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Trib HS Insider Q&A: South Allegheny's Keaton McClelland

| Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, 9:30 p.m.
South Allegheny's Keaton McClelland Ronald Vezzani Jr./ for the Daily News

Keaton McClelland, like most of his teammates, has been through some dark days at South Allegheny. It's what happens when you play for a school that hasn't qualified for the playoffs since 1986.

But like all of the other Gladiators, the senior running back/linebacker who is currently getting looks from several FCS colleges, including Davidson, West Liberty and Monmouth, is beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel, thanks to a rare three-game winning streak and being in the thick of the postseason chase in the Century Conference.

Q: After winning just three games the last three seasons, what has it been like being around this team?

A: The first game (a 35-0 loss to Seton-La Salle) wasn't that great, but the atmosphere around this winning streak has just been awesome. Everyone wants to play and wants to win, and it's like a whole other team.

Q: How hard was it for you going through the last three years and winning only three games?

A: There's not much that I could have done, and I couldn't stand it. So I wanted to come out this year and do everything I could to help us win.

Q: What's been the biggest difference this year as compared to previous years?

A: I think it's just the attitude. We've been playing with each other for a long time, we have great chemistry and we are like a family.

Q: How hard was it to stand on the sideline and watch last week's game against South Park while you were nursing a shoulder injury?

A: It killed me because I wanted to go out there and help my family, and there wasn't much I could do except stand there and yell.

Q: Did you have a sore throat Saturday morning?

A: I woke up the next morning, and I needed cough lozenges.

Q: What would it be like to make the playoffs?

A: That would be great. I've never been in a playoff game and, to be honest, I don't know how to explain it. It would just be so good.

Q: How aware is the team that the school hasn't made the playoffs in 26 years?

A: I'm aware of it, but this team right now is just solid and we're getting better. This year, I think, is our year.

Q: What do you do when you're not playing football?

A: During the week, I don't have much time with football practice and school, but on the weekends I relax and hang out with my friends. And I go down to the youth games and try to help them out and try to get them better so they can be the future of SA.

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