Please support our Reporters
 


Player Stats
Position Rankings
EPA Top 5 Players

EPA Statewide Scoreboard
 
 

2020 PIAA State Championship Previews

Written by: on Saturday, November 28th, 2020. Follow Joseph Santoliquito on Twitter.

 

This marks the fifth year that the PIAA will be working under the 6A system, with six state championship games taking place. There will be three teams this year that will be vying for consecutive state championships.

In 2A, perennial state powerhouse Southern Columbia enters this state title weekend with a 58-game winning streak and will be going for a fourth-straight state championship. St. Joseph’s Prep, considered the best team in the state, will look to become the first threepeat 6A state champion and the first “large school” three-peat winner since the legendary Central Bucks West teams (1997, ’98, and ’99) of late coaching icon Mike Pettine. In 4A, Thomas Jefferson is looking to repeat as state champions.

District 3 6A champion Central York is the first York County team to reach the state finals. District 7 3A champion Central Valley will be looking for its first state championship, after coming so close last year in the Class 3A title game. District 4 4A champion Jersey Shore has reached the state finals for the first time, with a daunting task against defending Class 4A state champion Thomas Jefferson.

Of the 12 teams playing in the state championship weekend, District 7 (Thomas Jefferson, Central Valley, Jeannette, Pine-Richland) has four representatives, and District 3 (Steelton-Highspire, Wyomissing Area, Central York) has three representatives, while Districts 4 (Southern Columbia, Jersey Shore) and District 10 (Wilmington, Erie Cathedral Prep) have two each. District 12 (St. Joseph’s Prep) has one representative.

Here are thumbnail bios of each game.

Class 1A Friday at 11 a.m.

(District-7) Jeannette Jayhawks (10-1) vs. (D-3) Steelton-Highspire Rollers (9-0)

Jeannette reached its second 1A state championship game in the last four years with a 48-12 victory over District 10 champion Reynolds in the West semifinal. The Jayhawks forced six turnovers in a 45-14 District 7 championship pasting of Clairton. Led by sophomore linebacker Jaydin Canady, Jeannette’s defense, which allowed only 12 points per game, held Reynolds to 61 yards rushing on 24 carries in the first half.

Steelton-Highspire upended Bishop Guilfoyle’s return trip to the finals on Bryan Hernandez’s 36-yard field goal with :38 seconds left in a 16-14 state semifinal victory. Steelton-Highspire last won a 1A state title in 2008, which also marks the last time the Rollers were in the state 1A title game.

Jeannette Jayhawks (7) 10-1

Steelton-Highspire (3) 9-0

Opponent Result Opponent Result
Clairton* (A) L 28-34 Upper Dauphin (AA) W 51-6
@ Riverview* (A) W 55-6 @ Middletown Area* (AAA) W 43-21
Imani Christian Academy* (A) W 45-0 Trinity* (AA) W 77-0
@ Leechburg* (A) W 60-14 Camp Hill* (AA) W 36-26
@ Springdale* (A) W 36-28 Big Spring* (AAAA) W 65-30
Bishop Canevin* (A) W 49-0 @ Delone Catholic (A) W 23-13
@ Greensburg Central Catholic* (A) W 55-0 Muncy (A) W 50-43
Avella Area (A) W 62-14 @ Old Forge (A) W 39-36
@ Rochester (A) W 40-13 Bishop Guilfoyle (A) W 16-14
@ Clairton (A) W 45-14 Jeannette (A)
@ Reynolds (A) W 48-12
@ Steelton-Highspire (A)

Total Points Scored (Season)

Total Points Scored (Season)

523

400

Average Points Scored (Season)

Average Points Scored (Season)

47.5

44.4

Total Points Allowed (Season)

Total Points Allowed (Season)

135

189

Average Points Allowed (Season)

Average Points Allowed (Season)

12.2

21

Total Points Scored (Playoffs)

Total Points Scored (Playoffs)

195 (4 games)

128 (4 games)

Average Points Scored (Playoffs)

Average Points Scored (Playoffs)

48.7 (4 games)

32.0 (4 games)

Total Points Allowed (Playoffs)

Total Points Allowed (Playoffs)

53 (4 games)

106 (4 games)

Average Points Allowed (Playoffs)

Average Points Allowed (Playoffs)

13.2 (4 games)

26.5 (4 games)

Class 2A Saturday at 11 a.m.

