Keystone Oaks wards off South Allegheny's late comeback
Keystone Oaks went into Glassport Memorial Stadium hungry for a win. It left satisfied.
The Golden Eagles (1-6, 1-5) held off a second-half comeback attempt by South Allegheny for a 26-24 Century Conference victory.
“It feels good to be on the other side of a score like that,” KO quarterback Kobe Phillippi said. “We have always stayed focused and kept working to get better. We have stayed hungry.”
On the opening drive of the game, Keystone Oaks was forced into a fourth-and-6 but was given new life when the Gladiators were penalized for running into the punter, then flagged for offsides. Six plays later, Phillippi ran into the end zone from 21 yards out to put the visitors ahead 6-0.
South Allegheny pulled even in the second quarter on Ty Cook's 5-yard TD run.
The Golden Eagles responded. Phillippi threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Chiocca to give KO a 13-6 lead.
The Gladiators had their chances in the second half. Kordell Thompson scored on an 8-yard run on the second play of the third quarter, and Cook connected with DaVonte Johnson on a 60-yard touchdown pass. Keystone Oaks stopped two-point conversions after each scoring play.
The game was decided late in the fourth quarter. Johnson scored on a 39-yard touchdown run that cut the Keystone Oaks lead to 26-24. On the ensuing two-point conversion attempt, the Golden Eagles' defense tackled Cook at the 1.
“These are hard-hitting, prideful young men,” South Allegheny coach Pat Monroe said. “They played hard-nosed football for 48 minutes. Sometimes in games you get a break, and sometimes you don't.”
Keystone Oaks' Jimmy Canello had 21 carries for 114 yards. Phillippi passed for 99 yards and two scores. and added 61 rushing yards.
Cook led the Gladiators (1-5, 1-6) with 84 passing yards and a score, and had 61 rushing yards and another TD.
“The seniors on this team have tremendous pride,” Monroe said. “They enjoy being part of the high school football experience. It will stick with them forever that they were out fighting the fight together. They're going to come back and get ready to go compete.”
Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.