Nine area football teams remain alive in the high school postseason battles.
Once again, the old argument about whether it’s better to have a bye or to play comes up as the District 5 Class A playoffs continue.
Top-seeded Northern Bedford (9-1) will host North Star (9-2) on Friday night. This cat fight ensues after the Black Panthers had a bye week, while the Cougars shut out Shade 21-0 in a first-round game.
On Saturday, second-seeded Berlin Brothersvalley (9-1), which also had a bye, will host Windber (9-2). The Ramblers are coming off a hard-fought 34-28 victory over Tussey Mountain in the first round. Berlin and Windber met in Week 10 with the Ramblers spoiling the Mountaineers quest for a perfect regular season. Berlin, Windber and Portage all ended up with a share of the WestPAC title.
Fresh off of its District 5 Class AA championship, Chestnut Ridge (6-5) finds itself practicing for the next two weeks waiting for a District 9 champion to be crowned.
On Friday night, Karns City (8-3) plays Kane (7-3) in the District 9 title game at Clarion University. On Nov. 23 or 24, the Lions will face Friday’s winner in a subregional game at a neutral site to be determined, but likely to be DuBois High School or Clarion.
In District 6 Class A, Northern Cambria (8-3), which surprised second-seeded Portage by six points, travels to Point Stadium to face upstart Bishop McCort (8-3), a 32-29 winner over Penns Manor in a Saturday night semifinal. On Friday, top-seeded Bellwood-Antis hosts Bishop Guilfoyle. The Blue Devils defeated Glendale, 40-14 ,and the Marauders defeated Juniata Valley, 31-14.
In Class AA, top-seeded Richland (11-0) hosts Tyrone, which eliminated Cambria Heights, 14-7, in the Friday night game. On Saturday night, fresh off of its first playoff win in 27 years, Ligonier Valley (10-1) hosts Forest Hills (8-3). The Rams defeated Bald Eagle Area for the second straight week, 41-6, in the quarterfinal victory, while the Rangers came away with a 21-7 victory at Central.
Playoff path: Bedford’s boys soccer team is in unfamiliar territory.
Since their 2-1 win over Somerset for the District 5 Class AA title, the Bisons have won three straight games in the PIAA playoffs.
Bedford downed District 9 champ Bradford 3-1 in a sub-regional then faced down District 7 runner-up Mars for a 2-0 win in the first round. The Bisons knocked off District 10 champion Harbor Creek 1-0 in the quarterfinal round and now will take on Lancaster Mennonite (16-6-6) on Tuesday.
The semifinal is set to be played at 7 p.m. at Chambersburg High School.
The Class AA championship is 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium.
Cory Isenberg is a sports writer for The Tribune-Democrat