USC shows its promise in rout of Penn Hills
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Penn Hills learned a little about itself, but Upper St. Clair mostly reinforced what already was known about it.
Upper St. Clair scored touchdowns on its first four possessions in Friday night's 35-0 victory over Quad Central host Penn Hills at Andrew Yuhas Stadium, giving the dominant Panthers their third straight shutout. The lopsided victory leaves No. 2 USC (4-0, 4-0) all alone atop the conference standings and solidified its spot as title contender.
No. 10 Penn Hills (3-1, 3-1) had been tied for first.
“We wanted to make a statement,” said USC quarterback/linebacker Joe Repischak, who rushed for three touchdowns. “This is a big win for us, a big statement win.”
Penn Hills entered with Quad-A's top rushing attack but managed only 41 yards on 29 carries. USC rushed for 315, including 114 by senior tailback Trevor Morrow on 23 carries.
The difference was most obvious in the first half, when USC rushed for 169 yards and Penn Hills had none.
It was a confidence-building performance for the Panthers and their coach.
“I wasn't sure if we were good,” USC coach Jim Render said. “I thought we were good, but I thought this game would tell us something. I'm not trying to gloat, but I was very pleased with my coaching staff. I thought it was one of our finest hours of preparation, and the kids executed.”
Mac Pope and Stephen Mackowick added second-half rushing touchdowns for USC.
Penn Hills was trying to build upon its first 3-0 start since 2005. But the Indians couldn't keep USC's offense away from the end zone. USC twice converted fourth-down plays along with a third-and-10. All three sustained touchdown drives.
“We've just got to hold it together and go right back to the drawing board tomorrow to figure out what we need to work on,” Penn Hills coach John Peterman said. “We're young, and we went against a physical, well-coached, hard-nosed football team.”
Penn Hills sophomore Billy Kisner rushed for 32 yards on 18 carries and passed for 108. But USC's defense never gave.
“Our defense is getting better and better every week,” Repischak said.
Three touchdown runs by Repischak put USC ahead 21-0 at halftime. Showing great efficiency, the Panthers scored on all three of their first-half possessions. A 1-yard touchdown run by Pope in the third quarter made it four for four.
The first was a 14-play, 76-yard scoring drive that ended with a 3-yard run. The second drive covered 58 yards in seven plays and finished with a 15-yard run. A 7-yard touchdown run capped the third possession, which covered 48 yards in nine plays.
Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.
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