The leaves are falling in droves. The temperature continues to plummet. High school football season must be about to turn off the lights.
Not quite yet.
This weekend, eight Catholic League teams have make-or-break games in the PIAA district playoffs. Of those eight, three squads will definitely end their season, and three of them will definitely move on to states. The other two, well, it’s tough to explain.
The summaries, including predictions, are below.
Class 6A Final: La Salle vs. St. Joseph’s Prep, 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10 at Northeast High School. In the semifinals, Catholic League Red Division champion St. Joseph’s Prep (9-0 overall) extended its two-year winning streak to 23 with a 41-7 win over Father Judge while La Salle (7-3) blanked Roman Catholic, 45-0, to end a two-game slide. The Prep defeated La Salle, 28-14, during the regular season.
Prediction: The Prep struggled in its win over La Salle. En route to their 24th straight win, the Hawks move on to states for the fourth time in five years after a 27-14 victory.
Class 5A Final: Archbishop Ryan vs. Archbishop Wood, 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10 at William Tennent High School. Archbishop Wood (7-2) earned a bye in the semifinals. Archbishop Ryan (5-6) squeaked past Archbishop Carroll, 21-20. During the regular season, Wood coasted past Ryan, 42-6.
Prediction: The Vikings have looked forward to this time of the season ever since a 27-7 loss to the Prep ended their Catholic League championship hopes. They haven’t come close to losing ever since. Wood wins its sixth straight, 34-7.
District 1/12 Class 2A Sub-regional Final: West Catholic vs. Neumann-Goretti, 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11 at the South Philadelphia Supersite. Since losing to N-G, 20-6, West Catholic (8-3) has captured five straight, including a 50-6 annihilation of Bristol in the semifinals. Neumann-Goretti (9-0) also breezed in its semi, 54-6, over Strawberry Mansion.
Prediction: Neumann-Goretti is undefeated but was not nearly as dominant in late league wins over Cardinal O’Hara and Conwell-Egan. West Catholic stuns the Saints, 28-27, and the Burrs await their PIAA state foe.
District 1/12 Class 3A Sub-regional Semifinal: Lansdale Catholic vs. School of the Future, 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11 at the South Philadelphia Supersite. Lansdale Catholic (4-6) will be playing the same team it defeated, 42-12, in the city final last week.
Prediction: It’s always tough to beat an opponent twice in a row. Lansdale Catholic shows everyone how, thanks to a 34-18 success.
District 1/12 Class 3A Sub-regional Semifinal: Conwell-Egan vs. New Hope-Solebury, 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10 at New Hope-Solebury. The Eagles (4-6) are coming off a near upset of undefeated Neumann-Goretti in their regular-season finale. The 20-13 loss, plus a break to mend, bodes well for a post-season run.
Prediction: Blue Division Most Valuable Player Patrick Garwo has scored 20 touchdowns this season and played stupendously at linebacker. The junior’s heroics lead Conwell-Egan to a 20-16 upset.
In last week’s Class 4A championship, Cardinal O’Hara had no problem with Bonner-Prendergast. The Lions received two touchdown passes and a TD rush from junior quarterback Luke Sprague. Senior Nick Kutufaris added 86 yards and two touchdowns on only seven carries. O’Hara (7-3) now awaits notice of whom they will face in states.
CatholicPhilly.com’s predictions for last week’s games were a perfect 6-0. Here’s how we did:
Prediction: St. Joseph’s Prep 48, Father Judge 7; Final Score: St. Joseph’s Prep 41, Father Judge 7.
Prediction: La Salle 49, Roman Catholic 0; Final Score: La Salle 45, Roman Catholic 0.
Prediction: Archbishop Ryan 27, Archbishop Carroll 7; Final Score: Archbishop Ryan 21, Archbishop Carroll 20.
Prediction: West Catholic 30, Bristol 6; Final Score: West Catholic 50, Bristol 6.
Prediction: Neumann-Goretti 37, Strawberry Mansion 12; Final Score: Neumann-Goretti 54, Strawberry Mansion 6.
Prediction: Cardinal O’Hara 28, Bonner-Prendergast 0; Final Score: Cardinal O’Hara 42, Bonner-Prendergast 7.
John Knebels can be reached at Jknebels@gmail.com or on Twitter @johnknebels.