Teams that take care of the ball usually take care of business. That wasn't the case with Penn Hills last night.
The Indians fumbled nine times, losing seven, and had two passes intercepted. Yet, on the strength of three defensive touchdowns in the third quarter, they rolled to a 34-6 victory against visiting Latrobe in the first round of the WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs.
Penn Hills (8-1), the No. 2 seed, will meet Big East Conference rival Gateway (6-4) in the quarterfinals Friday or next Saturday. Penn Hills defeated the Gators, 41-7, the seventh week of the season.
Eric Taylor returned an interception 50 yards, Aaron Williams a recovered fumble 21 and Teddy Blakeman an interception 8 yards for touchdowns in the third. Blakeman also scored on a 2-yard run that quarter, as the Wildcats (3-7) were outscored, 27-0.
Penn Hills led, 7-0, at halftime on Tom Fulton's 5-yard pass to Ryan Sipe.
Robert Weber threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Nicholas Sorice in the fourth for Latrobe, which had three turnovers.
Woodland Hills 31, Bethel Park 17
For the first time in six weeks, the Wolverines gave up a touchdown. In fact, they allowed two. But they were on the defensive again, converting two Black Hawks turnovers into touchdowns in the first eight minutes en route to a win at Turtle Creek Stadium.
Woodland Hills (8-2), the No. 4 seed, will meet North Allegheny (8-2) in the quarterfinals Friday or next Saturday. Woodland Hills defeated North Allegheny, 21-0, in a non-conference game the second week of the season.
The host Wolverines took a 21-0 lead in the first quarter on Marcel Farrish touchdown runs of 1 and 4 yards and a 28-yard Vondre Griffin pass to Rob Gronkowski.
Farrish's scores followed a Brandon Watters interception and a Mike Dykes fumble recovery, both inside the Bethel Park 35. The Wolverines ended up with two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
The Black Hawks (5-5) got a 23-yard field goal from Ethan Talbot to draw to within 20-3 at halftime, then made it 20-10 in the third quarter on Jeff Stewart's 61-yard pass to his cousin, Tim Picard.
Upper St. Clair 35, Plum 6
Neil Apfelbaum scored three times on short runs, as the top-seeded Panthers coasted to a home victory.
Upper St. Clair (10-0) will play North Hills (7-3) in a quarterfinal game Friday or next Saturday. They played in the same conference the past two years and split the matchups.
Apfelbaum opened the scoring with bolts of 3 and 2 yards. Grant Serdy's 3-yard scamper made it 21-0 at halftime.
Apfelbaum and Dane Conwell scored on runs of 3 and 25 yards in the third.
Plum (3-7) broke the shutout in the fourth on Kyle Simmons' 69-yard pass to Troy Besterci.
Central Catholic 42, Kiski Area 0
Dan Vaughan and Lamont Smith scored two touchdowns each, and Tino Sunseri passed for two, leading the host Vikings to a rout at Fox Chapel.
Central Catholic (9-1), the No. 3 seed, will face McKeesport (8-2) in the quarterfinals Friday or next Saturday.
Sunseri was 9 of 19 for 140 yards and Smith carried 15 times for 109 yards. Kiski (4-6) lost two fumbles and an interception, and was outgained, 319-51.
McKeesport 48, Norwin 14
Quarterback Kamryn Keys scored four times, on runs of 1, 89, 80 and 52 yards, as the Tigers rolled to a 35-0 halftime lead en route to an easy home triumph.
Keys carried only nine times for 258 yards and Marvase Byrd 10 times for 195 and one score for McKeesport (8-2).
Norwin's J.T. Redshaw ran 1 yard for a touchdown and threw 28 yards to Mike Shanahan for another. Shanahan had five catches for 124 for Norwin (4-6).