NEW CASTLE —
The Big Seven Conference will be on display in the quarterfinals of the WPIAL Class A playoffs.
Conference foes Union High and Sto-Rox won last week in the opening round of the district’s playoffs, earning a matchup at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Mars High School.
“It’s a testament to our conference,” Scotties coach Stacy Robinson said about the strength of the conference. “That’s been commonplace though over the years for the Big Seven for teams to play each other in the playoffs.”
Tenth-seeded Union (7-3) knocked off Beth-Center last week in the opening round, 21-7. It was the Scotties’ first playoff win since 1979, Robinson’s junior year. Union lost the next week in the semifinals to Knoch.
“The kids are excited, but I don’t want them to get too nervous,” said Robinson, who is in his 16th season at the helm. “You have to win. There’s no next week. Everyone is at that stage of the season where your season could end at any time.”
The second-seeded Vikings (9-1) advanced last week with a 40-7 win over Carmichaels. Sto-Rox is ranked No. 2 in the WPIAL in Class A by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Vikings also check in at No. 5 in the state by the Patriot-News of Harrisburg.
“Sto-Rox is a very talented football team,” Robinson said. “They’re good on both sides of the ball and dangerous on special teams.”
Dan Bradley is in his first season as the Vikings coach. He took over for Ron Butschle, who resigned in July because of family reasons. Bradley was the team’s offensive coordinator.
“We had a pretty good feeling we’d see Union in the quarterfinals,” Bradley said. “We have a tremendous amount of respect for Stacy as a coach and as a person.
“This matchup is a good representation of our conference.”
The winner moves on to battle the survivor of the Rochester-North Catholic matchup Nov. 16 at a time and site to be determined.
Union and Sto-Rox met Oct. 5 on the Scotties’ home field and the Vikings pulled away for a 48-21 decision. Union trailed just 20-14 in the third quarter before the Vikings tacked on 14 points in 2:43 to take control.
“The advantage with the rematch for them would be the simple fact that they beat us,” Robinson said. “For us, there’s no advantage to it. It gives us the advantage to rework the gameplan I guess. We’ll study things and be ready.”