The WPIAL likes to schedule rivalry games for the final night of section play. Talk about a grand finale this year.
Most sections conclude play tonight and there are seven games matching teams either tied for the section championship, or matching teams that are in first and second place. You'll have trouble finding a better Friday night finish over the years.
Here are the top matchups:
Central Catholic at Fox Chapel -- Central Catholic (11-2) is in first place in Class AAAA Section 2, but Fox Chapel and Gateway are both 10-3.
Beaver at Blackhawk -- Beaver and Central Valley are tied for first place in Class AAA Section 2 with 9-2 records while Blackhawk is breathing down their necks at 8-3.
Laurel Highlands at Uniontown -- Laurel Highlands is in first place in Class AAA Section 3 with a 10-1 record, but longtime rival Uniontown (9-2) can still tie for the section title.
Thomas Jefferson at West Mifflin -- Thomas Jefferson leads Class AAA Section 4 with an 11-0 mark while West Mifflin (10-1) is a game behind.
Burrell at Deer Lakes -- Deer Lakes (8-1) has clinched at least a tie for its first section title since 1992. But Burrell (7-2) can still tie for first place in Class AA Section 1.
Jeannette at Greensburg Central Catholic -- This is a heated rivalry and Jeannette (10-1) will try to tie Greensburg Central Catholic (11-0) for the Class AA Section 3 crown.
Imani Christian at Wilkinsburg -- These two are tied for first place in Class A Section 4 with 8-1 records.
Panthers on a roll
Besides New Castle, no team is hotter in WPIAL Class AAAA than Upper St. Clair. The last time the Panthers lost a game was Dec. 18, when they played a slowdown and lost to Bethel Park, 38-17. Nothing has been able to slow coach Danny Holzer's team lately.
Upper St. Clair has won 14 in a row. While the Panthers have shot well during the streak, defense has been a key. They have allowed an average of only 45 points in those 14 games.
Finally a title for Mars
The Mars boys have won the Class AAA Section 1 championship, a highly unusual feat for the Planets.
It is only the second section title in school history for Mars and the first outright championship for the Planets. The other section championship came in 1987, but Mars tied Springdale for that title.
Title games at Palumbo
The WPIAL boys and girls championships will again be played at Duquesne University's Palumbo Center March 1-2. But unlike the past couple years, the WPIAL won't have to deal with a Duquesne game on either of those days.
The championship games will be played in three sessions. There will be a tripleheader the evening of March 1, a tripleheader in the morning and afternoon of March 2, and a doubleheader the night of March 2.
The order of the games has not been determined.
Check this out
• Pete Logan will coach his final game with the Ringgold boys tonight. Logan has decided to resign, effective at the end of the season.
Not many coaches can boast of winning WPIAL titles at two different schools, but Logan can. He won a WPIAL Class AAA championship at Brownsville in 2001 and a Class A title at Clairton in 2006. He was at Ringgold for six seasons.
• Montour senior guard Devin Wilson was nominated for the McDonald's All-American game along with more than 800 other players across the country.
• Some WPIAL non-section games will be played Monday night. The WPIAL will announce playoff pairings Tuesday night, and the playoffs will start next Friday.
Mike White: email@example.com