Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Taking a Stand Upper St. Clair's Defense Dominates in Opening 17-0 Win against Penn Hills

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Taking a Stand Upper St. Clair's Defense Dominates in Opening 17-0 Win against Penn Hills

Article excerpt

It's one game, so to say Upper St. Clair has returned to dominance is certainly a little premature. But after the Panthers went through a losing season for the first time in the past 35 years, this opening game clearly said one thing.

Defense has returned to Upper St. Clair.

On a sweltering first night of high school football in Pennsylvania, Upper St. Clair's defense cramped Penn Hills' speed and style. The result was a 17-0 victory Friday for host Upper St. Clair in a WPIAL Class AAAA Southeastern Conference game.

Upper St. Clair's defense held Penn Hills to 195 total yards and - get this - one first down in the second half. This from a defense that allowed 31 points to Penn Hills last year. This from a defense that broke down in numerous games in 2014 when coach Jim Render had his first losing season since 1979, his first year at the school. In six losses last year, Upper St. Clair allowed 30.3 points a game.

The defense was needed because Upper St. Clair's offense was sluggish much of the night, accounting for only 198 total yards. Upper St. Clair wore down Penn Hills a little in the second half. The Panthers led by only 3-0 at halftime.

It was as if the Panthers played with a chip on their shoulder. But they weren't the only ones.

"I know I have one," said Render, the winningest coach in WPIAL history. "We suffered last year playing [Penn Hills]. Our defensive coaches learned from that. Our kids executed the plan tonight. To shut them out, I'm not sure we expected that."

Penn Hills is led by quarterback Billy Kisner, a two-year starter who has made a name for himself as a runner, rushing for more than 2,000 yards the past two seasons. Kisner ran for 107 yards on 14 carries, but most of his yardage came on a few big plays.

Upper St. Clair's defense even provided a touchdown as sophomore linebacker Dominic Cepullio intercepted a Kisner pass and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown with 9:30 left in the game. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.