McKeesport football survives rare first-round test in win over Peters Township
McKeesport won its WPIAL Class AAAA playoff opener, but the third-seeded Tigers received a rare test in the process.
Mikell Moore rushed for 241 yards, and Allen Wright ran for three touchdowns as McKeesport stayed unbeaten with a wild 54-28 victory over visiting 14th-seeded Peters Township on Friday night.
McKeesport advances to play No. 6 Penn-Trafford in the quarterfinals Friday.
“I'm happy we won,” McKeesport coach George Smith said, “but our defense ... we're not there yet.”
The Tigers (10-0) have been dominant in most of their games this season behind a lethal offense that relies almost exclusively on the run.
McKeesport entered the playoffs having yielded just 10.4 points per game.
“We missed a lot of tackles (Friday),” Smith said. “I told them at halftime that they weren't focused.”
Moore carried 23 times and scored on runs of 1 and 4 yards. Quarterback David Queen scored twice on the ground and threw for another.
It was just the second touchdown pass thrown by the Tigers this season — both by Queen, who gained 84 yards rushing.
McKeesport, which scored touchdowns on eight of 10 drives needed a 34-point outburst in the second quarter to stay comfortably ahead of Peters Township (5-5), which trailed 40-22 at halftime.
Indians quarterback Tim Swoope, playing in place of injured starter Cory Owen (concussion), completed 19 of 34 passes for 246 yards and three touchdown passes to Max Augenstein.
Michael Erenberg had 118 yards receiving for the Indians, and Augenstein, a 6-foot-5, 240-pound tight end, caught seven passes for 57 yards.
“He handled the offense and threw the ball very well (Friday),” Indians coach Rich Piccinini said of Swoope.
Queen's scoring pass on the first play of the second quarter was 25 yards to Carlos Hudson, putting McKeesport in front 14-8 after Peters Township took an 8-6 lead on Marcus Ubinger's 14-yard touchdown run.
McKeesport scored 11 seconds later on Wright's 30-yard run after the Tigers recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff.
Queen's 1-yard touchdown run less than 2 minutes later put McKeesport in front 27-8.
After Moore's 1-yard scoring run increased the lead to 34-8, Swoope threw a 1-yard scoring pass to Augenstein with 1:04 left before halftime, one play after completing a 63-yarder to Erenberg.
The teams exchanged scores in the final 1:04 of the half. Wright ran 53 yards for a McKeesport touchdown, and Augenstein caught a 23-yard pass from Swoope with 11 seconds remaining.
McKeesport will face Penn-Trafford for the second time this season. The Warriors, who beat 11th-seeded Penn Hills, 22-16, in the first round, lost to the Tigers, 34-14, on Sept. 20.
Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.