McKeesport's Smith wins 200th career game, as Tigers defeat Norwin
The sight of McKeesport coach George Smith being doused with an ice bath in the moments after the Tigers' 28-7 victory over Norwin on Friday night apparently didn't faze running back Mikell Moore.
When asked if he had any special motivation in helping Smith to his 200th career coaching victory, Moore looked bewildered. But perhaps there was a faint wink in his eye.
“I didn't know that,” Moore said, when reminded that Smith had become just the 21st WPIAL coach ever to reach the 200-win mark.
Then, Moore smiled and said, “He's awesome. He's got us practicing hard, and we're getting some momentum going.”
Moore rushed for 141 yards and No. 6 McKeesport (3-0, 2-0) pulled away from host Norwin (0-3, 0-3) in a Quad East Conference game that was tightly contested until the Tigers registered two unanswered, fourth-quarter touchdowns, including one by Moore.
“I take my hat off to Art Tragesser,” Smith said of the Norwin coach. “They changed up their offense, just like he did to us in 2007 (when he was coach at Penn-Trafford).”
Smith's McKeesport squad struggled to a 19-9 victory over Tragesser's Warriors in a game that much resembled Friday night's affair between McKeesport and Norwin.
Carlos Hudson's 24-yard touchdown run gave McKeesport a 21-7 lead early in the fourth before Moore, who had 112 yards rushing in the first half, scored on a 6-yard run after Khaleke Hudson had returned a Norwin interception 54 yards on the previous play.
McKeesport was coming off an impressive 33-20 victory over Woodland Hills in its previous game.
“Moore is a load,” Tragesser said. “The kids battled hard. We just couldn't cash in.”
After a scoreless first quarter, McKeesport took a 7-0 lead when Allen Wright bounced off the interior line and got loose outside for a 37-yard touchdown run. Wright had a 66-yard touchdown run called back late in the fourth by a holding call.
The Tigers went ahead, 14-0, when Seanlou Gilmore recovered a fumble, setting up Khaleke Hudson's 12-yard touchdown run.
Norwin cut the McKeesport lead to 14-7 in the third quarter on Nick Amendola's 9-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Baum for its only points of the game. But, after another scoreless period in the third, McKeesport slammed the door, dominating the Knights the rest of the way.
Smith, who began his second stint at McKeesport this year after a three-year hiatus and his 29th season overall with the Tigers, owns a career record of 200-107-5.
“I didn't even think about it,” he said of the milestone.
That is, until he took that cold postgame splash from a water pail as a celebratory gesture from his players.
“I'm happy with the outcome. These guys did a good job tonight against a very well-prepared team,” Smith said.
After a college playing career that included three years as a starting defensive lineman at North Carolina State, Smith took over as a graduate assistant coach at his alma mater before becoming an assistant at Austin Peay.
Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.