Connellsville's playoff hopes still alive heading into Week 9
TribLIVE Sports Videos
When Connellsville football players trudged off their home field after a crushing 21-14 loss to Latrobe last week, the Falcons had assumed their playoff hopes for 2012 had vanished.
But as it turns out, not all hope is lost. This season, the WPIAL instituted a wild card system in which one team from Class AAAA will qualify for the upcoming playoffs. The Falcons (2-6, 2-5) are one of six teams still in the hunt for the wild-card spot, along with this week's opponent, Altoona.
“Being alive is great and it gives us something to play for,” Connellsville coach Dave McDonald said. “But we've got to take care of our business.”
For the Falcons to qualify for the postseason, they need to go on the road and beat the Mountain Lions (3-5, 3-4). Connellsville also has to hope that Penn Hills loses to Woodland Hills and Baldwin falls to Bethel Park. If those scenarios fall into place, Connellsville will be awarded the wild card based on Gardner Points over Penn Hills.
The Falcons may get the help they need from Woodland Hills and Bethel Park, but they have to be able to help themselves, something they haven't been able to do during a three-game losing streak that has dropped them to seventh place in the Quad East Conference.
The loss to Latrobe was particularly painful.
“When we watched the Latrobe film (on the weekend), it left a bad taste in our mouths,” McDonald said. “We watched the film again on Monday, and we told them that if we dot our Is and cross our Ts, we win that game convincingly. We've left a couple games out there.”
But for all of their missed opportunities, the Falcons still have one last chance at a spot in the postseason. However, beating Altoona won't be easy.
“Altoona is very well-coached,” McDonald said. “They are very sound from an offensive and defensive perspective. They don't gamble on defense and they run their system on offense and they believe in it.”
McDonald noted that there are similarities between his team and Altoona, including that the Mountain Lions also run some offensive plays out of the wing-T.
Altoona quarterback Brennan Luciano has completed 63 of 115 passes for 914 yards and five touchdowns. Avery Howsare has seven rushing touchdowns, and Jake Diviney has 21 catches for 279 yards and two scores.
The Mountain Lions are also fighting for their playoff lives. Altoona can finish fifth in the conference with a win and a Kiski Area loss to Latrobe. Altoona could also end up as the wild-card team with a win and a Penn Hills loss.
For the Falcons to be successful, the offense must finish what it starts. Too many times in recent games, Connellsville has driven the ball down the field, only to have a promising scoring chance nullified by penalties or turnovers.
“They were hurting for the way they played, but kids are resilient,” McDonald said. “We've got a good core group of kids and they have never given up. As bad as it was last Friday night, there were some things that fell our way, and it seems as though our kids have another great opportunity and we've got to take it.”
Connellsville quarterback Jade Maher has completed 62 of 105 passes for 949 yards and seven touchdowns. Jordan McCrae leads the ground attack with 97 carries for 625 yards and six touchdowns. Darrell Ross has 24 catches for 380 yards and three touchdowns.
Jason Black is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-626-3534.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Lawsuit: Pittsburgh Public Schools should have known officer was abusing boys
- Penguins pushing to sell playoff tickets
- Development could soon be booming in West End
- Penguins stars Crosby, Malkin enduring playoff slump
- Stakes raised for Pitt spring game
- Mackey: For Pens’ Winnik, playing with Crosby an ongoing process
- Steelers visit with Arizona State receiver Strong, claim long snapper
- Missing Sewickley teen found safe
- Marte’s bat, Worley’s arm show improvement in Pirates win
- 4 seek 3 nominations for Southwest Greensburg council
- Sanchez odd man out with Pirates recalling Stewart