Mars, Seneca, North Catholic prep for playoffs

October 30, 2018 Cranberry Local Sports

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Three of the four Butler County football teams making the WPIAL playoffs are in the southwest portion of the county.

Seneca Valley (7-3) will have a rematch with Central Catholic (7-3) at Fox Chapel in Class 6A. Mars (9-1) will host Woodland Hills (4-6) in Class 5A.

A class 3A game features North Catholic (9-1) playing Quaker Valley (5-4) at J.C. Stone Field

All games will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

The Raiders lost a 20-14 decision to Central on Aug. 31 with No. 2 quarterback Caden Smithco nearly engineering an upset. Seneca Valley is allowing a paltry 9.1 points per game this season.

“We did some things to hurt ourselves in that game,” SV coach Ron Butschle recalled. “Our focus will be on eliminating turnovers and penalties. We're looking forward to the rematch.”

The winner of that game travels to top-seeded North Allegheny Nov. 9.

Butschle admitted he figured the Raiders would get a home game in the first round.

“I really did. I thought if we won our last game (at Norwin), we'd be at home,” he said. “But there was a three-way tiebreaker involved with Gardner points and I admit I have no idea how that works.

“I'm not worried about where we're playing. Our kids aren't worried about where we're playing. We're just happy to still be playing.”

Mars drew the No. 4 seed in Class 5A.

“You never know how that stuff's gonna go. I don't even know how they figure it out,” Planets coach Scott Heinauer said of the seeding process. “You hear one guy projecting this, another guy projecting that.

“We're very happy with where we're at. The committee thought highly of our program and it's up to us to go out and prove we belong there.”

Heinauer isn't fooled by the Wolverines' 4-6 record in 2018.

“I don't care what their record is,” he said. “That's a great program and they always have athletes.”

The Mars-Woodland Hills winner plays the West Allegheny-Shaler survivor in the quarterfinals.

North Catholic is seeded No. 3 in Class 3A, behind top-seed Aliquippa and Derry Area. The Trojans were shut out by Derry for their only regular season loss.

“We're where I figured we'd be,” North Catholic coach Pat O'Shea said. “We took the kids out to a team, dinner, then down to the playoff meeting so we could all see our draw.

“The kids are excited to play at J.C. Stone Field. That was our home field for a long time.”

The Trojans have been playing home games at Mars this season.

“When our athletic director saw that Mars would likely be hosting its own game, he checked into the availability of J.C. Stone Field,” O'Shea said. “We'll feel comfortable there.”

Winner of the Trojans-Quaker Valley game gets the Derry-Central Valley winner in the semifinals.

“With an eight-team field, all of these teams are going to be good,” O'Shea said. “There's no more 1 vs. 16 or 2 vs. 15 games that can be one-sided.”

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