Smith, option flexbone back at McKeesport
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Ask George Smith why he has favored the triple-option offense for the better part of the past two decades, and he'll immediately single out the offensive line.
High school football teams don't always have the luxury of having a dominant offensive line, and the option can mask that.
But the times you do have a top-notch line, look out.
This year might be one of those look-out years at McKeesport.
Smith returns to the sidelines for his 29th season at Weigle-Schaeffer Memorial Stadium after a three-year hiatus and has one of the most talented offensive lines he's seen at McKeesport.
“The linemen are the strength of the team, and the skill positions is where we have to bring it along slow,” Smith said. “Not too many times you can say that.”
A pair of transfers — Luke Eckels from Serra Catholic and mammoth 300-pounder Jason Chavis (son of former McKeesport star Jason Chavis) from Gateway — to go along with holdovers that include Tomi McKelvy, Jaylin Short, Jawan Hill, Kameron Bostic, Justice Smith, T.J. Fichera and David Hatcher have Smith eager to get the ground game rolling again at McKeesport.
The Tigers averaged around 230 yards on the ground during their 5-5 season a year ago that ended with a first-round home playoff loss to Bethel Park, but they never were able to run the ball under Jim Ward to the degree of success they did under Smith.
“We threw the ball my first couple years, but I found out that if you are going to be successful, you have to be able to run the ball,” Smith said. “You want to throw when you dictate you should throw the ball.”
The issue with McKeesport, which can be the 12th team in WPIAL history to reach 600 wins with four, is finding skill players following the departure of Eddie Stockett and his 1,300 yards of total offense last year. Stockett led the team in passing and rushing.
Smith said he could use a quarterback-by-committee approach. If that's the case, he has enough at his disposal with David Queen, Josh Reist, Ty-Mar Sutton and Tywann Smith.
Queen has the most experience of the bunch as he started a Week 4 game against Penn-Trafford a year ago.
Mikell Moore, Allen Wright and Seanlou Gilmore saw considerable playing time a year ago, and Reggie Smith could help out on offense.
“You can be the greatest football player in the world, but if you can't get the kids to do what you want them to do in a game, then it doesn't do you any good,” Smith said. “That's what we are trying to do.”
Smith, who has a 197-106-3 record, including two WPIAL and state titles, abruptly resigned amid controversy three years ago.
He was replaced by Jim Ward, who resigned in early December after a 19-11 record in three years, including 15-5 in conference play.
Under Ward, the Tigers advanced to the playoffs all three years but lost in the first round each season.
McKeesport went 5-5 last year with a first-round playoff loss to Bethel Park.
“Pride,” he said. “For me, it was all about pride. Sure, I missed it, but I was able to live without it. It was all about pride. I live here, and I want to get this program back where it was.”
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.
- Militzer filled with enthusiasm
- Shady Side Academy football prepares for upcoming season
- Fox Chapel football putting in preseason work
- Steel Valley players benefit from trip to NFL 7 on 7 event
- Valley hires football coach Colosimo as athletic director
- Heinauer sees benefits for Mars from 7-on-7 scrimmages
- Latrobe freshman selected to USA Football event
- Franklin Regional, Norwin, Penn-Trafford compete at annual WCCA 7-on-7 tournament