football

Class A: Rochester favorite to return to Heinz

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TOP FOUR SEEDS: Rochester, Laurel, Clairton, and North Catholic.
SLATE: This Friday's first round games, all at 7:30 p.m.
No. 16 Carmichaels (4-5) at No. 1 Rochester (9-0)
No. 9 Brentwood (5-4) at No. 8 Fort Cherry (7-2)
No. 13 Jefferson Morgan (7-2) at No. 4 North Catholic (7-2)
No. 12 Springdale (7-2) at No. 5 Monessen (7-2)
No. 15 Burgettstown (4-5) at No. 2 Laurel (8-1)
No. 10 Serra Catholic (7-2) at No. 7 Bethlehem Center (7-2)
No. 14 South Side Beaver (6-3) at No. 3 Clairton (8-1)
No. 11 Monaca (5-4) at No. 6 Avonworth (7-2)
FAVORITE: Rochester
Has to be the top-seeded Rochester. Not only are they undefeated, they pitched five shutouts on the year, and have allowed a total of just 33 points on the entire year. Offensively, the Rams distribute the wealth, last week relying on four different players to score touchdowns in a 28-0 shutout over No. 11 Monaca. QB Jason Adamson threw a 42-yard touchdown to E.J. Blackwell, RB Trey Johnson scored on an 83-yard run, and RB Devon Glass added a 5-yard scoring run. Defensively, Terrence Slade returned an interception 75-yards for the fourth touchdown.
SLEEPER: North Catholic
After starting the year 0-2, North Catholic has rattled off 7 straight wins, including impressive wins in the last two weeks over Carlynton and No. 6 Avonworth.
SURPRISE PICK: Laurel loses before WPIAL semis.
The success of the Spartans has surprised many this year. Laurel made a statement in the opening week, knocking off Clairton, and their lone loss of the year came at the hands of top-seeded Rochester. But Laurel isn't used to success, and being the No. 2 seed isn't a place they're used to being. They appear to be a prime candidate for an upset at the hands of Serra Catholic in the second round.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Deontae Howard, Clairton
The senior running back last week rushed for 175 yards and four touchdowns against Serra, and threw for a touchdown as well.
PREDICTION: Rochester over Clairton.
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