(D-4) Southern Columbia Tigers (11-0) vs. (D-10) Wilmington Greyhounds (12-0)

Southern Columbia enters the title game riding a 58-game winning streak. The Tigers will be going for their fourth-straight Class 2A state title after a 42-14 victory in the Eastern state semifinals over Bishop McDevitt (Philadelphia Catholic League). The Lancers scored on their third play of the game, and Southern Columbia took over from there.

This will be Wilmington’s third trip to the state finals in the last four years. The Greyhounds are all too familiar with Southern Columbia, which has beaten Wilmington by a combined 97-14 in consecutive state title games in 2017 and 2018. Wilmington last won a 2A state title in 2008.

Wilmington Area Greyhounds (10) 10-0

Southern Columbia (4) 11-0

Opponent Result Opponent Result
Greenville* (AA) W 48-0 Bloomsburg (AA) W 41-0
@ Farrell (AA) W 41-20 @ Warrior Run (AA) W 67-0
Sharpsville* (AA) W 42-0 Loyalsock Township (AAA) W 50-20
@ Greenville* (AA) W 48-6 @ Mount Carmel Area* (AA) W 1-0
Farrell (AA) W 21-20 @ Hughesville (AA) W 56-7
@ Sharpsville* (AA) W 57-14 Lewisburg* (AAAA) W 42-7
Farrell (AA) W 19-14 @ Central Columbia (AA) W 52-3
Karns City (AA) W 42-14 Line Mountain (AA) W 49-7
Chestnut Ridge (AA) W 56-29 South Williamsport (AA) W 49-14
@ Beaver Falls (AA) W 20-18 @ Richland Township (AA) W 57-30
@ Southern Columbia (AA) Bishop McDevitt (AA) W 42-14
Wilmington Area (AA)

Total Points Scored (Season)

Total Points Scored (Season)

394

507

Average Points Scored (Season)

Average Points Scored (Season)

39.4

46.0

Total Points Allowed (Season)

Total Points Allowed (Season)

135

102

Average Points Allowed (Season)

Average Points Allowed (Season)

13.5

9.2

Total Points Scored (Playoffs)

Total Points Scored (Playoffs)

137 (4 games)

197 (4 games)

Average Points Scored (Playoffs)

Average Points Scored (Playoffs)

34.2 (4 games)

49.2 (4 games)

Total Points Allowed (Playoffs)

Total Points Allowed (Playoffs)

75 (4 games)

65 (4 games)

Average Points Allowed (Playoffs)

Average Points Allowed (Playoffs)

18.7 (4 games)

16.2 (4 games)

Class 3A Friday at 3:30 p.m.

(D-3) Wyomissing Area Spartans (9-0) vs. (D-7) Central Valley Warriors (11-0)

Central Valley was 12 minutes away from winning its first state title last year, when Wyoming Area quarterback Dominic DeLuca put on his Superman cape and led Wyoming back to a 21-14 state title victory.

Do you think that bitter taste remains a year later with Central Valley?

You better believe it.

The Warriors got back to the state title game by pounding 5/9 champion Bedford 49-20 in the state semifinals. Central Valley junior running back Landon Alexander rushed for 160 yards and three TDs in the victory. The Warriors’ offense averages 405.5 yards per game, and ripped up 340 rushing against Bedford. This is the third time Central Valley has been to the 3A title game (2014, 2019 and 2020).

Wyomissing Area reached the finals by blowing out Danville, 44-14. This will be the Spartans’ first trip to a Class 3A state title. Wyomissing won the 2012 Class 2A state championship. The Spartans run a potent Wing-T offense around quarterback Zach Zechman, who completed 11-12 passes for 190 yards and three touchdowns against Danville. The Spartans rushed for 250 yards in the state semifinals.

