McKeesport looking to bounce back against Woodland Hills
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Geographically, there aren't many WPIAL Class AAAA stadiums closer than Weigle-Schaeffer Stadium in McKeesport and the Wolvarena in Turtle Creek.
Despite the proximity, however, the two schools, McKeesport (0-1) and Woodland Hills (0-1), haven't played each other since the 2005 WPIAL championship game at Heinz Field. Even stranger, the Tigers and Wolverines haven't tussled in the regular season since 2001.
“I didn't realize it, but in one sense, we both kind of sit on the fringes and can go in any direction outside the north, and I think they want to maintain rivalries with Woodland Hills-Penn Hills and McKeesport-Gateway,” McKeesport coach Jim Ward said. “Woodland Hills has name recognition, and there's a history between the two schools.”
It has been a difficult week for McKeesport, to be sure. The Tigers are coming off a tough 33-18 loss to a Hempfield team it had owned in their previous four meetings and have been answering questions all week about an incident that happened during the game. Players from the schools got into an on-field altercation and a referee was knocked unconscious while trying to separate the players. He was taken via ambulance to UPMC-McKeesport.
As far as the game, McKeesport allowed more than 250 yards in the first half and trailed, 20-6, at halftime.
McKeesport has to find a way to bounce back and avoid going 0-2 to start a season for the first time since 2002.
“We have no choice,” Ward said. “I have to give Hempfield a lot of credit ... but we're just a very young, injury-plagued team and we may be getting a couple guys back this week. We started seven sophomores and a freshman on defense on Friday, and with that is going to come some poor plays and that's obviously what we had.”
McKeesport was gashed along the right side of its defensive line by Hempfield's no-huddle, spread-option attack that left the Tigers gasping for, and grasping at, air. This week there is optimism, however, as the team may get back three starters — senior lineman Brenden Green, junior Jaylin Short and Aaron Knight.
And it will need every able body it can muster to get pressure on Woodland Hills quarterback Cody McClelland, who threw for 222 yards and two touchdowns in the Wolverines' loss to Upper St. Clair in Week 1.
“Those guys that were playing on the interior were third-team guys, and one was a fourth-team guy; that's how depleted we were,” Ward said. “If we can get those guys back, we should be able to shore it up.”
Offensively, there may be some upside for McKeesport. Despite a mistake-filled game that saw the team commit several key turnovers, including a fumble that was returned for a touchdown, the Tigers will be seeing a Woodland Hills defense that was raked for 28 second-half points in a Week 1 loss to Upper St. Clair.
“It was very inconsistent because we've got so many new starters, because we have four new starters on the offensive line and, at times, we didn't block people,” Ward said. “Typically, at this point in the year a lot of those kids would be playing junior varsity, and there are a lot of things to grow from and improve upon, but it was a typical first game.”
Keith Barnes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-664-9161 ext. 1977.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates set wild-card game roster
- Sky’s not the limit: Pirate Parrot takes trip into Earth’s atmosphere
- Former employee at Plum home-building firm charged with embezzling nearly $200K
- Steelers QB Roethlisberger not targeting Oct. 25 return
- Trafford mayor resigns, councilman gives up presidency
- House begins consideration of governor’s tax plan
- Rossi: Time for Pirates to take next step
- WPIAL hands out suspensions for Wilkinsburg-Monessen fight
- Cubs’ Arrieta, Pirates’ Cole leave batters with little margin for error
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin not worried about Jones’ lack of sacks
- Penguins rally in wake of Dupuis injury