Knoch’s Megahan named Valley News Dispatch boys athlete of the year
By Paul Kogut
Published: Saturday, June 30, 2012, 11:28 p.m.
Updated: Monday, December 3, 2012
Knoch · senior · Football, baseball
It was a big year for Big Mac in football and baseball.
Knoch's Mac Megahan started a memorable senior year by displaying his play-making ability on both sides of the football for the Knights (12-1), who claimed WPIAL Class AAA runner-up honors after falling short to Montour at Heinz Field.
This past spring, the fleet-footed Megahan punished opposing pitchers with a .559 batting average — one of the highest in the WPIAL this year — and blanketed center field.
For stellar play in more than one sport, Megahan is the Valley News Dispatch Boys Athlete of the Year.
Springdale senior Joe Killian, who stood out in football, basketball and baseball, and Highlands sophomore Allan Cratsenberg, a rising star in football and wrestling, also were contenders.
Megahan, a 6-foot-3, 195-pound free safety, was named to the All-Greater Allegheny Conference first team as a defensive back after recording 38 tackles and three interceptions.
But he showed his greatest versatility as an all-conference first-team wide receiver. He made 13 catches for 366 yards and seven touchdowns and rushed 16 times for 238 yards and three scores. He tied for second on the team with 10 touchdowns.
In baseball, Megahan added 25 RBI, 25 runs, 11 steals, five doubles, three triples and two home runs, as well as solid defense, to his resume. He was a big reason the Knights qualified for the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs.
What is the one moment, the one image, you will remember most from Knoch's run to the WPIAL Class AAA football championship game?
“Definitely, after we won in the first round of the playoffs. Alexis Summers (a Knoch student and cheerleader) was killed in a car crash that week. After we won that game, everyone came together on the field, and balloons were let go. That image will stay in my head — the people coming together.
What were your emotions like when the Knights marched onto the Heinz Field grass for the first time?
“Obviously, I was nervous playing in front of all those people. When we were walking down the tunnel, we could see the right side of the stadium (where the Montour fans were seated). Then we walked out of the tunnel, and we could see the whole left side of the stadium was filled up with Knoch fans. I didn't know we'd have that many people.”
Describe the best play you made in football this past season?
“Growing up and playing football, we always heard how good Thomas Jefferson is. We heard they were a powerhouse. We played them in the playoffs, and I didn't know what to expect. But I got the first touchdown (a 52-yard reception to give Knoch a 9-0 lead). That's my favorite play.”
Your batting average was among the best in the WPIAL this year. Did you think you were ready for a breakout season?
“I was hoping for .400. I didn't expect above .500. I knew I could, but I didn't expect it. I know this sounds stupid, but there are so many things involved in hitting that, up until this year, I never watched the ball coming out of the pitcher's hand. I concentrated more this year. I could see the seams.”
What was the farthest you hit a baseball this year?
“I hit a home run at Pullman Park (in Butler), but it was an inside-the-parker. I'm pretty sure it hit the center field wall (424 feet) on two bounces.”
Who are your favorite baseball and football players?
“I'm a big fan of the Pirates. I love the Pirates. I like Andrew McCutchen, but I'd have to say Alex Presley. There's something about him. He's not a superstar, but he's good. And I'm a huge Peyton Manning fan. I'm always wearing my Peyton Manning jersey.”
Which is more difficult — tracking down a hard hit ball in the outfield gap or making an over-the-shoulder catch near the sideline?
“I'd definitely say the football catch, for me in particular. Baseball kind of comes natural.”
What's your real first name?
“My real name is Mac James Megahan. My mom gave me my birth name, which is Mackenzie. When I was 8 or 9 years old, we got it officially changed to Mac. I definitely wanted it changed. Mackenzie is kind of a girl's name. Looking back on it now, it's kind of silly.”
Paul Kogut is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-226-2696.
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