Construction on the road to Palumbo opened in November and the cones are now coming down. The path to a WPIAL Championship is in its final stages as 14 of the 25 West teams start the final countdown. Two of them are favorites as Lincoln Park and Beaver Falls are seeded first to repeat as champions in Class A and AA, respectively. The other 12 teams, though, are far from out of it because, as every coach is wont to say, everyone starts the playoffs at 0-0.
No top seed from this class, but two of the four top seeds hail from the west. Montour checks in at third-seed and Beaver Area fourth.
Only one local team faces the challenge of a pigtail game as 14th seeded Ambridge (13-8) plays East Allegheny (12-10) at North Hills High School Friday at 8 p.m. The winner of that game will play Montour (18-4) Tuesday.
The other three local Class AAA teams will also play Tuesday.
Beaver Area (17-3) will play the winner of the Indiana (16-6)/Elizabeth-Forward (12-10) game. Central Valley, fifth-seeded and 16-6, will play the winner of the game between Kittanning (18-4) and Yough (8-14). Blackhawk, 10th seeded and 12-10, will play 7th seeded Uniontown (16-3). All Tuesday sites have yet to be determined.
Top-seeded Beaver Falls leads the group of four local Class AA teams in the playoffs.
The Tigers and 5th seeded Sto-Rox will wait until Wednesday to start action at sites to be determined. The Tigers (19-3) will play the winner of the Charleroi (14-6)/Bishop Canevin (10-12) game and Sto-Rox (14-8) will play the winner of the game between Neshannock (17-5) and Apollo-Ridge (15-7).
Two local teams begin action Saturday. Aliquippa (9-13) will play Avonworth (13-9) at Noon at North Allegheny and the winner will play fourth-seeded Jeannette (17-4) on Wednesday. Riverside (14-8) will play West Shamokin (11-10) at 3:00 at Highlands with the winner advancing to play sixth seeded Quaker Valley (18-4).
Five local teams qualified for the playoffs, led by top-seed Lincoln Park and the top-seeded Leopards are the only team not in action this week. Lincoln Park (17-5) will play on Tuesday against the winner of the game between Leechburg (8-12) and Mapletown (6-16).
The other four teams all play on Friday at 8:00. Quigley Catholic (11-11) will play fourth-seeded Union (16-5) at Aliquippa while Western Beaver (6-14) will play second-seeded Vincentian Academy (21-1) at West Allegheny. Rochester (7-15) will play third-seeded North Catholic (14-5) at North Allegheny and sixth-seeded Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (18-4) will play Trinity Christian (9-13) at Cornell.