Upper St. Clair solidified a playoff berth when the Panthers blanked South Fayette, 35-0, in the regular season football finale.
The Panthers sealed second place in the Allegheny Six Conference, finishing runner-up to undefeated Bethel Park with a 4-1 slate.
Overall, USC was 8-2 heading into its first-round WPIAL Class 5A playoff game at Gateway. The Gators shared the Big East Conference title with Franklin Regional as both finished 4-1. The Gators were 7-3 before hosting the Panthers at 7 p.m. Nov. 4 at Antimarino Stadium.
Jamaal Brown scored all five of USC’s touchdowns in the win against the Lions. He rushed for scores of 20, 32, 3 and 4 yards and corralled a 37-yard scoring strike from Ethan Hellmann.
Brown finished with 176 yards on 24 carries. He entered the playoffs as one of the top running backs in the WPIAL with 1,138 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Hellmann completed 11 of 14 passes for 117 yards. On the year, he has completed 39 of 59 aerials for 618 yards and eight scores.
With the shutout, USC entered the playoffs with the top-ranked defense in Class 5A. They allowed just 57 points in conference games. They allow just 11.5 points per game.
Sheamus Moorhead, Van Hellmann and Ivory Travers have led the team in tackles while Aidan Besselman, Jacob Hufnagel, Ty Lagoni, Timothy Speer, Grodon Groninger, Hellman, Aidan Conn and Brett Meinert account for the team’s 13 interceptions. Mark Banbury has helped force many turnovers while Mason Chambers, Travers, Zachary Ehasz, Groninger, Brown, Hutner Schroeck and Cameron Phillips have recovered fumbles.
The loss eliminated South Fayette from post-season play. The Lions finished 5-5 overall but 2-3 in the conference.
Despite its 6-4 overall mark and 3-2 conference record, Peters Township also missed the playoffs, ending a five-year run under head coach T.J. Plack.
The streak ended when the Indians dropped a 27-21 decision to Bethel Park.
In the loss, freshman quarterback completed 15 of 25 passes for 150 yards. He tossed TD passes to Carter Shanafelt (6 yards) and Reston Lehman (10) and also rushed for a 9-yard score against the Black Hawks.
Although eliminated from the playoffs previously, Chartiers Valley ended the regular season on a positive note when the Colts defeated Ambridge, 43-39. With the win, the Colts finished 2-8 overall and 2-5 in the Parkway Conference.