By all accounts, the Transitive Theory in mathematics is relatively simple: If a equals b and b equals c, then a equals c. That is, until it is applied to the teams in the Greater Allegheny Conference.
Four of the five Class AAA teams in the conference qualified for the playoffs with nearly identical records; Mars is No. 1 at 7-1, followed by Hampton (6-2), Franklin Regional (6-2) and Knoch (6-2). The fifth team, Hollidaysburg, made it into the postseason with a 3-5 conference record after beating out Highlands (3-5) and Indiana (3-5) on tiebreakers.
But from Week 1 until this past Friday when the regular season wrapped up, there were no easy matchups in conference play. And applying the Transitive Theory that Team A beat Team B and Team B beat Team C, therefore Team A should win against Team C just could not be assumed.
Mars, the Post-Gazette's fourth-ranked team in Class AAA, clinched the conference championship Friday with a 25-10 victory against Hampton. That score was 7-3 at halftime and only 13-10 in the fourth quarter, not an easy victory by any stretch.
Hampton, however, was beaten, 20-10, on Sept. 14 by Greensburg Salem, which finished with just two victories all season. Mars (49-7), Franklin Regional (44-0) and Knoch (28-14) won easily against the Golden Lions.
Knoch, meanwhile, had to hold on to defeat Indiana, 20-14, at home, even though the Little Indians (3-6 overall) were blown out by Franklin Regional (35-0), Mars (40-6) and Hampton (45-21).
Indiana beat Hollidaysburg, 17-13, Friday night. Hollidaysburg shut out Greensburg Salem, 24-0, a team that handed Hampton one of its two losses.
And even though Franklin Regional rolled over Greensburg Salem and Knoch, which narrowly lost to Hampton, 20-17, the Panthers were beaten by the Talbots, 17-13, on Oct. 19.
Senior Brendan Lynch is guaranteed at least one more game, but the Freeport quarterback put on a career first half Friday night as the Yellowjackets (7-2, 7-1) secured the top spot out of the Class AA Allegheny Conference with a 47-0 thumping of Summit Academy (2-7, 1-7).
A 5-foot-11, 175-pounder, Lynch made little doubt of the game's outcome when he returned a punt 55 yards for a touchdown and broke a scoring run 57 yards in the first quarter as Freeport jumped out to a 19-0 lead.
In the second quarter, Lynch connected with Tony DeVivo on a 62-yard touchdown pass and later scored on runs of 15 and 30 yards to give the Yellowjackets a 47-0 lead by the intermission. Lynch finished the game with 123 yards rushing on just six carries, and completed 2 of 2 passes for another 77 yards.
For the season, Lynch has rushed for 1,009 yards on 120 carries, an average of 8.4 yards per carry, and has completed 26 of 53 passes for 578 yards with eight touchdowns and three interceptions.
Freeport enters postseason play Friday night when it hosts Beaver Falls in a game that was moved to Highlands Golden Rams Stadium due to field conditions. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.
Seneca Valley running back Forrest Barnes continues to rack up the yardage ... and the records that go along with it ... and he's doing it playing only in one half of a lot of games.
Friday night was no different for this 5-foot-11, 190-pound senior. Barnes carried the ball 16 times for 238 yards and four touchdowns -- all while playing only the first half -- as the Raiders (8-1, 6-1 Northern Eight) breezed by Fox Chapel, 54-15.
Barnes had scoring runs of 7, 4, 43 and 92 yards to bring his season scoring total to a team-leading 21 touchdowns. He now has 1,396 yards for the season, breaking the previous school record of 1,280 yards set by Bill Davis in 2002.
• Ahmed Turner connected with Daron Clark on a 15-yard pass play to break a 7-7 tie in the fourth quarter as Perry Traditional Academy downed Allderdice, 13-7, Friday in a City League semifinal to advance to the championship game against University Prep. Perry (7-2) will take on Prep (5-2) Saturday at Cupples Stadium.
• Senior wide receiver Gregg Garrity had a breakout game for North Allegheny Friday night with 10 catches for 216 yards.