Central Valley Warriors (7) 11-0

Wyomissing Area Spartans (3) 9-0

Opponent Result Opponent Result
@ Hopewell* (AAA) W 51-2 @ Hamburg* (AAA) W 45-0
Blackhawk (AAAA) W 49-6 Fleetwood* (AAAAA) W 49-9
@ New Castle (AAAA) W 49-21 Plymouth-Whitemarsh (AAAAA) W 44-0
@ Quaker Valley* (AAA) W 50-0 Kutztown* (AAAA) W 62-0
Keystone Oaks* (AAA) W 65-14 @ Schuylkill Valley* (AAA) W 49-0
@ Ambridge* (AAA) W 41-6 Boiling Springs (AAA) W 47-7
Burrell (AAA) W 51-0 @ Middletown Area (AAA) W 38-16
East Allegheny (AAA) W 56-7 @ Lakeland (AAA) W 47-0
Keystone Oaks (AAA) W 70-21 Danville (AAA) W 44-14
Elizabeth-Forward (AAA) W 35-0 Central Valley (AAA)
@ Bedford (AAA) W 49-20
@ Wyomissing Area (AAA)

Total Points Scored (Season)

Total Points Scored (Season)

566

425

Average Points Scored (Season)

Average Points Scored (Season)

51.4

47.2

Total Points Allowed (Season)

Total Points Allowed (Season)

97

46

Average Points Allowed (Season)

Average Points Allowed (Season)

8.8

5.1

Total Points Scored (Playoffs)

Total Points Scored (Playoffs)

210 (4 games)

129 (3 games)

Average Points Scored (Playoffs)

Average Points Scored (Playoffs)

52.5 (4 games)

43.0 (3 games)

Total Points Allowed (Playoffs)

Total Points Allowed (Playoffs)

48 (4 games)

30 (3 games)

Average Points Allowed (Playoffs)

Average Points Allowed (Playoffs)

12.0 (4 games)

10.0 (3 games)

Class 4A Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

(D-4) Jersey Shore Bulldogs (10-0) vs. (D-7) Thomas Jefferson Jaguars (9-1)

Thomas Jefferson is looking to repeat as 4A state champions, after the Jaguars smacked Oil City, 62-0, in the Western semifinal. Led by the passing combination of Jake Pugh and Preston Zandier, the Jags opened a 49-0 halftime lead. The Jaguars won their first 4A state title last year, dominating District 2 Dallas, 42-7. Thomas Jefferson won consecutive 3A state titles in 2007 and 2008, and won its first state title (3A) in 2004.

This will be Jersey Shore’s first foray to the state title game. The Bulldogs arrived here by beating Lampeter-Strasburg, 39-35, in the East semifinals. Jersey Shore was once a program that won three games in four years before 2013. The Bulldogs will rely on the passing combination of quarterback Branden Wheary and receiver Cayden Hess, who connected 13 times for 165 yards in the state semifinals.

Thomas Jefferson Jaguars (7) 9-1

Jersey Shore Bulldogs (4) 10-0

Opponent Result Opponent Result
@ West Mifflin* (AAAA) W 52-0 Shamokin* (AAAA) W 41-7
@ Trinity (7)* (AAAA) W 51-14 @ Shikellamy* (AAAA) W 53-0
Belle Vernon Area* (AAAA) W 42-21 Central Mountain* (AAAAA) W 55-7
Laurel Highlands* (AAAA) W 58-0 @ Selinsgrove* (AAAA) W 33-0
@ Ringgold* (AAAA) W 41-0 Shikellamy* (AAAA) W 16-0
McKeesport Area* (AAAA) L 14-20 @ Central Mountain* (AAAAA) W 21-9
Mars Area (AAAA) W 41-6 Mifflinburg (AAAA) W 48-7
Plum (AAAA) W 20-17 Shamokin (AAAA) W 54-0
@ Aliquippa (AAAA) W 35-28 @ Crestwood (AAAA) W 26-14
Oil City (AAAA) W 62-0 @ Lampeter-Strasburg (AAAA) W 39-35
@ Jersey Shore (AAAA) Thomas Jefferson (AAAA)

