in regulation. But some wild action, including on-side kicks allowed West Allegheny to score 16 points in the final 5 1/2 minutes, including a DJ Opsatnik 34-yard field goal as time expired in regulation to force overtime tied at 30-30. After McKeesport scored on their first possession of OT, an Indians touchdown pulled West A to within one point when veteran coach Bob Palko went for the win and secured WPIAL gold on a Nick Ross keeper for the two-point conversion and an epic 38-37 victory for West Allegheny over McKeesport.

*  West Allegheny, playing in its fourth football title game in the last five years, won an 8th WPIAL championship, adding to gold won by West A teams in 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2009, 2012 and 2013. Indians head coach Bob Palko captured his eighth WPIAL title as head coach of the red and black. Palko becomes the only coach in the history of the WPIAL with eight championships, passing Phil Bridenbaugh from New Castle who captured seven titles.

*  Speaking of great coaches, high school football fans said goodbye to one of the best district coaches ever and an outstanding person when George Novak announced last November that 2016 was his final season as head coach at Woodland Hills High School. The only football coach and athletic director that Woodland Hills had ever known, Novak was Pennsylvania’s 14th all-time winningest high school football coach, resigned after an illustrious 30-year career. He won six WPIAL Championships while guiding the Wolverines to 306 wins along the way, the third best mark in WPIAL history. Only former Blackhawk coach Joe Hamilton and current Upper St. Clair coach Jim Render. But beyond wins, Novak was a tremendous example in the Woodland Hills community, as stories of his mentorship run deep amongst those he has impacted. Under his leadership, Woodland Hills has had eleven graduates play in the NFL. Those players were Jason Taylor, Steve Breaston, Rob Gronkowski, Quinton Jefferson, Rontez Miles, Darrin Walls, Ryan Mundy, Terrence Johnson, Lousaka Polite, Shawntae Spencer and Chris Edmonds. last season, Woodland Hills finished 9-3 and lost to West Allegheny in the WPIAL 5-A Semifinals.

* 2016 was an In-Zane season for one Class 5-A running back. Armstrong senior standout Zane Dudek had a regular season for the ages as he set WPIAL rushing and scoring records. Dudek had the best season of any running back in WPIAL history. He set a WPIAL record for single-season rushing yardage with 2,955 yards on 291 carries and set a single-game record with 492 yards. He also broke the regular-season scoring record with 254 points, including 42 touchdowns. He finished his career as the WPIAL’s fourth-leading rusher with 6,977 yards rushing and scored 102 career touchdowns. But in Armstrong’s first playoff game, Dudek was injured on the first series and didn’t play the rest of the game. Armstrong’s season ended with a 38-20 loss to Gateway.

*  The once proud football program at Latrobe had fallen on hard times. The Wildcats lost their final seven games in 2014, went winless at 0-9 in 2015 and lost their first nine games of the 2016 season. But an offensive explosion in Week 9 helped end a 25-game losing streak as the 'Cats crushed Connellsville 63-6. The longest current losing streak in 5-A headed into 2017 belongs to Hampton as the Talbots have dropped 11 straight.

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2016 WPIAL Final Class 5-A Standings:

Eventual champion West Allegheny enjoyed a perfect regular season en route to the Allegheny Nine Conference title while Armstrong rose to the top of a competitive Big East Conference in the first ever WPIAL Class 5-A football season.

WPIAL 5A ALLEGHENY NINE CONFERENCE

TEAM

SECTION

OVERALL

PF-PA

TIEBREAK PTS

#-West Allegheny

8-0

9-0

307-53

+78

*-Woodland Hills

7-1

8-2

320-194

+48

*-Upper St. Clair

6-2

6-3

261-115

+40

*-North Hills

5-3

6-4

246-183

+25

x-Fox Chapel

4-4

5-5

268-258

0

x-Moon

3-5

3-6

175-257

-15

x-Chartiers Valley

2-6

3-7

142-240

-38

x-Baldwin

1-7

2-7

136-325

-60

x-Hampton

0-8

0-10

94-369

-78

 

WPIAL 5A BIG EAST CONFERENCE

TEAM

SECTION

OVERALL

PF-PA

TIEBREAK PTS

#-Armstrong

7-1

9-1

433-183

+66

*-McKeesport

6-2

7-2

317-160

+46

*-Franklin Regional

6-2

7-2

247-139

+27

*-Gateway

5-3

6-4

322-176

+24

x-Penn-Trafford

5-3

7-3

249-151

+25

x-Kiski Area

4-4

4-6

188-281

+1

x-Plum

2-6

2-7

184-312

-40

x-Latrobe

1-7

1-9

229-399

-60

x-Connellsville

0-8

1-9

90-450

-80

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2016 WPIAL Class 5-A Football Playoff Results:

After Gateway upset #2-seed Armstrong in the Quarterfinals, McKeesport enjoyed an incredible comeback win for the ages in beating the Gators in the Semifinals. But the Tigers got the tables turned a week later on the North Shore when West Allegheny pulled out a wild comeback in an overtime thriller.

2016 WPIAL CLASS 5-A FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME:

West Allegheny Indians  38  -  McKeesport Tigers  37  

WPIAL CLASS 5-A Semifinals:

West Allegheny Indians  35  -  Woodland Hills Wolverines  7  

McKeesport Tigers  41  -  Gateway Gators  38  

WPIAL CLASS 5-A Quarterfinals:

West Allegheny Indians  41  -  North Hills Indians  21  

Woodland Hills Wolverines  17  -  Franklin Regional Panthers  3  

Gateway Gators  38  -  Armstrong River Hawks  20  

 

McKeesport Tigers  31  -  Upper St. Clair Panthers  10

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2016 PIAA Class 5-A Football Playoff Results:

While the WPIAL title for West Allegheny was their fourth since winning state gold in 2001, the PIAA postseason continued to be a tough nut to crack for the Indians. They reached the Semifinals after beating District 10 Meadville in the Quarterfinals, West A saw their season and state championship hopes dashed when they lost to District 3 champion Harrisburg 42-10.

2016 PIAA CLASS 5-A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME:

Archbishop Wood Vikings 37 - Harrisburg Cougars 10

PIAA CLASS 5-A Semifinals:

Harrisburg Cougars 42 - WEST ALLEGHENY INDIANS 10  

Archbishop Wood Vikings 37 - Academy Park Knights 0

PIAA CLASS 5-A Quarterfinals:

WEST ALLEGHENY INDIANS 47 - Meadville Bulldogs 20 

Harrisburg Cougars 48 - Manheim Central Barons 20

Academy Park Knights 24 - Springfield-Delco Cougars 18

Archbishop Wood Vikings 56 - Whitehall Zephyrs 13

PIAA CLASS 5-A First Round:

WEST ALLEGHENY INDIANS 38 - McKEESPORT TIGERS 37 in Overtime  

Meadville Bulldogs 76 - Hollidaysburg Golden Tigers 29

Harrisburg Cougars 46 - Governor Mifflin Mustangs 21

Manheim Central Barons 50 - Cocalico Eagles 13

Springfield-Delco Cougars 21 - West Chester Henderson Warriors 0

Academy Park Knights 26 - Marple Newtown Fightin' Tigers 7

Whiltehall Zephyrs 35 - Abington Heights Comets 14

Archbishop Wood Vikings 61 - Simon Gratz Bulldogs 18

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