Miscues help Woodland Hills dispatch Upper St. Clair
The Woodland Hills Wolverines took advantage of three early Upper St. Clair mistakes and rolled to a 42-20 victory over the Upper St. Clair in a WPIAL Class AAAA semifinal at Baldwin Stadium.
Three first-quarter touchdowns gave Woodland Hills an early cushion, and the Wolverines added three insurance touchdowns in the second half to preserve the victory, including a 50-yard pass interception by junior Trevon Mathis with 4:48 left in the game.
Woodland Hills (10-2) will go after its sixth WPIAL championship in the school's 26-year existence at 2 p.m. Friday at Heinz Field against North Allegheny.
It will mark the ninth overall trip to the WPIAL finals for the Wolverines program.
Upper St. Clair, which has made the WPIAL playoffs in 26 of the past 27 seasons, concluded the campaign at 10-2.
The mistakes started from the opening kickoff as Upper St. Clair's Steve Mackowick muffed the ball, and Dontae Broadus dove to pick it up at the Panthers' 14.
Five plays later, Dequan White opened the scoring with a 1-yard burst.
Just 90 seconds after that, a bad snap to punter Tim Witenske resulted in a tackle by Anthony Cioppa at the USC 5-yard line.
Fullback Alex Beasley scored from 3 yards out two plays later, and the Wolverines had a 14-0 lead with 7:29 left in the first quarter.
Woodland Hills went up, 21-0, with 1:38 left in the opening quarter.
“We were fortunate enough to capitalize on those early turnovers,” Wolverines coach George Novak said. “First time we played them, we were up, 12-0, and they came back. Our kids came out in the second half determined not to let it happen again.”
But Upper St. Clair regrouped and rallied for a pair of second-quarter touchdowns.
Morgan Lee hauled in a Pete Coughlin pass near the Woodland Hills 30 and outran several Wolverines defenders for what was a 59-yard scoring play.
On the ensuing kickoff, Joe Repischak recovered a fumbled kickoff and put the Panthers in business at Woodland Hills' 20.
On third-and-goal from the Wolverines' 20 six plays later, Steve Mackowick made a catch while back-pedaling in the end zone to bring Upper St. Clair within a touchdown.
George Guido is a freelance writer.