No. 4 McKeesport runs past Connellsville
For the Connellsville football team to have a chance at knocking off undefeated McKeesport in Friday's Quad East game at Connellsville Stadium, big plays from the Tigers' offense would have to be scarce.
McKeesport scored seven rushing touchdowns, including four on runs of more than 35 yards as the No. 4 Tigers (7-0, 6-0) remained tied with Gateway for the top spot in the conference with a convincing 47-12 victory over the Falcons (1-6, 1-5).
“It was big plays,” McKeesport coach George Smith said. “We started out a little wild, but then we were able to regroup. We fumbled the ball and we made some mistakes. I'm happy getting the win.”
The Falcons knew they would have to contain McKeesport's option offense, but the Tigers still managed to make the big play. In the first quarter, TyWann Smith put McKeesport on the board with a 44-yard run. Then in the second quarter, Khaleke Hudson raced in on a 38-yard score to make it 14-0. It was the first of two touchdowns on the game for Hudson, who finished with 85 yards rushing on just four carries. Smith racked up a game-high 95 yards on the ground on 10 carries. McKeesport did not attempt a single pass the entire game.
Trailing by two scores, the Falcons had a chance to climb back into it late in the first half as they moved the ball inside the McKeesport 10. But a pair of penalties proved costly and the Falcons were stopped short of the end zone on a fourth-down run.
McKeesport got the ball and Allen Wright scored on a 92-yard run just before the half to give the Tigers a 21-0 lead.
“We got inside the 10 and had an opportunity to score,” Connellsville coach Dave McDonald said. “But it's kind of the same old story for us. We had two big penalties and then they rip off a 92-yard run and it broke our backs. Then it was an uphill battle.”
Connellsville did battle. In the third quarter, the Falcons pulled to within 21-6 when Jade Maher scored on a 1-yard run. But the Tigers put it away when Mikell Moore scored on a 6-yard run and David Queen added a 1-yard score. The Falcons' Michael Parlak completed the third-quarter scoring with a 1-yard touchdown run.
Christopher Russell led the Falcons with 59 yards rushing on 15 carries. Maher completed 11 of 19 passes for 89 yards. Connellsville also was hurt by some bad bounces. On several occasions, the Tigers put the ball on the turf, only to recover their own fumbles. On one series in the first half, the Tigers fumbled and Connellsville recovered, but an inadvertent whistle nullified the play entirely. However, despite these bad breaks, McDonald knows his team has to be better.
“It's disappointing,” McDonald said. “I'm not disappointed in the kids or the coaches. I'm disappointed in myself because I haven't done enough to get us over that hump.”
McKeesport closed the scoring with a pair of fourth-quarter scores. Hudson scored on a 48-yard run before Joshua Reist added a 1-yard touchdown run. Despite the lopsided score, Smith knew his team would have to earn their seventh victory of the season.
“I was worried about this game,” Smith said. “Connellsville has a good football team and they have improved 100 percent.”
Smith also pointed out that winning the conference isn't the focus right now.
“We're really not thinking about it,” Smith said. “We're just going one game at a time.”
With the loss, the Falcons have little hope of qualifying for the playoffs and will play at Latrobe on Friday.
Jason Black is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.