Share This Page

Connellsville preparing for 'statement game' against Penn-Trafford

| Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012,
Connellsville's Patrick Healy (85) and Michael Sledge (43) fight for the ball during practice. The Falcons are hoping a good week of practice leads to a win over Penn-Trafford on Friday. Evan R. Sanders/Daily Courier

As the weather begins to turn colder, the WPIAL football playoff picture is starting to come into focus. A quick look at the standings reveals there's a lot on the line in Friday's homecoming game between Penn-Trafford and host Connellsville.

“It's a big game for us,” Connellsville coach Dave McDonald said. “We're looking for the community to pack the place. It will be one of the bigger games that has been played at our stadium in a while.”

Heading into this week's games, the Falcons (2-3, 2-2) sit in fourth place in the Quad East, two games behind the Warriors (4-1, 4-0), who are alone in second place. The top two teams in the conference are guaranteed a first-round home playoff game.

A win by the Falcons would go a long way toward tightening up the race for one of those coveted postseason home games.

“It's a statement game for us,” McDonald said.

Connellsville is coming off its strongest offensive performance of the season, a 44-29 win over Norwin. Darrell Ross and Jimmy DeMarco had touchdown receptions from Jade Maher, and Maher also had two rushing touchdowns. Jordan McCrae and Zach Cree each had a rushing touchdown as well, and kicker Ben Kisiel delivered a 30-yard field goal.

“I think it had to do with confidence,” McDonald said of his team's performance against the Knights. “We played like we have the ability to play on offense, and it was a much better vibe in our preparation for the game. We were physical, and that's one of the things we preached all week in practice. And our backs ran hard.”

While McDonald was pleased with the way the offense performed, he did note that the defense still needs to work on making some corrections.

Defense has been a strong suit for the Warriors this season. After an opening week nonconference loss to North Hills, Penn-Trafford has responded with four straight conference wins. In those victories, the Warriors have not surrendered more than two touchdowns in any game, including last week's 34-7 win over Latrobe.

“They are very good defensively,” McDonald said. “They play their defense, and they believe in it and they execute it very well.”

The Warriors also have players who can execute on offense. Senior quarterback Dorian Stevens and sophomore running back Devin Austin have been productive. Stevens threw for two scores and Austin rushed for 112 yards and a touchdown in the win over the Wildcats.

Although the Warriors are undefeated in conference play this season, their four victories have come against teams with a combined record of 5-15. Still, don't expect the Falcons to take that into account as they gear up for Friday's game.

“Are we ready to play with a team that is undefeated in our section? We'll find out Friday,” McDonald said. “We have to have a good week of preparation.”

Jason Black is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jblack@tribweb.com or 724-626-3534.

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.