Running backs to be showcased in Interstate Conference matchup
Washington, not so fast!
It is coach Mike Bosnic's stern message this week in advance of the Little Prexies' Class AA Interstate Conference game Friday at Mt. Pleasant.
“Their style is hard to defend,” Bosnic said. “You have to be very disciplined when you play them. You can't be overly aggressive. They have a lot of misdirection. You have to stress over and over not to be so aggressive in terms of what you usually do. It's a contradiction.”
No. 3 Washington (6-0, 6-0) risks its unbeaten record at Mt. Pleasant (5-1, 5-1), which lost for the first time last Friday to No. 4 Jeannette (5-1, 5-1) in double overtime, 28-27.
Friday's game will feature a pair of exciting rushing attacks.
Washington is led by junior Shai McKenzie, who rushed for 162 yards and two touchdowns on just eight carries in a 53-0 rout of winless Brownsville (0-6, 0-5). Mt. Pleasant will counter with senior Tyler Mellors, who gained 154 yards on 29 carries but was stopped short of the end zone on a two-point conversion try in double overtime of the loss to Jeannette.
Both players are among the leading rushers in the WPIAL — McKenzie has 1,026 yards and 17 touchdowns, while Mellors has gained 966 yards and scored 16 times.
The game also is a rematch of the WPIAL playoff contest between the teams in 2011. Washington beat Mt. Pleasant, 30-14, at home in a first-round game.
“Our kids saw them last year, and they had a chance to see us,” Mt. Pleasant coach Bo Ruffner said. “We know how talented they are.”
Washington's return to the Interstate Conference has built the rivalry base. Greensburg Central Catholic, Jeannette and Mt. Pleasant generally have been the main players.
Washington leads the conference this year, though.
“At this point of the year, everybody has established their identity,” Ruffner said. “Our kids deserve to be mentioned in this. But we've got to go out and perform on the field. I think we should be fine because we're still playing for a conference championship.”
Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-380-5617.