About an hour before Monday's WPIAL playoff pairings meeting, the brackets mysteriously made their way onto Twitter.
You've heard of WikiLeaks. Well, you could call this WPIAL Leaks.
And, no, this wasn't The Fumbler's doing.
The WPIAL football committee was understandably upset that the brackets were released prematurely ... and not first at the meeting.
This, however, was a great example of how popular high school football is in this area. Within minutes of making their way onto Twitter, the matchups were feverishly making their rounds to players and fans, who couldn't wait an extra minute to find out who their favorite team was going to be playing.
Heck, the matchups hadn't been announced "officially" at the meeting yet, but people were already complaining about the seed their team received.
Leaks or no leaks, there will always be questioning and criticizing. But as The Fumbler learned years back, winning games is the best way to make a statement and silence critics.
This gets The Fumbler to thinking. Is there a Fumbler Leak?
If you read this yesterday, I guess there is.
The WPIAL playoffs get underway tonight at 32 fields around the area. The Fumbler has made his picks for who will raise championship trophies at Heinz Field on Nov. 23.
Class AAAA -- McKeesport
Class AAA -- Thomas Jefferson
Class AA -- Aliquippa
Class A -- Sto-Rox
Email The Fumbler your picks at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Fumbler finished the regular season on a hot streak by going 54-9 (.857) last week. That improved his season record to 482-104 (.822).
Here are his thoughts on this weekend's top games:
North Allegheny (6-3) at Bethel Park (6-3), 7:30 tonight -- Winning four WPIAL titles in a row is about as easy as eating 100 hot wings in one sitting. Believe The Fumbler, he knows (well, about the second part at least). Three-time defending WPIAL Class AAAA champion North Allegheny can join the Clairton teams of the past few seasons and the Braddock teams of the late 1950s as the only squads to "four-peat" without any ties. The Fumbler doubts the No. 9-seeded Tigers will do it, but that doesn't mean they won't win at least one game. If you see the waitress, put in an order for a Tigers win and three dozen wings with a side of ranch. The Fumbler is being more realistic this time around. Winner: North Allegheny.
Montour (5-4) at Franklin Regional (8-1), 7:30 tonight -- Memo to Montour: Beware of the quick strike. These two last met in the playoffs in 2009, a game in which Franklin Regional scored three touchdowns in less than two minutes at the end of the third quarter to gain a 35-20 win. In that game, Montour had more turnovers than a bakery. Montour coach and current athletic director Lou Cerro has been to a few bakeries; he drove a delivery truck for Breadworks for more than a decade. But that is just a slice of history. Breadworks has a slogan that reads "Taste that rises above." Franklin Regional will rise above Montour once again, as the Panthers have the right ingredients to bake up a tasty victory. Winner: Franklin Regional.
Seton-LaSalle (7-2) at Washington (7-2), 7:30 tonight -- A little more than a week ago, it looked like Washington could be shut out of the playoffs after the WPIAL forced the Little Prexies to forfeit six wins for using an ineligible player, Quorteze Levy. But the PIAA reversed that ruling, allowing the Prexies to keep all but one of their wins (another ineligible player was used in that game) and a playoff berth. Call it a new lease on life. Seton-LaSalle has a player named (Andrew) Lease. When the Rebels face Washington, they hope to not get caught in a (Kyle) Webb or end up with a (Arthur) Long bus ride home. There are two things certain about this game: Washington will not have Shai McKenzie and Seton-LaSalle won't be shy about throwing the football. The Rebels have a cause ... advancing to the next round. Winner: Seton-LaSalle.
University Prep vs. Allderdice, 1 p.m. Saturday at Cupples Stadium -- Allderdice might have produced rappers Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller, but it's University Prep that has had the smoothest flow in the City League -- and maybe even all of Western Pennsylvania -- this season. Ron Brown has thrown for 2,798 yards and 38 touchdowns, and wide receiver Marcus Johnson has scored 21 touchdowns. This isn't to say Allderdice doesn't have a little bit of melody itself. Headlining for the Dragons are "The Jackson 2" -- twin brothers James and Timothy Jackson, a fine quarterback/wide receiver duo themselves. This won't be a simple case of "ABC, Easy as 1, 2, 3," but Brown, Johnson and company are about to be singing and dancing as City League champions. Winner: University Prep.
And the rest (home teams in capital letters):
WPIAL CLASS AAAA -- UPPER ST. CLAIR over Kiski Area; WOODLAND HILLS over Pine-Richland; SENECA VALLEY over Hempfield; CENTRAL CATHOLIC over Baldwin (at Cupples Stadium, South Side); GATEWAY over North Hills; McKEESPORT over Peters Township; PENN-TRAFFORD over Penn Hills.
WPIAL CLASS AAA -- WEST ALLEGHENY over Hollidaysburg; RINGGOLD over Indiana; Moon over WEST MIFFLIN; THOMAS JEFFERSON over Hampton; New Castle over HIGHLANDS; CENTRAL VALLEY over Belle Vernon; MARS over Elizabeth Forward.
WPIAL CLASS AA -- ALIQUIPPA over South Park (at Hopewell); QUAKER VALLEY over New Brighton; MOUNT PLEASANT over Valley; Beaver over SHADY SIDE ACADEMY; SOUTH FAYETTE over Greensburg Central Catholic; KITTANNING over Yough; BEAVER FALLS over Summit Academy.
WPIAL CLASS A -- STO-ROX over Avella; Apollo-Ridge over BETH-CENTER; CLAIRTON over Frazier; Fort Cherry over CARMICHAELS; CARDINAL WUERL NORTH CATHOLIC over Western Beaver; AVONWORTH over Laurel; MONESSEN over West Shamokin; NESHANNOCK over Brentwood.