McKeesport's Big-Play Offense Punishes Penn Hills
Mackall, Dave, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
You didn't dare blink when McKeesport's offense began operating Friday night.
If you did, you might have missed one of many big plays.
McKeesport, ranked No. 5 in Class AAAA by the Pittsburgh Tribune- Review, shocked Penn Hills in the first half, scoring 33 unanswered points, then went on to beat the visiting Indians, 47-19.
"That first quarter was very impressive," McKeesport coach George Smith said. "The emphasis was on coming out and running our offense. We wanted to run the fullback to open up other things."
Even before the midpoint of the first quarter, McKeesport (3-1) enjoyed a 21-point lead. When it was over, the Tigers had whipped the Indians, avenging last season's one-point loss to a team that had reached the WPIAL Class AAAA championship game.
McKeesport's offense, which came away with sluggish performances in its past two games, wasted no time putting a shock into Penn Hills.
Gabe Patterson returned the opening kickoff 67 yards, putting McKeesport in excellent position for its opening drive at the Penn Hills' 28.
On third down, Marvase Byrd found an opening and raced 25 yards for a touchdown to give McKeesport a 7-0 lead.
Byrd abruptly ended Penn Hills' first possession by intercepting a pass by Indians quarterback Tom Fulton and providing McKeesport with an opportunity to score again.
The Tigers capitalized on the next play, when Nico Price, one of those fullbacks Smith was referring to, burst through the line and sprinted 47 yards for a touchdown, upping the lead to 14-0. Price finished with 129 yards rushing on 17 carries.
After McKeesport's defense stuffed Penn Hills (1-3) on the Indians' next possession, Penn Hills appeared to catch a break when Fulton's punt pinned the Tigers on their 13.
It didn't take long, though, for McKeesport to find the end zone again. Fueled by Darien Robinson's 52-yard run -- coming from another fullback -- McKeesport made it 21-0 on a 2-yard keeper by quarterback James Eckels.
Patterson's 17-yard touchdown run just after the start of the second quarter moved McKeesport to a 27-0 advantage.
Following that score, McKeesport kept the pressure on. …