West Mifflin win sets up showdown with TJ
As the final seconds ticked down on West Mifflin's 35-7 victory over Trinity, the Titans players finally started thinking ahead to the team that's been on their minds all year — Thomas Jefferson.
“We've got a chance to win the conference outright,” West Mifflin quarterback Derrick Fulmore said. “No sharing the title this year. We just have to practice hard this week and play hard Friday.”
Fulmore ran for two scores and returned a punt 80 yards for a third, while senior running back Jimmy Wheeler, the WPIAL's leading rusher, carried 21 times for 190 yards and two scores to give him 1.535 yards on the season.
“We finally beat them,” Fulmore said. “Last year they ruined our perfect record, so it was nice to get some revenge.”
With the win, West Mifflin (8-0, 7-0) set up a winner-take-all showdown with Thomas Jefferson (8-0, 7-0), a 49-8 victor at Uniontown, for the outright Big 9 Conference title next Friday night.
Last season, the Titans ended the Jaguars 37-game conference winning streak in the season finale as the two shared the Big 8 Conference championship.
“I think we might have lost a little momentum if we had lost this game if we had to go in there with the same situation as last year,” West Mifflin coach Ray Braszo said. “We know that we're going in now knowing that the winner of the game wins the conference, which puts a little pressure on both teams to want to win this game and I think it will be kind of exciting to have both undefeated at this time.”
If there is one concern for West Mifflin as it prepares for next week it would be how effectively Trinity was able to run the ball. The Hillers totalled 258 yards on 47 carries, including a 6-yard touchdown by quarterback Don McWreath with 6:20 remaining in regulation.
“They have really good size up front and they were running a really good scheme there and we bent a lot, but we held them,” Braszo said. “That happens a lot when we play big teams, but I think that's a credit to our kids that they're smaller but they don't break easily. I was impressed that (the starters) held them out of the end zone.”
Keith Barnes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-664-9161 Ext. 1977.