Freshman leads Steel Valley past South Allegheny
It was no ordinary night for the Steel Valley football team.
Freshman Dwayne Murray rushed for a career-high 320 yards and scored three touchdowns, and Tyrone Freeman added 140 yards and one score, powering the Ironmen past South Allegheny, 31-21, and helping them end a five-game losing streak on Friday night in a Class AA Century Conference game between teams out of the WPIAL playoffs race.
“He's very strong. He's got great instincts and good balance, and he's only going to get better,” Steel Valley coach Rod Steele said. “He's only a freshman, but you wouldn't know it.”
Murray, who rushed for more than 200 yards in two previous games this season, ran his season rushing total to 1,350 yards. He scored on runs of 37, 70 and 3 yards.
“I'm just trying to get somewhere far,” he said.
Asked how it felt to run roughshod over opposing players predominantly older and more experienced, Murray replied simply, “Good.”
Spotting South Allegheny a 7-0 lead on quarterback Ty Cook's 2-yard run, Murray and Steel Valley went to work.
Freeman's 49-yard scoring run tied the score at 7-7 before Murray's 37-yarder gave Steel Valley (3-5, 3-4) a 14-7 lead.
South Allegheny (1-7, 1-6) tied the score at 14-14 by halftime on a 69-yard touchdown run by Curtis Moore, who finished with 93 yards rushing.
But Steel Valley took the lead for good when Murray raced 70 yards for a score on the first play of the third quarter.
“The burst he showed tonight was something to see,” Steele said. “That was a bit of a surprise to me. We had been watching him come up through our youth league, and when I started coaching here in 2010, (Washington running back) Shai McKenzie was a freshman. Dwayne reminds me a little bit of him.”
Brandon Donovan kicked a 30-yard field goal to give Steel Valley a 24-14 fourth-quarter lead before Cook, who completed 7 of 19 passes for 133 yards, fired a 47-yard scoring toss to Jonathon Mayrenik to pull South Allegheny within 24-21 with 9:35 remaining.
But Steel Valley held South Allegheny out of the end zone twice on prolonged drives. In between, Murray, who carried 29 times, scored on a 3-yard run with 2:03 left.
“The kid has great balance,” South Allegheny coach Pat Monroe said.
“We hit him hard early, but their offensive line did a good job.”
Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.