Total Points Scored (Season)

Total Points Scored (Season)

416

386

Average Points Scored (Season)

Average Points Scored (Season)

41.6

38.6

Total Points Allowed (Season)

Total Points Allowed (Season)

106

79

Average Points Allowed (Season)

Average Points Allowed (Season)

10.6

7.9

Total Points Scored (Playoffs)

Total Points Scored (Playoffs)

158 (4 games)

167 (4 games)

Average Points Scored (Playoffs)

Average Points Scored (Playoffs)

39.5 (4 games)

41.7 (4 games)

Total Points Allowed (Playoffs)

Total Points Allowed (Playoffs)

51 (4 games)

56 (4 games)

Average Points Allowed (Playoffs)

Average Points Allowed (Playoffs)

12.7 (4 games)

14.0 (4 games)

Class 5A Friday at 8 p.m.

(D-10) Erie Cathedral Prep Ramblers (7-2) vs. (D-7) Pine-Richland Rams (10-0)

Pine-Richland overcame a huge second-half deficit to beat Governor Mifflin, 48-44, in the Class 5A West semifinal. Rams’ quarterback Cole Spencer shook off some early troubles and came back from trailing 41-19 midway through the third quarter to win. This is the Rams’ fourth trip to the state finals. They won in 2017 (the only school to beat St. Joe’s Prep at 6A) and were PIAA runners-up in 2003 (3A) and ’14 (4A).

Erie Cathedral Prep reached its fifth state finals in six years on a forfeit win to Upper Dublin due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ramblers have not played since a 33-7 victory over Hollidaysburg in a first-round state playoff game on Nov. 6.

Cathedral Prep played in four consecutive state title games from 2015-18 and won three-straight titles from 2016-18 (4A). The program has five overall state titles (4-4A, 1-3A).

Pine-Richland Rams (7) 10-0

Cathedral Prep (10) 7-2

Opponent Result Opponent Result
Fox Chapel* (AAAAA) W 53-7 Butler (AAAAAA) W 55-21
@ Upper Saint Clair (AAAAA) W 34-13 @ Erie HS* (AAAAAA) W 48-26
@ Penn Hills* (AAAAA) W 43-0 @ McDowell* (AAAAAA) L 10-24
Shaler Area* (AAAAA) W 61-14 @ Butler (AAAAAA) W 56-6
North Hills* (AAAAA) W 59-13 Erie HS* (AAAAAA) W 41-22
@ Kiski Area* (AAAAA) W 58-14 McDowell* (AAAAAA) L 6-24
South Fayette (AAAAA) W 47-7 @ Hollidaysburg (AAAAA) W 33-7
Penn-Trafford (AAAAA) W 49-14 Wyoming Valley West (AAAAA) W 1-0
Peters Township (AAAAA) W 35-0 @ Upper Dublin (AAAAA) W 1-0
Governor Mifflin (AAAAA) W 44-41 Pine-Richland (AAAAA)

Total Points Scored (Season)

Total Points Scored (Season)

483

251

Average Points Scored (Season)

Average Points Scored (Season)

48.3

27.8

Total Points Allowed (Season)

Total Points Allowed (Season)

123

130

Average Points Allowed (Season)

Average Points Allowed (Season)

12.3

14.4

Total Points Scored (Playoffs)

Total Points Scored (Playoffs)

175 (4 games)

35 (3 games)

Average Points Scored (Playoffs)

Average Points Scored (Playoffs)

43.7 (4 games)

11.6 (3 games)

Total Points Allowed (Playoffs)

Total Points Allowed (Playoffs)

62 (4 games)

7 (3 games)

Average Points Allowed (Playoffs)

Average Points Allowed (Playoffs)

15.5 (4 games)

2.3 (3 games)

Class 6A Saturday at 8 p.m.

