Public League members Frankford and Edward Bok Tech will try to buck the odds.
Since the Catholic League joined the PIAA in 2008, La Salle (Class AAAA) and Archbishop Wood (AAA) have combined to win seven of a possible eight District 12 championships.
The Explorers have won the last three AAAA titles by a combined score of 107-27; the Vikings have captured all four AAA crowns by 191-20.
Saturday afternoon at Northeast's Charlie Martin Memorial Stadium, Wood (9-2) and Bok (9-2) will meet at 1 p.m. in the District 12 AAA final. That will be followed, at about 4, by La Salle (10-1) vs. Frankford (8-2) in the AAAA final.
Frankford is aiming to become the first Public League squad to triumph in AAAA since George Washington surprised La Salle, 23-14, in 2008.
Against La Salle, the Pioneers will need big efforts from lefthanded quarterback Tim DiGiorgio and running backs Damion Samuels and Quinton Ellis. The 6-foot-3, 180-pound DiGiorgio has completed 71 of 158 passes for 1,191 yards and nine touchdowns.
The Pioneers, who gained top Public League AAAA honors with a 30-16 win over Washington, would be helped if the Explorers experienced a letdown after their 28-27 overtime triumph over St. Joseph's Prep in a thrilling Catholic League final.
La Salle's win over the Prep was spurred by Chris Kane, who completed 31 of 47 throws for 328 yards. All four of his TD passes went to speedy wideout Sean Coleman (14 catches, 139 yards).
Frankford's defense, sure to be tested, has been led by 6-2, 305-pound tackle Kadar Jones, end Shareef Miller, linebacker Marquise Poston, and strong safety Renz "Rodeo" Compton.
For the second straight week, Bok will be without its leading rusher and two other regulars. The three were suspended for off-field violations.
Antoine Whitney, a converted wide receiver, is the Wildcats' new featured running back. He carried 29 times for 132 yards in last week's 28-22 defeat of previously unbeaten Simon Gratz.
Bok's attempt at slowing the Vikings' Andrew Guckin, who has rushed for 934 yards and 14 TDs in the last three games, will be headed by 6-0, 225-pound end Vittorio Goggins and tackle Mark Webb (6-2, 265).
Picks: La Salle, 35-13; Wood, 42-6.
Last week: 3-5. Overall: 85-28 (.752).
PIAA Class AA Subregional Final
West Catholic (7-3) vs. Imhotep Charter (11-0), at Johnston Memorial Stadium, 7 p.m. Friday. West Catholic has playoff experience on its side. The Panthers have a bit more size and speed.
Pick: Imhotep, 26-20.
District 1 Class AAAA Quarterfinals
No. 16 Wissahickon (8-3) at No. 9 Coatesville (9-2), 7 Friday. Can the Trojans surprise another high-scoring Ches-Mont League opponent?
Pick: Coatesville, 38-20.
No. 13 Neshaminy (8-3) at No. 5 Central Bucks South (10-1), 7 Friday. The difference here is the Titans' ability to mix the run and pass effectively.
Pick: C.B. South, 34-21.
No. 7 Spring-Ford (10-1) at No. 2 Ridley (11-0), 7 Friday. Jared Jones' return from a broken wrist has given the Rams a huge boost.
Pick: Spring-Ford, 28-27, in overtime.
District 1 Class AAA Semifinals
No. 4 West Chester Henderson (8-3) at No. 1 Pottsgrove (11-0),
7 Friday. A late TD by quarterback Tory Hudgins lifts the Falcons past the upset-minded Warriors.
Pick: Pottsgrove, 27-23.
No. 3 Interboro (9-2) at No. 2 Academy Park (10-1), 7 Friday. It's a rematch between Del-Val League foes. The Knights easily took Round 1, 49-26.
Pick: Academy Park, 36-21.
PIAA District 1-12 Class A Subregional Final
Communications Tech (5-5) at Bristol (7-1), 7 Friday. Bristol needs to keep the Phoenix's Diquan Gilbert from finding the end zone.
Pick: Communications, 26-13.
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