5 things we learned in Week 6: WPIAL linemen can score touchdowns too

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Saturday, October 17, 2020 | 9:22 PM


Could there be a quarterback controversy brewing at Pine-Richland?

With a laugh, Miguel Jackson says yes.

The 6-foot-2, 265-pound senior lived every lineman’s dream Friday night when he rushed for a touchdown and threw for another as undefeated Pine-Richland maintained its No. 1 ranking in WPIAL Class 5A with a 59-13 victory over North Hills.

“I had to do that for linemen everywhere,” Jackson said.

“I can run a little bit. I’ve got a little speed.”

But he wasn’t the only big man appearing in Friday night’s WPIAL box scores, showing the unheralded athleticism of the guys up front.

Mt. Lebanon left tackle Kade Capistro had a 6-yard touchdown run in Friday night’s 48-14 victory over Norwin. Leechburg lineman Dalton Hamm scored on runs of 1 and 10 yards in a 76-25 victory over Riverview.

As a 6-3, 260-pound lineman, Capistro is hard to miss, so Mt. Lebanon used a little trickery.

The sophomore pretended to pass block but instead dropped into the backfield. Blue Devils quarterback Joey Daniels rolled to his right and threw a lateral to Capistro, who sprinted into the end zone.

Jackson’s touchdown run was a little more straightforward for Pine-Richland. The Liberty recruit took a direct snap and barreled his way into the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown in the first quarter. In the second, Jackson connected with Luke Miller for an 8-yard touchdown pass.

Rams quarterback Cole Spencer, one of the WPIAL’s top passers, motioned out of the backfield.

“I’m probably going to come for that (quarterback) spot next week,” Jackson said. “I’ll have to battle out Cole for that starting job.”

The plays were part of a goal-line package Rams coaches added to the playbook just for Jackson, who’s already a standout two-way lineman. The team considered using the package earlier in the season, he said, but instead waited for senior night. One benefit of waiting was his parents could watch from the stands, he said.

Hamm’s touchdowns also came on senior night. The 6-foot, 210-pound lineman previously played fullback for Leechburg, so coaches provided him some carries Friday.

Pairings meeting plans

WPIAL coaches won’t gather in a Green Tree hotel next weekend to learn their playoff opponent. Instead, they will find out on their phones or laptops. The brackets will be revealed online Saturday night on the TribLive High School Sports Network.

The WPIAL in June canceled the annual pairings meeting as a cost-cutting measure.

However, limits on gathering sizes also would have restricted the event, which traditionally had coaching staffs crowd into a ballroom to see the brackets revealed.

Ending a losing streak

Butler’s 24-game losing streak ended Friday with a 55-14 win over Blackhawk. The victory was the team’s first since Week 9 of 2017.

After two winless seasons in WPIAL Class 6A, the Tornadoes left the WPIAL this year to play teams from District 10, which includes the northwestern corner of the state. They went 0-4 this fall in games against Erie High, McDowell and Cathedral Prep, which defeated Butler twice.

Friday’s game was a late addition to their schedule. Blackhawk was to play New Castle in Week 6, but the Red Hurricanes temporarily shut down their football activities because of covid-19.

Butler’s previous win was 28-26 over Canon-McMillan on Oct. 27, 2017.

Old-school football

In an era of lopsided wins, the Class 3A Interstate Conference broke from recent tradition Friday with scores pleasing to old-school football fans. Elizabeth Forward defeated Mt. Pleasant, 16-14, and South Allegheny topped South Park, 14-7.

There were 50 games played Friday night in the WPIAL and City League. Among them, 29 were decided by four touchdowns or more. In the Class 2A Century Conference, Frazier, McGuffey and Washington outscored their opponents 134-0, combined.

Two 300 games

The WPIAL had as many 300-yard rushers Friday night as it did 300-yard passers. Leechburg’s Braylan Lovelace rushed for 392 yards, and Shady Side Academy’s Josh Castro had 300.

Lovelace averaged 20.6 yards on his 19 carries.

Castro carried 26 times. Each scored four times.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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