(D-12) St. Joseph’s Prep Hawks (5-0) vs. (D-3) Central York Panthers (10-0)

This will be the seventh trip to the state finals in the last eight years for St. Joe’s Prep, which will be looking to become the first three-peat state champion at the 6A level, which was put into place by the PIAA in 2016. This will mark the fifth 6A state title game in Pennsylvania and St. Joseph’s Prep has been in each one.

The Hawks will try to become the first three-peat “large school” state champion since the legendary Central Bucks West teams (1997, ’98, and ’99) of late coaching icon Mike Pettine.

This is a scary Prep team. Hawks’ coach Tim Roken pulled the plug on his starters at halftime of the Hawks’ 51-43 Eastern finals victory over Souderton. Clemson-bound star linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr. left the game at halftime due to an injury and is questionable to play in the state finals. But sophomore Josiah Trotter, Jeremiah’s younger brother, and a Prep starter as a freshman filled in nicely, making five tackles for losses. The Hawks’ Ohio State-tandem of quarterback Kyle McCord and receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. combined for two touchdowns in the state semifinal victory. McCord threw six touchdown passes against Souderton—in the first half. The Hawks starters have yet to play a full game this season.

Central York became the first York County football team to reach the state finals with a 37-21 win over McDowell in the West semifinal. The Panthers are led by 6-foot-3 Penn State-bound junior quarterback Beau Pribula, a special talent who led Central York to its first District 3 playoff victory since 2012. But can Pribula keep the Hawks’ defense off of him? Souderton didn’t cross midfield until midway into the second quarter. This is an angry St. Joe’s Prep team that still feels it has something to prove, believe it or not. Though the Hawks are a national-caliber team, they enter this game with an underdog resolve and an unfulfilled desire to show their potential. Central York—and Pribula—may provide the push.

Central York Panthers (3) 10-0

St. Joseph’s Prep Hawks (12) 5-0

Opponent Result Opponent Result
Red Lion Area* (AAAAA) W 55-0 Life Christian Academy HS (VA) W 41-24
@ Dover Area* (AAAAA) W 51-0 La Salle College HS* (AAAAAA) W 38-14
@ South Western* (AAAAA) W 56-3 @ Archbishop Wood* (AAAAAA) W 52-6
Spring Grove* (AAAAA) W 47-0 @ Roman Catholic* (AAAAAA) W 42-0
@ Northeastern* (AAAAA) W 70-0 Souderton Area (AAAAAA) W 51-43
Dallastown* (AAAAAA) W 75-7 Central York (AAAAAA)
@ Central Dauphin (AAAAAA) W 42-15
William Penn (3) (AAAAAA) W 48-21
@ Delaware Valley (AAAAAA) W 49-27
@ McDowell (AAAAAA) W 37-21
@ St. Joseph’s Prep (AAAAAA)

Total Points Scored (Season)

Total Points Scored (Season)

530

224

Average Points Scored (Season)

Average Points Scored (Season)

53.0

44.8

Total Points Allowed (Season)

Total Points Allowed (Season)

94

87

Average Points Allowed (Season)

Average Points Allowed (Season)

9.4

17.4

Total Points Scored (Playoffs)

Total Points Scored (Playoffs)

176 (4 games)

51 (1 games)

Average Points Scored (Playoffs)

Average Points Scored (Playoffs)

44.0 (4 games)

51.0 (1 games)

Total Points Allowed (Playoffs)

Total Points Allowed (Playoffs)

84 (4 games)

43 (1 games)

Average Points Allowed (Playoffs)

Average Points Allowed (Playoffs)

21.0 (4 games)

43.0 (1 games)

Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been covering high school football since 1992 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on twitter @JSantoliquito. Follow EasternPAFootball.com on Twitter @EPAFootball.

Follow EasternPAFootball.com on Twitter @EPAFootball


Leave a Reply



Joseph